Land Use & Zoning

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Let Us Help You Avoid Zoning Drama

You have finally zeroed in on the perfect parcel of property to expand your business in the right location, at the right price, after a long, painful search. Is your work ended?  NO, because


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Monday, December 2, 2013

One Reason to hire a Zoning Attorney

by Janice Whelan Shea

You wouldn’t buy a car without “kicking the tires” or embark into a significant commitment without “eyes wide open”. Your relationship to a parcel of property must begin with the question “will this property will meet my needs”. Due diligence, cannot be obtained by title reports or listing agreements and is best left to a professional who owes her duty exclusively to you.

We witness many cases where innocent parties rely upon a seller, landlord or agent only to later learn that their supposed legal use, in fact, violates the municipal code. Most leases leave a tenant responsible for municipal compliance and enforcement proceedings leave no sympathy for tenants who claim they did not know any better.

Time and time again we see that knowing the complete zoning history of a site will assist a party to negotiate the most favorable terms to their position or prevent a client from bidding on ill-suited site.

While we assist before, during and after, we are best positioned to help you avoid zoning drama before you enter a lease or contract.

We at Harras, Bloom & Archer know the way around building departments - Island wide. We know the questions to ask to get you the answers you need, quickly and discreetly.

Let us help you kick the dirt.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Cluster zoning: A valuable tool in a changing market

By John Harras

The end of Long Island’s post-war land rush is in sight. Long Island regional planners estimate that “total build-out” is only 16 years away. To make matters worse, desirable tracts available for residential development are increasingly being targeted by heavily funded public “open space” acquisition programs.

As a consequence, developers are re-visiting parcels that, in the past, were deemed too difficult or expensive to develop because of steep slopes, wetlands, an odd configuration, troublesome easements or other problematic features. Informed developers who understand the cluster development provisions of Section 278 of the Town Law will have a significant advantage in locating overlooked properties that can be developed at higher densities and, in some cases, less expensively than previously thought.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Beware of the Zoning Adjudicatory Board: prepare to fight back if summoned to appear before one

By John Harras

In the never-ending quest to gain more control over the enforcement of local laws and regulations, towns, villages and other municipalities often succumb to the temptation of creating their own adjudicatory board to hear and assess fines for zoning code and other violations. Why litigate misdemeanors and violations before an independent judiciary governed by strict rules of evidence and the troublesome reasonable doubt standard when, upon the creation of an adjudicatory bureau, a municipally- employed hearing officer can hear violations and impose massive “civil” fines supported by evidence barely meeting the preponderance of evidence standard? The short answer is that the local adjudicatory board, with its allure of municipal control and efficiency, is generally unlawful under New York law, and almost always deprives property owners of due process protections.




Harras Bloom & Archer LLP is known for providing sophisticated legal representation to sophisticated clients serving Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens County, New York City and surrounding areas.



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