(Photo: STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages) The judge took issue with part of the NYU expansion encroaching on parkland. Credit: Getty Images

A state judge halted a chunk of NYU's controversial expansion plan on Tuesday, marking a victory for opponents who have rallied against the initiative.

State Supreme Court Judge Donna Mills said the school needs to get state approval for parts of the 1.9 million-square-foot plan because it includes parkland.

 

"Respondents alienated public park land without approval by the New York State Legislature in violation of the Public Trust Doctrine," she wrote.

The university, however, said Tuesday's ruling was a victory for its plan because the judge threw out five of six claims made by opponents.

It will move forward with the first phase of expansion to build an academic tower on the site of the university's gym.

Community groups and residents have argued that the expansion would destroy their neighborhood. They celebrated the judge's ruling on Tuesday.

"NYU has to go back to square one. Its massive project is now dead," Randy Mastro, the lawyer representing the plan’s opponents, told The New York Times.

The city's Law Department is reviewing the decision.

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