State court dismisses butterfly suit

The New York State Appellate Court dismissed a lawsuit against the Clifton Park Planning Board over the protection of Karner blue butterfly habitat within the town.

Save the Pine Bush Inc., and 11 other individuals challenged an initial ruling to dismiss the case by acting state Supreme Court Justice Barry Kramer in November 2006, who said the plaintiffs did not have standing to lodge a lawsuit.

On behalf of the Clifton Park Planning Board, our professional staff and the town of Clifton Park, I am very pleased with the unanimous decision by the New York State Appellate Court to dismiss the lawsuit filed against the board by the Save the Pine Bush organization, said Planning Board chairman Steve Bulger.

Save the Pine Bush had charged that the board violated the State Environmental Quality Review Act in issuing the warehouse approval during the summer of 2006.

The Planning Board approved a plan to build seven industrial warehouses and hundreds of parking spaces adjacent to the Karner blue butterfly habitat, according to literature provided by Save the Pine Bush.

Oral arguments were heard Friday, Feb. 15, in the case, and a decision was handed down earlier this month.

Attempts to contact members of Save the Pine Bush were unsuccessful, but in literature distributed in March, the group said, "The position of the lawsuit by Save the Pine Bush against the town and developer DCG Development Company, is that by approving a worthless 'management plan,' Clifton Park is ratifying the extirpation of an endangered species in violation of SEQRA and its own GEIS findings."

After reviewing the site, the Planning Board decided that the project would not have a significant environmental impact and filed a negative declaration with SEQRA.

"Our board devoted a lot of time, effort and deliberation in our review of the Wood Road project in question," Bulger said. "We are very satisfied in the thoroughness of our review process, and agree with the decision that the Save the Pine Bush group should not be awarded any special consideration to challenge our decision."

Save the Pine Bush is a not-for-profit organization devoted to preserving the Pine Bush and the Karner blue butterfly habitat.""

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