Monday, March 21, 2011

Notes from meeting with Suffolk County Zoning Board Chairs

• Generalized community opposition should not be considered by the ZBA although it exists as a political reality

• Lawsuits in an Article 78 Proceeding should be brought with the ZBA Chairman being named as the defendant and they do not want to be publically overturned

• Attorney for applicant:

o Is expected to have made a personal inspection of the site at issue

o Should meet with civic associations to garner community perspective and amend plan to accommodate oppositions concerns

• In Huntington, a letter is utilized to start the process, not a building permit application

• Always bring a complete narrative articulating your position and submit to the ZBA as they may try to cut the applicant off

• Using social media is a new way to ascertain community sentiment for the project

• Do not friend a page on Facebook if you are not friends, as this is an ethical violation

• Application should distinguish the present application on why it will not create precedent by showing the unique factors at issue

• Planning Board will submit a memorandum to the ZBA and they can be questioned about this

• Experts are sometimes allowed to do a narrative, but in other Towns required to be questioned

• Huntington requires experts in all commercial case

• Before proceeding, FOIL request the tax lot on the area of the case; read through the cards and then pull previous similar decisions

• Be sure to touch on Town Law §267b every element

• For the financial component of a nonconforming use application, you will need an expert (accountant) detailing financials for each and every available use

• “Self-created hardship” used to be enough to defeat an application, but not any more

Each Town is very different & the applicant should attend hearings before pursuing theirs even if they have done this before!!!!