Posted by: Patricia Salkin | May 8, 2019

NY Appellate Court Rejects Claims Against Lease of Town Land for Lack of Standing

This post was authored by Amy Lavine, Esq.


A New York appellate court ruled in May that an asphalt producer’s lawsuit against the Town of New Windsor was properly dismissed. The asphalt company alleged various causes of action related the town’s lease of property to a competing asphalt business and the town’s approval of the competitor’s land use applications, but the court held that the asphalt company failed to establish standing.


The asphalt company, the court explained, “failed to describe any injury to itself, either actual or potential, that has resulted from these alleged violations, much less an injury different from the general injury to the public at large that result[ed] from the Town’s alleged violation of the procedural requirements for leasing real property.” To the extent that the company suffered an injury due to increased business competition, the court found that this wasn’t a sufficient interest to confer standing. Moreover, the company wasn’t a party to the proceedings before the zoning board of appeals, and the approval of zoning applications wasn’t adverse to the company.


With respect to the company’s environmental review claims, the court concluded that the company failed to establish that it had any injuries that were environmental in nature, rather than purely economic, nor did it show that its injuries were distinct from those of the public at large.


Finally, the court rejected the company’s claims of both statutory and common law taxpayer standing. As the court explained, the taxpayer standing statute was limited to cases that alleged fraud, illegality, or a waste of public funds, and the town’s alleged violations of leasing and building laws didn’t rise to this level of misconduct. Common law taxpayer standing, which allows parties to test issues of public importance where traditional standing rules would otherwise create a barrier to judicial review, was similarly unavailing. The company, the court explained, failed to show that the town’s allegedly illegal actions were of “appreciable public significance beyond the immediately affected parties,” nor would the town be insulated from judicial review as a result of denying the company’s standing.


Tilcon N.Y. v. Town of New Windsor, 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3644 (2d Dept. 5/8/19).

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