Judge rules that developers can move historic property without additional studies
A community group's hope to have the Stanford Home remain at its original location was dealt a blow Friday, Sept. 3, when New York State Supreme Court Judge Barry Kramer approved Highbridge Development's plan to move the historic property.
In his judgment, Kramer said the Niskayuna Planning Board's June 10 decision to approve changes to the site plan involving the move of the home was sound.
It would just be preserved in a new location, and I believe, in fact, that was rational decision by the planning board, said Kramer. "The petition in my view should be dismissed."
Friends of the Stanford home had filed a lawsuit to block the move, saying the town should have called for another SEQRA study.
"While there may have been or could have been a further SEQRA study, I do not believe there must have been further SEQRA study," said Kramer. "It appears that the argument is really one of aesthetics, and the planning board made a determination that the building would preserved."
John Henry, attorney for Highbridge, said the modification of the plan to relocate the building is a small revision. Henry also pointed out that the petition stated the lead agency of the project was the Town Planning Board, but the Town Board was actually the lead agency to determine if any additional SEQRA is required. Kramer also noted this as a flaw in the petition.
"There is no argument that the lead agency is the Town Board, and I do believe it was essential for these petitioners to name the Town Board as a necessary party to this proceeding for the relief they sought," said Kramer in his decision. "Having failed to do so they failed to include the necessary party and that also is a basis for my dismissal."