Update: New York Court of Appeals to Hear NYU Expansion Case

We are posting with an important update on our previous blog regarding NYU’s planned expansion into implied parkland in NYC: The New York Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the case.

By way of refresher, the case involves NYU’s planned $6 billion, 2-million square foot expansion that will impact three parks- Mercer playground, LaGuardia Park and LaGuardia Corner Gardens. These parks have been used by the public, and according to the Petitioners, should be protected from development as “implied” parkland with the City funding, labeling, and maintaining them as such. Conversely, the City and  NYU argue that the parks are not entitled to protection since they were never mapped as such and are only nominally overseen by the City’s Department of Transportation.

As discussed in Mr. Rikon’s NYLJ article “A Park is a Park Unless its Not,” parks and open spaces are protected under the Public Trust Doctrine, which maintains that that government holds the titles to certain waters and lands in trust for the people. If an entity proposes a development to remove parkland from public ownership and use, it must “alienate” the parcels which requires approval from the State’s legislature. NYU and the City did not do this in this case.

The lower court’s decision would have saved the parks from the NYU plan, but the Appellate Division First Department overturned that decision on October 14th. Glick v. Harvey, 121 AD3d 498 (2014). On appeal, Petitioners argue that (1) the First Department’s decision conflicts with prior Appellate Court Decisions and prior decisions by the Court of Appeals regarding “implied” parkland and (2) that the First Department’s Decision, if undisturbed, will in fact abolish implied dedication parkland and expose many City and State parks to the threat of development.

We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on this one and suggest you do too. More information can be found here.

Posted in New York, parklands, Recent cases
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