Monday, June 13, 2011

East Hampton Library is Getting Bigger

The East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals was overturned as erroneous, arbitrary and irrational in denying a variance to increase the size of the library. The Supreme Court found that the library was an educational institution entitled to the same deferential treatment in zoning accorded to schools and religious institutions.

The takeaway is that Zoning Boards generally have a hard time restricting a public good. That is why it is always advisable to combine a public good with a zoning application when entering a municipality. Talk in terms that matter to the people who live there. Better schools, more parks, cleaner beaches as a result of the application. Sometimes you just can't do this, but to deny a library's goal of improving was too much for the Court in this matter.

Foreclosures - MERS hit with Fatal Blow

In a well anticipated decision the Appellate Division, Second Department (regulates all of Long Island) has saved many many homes as of June 7, 2011, a date that will be remembered in the real estate world for years to come.

The Court clearly stated as follows:

Issue:
"The issue presented on this appeal is whether a party has standing to commence a foreclosure action when that party's assignor - in this case, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (hereinafter MERS)-was listed in the underlying mortgage instruments as a nominee and mortgagee for the purpose of recording, but was never the actual holder or assignee of the underlying notes."

Holding:
"We answer this question in the negative."

To read the entire decision, click here.

If one was to look back on the decision in In Re Agard where the Federal Bankruptcy Court held that splitting the note and mortgage was fatal or back to MERS v. Romaine where the dissent questioned the entire mortgage recording system invented by MERS, this decision was a long time coming.

The fact is this - Don't usurp the role of government and than ask government to help a misstep in your practices. MERS needs to play by the same rules as everyone else.

Interestingly, the Court notated that "MERS purportedly holds approximately 60 million mortgage loans" & makes this decision in the face of that.

If you are being foreclosed or know someone who is, you now have a lot more rights to potential keep your home for a long time. This will force many modifications!!!

First Time Homebuyers of Newly Constructed Homes - Tax Break

Gov. Cuomo just extended tax exemptions for first-time homebuyers, which sounds great. The problem is that this only helps purchasers of newly constructed homes, not existing homes. Also, most first-time homebuyers purchase used homes, not new ones. Therefore, it appears that this bill is less about the first-time homebuyers and more about the builders lobby. Make your own decision.

Also, to be clear, this bill does not provide an exemption, but allows local municipalities to offer such an exemption. Suffolk does offer such an exemption, so this may help.

The Justifications of the Bill is as follows:
Home ownership is the most potent form of economic stimulus. When some- one purchases a home, they generate economic a activity in every sector from construction, finishing, furnishing and more. New homeowners purchase appliances, upkeep equipment and tools, plumbing and electrical services, insurance and more.  The purchase of new homes contributes to the community, encouraging the homeowners to take root and participate in public schools and local governments. Encouraging the construction of new homes is critical to attracting businesses, which consider the availability of workforce housing when choosing where to locate.  This legislation would continue a local option to permit municipal enti- ties to adopt a first-time homebuyer program for newly constructed homes. By allowing municipalities to provide a tax incentive for first time homebuyers, New York State sends a message that it is committed to economic recovery.  Counties where municipal entities have adopted first-time homebuyer programs include Albany, Alleghany, Chautauqua, Nassau, Oneida, Orange, Oswego, Rensselaer and Suffolk.

Suffolk's Green Field

The largest solar farm in the Northeast is almost done & more interestingly, its located in Suffolk County!!!

The project, which spans nearly 200 acres, is located at Brookhaven Lab & can power approximately 4,500 homes.

The coolest part of this project is the collaboration between Brookhaven Lab, BP & LIPA where BP gets access to free land, Brookhaven Lab has access to an array of data & LIPA is purchasing the energy. Its win-win-win.

Now one may ask themselves why a real estate school cares about a solar farm. The answer is simple. Green construction is the future and we believe that Brookhaven Lab's research from this project will greatly advance the field. We cannot wait to see the fruits of this research. Best of the luck to the venture.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Renewable Energy Home

Right in the backyard of my law firm is a fantastic gem of renewable energy, check it out by clicking here.