Three Article 78 appeals brought by the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations, Greenville Fire District and Edgemont Community Council against the Town of Greenburgh and its Zoning Board of Appeals over the approval of an 80-unit assisted living facility on the former grounds of Sprainbrook Nursery in the Edgemont School District were dismissed by the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division Second Judicial Department on Feb. 16.
Six years ago, in February 2015, Formation-Shelbourne applied to the Town of Greenburgh for a special permit to construct a four-story assisted living facility with 80 units, along with 56 parking spots, at the intersection of Underhill and Sprain roads. A special permit, proper variances and a SEQRA (New York State Environmental Quality Review Act) negative declaration (CND), meaning there were no potential environmental issues posed by the project, were issued in 2017 and 2018 and were subsequently challenged in court. When the challenges were dismissed, appeals were filed.
The most recent court rulings said the petitioners’ claims in challenging the SEQRA ruling were “speculative, and therefore, insufficient to establish a standing;” challenges to the area variances were “untimely,” past the 30-day deadline to file; and the special permit approval challenge also showed “lack of standing.” In addition, court costs were awarded to the town.
“It has been a long road, but we are extremely pleased by the three unanimous decisions of the Appellate Division, Second Department, finding in favor of Formation-Shelbourne and the Town,” said Formation-Shelbourne attorney Lino Sciarretta of Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, LLP. “Our client looks forward to constructing a much-needed assisted living project in the Town of Greenburgh.”
Previously on Jan. 18, courts dismissed a lawsuit by Formation-Shelbourne against the Greenville Fire District and five of its commissioners, calling it a SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) lawsuit, saying that the commissioners had the right to voice their concerns about the project. Formation-Shelbourne Senior Living Services LLC sought $1 million in damages from GFD and commissioners Jon Faust, Walter Groden, Warren Hershkowitz, Helene Orce and Michael Rappe. (See story at https://www.scarsdalenews.com/news/edgemont_hartsdale/judge-dismisses-lawsuit-against-greenville-fire-district/article_b2287ac8-878a-11ec-8ac6-5fe399fcc14a.html.)
According to Town of Greenburgh Commissioner of Community Development and Conservation Garrett Duquesne, Formation-Shelbourne has all of the town board, planning board and zoning board approvals it needs to move forward with the project.
“The applicant can come in and continue its administrative process to get development permits — stormwater permit, building permit and a road opening permit through DPW, that type of thing …” Duquesne said. “Now that the court case is over, I don’t think there’s any impediments from the applicant’s end for moving forward.”
Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner said he knows “there’s some controversy” revolving around the assisted living facility, but he thinks the overall benefit to Edgemont will be positive financially and in terms of giving residents the option to age in their own community.
“I personally felt that this will generate a few hundred thousand dollars a year to the school district in taxes with no kids being added,” he said. “If there hadn’t been a lawsuit the school district would be $1 million richer than they are now.
“I also feel that there will be a lot of residents, people who live in Edgemont, who are elderly [and] may want to age in their own neighborhoods, who will benefit from this. There’s a lot of residents in Edgemont who have contacted me over the years who have older parents and they want to live next to them. I really believe that by and large this will be positive.”
He added, “I don’t anticipate there’s going to be any issues. They won the lawsuits, so they’re entitled to build.”