Posted by: Patricia Salkin | January 14, 2012

NY Appellate Court Finds Challenge to Town Local Law Regarding Zoning Designation for Property Owned by City within the Town is not Moot

Petitioner City of Glen Falls (hereinafter the city) owns approximately 855 acres of land (hereinafter the property) within the borders of respondent Town of Queensbury (hereinafter the town). The property was originally zoned as PR-10A, which requires ten acres of developable land for every principal use or structure. However, In November 2004, the town enacted Local Law No. 10 (2004) which amended the zoning law and changed the property’s zoning designation to PR-42A, now requiring forty-two acres of developable land for every principal use or structure. The city brought an action pursuant to CPLR article 78 and an action seeking declaratory judgment challenging the Local Law.  In April 2005, the two parties entered into a stipulation, adjourning the litigation subject to certain conditions. Four years later, the town enacted Local Law No. 3 (2009), which repealed and replaced the zoning law then in effect but left the property zoned as PR-42A. The City then brought this action. The Supreme Court granted the Town’s motion to dismiss, finding the matter moot, and the City appealed. 

The appellate court held the matter is not moot. Noting first that Local Law No. 3 contains the same PR-42A designation as Local Law No. 10, and any declaration that the designation of the property as PR-42A “constitutes an unconstitutional taking speaks to the legality of the property’s current zoning designation . . .  and thus would have a direct effect on the rights of the parties.” Second, the invalidation of Local Law No. 3 would revive Local Law No. 10 which was the law at issue in the first dispute. The Court also opined that, in the interest of judicial economy, the two proceedings – the one challenging Local Law No. 3 and the one challenging Local Law No. 10 – be consolidated upon remittal. The Court therefore reversed the trial court and remitted the matter to the Supreme Court. 

City of Glen Falls v. Town of Queensbury, 933 N.Y.S.2d 762 (3 Dept 12/1/2011) 

The opinion can be accessed at: http://decisions.courts.state.ny.us/ad3/decisions/2011/512298.pdf


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