New York Appellate Division, Second Dept.
Rapid Review and Completion of Environmental Assessment Form Is Not Arbitrary and Capricious.  Village passed local laws that amended the zoning code to reduce the floor area for one and two family residences.  Incidental thereto, the Village Board of Trustees adopted a negative declaration under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).  Plaintiffs, owners of lots subject to the revised code, sought to invalidate the local laws contending in part, that the local laws should have been Type I actions rather than unlisted actions, and that the failure to prepare and consider an environmental impact statement for Type I actions rendered the local law invalid.  The Supreme Court, Suffolk County, found that the Trustees complied with SEQRA and the Second Department sustained.  The absence of any adverse environmental impact, combined with a given – that the reduction in floor area could only benefit the environment – formed support for the finding that the rapid review was not arbitrary and capricious.  “The record reflects that the Board of Trustees identified the relevant areas of environmental concern as related to the proposed action, took the requisite ‘hard look’ at them in its negative declaration, and made a reasoned elaboration of the basis for its determination. Given the nature of the proposed action here, which would have only beneficial environmental effect, and the focus of the assessment form, which is to identify negative environmental effects of the proposed action, the rapid review and completion of the environmental assessment form was not arbitrary or capricious…” Matter of Bonacker Prop., LLC v Village of E. Hampton Bd. of Trustees,    2019 NY Slip Op 00432, Appellate Division, Second Department, January 23, 2019  opinion