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E-NEWSLETTER: MARCH 2019

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Matters of Interest

Court Rules Town of Hempstead's Moratorium on Development on Woodmere Golf Course Unconstitutional
Court Applies Rational Basis Test in Finding Moratorium Served No Proper Purpose

Christian Browne, a Member and Partner with the Firm, successfully represented the owners of the Woodmere Club against the Town of Hempstead, which placed a series of moratoria on any development on the golf course property. The court ruled that the moratorium extensions served no purpose, other than to deprive the owners of their property rights, and was, therefore, unconstitutional.

The Plaintiffs purchased the property with the intent of developing residential housing, which was allowed under current zoning law. But before the closing, community opposition to the project began to grow and, as a result, the Town instituted a moratorium on any construction. On January 2017, the Town retained the services of Cameron Engineering & Associates to identify any impacts to the surrounding neighborhoods. In order to complete its work, the firm requested — and was granted — numerous moratoria.

The report was not completed until May 2018. A vote on the project was scheduled for the same month, but some members of the Town Board asked to postpone the vote indefinitely. The moratorium was then extended three more times on June 2018, September 2018 and November 2018.

In its decision, the Court applied the rational basis test to the Town’s moratorium, in that the Court must determine “whether there is any rational basis that supports the Town’s latest extensions of the moratorium in June, September and November 2018.” The Court ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs, stating that the moratorium was “unconstitutional because it serves no proper purpose and it has now been extended beyond a reasonable time. … Absent a valid reason for the continuation of the moratorium, it must be stricken down.”

“We are very pleased with the Court’s decision,” Mr. Browne said. “Rather than follow the rule of law, the Town bent to community pressure and, as a result, my clients’ rights were violated. The Town abused its authority in continually extending the moratorium for no reason, which was an unconstitutional act.”

This was reported by Long Island Herald.

Click here to read the article.

 


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