East Midtown Rezoning Plan Withdrawn by Bloomberg Administration

Land Use

 

The Bloomberg Administration is withdrawing the proposed East Midtown Rezoning due to a lack of support at the NYC Council.  This was one of the Mayor’s last major initiatives before leaving office.   The rezoning was intended to stimulate the construction of a new generation of bigger, state-of-the-art skyscrapers, while at the same time raising hundreds of millions of dollars for transit improvements in the area. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Daniel Braff

Establishing, Maintaining and Expanding Nonconforming Uses

Land Use

Zoning ordinances are enacted with the intent to create a compatibility of uses within specific geographic areas of a municipality. However, there are certain uses that disrupt the balance that the ordinances are enacted to create. These are known as nonconforming uses. A non-conforming use is “[a] use of property that is no longer authorized due to rezoning, but lawfully existed prior to the enactment of the existing zoning ordinance …”1 “Due to constitutional and fairness concerns regarding the undue financial hardship that immediate elimination of nonconforming uses would cause to property owners…courts and municipal legislators have adopted a grudging tolerance of such uses.”2 As a result, nonconforming uses are “permitted to continue, notwithstanding the contrary provisions of the ordinance.”3 Nevertheless, the overriding public policy of zoning is to reasonably restrict and eventually eliminate these types of uses.4

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by John Farrell

Legislature Responds to Foreclosure Issues

Land Use

The foreclosure crises of the last several years imposed a significant burden on the court system in New York. From 2005 to 2010, the number of foreclosure filings increased from 22,601 to 50,827. In Nassau County alone they increased from 1,310 to 5,378.1

Both the courts and the New York State Legislature have responded with various measures.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Thomas McKevitt

Navigating Unchartered Waters in Land Use Development

Land Use

Proceeding in the Wake of the Supreme Court’s Ruling in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District

Highly publicized, recent decisions by the United States Supreme Court have dealt with a variety of social policy issues such as health care reform, marriage and civil rights. The Court’s decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District (“Koontz”) has received much less public attention. Yet, Koontz has wide sweeping consequences for land owners, developers and local municipalities involved in the review and approval of applications for land-use permits. In fact, it has been feared that the decision will “work a revolution in land-use law”1 by depriving local governments of the ability to charge reasonable permit fees.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Michael Sahn

Fire Island to Montauk Point project

Land Use

 

Recent media reports have focused on the $700 million Fire Island to Montauk Point project, which is a federal plan to protect Long Island from hurricanes and nor’easters.  Under the plan, more than 4,000 homes in the 2-, 6- and 10- year flood plains would be elevated, new dunes would be created, old dunes would be reconstructed, and vulnerable roads would be elevated and turned into dikes.   While this plan has existed for some time, it has gained significant traction post-Sandy, and is presently being fine-tuned by the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Governor Cuomo, the National Park Service and Suffolk County generally support the plan, and Fire Island property owners are generally in favor of the plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Daniel Braff

Absent a Zoning Provision to the Contrary, Underwater Land may be used to Satisfy Bulk Area Requirements.

Land Use

Case-law from the Second Department is clear that underwater land may be used to satisfy bulk area zoning requirements when a municipality’s Zoning Code is silent on the issue. Pagnozzi v. Planning Board of Village of Piermont, 292 A.D.2d 613 (2nd Dept 2002); Vezza v. Bauman, 192 A.D.2d 712 (2nd Dept 1993). Courts that have addressed this issue have stated that “it is well settled that zoning laws are by their very nature in derogation of common-law property rights and thus are subject to the long-standing rule requiring their strict construction.” Id.; see also FGL & L Prop. Corp. v. City of Rye, 66 N.Y.2d 11; 495 N.Y.S.2d 321; Moriarty v. Planning Board of Village of Sloatsburg, 119 A.D.2d 188, 506 N.Y.S.2d 184. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Michael Sahn

Reshaping New York

Land Use

 

This week the New York Times published on its website the online interactive feature “Reshaping New York”, which provides a brief interactive tour depicting how New York City’s physical landscape has changed in the last 12 years.  This interesting piece highlights the vast physical changes that have occurred throughout the city during Bloomberg’s tenure as Mayor using graphics and photographs. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Daniel Braff

Care Needed when Drafting Conveyance of Land along a Pond or Stream

Land Use

 

A unanimous New York Court of Appeals recently ruled that a conveyance of land along a pond or stream includes the land under the pond or stream, to the center of the water, unless a contrary intention is made clear. Knapp v. Hughes, 19 N.Y.3d 672, 2012 N.Y. Slip Op. 06991 (2012). The court emphasized that the application of their decision, “does not depend on minor variations in the language of the conveyance.” Id. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Michael Sahn

Battle Emerging Over MSG Special Permit Renewal

Land Use

On Wednesday, the owners of Madison Square Garden (MSG) will appear before the City Planning Commission to renew their special permit, in perpetuity, which allows them to operate an arena above Penn Station.  The original special permit, which authorized the use as an over-2500 seat arena, was granted for 50 years.  It recently expired. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Daniel Braff

COURT OF APPEALS DETERMINES THAT TOWN IMPROPERLY EXERCISED ZONING POWERS IN ADOPTING ORDINANCE

Land Use

Recently, the Court of Appeals issued a decision which limits a municipality’s ability to exercise its zoning powers and reinforced the principle that zoning is concerned with the use of land and not the identity of the user. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by John Farrell