SCHODACK, N.Y. — The ongoing legal battle continues to play out regarding the proposed construction of an Amazon warehouse in Schodack.
According to Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, the warehouse is slated to create 800 jobs in the county. Yet, the Birchwood Association is attempting to squelch the project once again.
In a statement, the Home Association notes it plans on filing a second appeal on the site construction:
“Birchwood Association remains committed to fighting for protections for the Amazon warehouse. We have proceeded with the next step. [Friday] we filed a Motion for a Leave to Appeal to the Court of Appeals,” the Birchwood Association said in a statement to The Record.
“We are asking the Court of Appeals to remedy the situation and advance the Legislature’s clearly-expressed purpose in adopting SEQRA. We remain committed to protecting our community from unanalyzed adverse environmental impacts as this is an issue of substantial public importance,” the statement continued.
In their initial appeal, petitioners sought to annul the Planning Board’s determination, directing it to prepare an environmental impact statement. After the Supreme Court dismissed the petition, an appeal ensued.
Petitioners claimed the Planning Board failed to comply with SEQRA by not taking an extensive look at numerous areas of environmental concern, and that the preparation of an environmental impact study was required.
Yet, back in early Dec. 2019, the Third Appellate Division court affirmed a lower court decision, which dismissed the initial challenge to the warehouse project.
The court disagreed with the appeal, stating the Planning Board had the environmental assessment form, a geotechnical engineering report, a stormwater management report, the recommendation of the Town Engineer and traffic impact studies and analyses.
The court also noted the Planning Board held public meetings, heard comments from the public and considered responses. More specifically, the stormwater management report described stormwater basins, oil/water separators and other facilities that would be incorporated into the project to detain and treat stormwater and protect against any potential impact upon nearby water wells and the underlying aquifer.
Hence, the application submitted by Scannell Properties to the Town of Schodack Planning Board and approved in July 2018 in association with the Amazon warehouse project, was allowed to proceed forward.
The Birchwood Association was also critical of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announced $4.3 million in environmental justice community impact grants.
“800 jobs is great news for Rensselaer County but not when it jeopardizes public safety and irreversible negative environmental impacts. Without an EIS, there are no cumulative studies done on what long term effects will be,” the Birchwood Association stated.
“We wonder what is the purpose of these governor initiatives if basic SEQRA rules are allowed to be ignored for the sake of a press release announcing jobs and the Amazon name?” the Birchwood Association added, insinuating the grants as essentially toothless eyewash measures.