Posted by: Patricia Salkin | December 30, 2016

NY Appellate Court Finds Architectural Renderings of Proposed Shopping Center Became “Records” Within the Meaning of the FOIL

Petitioner Ann Fanizzi was the chairperson of a local land preservation organization, the Putnam County Coalition to Preserve Open Space, Inc. Petitioner had been monitoring the proposed development of a large shopping center in Putnam County. Fanizzi commenced this hybrid proceeding and action, primarily seeking to compel the production, under the Freedom of Information Law, of architectural renderings that the shopping center developer left at the office of the Town Planner of the Town of Patterson for several days so that the Town Planner could give informal advice to the developer regarding the developer’s plan. In an order dated April 4, 2013, the Supreme Court granted the motion of the Town respondents and the separate motion of the developer.

It was undisputed that Camarda, the developer’s owner, left the subject architectural renderings in the possession of Williams, the Town Planner, for a number of days, and that Williams displayed the renderings at the meeting of the Planning Board that took place on May 31, 2012. Thus, the renderings were “kept” and “held” by an agency, and were “records” within the meaning of FOIL. The court found it was unclear whether the renderings were still in the possession of the Town Planner when the petitioner made her FOIL request on June 4, 2012; if they had been, the petitioner would have a meritorious FOIL claim. Accordingly, the court held the Supreme Court should have denied the motions of the Town respondents and the developer to dismiss the petition/complaint.

Fanizzi v. Planning Bd. of Patterson, 2016 WL 7224820 (NYAD 2 Dept. 12/14/2016)


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