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Defense of a Planning Board’s Denial of an Extension of Permits for a Large-scale Wind Project

This decision made new law in the State of New York, specifically, whether the doctrine of “equitable tolling” extended durational limits of permits while litigation challenging those approvals is pending. Petitioner obtained a special use permit and site plan approval for a wind project. Due to delays, the Petitioner applied for the first extension, which was granted. They then changed the project and applied for a second extension, which was denied. The applicable standard is whether there was a change in circumstances that would justify denial of an extension request. The project changes proposed by Petitioner warranted denial. Petitioner then argued that no extension was necessary because the approvals were challenged and the doctrine of equitable tolling extended the durational limits. Hodgson Russ argued successfully that the doctrine of equitable tolling is inapplicable in the State of New York.