Posted by: Patricia Salkin | June 5, 2014

NY Appellate Court Holds That In Light Of Limitations Periods, Organization And Individuals Were Not Likely To Succeed On The Merits Of Their Claims

This dispute arose out of a development in progress of a 396–unit townhouse project in defendant Village of Bloomingburg. The Town and Village found that it was in the public interest for the Village to annex about 240 acres from the Town, including land upon which the proposed project would be constructed. The Village annexed the relevant parcels by Local Law No. 3 (2006) of the Village, which was filed with the Secretary of State in December 2006. The developers then applied for additional building permits for phase one of the project, as well as work related to the wastewater treatment plant. Those permits were granted in October 2012 and, also that month, several plaintiffs in this case commenced a declaratory judgment action challenging the 2011 final subdivision approval. In April 2013, the trial court dismissed that action as time-barred and further noted that the court would not have granted injunctive relief since those plaintiffs established neither a likelihood of success nor that the equities weighed in their favor.

The appellate court found that Residents of an area proposed for annexation had the right to vote whether to approve the annexation; however, plaintiffs waited over seven years before challenging the annexation. During such time extensive governmental activity occurred—ranging from review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act to various zoning determinations—and, in reliance thereon, the project defendants expended significant money. Furthermore, there was no indication that plaintiffs who resided in the annexed area or other residents of that area did not receive Village municipal services during the past seven years or were precluded from participating in Village governmental activities, including providing input to the Planning Board regarding the proposed project as it progressed. Plaintiffs alleged before Supreme Court that part of that delay was due to the fact that they did not discover the May 2006 confidential agreement until 2013; however, their claims were not premised primarily upon that agreement, but relied instead upon aged defects in public actions by various Village entities. Accordingly, the court held that in light of limitations periods, organization and individuals were not likely to succeed on merits of their claims, and, thus, preliminary injunction was not warranted. The decision of the trial court was therefore reversed.

Rural Community Coalition., Inc. v Village of Bloomingburg, 2014 WL 2515973 (NYAD 3 Dept 6/5/2014)

The opinion can be accessed at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ny-supreme-court/1669004.html


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