Posted by: Patricia Salkin | December 26, 2011

NY Appellate Court Upholds Zoning Change Impacting Mining Activities and Dividing a Parcel into Two Separate Zoning Districts

During a rezoning, the town of Rochester, New York, enacted a local law restricted gravel mining and full-scale mining.  The petitioner, an operator of sand and gravel mines in the Town, initiated an action to invalidate the local law which not only restricted his mining business but also divided his parcel of land between two zoning districts.                

The petitioner argued that the town had violated the requirements of SEQR with respect to the enactment of the local law.  The trial court dismissed the matter and the petitioner appealed.  The appellate court said that when reviewing a matter for SEQR compliance, they must determine whether the board identified areas that could cause concern, considered them, and made a fair determination based on their findings.  Here, the court found that the town held numerous meetings, public workshop meetings, and public hearings in addition to using a planning consultant.  The board also considered recommendations from other town agencies, even reading recommendations from the petitioners.  Thus, the court held that the town board complied fully with the requirements of SEQR.  Although the court did not examine these issues in detail, the appellate court held that the local law did not violate other local laws, was not superseded by a statute, and that the division of petitioner’s property was warranted given petitioner’s use of the property, the characteristics of the land, and the remaining provisions of the town’s comprehensive plan. 

Mombaccus Excavating, Inc. v. Town of Rochester, 89 A.D.3d 1209 (A.D. 3 Dept. 11/3/2011) 

This opinion can be accessed at:


  1. Decisions like this encourage municipalities to go through the motions rather than undertake a substantive “hard look” analysis of the issues. SEQRA was intended to evoke an analytical process, not a choreographed dance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: