The New York City Parks Department can proceed with its renovation plans for a portion of the Coney Island boardwalk without an environmental study, a judge has ruled. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Martin Solomon (See Profile) rejected community activists’ Article 78 petition that sought to block the city’s renovation plans for a portion of the 2.7-mile Riegelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island without an environmental impact statement.
The plan calls for replacing the wooden substructure with concrete and using high-friction plastic lumber for the decking, while the boardwalk’s footprint and use would stay the same. The city’s design committee issued preliminary approval of the plans in March, but the committee has not yet issued final approval.
The petitioners said the city plans had to undergo an environmental review, arguing the city had a long-term goal of making the entire boardwalk plastic and concrete. The petitioners, said Solomon, were concerned because the boardwalk is a New York City icon and the city had failed to weigh the plan’s impacts on the coastal area.
But in rejecting the petition, Solomon wrote in Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance v. New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, 14159/2012, that the project involved “routine or continuing agency administration and management.” He added, “The project did not include any new programs or the major reordering of priorities that affect the environment. Since the early 1900s, respondent routinely and systematically replaced the boardwalk on as needed basis.”