Municipal Law & Land Use

Daniel Pozin & Lester Stein, Westchester Municipal Lawyers

The McCarthy Fingar Team

McCarthy Fingar maintains a reputation in White Plains and Westchester and throughout the New York metro region as a leading law firm in the Municipal Law & Land Use field. Our attorneys in our Municipal Law & Land Use group have years of experience in municipal matters.  The lawyers in our group have held elected office, been employed in government service and served in appointed volunteer positions. For our municipal clients, we handle general as well as special representation in such areas as planning, zoning and environmental law and in rem tax foreclosure and tax certiorari proceedings. For our private sector clients, we appear before government boards and agencies in those areas. We also engage in administrative and litigated proceedings both before and on behalf of governmental units.

What We Do

Our Municipal Law & Land Use lawyers represent and serve cities, towns, villages and special districts in Westchester County and beyond on a wide range of matters throughout the Hudson Valley including the following:

  • Drafting of municipal resolutions, local laws, contracts, and other legal documents
  • Land use application review and New York State Environmental Quality Review Act compliance
  • Review of municipal agendas and representation at municipal meetings and hearings to proactively identify and diffuse potential legal problems
  • Examination of the tax assessment rolls and representation in tax assessment appeals
  • Representation at court proceedings and hearings in Westchester County and beyond, including litigation as to a Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Creation of forms, policies and procedures to standardize government operations and best practices
  • Advice and counsel to minimize municipal liability

Our Municipal Law & Land Use lawyers also represent private sector clients in a broad range of municipal areas, including the following:

  • Environmental review, including New York State Environmental Quality Review Act compliance
  • Subdivision applications and approvals
  • Site plan applications and approvals
  • Special permit applications and approvals
  • Zoning change and variance applications and approvals
  • Tax certiorari proceedings
  • Article 78 and other challenges to municipal determinations
  • Building Code, Zoning Code and environmental violations and compliance
  • Representation of third parties who may be impacted by municipal determinations

Practical Solutions for Our Clients

Our Municipal Law & Land Use attorneys develop comprehensive strategies for our municipal and private sector clients. In particular, the process for major development projects has become increasingly complex and controversial. Processing environmental review and zoning and planning approvals for a major land development can require several years and involve extensive negotiations among governmental entities, private developers and interested neighborhood, environmental and other organizations. Strategic planning is essential to a successful conclusion of the development process. Our lawyers are skilled in the process and understand the legal requirements as well as the political arena in which applications are processed and approved. 

Contact Us

McCarthy Fingar’s Municipal Law & Land Use lawyers are dedicated to our clients’ success. If you think you may require our assistance or have any questions, please contact:

12/04/2019

Steinman Receives Founders Award

Lester D. Steinman

Lester D. Steinman, a founding partner of our Municipal Law & Land Use group, was awarded the Founders Award by Pace Law School’s Land Use Law Center, recognizing his “Excellence in Conflict Resolution, Land Use, and Sustainable Development.”

06/25/2018

Lori Lee Dickson Joins Municipal Law & Land Use Group

Lori Lee Dickson

We are pleased to advise that Lori Lee Dickson has joined the firm and is a member of our Municipal Law & Land Use group.

11/10/2016

Steinman Lectures on Strategies for Defending Municipalities in Article 78 Proceedings

Lester D. Steinman

Lester D. Steinman, a member of our Municipal Law & Land Use group, addressed the Corporation Counsel Roundtable of the Hudson Valley on “Procedural Weapons for Defending Municipalities on Article 78 Proceedings.” Among the topics discussed were finality, exhaustion of administrative remedies, mootness, laches, statute of limitations and res judicata.

03/16/2016

Steinman Speaks on Ethics for Land Use Board Members & Attorneys

Lester D. Steinman

Lester D. Steinman, a member of our Municipal Law & Land Use group, lectured on “Ethics in Land Use: Guiding Principles for Land Use Board Members and Their Attorneys”, for the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation 2016 Land Use Training Institute at Westchester Community College.

01/28/2016

Pozin Lectures for NYSBA on In Rem Tax Foreclosure

Daniel Pozin

Daniel Pozin, a member of our Municipal Law & Land Use group, lectured for the New York State Bar Association‘s Local and State Government Law Section on “Recovering Lost Municipal Revenue Through In Rem Tax Foreclosure.”

12/11/2015

Steinman Lectures on Ethics for Land Use Attorneys & Members

Lester D. Steinman

Lester D. Steinman, a member of our Municipal Law & Land Use group, lectured on “Ethics in Land Use: Guiding Principles for Attorneys and Land Use Board Members”, for the Alfred B. DelBello Land Use and Sustainable Development Conference at Pace Law School.

11/01/2014

Pozin, Smith, Steinman & Georgiou Join Firm and Start up Municipal Law & Land Use Group

Clinton B. Smith Lester D. Steinman Daniel Pozin

We are pleased to advise that Daniel PozinClinton B. Smith and Lester D. Steinman have joined the firm as partners and Anna L. Georgiou has joined the firm as counsel. They are all members of the firm’s newly created Municipal Law & Land Use group.

