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Successful Challenge to a Negative Declaration for a Large-scale Casino Development

Client Type: Privately held

This matter set significant precedent in the Fourth Department. Hodgson Russ represented a citizens group opposed to the development of a casino resort. The town board issued a negative declaration without setting forth its determination, in a written form, providing a reasoned elaboration. Instead, the board’s special counsel prepared rationale after-the-fact. Supreme Court, Seneca County approved of this approach, but the Fourth Department reversed. The Fourth Department determined that SEQRA requires the lead agency to set forth its determination in writing to allow intelligent judicial review. After-the-fact rationale should not be considered by the reviewing court.