Advertising sign claim denied

24-59 32nd Street, Astoria. Image Credit: Google Maps.

Building owner challenged loss of advertising rights. In 1998, Astoria Landing purchased an existing four-story apartment building located in a residential zone at 24-59 32nd Street in Astoria, Queens. The building’s previous owner had obtained a permit to display commercial advertisements and begun to display advertisements in the 1940s. In 1961, the City adopted new zoning rules which banned the display of advertisements in residential areas. In 1981, the Department of Buildings erroneously renewed the previous owner’s permit. After the purchase of the building in 1998, Astoria Landing continued to display commercial advertisements.

In 2011, Buildings issued several notices of violations against Astoria Landing for displaying advertisements. Astoria Landing appealed to the Board of Standards and Appeals to be allowed to post advertisements. The Board denied the petition, posted the decision on their public website, and sent notice to Astoria. Astoria Landing filed an article 78 challenging the Board’s decision, which was denied.

Astoria Landing subsequently filed a second petition alleging that the Board had failed to give Astoria Landing notice of its decision in violation of its constitutional rights to due notice. Supreme Court Justice Howard G. Lane dismissed Astoria Landing’s claim as barred by the 30-day statute of limitations. Astoria Landing appealed.

The Appellate Division, Second Department, affirmed Justice Lane’s decision, finding that  Astoria Landing had missed the 30-day limitation on filing suit, The court also ruled that Astoria Landing’s claims were also barred on the doctrine of res adjudicata and collateral estoppel. The court found that Astoria Landing’s constitutional claims should have been included in its first appeal from the BSA decision.

Astoria Landing v. NYC Council, 129 N.Y.S.3d 844 (2d Dep’t 2020).

By: Shelby Arenson (Shelby is a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2021.)


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