Private right of action under Federal law rejected

Beachfront bungalow owner sued City agencies claiming violations of the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act. Ankor Shacaf obtained permits to demolish four bungalows and construct four homes in Far Rockaway, Queens. Shacaf erected a fence around the construction site, which obstructed a private right-of-way to the beach. Neighbor Richard George, owner of a bungalow on Beach 26th Street in Far Rockaway, sued Buildings and City Planning, claiming that the agencies violated the Coastal Zone Management Act when they granted work permits without the required consistency review under the Act and allowed construction that was incompatible with adjoining uses.

After a hearing, a magistrate judge recommended dismissal of all the claims, finding that the Act did not create a private right of action against City agencies. The Act applied to federal agencies whose activity directly affected a coastal zone. Moreover, the Act protected public access to beaches and the right-of-way in question was privately- owned among neighboring property owners that did not diminish public access to beaches.

On appeal, the circuit court affirmed, ruling that the Act did not create a private right of action for its enforcement.

George v. City Planning, 2006 US App LEXIS 1788, Jan. 25, 2006 (2d Cir.) (Attorneys: George, pro se; Michael A. Cardozo, Scott Shorr, for NYC).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.