Posted by: Patricia Salkin | January 9, 2019

NY Court Finds Zoning Violations for construction Debris Were Not Preempted by State Mining Laws

This post was authored by Amy Lavine, Esq.

A recent New York appellate court case upheld zoning violations imposed on a mining company for allowing road construction debris to be deposited and processed on the premises. The town’s zoning laws, the court concluded, weren’t preempted by state mining laws as they didn’t implicate mining operations directly and had only incidental effects on extractive activities.

 

Although the mining company had a permit to conduct sand mining and extraction, the town had determined that its debris handling violated its certificate of occupancy. The court affirmed and found that the town’s regulation of mining land uses wasn’t preempted by the New York State Mined Land Reclamation Law, and it refused the defendants’ motion to dismiss on this basis. As the court explained, the supersession clause in the state mining law applies “only [to] those laws that deal ‘with the actual operation and process of mining’ [that] are superseded” and not “local zoning ordinances that are addressed to subject matters other than extractive mining and that affect the extractive mining industry only in incidental ways.” Moreover, under the definitions provided in the state law, the court found that the land use violations at issue didn’t even implicate any “mining.” In fact, the definition of “mining” specifically excluded the depositing, receiving, and processing of road construction debris.

 

People v. Wainscott Sand and Gravel Corp., 62 Misc. 3d 16 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. App. Term, 2d Dept. 12/5/2018).


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