By Nathan Mayberg
WURTSBORO September 26, 2006 In what is being described by Yukiguni Maitaki Manufacturing Corporation of America CEO Kazunori Kameyama as the third round of litigation involving their proposed mushroom plant, the Basha Kill Area Association (BKAA) and Jodi Rubenstein filed an Article 78 lawsuit against the company and the Town of Mamakating Planning Board in county court last week.
The lawsuit was filed against the board and the company for their handling of the environmental review process regarding their review of the site plan and special use permit.
BKAA President Paula Medley outlined the organization’s case yesterday, claiming the board “violated its SEQRA obligation to take a hard look at significant environmental concerns.”
In particular, she said the board failed to address the potential impacts on the Basha Kill Wildlife Area and the Shawangunk Ridge. The lawsuit alleges the board failed to elaborate as to how the project would not have an adverse environmental impact on the environment.
The company had its plans conditionally approved last August for a 925,000 square foot main building reaching between 80-83 feet high on MacDonald Road off Route 209 in Wurtsboro. The company is being allowed to draw up to 625,00 gallons of water a day and is projecting to release up to 265,000 gallons of water vapor into the atmosphere each day. In addition, it plans to build several smaller buildings on its parcel of over 47 acres.
Other allegations outlined by the BKAA’s attorney Alex Smith, include the charge that 12 or more mitigations were not dealt with at the time of the approvals. They include the lack of a water conservation plan, odor mitigation plan and noise mitigation plan. The company also must receive approvals from the New York State Department of Conservation and Department of Health.
The suit also takes the planning board to task for ignoring objections by Sullivan County Planning Commissioner Bill Pammer, who requested more information before he could complete his 239 review. That information, including a stormwater discharge plan, was never given, the suit alleges. In addition, Medley claims the board needed a supermajority to discount the recommendations by Pammer. They voted 4-2 against the review.
Furthermore, Medley said the board allowed its Chairman, John Piazza, to be the sole person who signs off on the company’s compliance with its required mitigation plans, approvals and permits thus, shrugging off its responsibility.
The board is also charged with violating Town of Mamakating zoning codes and DEC regulations. Medley said the board should have waited for the company to gain approvals from regulatory agencies and provide certain plans, before giving conditional approval.
Finally, the suit claims the board denied the petitioners their right to due process of the law and a right to meaningful public participation due to the final public hearing on the site plan and special use permit, being held before important information and studies were released, such as revisions to the site plan.
Yesterday, Kameyama responded to the allegations by stating the lawsuit was “no surprise.” So far, the courts have been ruling against the BKAA, he stated. His company plans to suggest that the size and scope of the court’s review should be limited to only the site plan and special use permit review. In addition, any items reviewed in prior court proceedings, should not be allowed to be brought up again. The company will be pushing for a dismissal of the charges in the next couple of weeks.
Planning Board Chairman John Piazza could not be reached for this article. The planning board secretary, Linda Frank, refused to release his number.