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Representative Cases and Matters for Municipal Law & Land Use

Municipal Law & Land Use - In Rem Tax ForeclosureAppellate Practice

Village/Town Scarsdale v. Kreuter, 2016 NY Slip Op 07957 (2d Dep’t 2016)

Our Municipal Law & Land Use lawyers know that attention to procedural details is critical for the exercise of municipal rights. Here, the Appellant challenged the Village of Scarsdale’s in rem tax foreclosure proceedings on the basis of, among other things, inadequate notice. Representing the village, Daniel Pozin and Lester D. Steinman, as special counsel to the village, persuaded the Appellate Division, Second Department, that the Appellant’s arguments were wrong, and the Second Department dismissing the appeal and the case.

Municipal Law & Land Use - Zoning - Res Judicata - Collateral Estoppel

McCrory v. Village of Mamaroneck Zoning Board of Appeals (Sup. Ct., Westchester Co. May 23, 2014)

Our Municipal Law & Land Use lawyers sometimes use procedural defenses in representing their municipal clients. Here, the Petitioner challenged the Village of Mamaroneck Zoning Board of Appeals' (ZBA) denial of her appeal of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy to the same neighboring property owner. The issues raised by Petitioner had previously been raised in a prior appeal to the ZBA in which she participated. As a result Lester Steinman and Anna Georgiou, on behalf of the ZBA, successfully moved to dismiss the Article 78 proceeding on the grounds of res judicata and collateral estoppel.

Municipal Law & Land Use - Mootness of Application to Planning Board - Wetlands Issues

Henderson v. Planning Board of Village of Mamaroneck (Sup. Ct., Westchester Co. February 17, 2012)

Municipal Law & Land Use lawyers sometimes use procedural defenses to defeat challenges to municipal action without the necessity of reaching the merits of the claim. Here, petitioners sought to annul a decision of the Planning Board of the Village of Mamaroneck that had granted a wetland permit to a neighboring property owner. However, at the time the court proceeding was commenced, the work authorized by the wetlands permit had been completed. Lester D. Steinman and Anna L. Georgiou, representing the Village's Planning Board, successfully moved to dismiss the proceeding as moot. Petitioners challenged the Village Zoning Board of Appeals’ denial of their appeal of a building permit issued to the same neighboring property owner. In a related case, the same petitioners sought to challenge a building permit on work that had already been completed. Les and Anna again persuaded the Supreme Court to dismiss the proceeding as moot.

Municipal Law & Land Use - Non-Conforming Use - Record Before Land Use Board

P.M.S. Assets Ltd. v. Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village of Pleasantville, 98 N.Y.2d 683 (2002)

When representing our local government clients, McCarthy Fingar's Municipal Law & Land Use lawyers know that developing a proper record is the key to defending a decision of a land use board. The legal principle is that, when the record before a land use board provides a rational basis for the board’s decision, courts may not substitute their judgment for that of the land use board, even if the record would also support a contrary finding by the court. Here, the ZBA had determined that the replacement of a moving and storage business, which had been on the property for 70 years with a lighting equipment business, did not constitute a continuation of a pre-existing nonconforming use. Les convinced the New York State Court of Appeals to reverse a decision of the Appellate Division, Second Department, which had reached a contrary conclusion. As a result, Les successfully defended the Village’s ZBA’s finding – to wit, that the preexisting non-conforming use of the property for a moving and storage business had been discontinued.

Municipal Law & Land Use - Challenges to Standing

Buckingham Apartments v. Doody, 165 A.D.2d 855 (2d Dep't 1990)

When defending local governments, our Municipal Law & Land Use lawyers use procedural defenses to defeat challenges to municipal action without the necessity of reaching the merits of a particular claim against the municipality. Here, Lester D. Steinman, representing the Town of Eastchester, successfully attacked the standing of the Plaintiffs (cooperative and condominium unit owner associations), to challenge a Town Board resolution amending the Town’s version of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (“ETPA”) by removing certain cooperatives and condominium from ETPA regulation.  Lester argued that the Plaintiffs’ claimed loss of preferential property tax assessments, resulting from the removal of their units from the ETPA regulations, did not fall within the zone of interest that the ETPA was intended to protect. The case was dismissed based upon Plaintiffs lack of standing.

Municipal Law & Land Use - Powers of Local Government - Home Rule 

Westchester County Civil Service Association v. DelBello, 47 N.Y.2d 886 (1979 (reversing 70 A.D.2d 604 (2d Dep’t 1979) (Justice O'Connor Dissenting)

To effectively represent local governments, McCarthy Fingar’s lawyers must understand the breadth of the powers granted to local governments under the New York State Constitution. In a landmark ruling, Lester D. Steinman persuaded the New York State Court of Appeals to endorse Westchester County’s creative use of its state constitutionally derived home rule powers to abolish the elected Office of Sheriff and to combine that office and the County’s Parkway Police into a unified Department of Public Safety Services. Les's success for his client has permitted Westchester County to more effectively and efficiently provide police services to its citizens.