Opponents of New York University's $6-billion expansion plan filed a lawsuit against city and state officials, claiming they approved it illegally.
The groups, which sued Sept. 25, include NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan (NYU-FASP) and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP).
According to the groups, the 2031 expansion plan, also referred to as the Sexton Plan, which would add about 2 million sq ft to NYU's space in Greenwich Village, "illegally alienates parkland, destroys historic resources, and impacts the university's neighboring residents."
The lawsuit was filed in New York County State Supreme Court and follows a July 26 vote, in which the New York City Council overwhelmingly approved the plan. The City Planning Commission as well as Council Member Margaret Chin and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn also approved the plan.
"It's a shame that the citizens of New York City have to seek assistance from the courts to do what our government officials should have done—listen to the public and truly take into consideration the enormous environmental impacts of the NYU plan," says Andrew Berman, executive director of GVSHP. "Had the city and the university truly taken into account the very real concerns raised by the public, this could have been avoided. But now we turn to the courts to do what the city government should have done in the first place," Berman adds.
The university, which scaled down the original expansion plan by 537,000 sq ft, or 21.9%, to 1.9 million before gaining council approval, remains optimistic about the results of the suit.
"NYU's proposal to build new academic facilities, student dormitories and faculty housing went through a five-year planning and consultation process. The City Planning Commission and City Council overwhelmingly approved NYU's proposal after holding extensive public hearings and engaging in a thorough and rigorous public review proves as required by law. We are confident that we will prevail in court against any claims that are made," says NYU spokesman John Beckman in a statement.
(This story has been revised to reflect the following correction: The original expansion plan was reduced by 537,000 sq ft, or 21.9%, to 1.9 million. Not scaled down 26% from 1.4 million sq ft as originally reported.)