By Philip T. Simpson, Esq. – Inwood Legal Action Litigation Committee
On Friday April 12, Inwood Legal Action’s attorney Michael Sussman filed our written Reply to City Hall’s Response to our Article 78 lawsuit against the Inwood Rezoning, suing New York City for not looking at important impacts of the rezoning.
Here is a link to our Reply: http://bit.ly/ILA_Reply
Judge Verna Saunders has scheduled Tuesday June 11, 2019 at 2 PM to hear legal arguments by our attorney Michael Sussman and the City’s lawyers. We are encouraged that Judge Saunders has allowed herself enough time to thoroughly understand our lawsuit against the City.
Sussman’s Reply points out that the City’s Response avoids the substance of our central claim: that “the City failed to analyze a set of critical issues which directly relate to [the Rezoning’s] social and economic impacts . . . The City concedes that it did not directly consider the vast majority of these enumerated matters, erroneously submitting that it was not required to review them.”
The City went to great lengths to justify the so-called public input process and the so-called benefits of the Inwood rezoning. Sussman’s Reply emphasizes that our lawsuit is about the undisputed fact that the City failed to study a number of very important issues.
Sussman points out that:
- The City’s excuse for failing to study preferential rents is baseless, and contradicted by the City’s own Points of Agreement on the Inwood Rezoning;
- The City’s manual for environmental review fails to require study of the discriminatory effects of major projects on people of color;
- The City’s claim that the interim replacement library will provide “core services” is conclusory and not supported;
- The City’s failure to study the impact that traffic congestion will have on ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars is particularly acute; and
- The City ignored displacement of people from apartment buildings recently purchased by speculators.
Finally, Sussman calls out the New York City Council for voting on the rezoning more than two months before the environmental review was certified as complete.The oral argument in our lawsuit will be Tuesday June 11 at 2 PM in Judge Saunders’ courtroom: 80 Centre Street, Room 326. This is an open hearing in a public courtroom. We urge everyone who supports our lawsuit to make time that afternoon and show up to see and be seen.