Ensuring Permits for Construction of a Strip Mall on Wetland are Only Issued if Legally Mandated Environmental Review is Completed by the Agency

Comments on Developer’s Application for a Freshwater Wetlands Permit to allow paving of a Mariners’ Harbor, Staten Island wetland for a strip mall and wholesale store (August 29, 2019): As counsel to the Staten Island Coalition for Wetlands and Forests, TakeRoot submitted comments requesting that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation hold a public hearing on and ultimately deny an application to disrupt a wetland that currently protects a low income community from flooding. TakeRoot’s comments were focused on the substantive and procedural flaws in the application, particularly the fact that in the statement the developer prepared to assist the agency in making an assessment of potential impacts on the environment that it granting the requested permit would have, the developer incredibly assumed that the permit would be granted no matter what. The agency has the power to deny the permit. It needs to consider the difference between a future in which the wetland is paved and one in which it is preserved before it can grant it; it cannot consider these possible futures with the documents that the developers submitted as a guide and therefore must deny.