Concerned about potential water pollution, the Sierra Club has filed an Article 78 lawsuit against the Town of North Castle and its town and planning boards in state Supreme Court in White Plains over approvals for the proposal to construct an 850-space parking garage at 11 New King St. that would be used for the Westchester County Airport.
Town Attorney Roland Baroni announced there was a lawsuit during the July 31 North Castle planning board meeting. The applicant, 11 New King Street LLC, is seeking site plan approval from the planning board.
The application for Park Place at Westchester County Airport calls for an automated facility housing 850 vehicles on the 2.5-acre site of an underutilized office building.
On June 5, the North Castle Planning Board approved a findings statement concluding the project would be environmentally friendly, in part because it would mitigate stormwater runoff that has plagued New King Street and significantly reduce impervious surfaces. It would also be consistent with the town’s Comprehensive Plan.
The airport currently has about 1,100 spaces and has 150 auxiliary parking spaces at SUNY Purchase.
Using industry standards, an airport serving as many travelers as Westchester County Airport should have at least 3,500 spaces, according to the applicant.
The applicant recently appeared before the North Castle Town Board, making the case to obtain a required zoning text amendment that would make automated parking a special permit use in an industrial zone.
Currently, the King Street property is the site of a commercial building that is in the IND-AA zoning district.
The Article 78 petition seeks an injunction that would prevent the town from taking any further actions to move the project forward until the town and planning boards “fully comply” with all state laws. It challenges the Special Use Permit from the town board and claims various state laws and town ordinances were violated by the town board.
The petition also seeks to void the planning board’s actions.
The town and planning boards both violated the state Environmental Quality Review Act, according to the suit.
Richard Lippes, a Buffalo-based attorney representing the Sierra Club, said Friday the Article 78 was filed because the parking garage would be a threat to the drinking water supply for portions of Westchester County and New York City. The property is near the Kensico Reservoir, which is part of the New York City Watershed, he noted. The town and planning board approvals violated “various state laws,” he said.
Messages left for Baroni last week were not returned.