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Property Owner takes action against Oneida County over eminent domain for parking garage

The Zoghlin Group, PLLC has commenced a lawsuit on behalf of 525-527 Oriskany St. LLC that seeks to reject the Oneida County Board of Legislator’s May 14, 2021 Determinations and Findings in support of eminent domain of its property, 525-527 Oriskany Street, currently home to Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

The petition filed May 14, 2021 in the Appellate Division Fourth Department, alleges that the Oneida County Board of Legislators did not comply with the State Environmental Quality Review Act or Eminent Domain Procedure Law when it made its Determinations and Findings in support of condemnation of the properties on Oriskany and Lafayette streets for construction of a new parking garage.

The parking garage will be adjacent to the Mohawk Valley Health System facility currently under construction in the neighborhood.

New York’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law allows government bodies to take private property only for a good faith public purpose. In doing so, the condemnor must strictly comply with the procedure outlined in the law, including: performing environmental review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”); holding public hearings; maintaining a record of the proceeding available for public review; issuing a decision within 90 days of the hearing; and acting in accordance with State and Federal Constitutions.

525-527 Oriskany St. LLC contends that there was non compliance every step of the way.The County Board of Legislators held its public hearing over zoom only, and a review of the transcript shows several attendees had trouble with the platform.

Additionally, it tried to skirt the 90-day rule by accepting public comments until a later date but, that does not comply with the procedure set forth in the law.

Finally, the County Board of Legislators did not perform any SEQRA review at all, and instead only referenced review performed by the City of Utica in relation to the Mohawk Valley Health System project.

“The community has been consistently opposed to this parking garage on these parcels: when the land owners wouldn’t sell to MVHS, the County stepped in,” Attorney Bridget O’Toole of the Zoghlin Group said. “Eminent Domain is a drastic step and should only be undertaken in strict accordance with the law.

In its petition, 525-527 Oriskany St. LLC asserts violation of SEQRA, the Eminent Domain Procedure Law, and its right to Due Process under the State and Federal Constitutions. The matter is set to be heard by the Appellate Division Fourth Department during its October term. Copies of the pleadings are available on the New York State Courts Electronic Filing System,Index No. OP 21-00726

About The Zoghlin Group PLLCThe Zoghlin Group, PLLC is a boutique Rochester law firm that represents individuals,municipalities and businesses with legal needs relating to Zoning and Land Use, Environmental,Energy and Municipal Law. We concentrate our enthusiasm on highly skilled, specific areas of law. Located in an historic building in Rochester’s eco-district, we strive to emphasizesustainability, innovation and urban regeneration


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