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The “Special Use Permit” is a zoning term and process used by a municipality to encourage, but still regulate, land use in a zoning district by making it subject to a special review and criteria detailed in the zoning ordinance.  See, Town Law Section 274-b, Village Law Section 7-725-b and City Law Section 27-b.

The “Special Use Permit” also
Continue Reading What’s So Special About Special Use Permits?

In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals upheld the Second Department’s decision in Hunters For Deer v Town of Smithtown that the Town may not regulate discharge setbacks for bow and arrow in a manner inconsistent with State law.  In that decision, the Second Department held that long bows could not be defined as firearms and that the
Continue Reading Court of Appeals Affirms Appellate Division Decision Invalidating Town’s Discharge Ordinance

On January 4, 2022, the New York Court of Appeals heard oral argument in the case of Hunters For Deer, Inc. v Town of Smithtown, where conflicting provisions of a Town of Smithtown firearm ordinance and the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) both vie for authority.

This appeal presents questions of preemption and statutory interpretation: whether the State Legislature, in
Continue Reading Slings and Arrows At The Court Of Appeals

Generally, many property owners assume that where a lot is held in single and separate ownership they are entitled to an area variance “as of right.”  That is not entirely true.  An exception to the single and separate doctrine is the doctrine of merger.  Undersized lots that share a common boundary and are owned by the same person or entity
Continue Reading Single and Separate and the Doctrine of Merger

Determining the width of a right-of-way may be more difficult than you think, even when the dimensions are specifically defined.  New York courts take the approach that elevates the right of passage over full use an easement described by deed.

Recently, in Grosbard v Willow Lane, LLC 192 AD3d 773 [2d Dept. 2021], the Second Department confirmed that a right-of-way
Continue Reading Right-Of-Way Width – Not Set In Stone

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” -Benjamin Franklin.  This pithy logic from Benjamin Franklin to prevent fires in colonial Philadelphia should serve as a reminder to municipal boards of the strict compliance required by New York’s General Municipal Law (GML) §239-m mandated by the courts.  In New York, the failure to refer certain actions to the
Continue Reading New York’s General Municipal Law §239-m “An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth A Pound of Cure”

Surprise! During the summer of Covid-19, the Town Board of Oyster Bay passed Local Law 4 of 2020, amending Chapter 246, the Town’s zoning code, to eliminate apartments over stores or offices as a permitted principal use in the Nonresidence District designated as Neighborhood Business (“NB”), Central Business (“CB”), and General Business (“GB”).

This town-wide code amendment prohibiting apartments
Continue Reading Apartments Over Stores Are No More – In Oyster Bay

The tide seems to have turned against the Town and the Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of East Hampton (Trustees) in a recent decision by the Second Department.  In Seaview at Amagansett v, Trustees, the Appellate Division reversed much of a trial court’s 2016 decision and seemed to erode the Trustees’ ability to issue beach
Continue Reading Truck Beach – Drawing Lines In The Sands of East Hampton

In D.P.R Scrap Metal. Inc., v Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of North Hempstead, __AD3d__, [2d Dept 2020], the Appellate Division affirmed the grant of the Article 78 Petition of D.P.R. Scrap Metal Inc. (DPR) annulling the Zoning Board Appeals (ZBA) determination as arbitrary and capricious and not supported by evidence.

In this case, DPR operated its
Continue Reading Second Department Scraps North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals’ Denial for Lack of Evidence

On September 21, 2020, the Supreme Court, Nassau County in Town of Oyster Bay v. 120 Westend LLC, Supreme Court, Suffolk County, Index No. 608065/2020 granted a preliminary injunction to the Town of Oyster Bay (“Town”) halting the use of an existing hotel as an emergency homeless shelter stating that there is no pre-emption by the State of New York
Continue Reading Oyster Bay Emergency Homeless Shelter Loses State Preemption Argument