Rao Disaster

End Of The Legal Road

By Daniel Van Riper

Continuing a puzzling and illogical shift in politics by the NY State court system towards environmental cases, the State Court of Appeals denied a motion by Save the Pine Bush to reopen the case of SPB vs. the Guilderland planning board over approval of the destruction of 106 acres of Pine Bush by Charles Rao. That's it. Three years of lawsuits have ended in a zero.

Unaccustomed to defeat, SPB attorney Lewis Oliver wrote, "Obviously this decision is discouraging. I recommend that we just have to keep trying to get the Court of Appeals to reverse the way the Appellate Division has been going recently".
Apparently, legal action in Guilderland requires a different strategy than that which has worked in the past in Albany. Bringing suit on shoddy procedure by the planning board is not sufficient in this current political climate.

The best that can be said is that we held up destruction for three years.
The decision, handed down on Dec.5, consisted of one line and no explanation. SPB welcomes suggestions from Guilderland residents on how we can better approach fights with developers in the future.


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