In the Matter of the Application of AVC Properties LLC v. The Village of Mamaroneck Zoning Board of Appeals, et al. (Sup. Ct. Westchester, Index Nos. 59146 and 62808/2018)

James K. Landau, Lori Lee Dickson

James K. Landau Lori Lee Dickson

Municipal Law & Land Use – Article 78 Proceedings – Zoning Board of Appeals

McCarthy Fingar’s Municipal Law & Land Use lawyers are often defending decisions made by our municipal clients.  Here, James K. Landau and Lori Lee Dickson successfully obtained the dismissal of two Article 78 petitions brought by AVC Properties, a landowner and developer who sought to appeal from resolutions issued by against firm client Village of Mamaroneck Zoning Board of Appeals (the “ZBA”). The Court agreed with ZBA’s argument that challenges to its resolutions were not ripe for judicial review because the resolutions were not final and any claimed harm by the landowner may be prevented, ameliorated or rendered moot by further steps available to petitioner and further administrative action.

[Read in full]

Mamaroneck Coastal Environmental Coalition v. Village of Mamaroneck Board of Appeals ___ A.D. 3d __ (2d Dep’t July 26, 2017).

Lester D. Steinman

Lester D. Steinman

Municipal Law & Land Use  – Appellate Practice – Defending Land Use Board Decision 

Developing a proper record and articulating detailed findings are the keys for our Municipal Law & Land Use lawyers to successfully defending local land use board decision making, both in the lower court and in the appellate court. Here, Petitioner brought an Article 78 proceeding challenging the ZBA’s determination to grant a special permit to the Hampshire Club to conduct nonmember events on its property as arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law. Representing the ZBA, Lester D. Steinman and Anna L. Georgiou successfully argued that the ZBA’s determination was rationally based and supported by substantial evidence in the record. The Supreme Court, Westchester County, (Jamieson, J.S.C.) agreed dismissing the Article 78 proceeding. On appeal, the Supreme Court’s determination was affirmed by the Appellate Division, Second Department.

[Read in full]

1216 Henry Avenue LLC v. Village of Mamaroneck Planning Board (Sup. Ct,, Westchester Co. February 7, 2017)

Lester D. Steinman

Lester D. Steinman

Municipal Law & Land Use – SEQRA – Conditioned Negative Declaration 

Knowledge of the intricacies of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) is a vital asset of our Municipal Law & Land Use in defending local government land use board decisions against environmental challenges. Here, Petitioner filed an Article 78 proceeding challenging certain aspects of a Conditioned Negative Declaration (“CND”) adopted by the Planning Board under SEQRA in connection with its review of a three lot subdivision application.  Representing the Planning Board, Lester D. Steinman moved to dismiss the litigation on the grounds that, in the absence of a determination on the merits of the underlying subdivision application, the challenge to the CND was premature. The Supreme Court, (Minihan, A.J.S.C.), agreed and dismissed the proceeding.

[Read in full]

Mamaroneck Ices, Inc. v. Village of Mamaroneck Zoning Board of Appeals (Sup. Ct., Westchester Co.; August 9, 2016)

Lester D. Steinman

Lester D. Steinman

Municipal Law & Land Use – Injunctive Relief – Zoning Board of Appeals

Our Municipal Law & Land Use lawyers sometimes oppose injunctive relief applications by private entities who seek to stay the effectiveness of determinations by land use boards. To prevail in such litigation, familiarity with the prerequisites for injunctive relief – irreparable harm, likelihood of success on the merits and the balancing of the equities – is imperative. Here, the Petitioner sought to enjoin the effectiveness of a ZBA resolution which revoked the Petitioner’s certificate of occupancy to operate an ice cream store but stayed that revocation pending Petitioner obtaining special permit and site plan approval and otherwise reducing the hours of operation pending the receipt of those approvals. Representing the ZBA, Lester D. Steinman persuaded the Court to deny the injunctive relief on the grounds of Petitioner’s failure to show irreparable harm and a balance of the equities in its favor.

[Read in full]

Village/Town Scarsdale v. Kreuter, 144 A.D.3d 1033 (2d Dep’t 2016)

Lester D. Steinman, Daniel Pozin

Lester D. Steinman Daniel Pozin

Municipal Law & Land Use – In Rem Tax Foreclosure – Appellate Practice

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.

[Read in full]

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

Lester D. Steinman

Lester D. Steinman

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

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.

[Read in full]

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

Lester D. Steinman

Lester D. Steinman

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

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.

[Read in full]

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

Lester D. Steinman

Lester D. Steinman

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

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.

[Read in full]

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

Lester D. Steinman

Lester D. Steinman

Municipal Law & Land Use – Challenges to Standing

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.

[Read in full]

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)

Lester D. Steinman

Lester D. Steinman

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

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.

[Read in full]
Presenter Description Organization Date
Lester D. Steinman
Lester D. Steinman

Ethics in Land Use: Guiding Principles for Land Use Board Members and Their Attorneys

Fifteenth Annual Land Use and Sustainable Development Conference at Pace Law School

12/08/2016
Lester D. Steinman
Lester D. Steinman

Procedural Weapons for Defending Municipalities on Article 78 Proceedings

Corporation Counsel Roundtable of the Hudson Valley

11/10/2016
Lester D. Steinman
Lester D. Steinman

Guiding Principles for Land Use Board Members and Their Attorneys

Westchester Municipal Planning Federation 2016 Land Use Training Institute

03/16/2016
Daniel Pozin
Daniel Pozin

Recovering Lost Municipal Revenue Through In Rem Tax Foreclosure

New York State Bar AssociationLocal and State Government Law Section

01/28/2016
Lester D. Steinman
Lester D. Steinman

Ethics in Land Use: Guiding Principles for Attorneys and Land Use Board Members

Alfred B. DelBello Land Use and Sustainable Development Conference at Pace Law School

12/11/2015