In Matter of Bernstein v Putnam Val. Zoning Bd. of Appeals, property owners sought to construct a hot tub on their residential property, located in a protected area known as a wetland buffer.  The Wetlands Inspector for the Town of Putnam Valley (the “Town”) granted the owners a permit waiver, and shortly thereafter, the Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals
Continue Reading Second Department Upholds Town’s Determination Allowing Property Owners to Build Hot Tub in Wetland Buffer

When landowners oppose a project that involves the rezoning of a neighboring property, they almost always have the opportunity to air their grievances through a public hearing process. If the rezoning is approved over their objections, landowners can sometimes seek judicial review of the board’s decision through an Article 78 proceeding.[i] However, there is another tool available to landowners
Continue Reading Third Department Decides Novel Question of Law Relating to Zone Change Protest Petitions Under Town Law § 265

In Matter of Magid Setauket Assoc., LLC v The Town of Brookhaven Bd. of Zoning Appeals, the petitioners were the owner and the operator (“Petitioners”) of a Shell gas station located in the Old Setauket Historic District (the “Historic District”) Transition Zone, in the Town of Brookhaven (the “Town”).  Petitioners applied for an area variance to permit them to
Continue Reading Court Upholds Zoning Board’s Denial of Gas Station’s Area Variance Application

In Town of Brookhaven v Golemi, 2019 NY Slip Op 51477(U) [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2019], the Town of Brookhaven (“Brookhaven”) successfully sought and obtained injunctive relief to remove a structure that violated Brookhaven’s Town Code (“Code”). This case reminds landowners to be responsive to local governments in their enforcement of zoning ordinance. It is also a simple
Continue Reading Town Takes Trailer: Enforcing Zoning Ordinance against Unresponsive Violators

A recent Fourth Department decision upheld a determination by the Town of Westmoreland Zoning Board of Appeals (the “Westmoreland ZBA” or the “Board”) finding that a dog training business is not a “customary home occupation” within the meaning of the local zoning code.

Matter of McFadden v Town of Westmoreland Zoning Bd. presents a strikingly similar issue to that in
Continue Reading Dog Training Business is Not a “Customary Home Occupation” According to Upstate NY Town

A recent decision from the Appellate Division, Third Department, concerned an unsuccessful challenge to a subdivision approval for five separate community solar projects.   First – a little background information. According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority  (NYSERDA) a community solar project, sometimes referred to as a solar garden or shared renewable energy plant, is “an array
Continue Reading Appellate Court Rejects Claims That Sought To Overturn A Five-Lot Subdivision For Community Solar Projects

By decision dated December 17, 2015, the Town of Southampton Zoning Board of Appeals granted relief from Town Code §330-82 to allow a zero foot road frontage (where 40 feet is required) for two landlocked parcels located at 86 and 138 Old Sag Harbor Road in North Sea to allow for the construction of a single family residence. The
Continue Reading Appellate Division Affirms Supreme Court Determination Upholding Southampton Town ZBA Decision

Fairway Manor, a senior rental housing complex for ages 55 and older, located on the border of Blue Point and Bayport, was created in 1991 when the Town Board of the Town of Islip approved a change of zone application on a 70 acre parcel (with 45.6 acres located in the Town of Islip and the remainder located in the
Continue Reading Negative Declaration SEQRA Review Upheld for Fairway Manor Expansion in Town of Islip

A recent Second Department decision applying the doctrine of laches highlights the importance of taking prompt action against a property owner who may be acting in violation of a zoning or building code.

The dispute in Kverel v. Silverman arose when the defendant contracted to purchase an undeveloped parcel of land (the “Premises”) in the Town of Southampton (the “Town”) 
Continue Reading Doctrine of Laches Bars Neighbor’s Challenge to Development

A recent case from the Appellate Division, Second Department, addresses one of our favorite topics, standing. It is a cautionary tale about how not to establish standing.

Tilcon New York, Inc. v Town of New Windsor involved a hybrid proceeding in which the plaintiff/petitioner asserted nine separate causes of action. The appellate court determined that plaintiff/petitioner lacked standing on each
Continue Reading Lack Of Standing, Once Again, Dooms A Challenge To Municipal Action