Court of Appeals Blocks Willets Point Development

Legislative approval would be needed in order to build retail stores, restaurants and a movie theater on Willets West parkland. The Special Willets Point District was approved by the City Council in 2008. The rezoning was controversial; area businesses and residents were concerned over the relocation of businesses, the possibility of eminent domain, and traffic congestion. As a result, a lawsuit was filed against the City by business owners and residents but was dismissed … <Read More>

Discriminatory Property Tax Case Dismissed

Tenant alleged that the City’s allocation of the property tax burden violated due process and equal protection. Ernest Robinson sought declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that the City’s property tax classification system created a disparate and adverse impact on African-American and Hispanic residents, deprived them of due process and equal protection of the laws, and violated the Fair Housing Act. Robinson alleged that the Class Two tax burden, heavily made up of rental multiple dwellings, … <Read More>

De Facto Taking Claim Fails

Owner claimed de facto taking when City installed storm drains that flooded land designated as a wetland. The firm 594 Associates, Inc. acquired vacant land on Staten Island in 1985. The land was designated freshwater wetlands or wetlands adjacent area, and therefore development was not permitted. On September 26, 2005, the City constructed a headwall on the property’s border with an adjacent street. The headwall contained an outlet for one of the adjacent street’s storm … <Read More>

Taking of Harlem Property Approved

Opponents claimed City missed three-year time period to initiate eminent domain proceedings. In June 2009, the City authorized the taking of ten parcels of land near East 125th Street by eminent domain. The takings were part of an urban renewal plan in an area known for African-American art, entertainment, and history. Some of the affected properties included a thirty-year-old auto business, a not-for-profit center, a BP service station and a billboard stanchion. The parcels were … <Read More>

Buildings Upheld on Crane Licenses

President of the operating engineers challenged new rules on crane operator licenses. Edwin L. Christian, President and Business Manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers, filed an article 78 petition challenging amendments to the rules of the City of New York promulgated by the Department of Buildings regarding licensing for crane operators. Christian challenged the adoption of a rule which dispensed with the requirement that, for a class A license, the applicant must have … <Read More>

Appellate Division Overturns BSA Denial of Sign Registration

The Board of Standards and Appeals had denied the application based on its finding that the signage was an art installation rather than an “advertising sign,” as defined in the Zoning Resolution. Local Law 31 of 2005 amends the regulations governing the usage of outdoor advertising signs by requiring companies engaged in outdoor advertising to submit to the Department of Buildings an exhaustive list of all of the companies’ “signs, sign structures and sign locations” … <Read More>