Do you have a legal question that needs to be answered? Welcome to a new feature on the Ziff Law blogs called Questions & Answers.
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law, our primary practice areas, we will also be glad to talk about car/motorcycle/truck insurance, medical bills, lost wages, property damage and any legal issue in the news.
If we can’t answer your question, we will refer you to a lawyer with expertise in that particular area.
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Our question today is adapted from my two recent TV appearances about the embattled Biltmore Crossing housing project in Horseheads, which town residents are challenging because they are concerned that the 56-unit affordable apartment complex will hurt property values, among other complaints.
The complex, at Biltmore Drive and Gardner Road, will be for families making $25,000 to $37,000 a year, according to Conifer Realty of Rochester, the developer.
Read more about the ruling here.
My answer below is from the April 1 WENY-TV News broadcast (above) and the April 2 “Law Talk” segment during the WETM News at Noon. In the weekly “Law Talk” segments, the Ziff Law lawyers talk about legal issues, often in connection with news events.
Question: A New York State Supreme Court Judge recently dismissed a legal challenge that sought to block the construction of a 56-unit housing complex on Biltmore Drive in the Town of Horseheads. Why did Judge Judy O’Shea reject 13 of the lawsuit’s 17 legal challenges?
Adam Gee: The residents used Article 78, a New York State law that provides a way to challenge decisions made by a state official or administrative body, such as the Town of Horseheads and its Town Board.
The Town of Horseheads made multiple mistakes in the planning stages of this housing area. But when the law relates to procedural errors that were made, such as is alleged here, they were subject to a 120-day statute of limitations, according to Article 78.
The challengers to the project brought their petition into court in an attempt to have construction stopped because of what they said were failures of the town to comply with certain portions of the law, but the judge rejected it on procedural grounds.
It’s an interesting decision and it clearly lays out that the town did, on multiple occasions, fail to do things it was supposed to do. The town failed to provide the type and amount of notice it was supposed to provide. So when upset town residents say they feel like they were blindsided, really in a way, they were. They didn’t have the notification that the law says they were supposed to have so they could decide whether this is something they want to challenge.
The ironic part here is one of the reasons why so much time went by and no one challenged it in a timely fashion is because the town did not provide residents with the information they were required to, so in a sense, the town was rewarded for making these mistakes.
Click here to learn more about Article 78.
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