The proposed Lago Casino in Tyre, New York is a big deal.
Most would agree that a casino is the kind of development that can dramatically reshape the very nature and character of a community. The potential impacts of a casino stretch far beyond the immediate vicinity where the casino is ultimately located, likely across the entire Town and greater region.
These likely impacts highlight the need for the Town to be careful and precise during is local review and permitting process. However, it appears that the Town of Tyre made at least one critical mistake during its environmental review (pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act, or SEQR) of the proposed Casino, resulting in a Court voiding the Town’s approvals. In sum, it appears the Town failed to adopt a written explanation (a “Part 3”) for its determination that the Casino would not have any significant adverse environmental impacts (i.e., a “Negative Declaration”).
Not only does this mean that the Town’s approvals are undone and thus must be completed anew, but now the construction of the Casino (which had already commenced) must be halted and, in some respects, rolled back so that the site remains safe while the Town considers approval of the project . . . again.
The court decision is a costly setback for both the Town and the developer, which both must spend additional time and money to re-navigate the local approval process. This matter should serve as a reminder to local New York municipalities to carefully and completely address SEQR, particularly when dealing with substantial, controversial projects.