Photo of John C. Stellakis

In Riedman Acquisitions, LLC v Town Bd. of Town of Mendon, 194 AD3d 1444, 2021 NY Slip Op 02952 [4th Dept 2021], the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, addressed several significant issues concerning land development projects: (i) reversionary zoning, (ii) mandatory and discretionary site plan review, (iii) sewer agreements, and (iv) due process and equal protection rights. Ultimately, the
Continue Reading Fourth Department Frenzy: Reversionary Zoning, Sewer Agreements, Site Plan Review, and Constitutional Rights

Last month, the Appellate Division, Third Department, held the Mined Land Reclamation Law (“Mining Law”), as amended, does not preempt certain local zoning laws which prohibit mining. Specifically, in Town of Southampton v New York State Dept. of Envtl. Conservation, 2021 NY Slip Op 03351 [3d Dept 2021], the Appellate Division held the statute “clearly recognizes that the
Continue Reading Sand Mining Hits Rock Bottom: LI’s Local Laws May Prohibit Future Operations

Last May, in Commissioner of the State of New York Department of Transportation, et al. v Polite, Index No. 610010/2019, the Suffolk County Supreme Court denied the State’s application for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the completion, maintenance and operation of two sixty-foot tall electronic billboard-monuments (“Project”) on opposite sides of State Route 27 a.k.a. Sunrise Highway. The
Continue Reading Shinnecock Nation’s Second Sign Sees Renewed State Resistance

With prospects of featuring its history and architecture on screen, the Village of Amityville (“Amityville“) has been considering adopting a local law to regulate filming and photography for movies, television and commercials. The purpose of the proposed law is to minimize the adverse impact of these activities for village businesses and residents, while simultaneously creating a framework for
Continue Reading Amityville Prepares For Production: Avoiding the Horror with Proposed Filming Law

Tonight, the Incorporated Village of Farmingdale (“Farmingdale“) will consider amending its zoning code to expand permitted uses in its Downtown Mixed-Use Zoning District (“Downtown“). The proposed amendments will allow, among other things, legal and medical offices on the ground level of buildings. The changes  will allow more space for non-retail businesses and help to ensure
Continue Reading Farmingdale To Bring Upper Levels to the Ground Floor: Proposed Amendments to Downtown Zoning

Failure to name a necessary party when challenging a land use determination may result in dismissal, and leave a challenger without further recourse. CPLR 1003 provides that the nonjoinder of a party who should be joined under CPLR 1001 (i.e. a person ought to be a party if he or she might be inequitably be affected by a judgment in
Continue Reading Flag on the Play for Illegal Procedure: Necessary Parties and the Pitfalls of Nonjoinder

In Cady v Town of Germantown Planning Bd., 2020 NY Slip Op 03440 [3d Dept 2020], the Appellate Division, Third Department, reversed the Columbia County Supreme Court’s judgment annulling site plan approval, and dismissed the Article 78 petition. Among other things, the Court’s decision addressed whether the Planning Board exceeded its authority and improperly interpreted the zoning code
Continue Reading “General” Code Provision Saves Dollar Store Endeavor: Superfluous Interpretations Are Not Required

How and when to challenge multiple municipal actions regarding a single project often perplexes Article 78 litigants. Varying statutes of limitations may apply to actions taken at various stages for one project, and the judicial concepts of finality and ripeness affect the viability of a challenge. For example, a litigant must challenge a lead agency’s determination pursuant to the State
Continue Reading How and When to Challenge SEQRA Determinations: Addressing Ripeness and Finality in Article 78 Cases

Last week, the New York Supreme Court, Suffolk County, denied an application for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the completion, maintenance and operation of two sixty-foot tall electronic billboard-monuments (“Project”) on opposite sides of State Route 27 a.k.a. Sunrise Highway, which Project is owned by the Shinnecock Indian Nation (“Nation”).

A.  The Project and the State’s Action

In or
Continue Reading Court Denies Preliminary Injunction to Enjoin Shinnecock Nation’s Project along Sunrise Highway

When deciding an area variance application, a zoning board may consider the proposed use of the property and the purpose in seeking the variance. However, the zoning board cannot fail to account for the five-factor test mandated by statute (see General City Law § 81-b[4][b][i]-[v]; Town Law § 267-b[3][b]; Village Law § 7-712-b[3][b]) and typically included within the respective
Continue Reading Zoning Boards May Consider the Proposed Use and Purpose When Deciding Area Variance Applications, But Cannot Forget the Five-Factors