Long Island has an affordable-housing challenge – and a unique opportunity to do something about it, before off-Island powers take control.
Why is there so little affordable housing on Long Island? Regional affordable-housing advocates will tell you it’s the Island’s focus on single-family zoning laws, and they’re not alone.
Planners across the country have long advocated measures to increase the supply of affordable housing for young individuals entering the workforce, seniors and individuals who can’t afford the high cost of traditional, market-priced housing. Now they have some clear talking points: Traditional single-family zoning limits the supply of housing, they say, while driving up costs and perpetuating exclusionary housing patterns.
To that end, a host of new laws are targeting single-family zoning nationwide, and aiming to eliminate local zoning powers.
Climate change is happening. The year 2030 has been set as the deadline for actions to effectively respond to this existential crisis. This summer witnessed extreme weather, flooding, and forest fires that caused smoke and hazy skies extending from the West Coast to the Eastern United States. Befittingly, world leaders, citizens and advocates gathered at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in the fall of 2021 to discuss, to plan, and to act in response to the threat of global weather changes. The goal is to thwart the worst outcome in an equitable and enforceable way.
The impacts of climate change are as much local as they are international. The science now allows us to see very local impacts for Long Island, with medium projections forecasting 6 inches of sea level rise this decade and 16 inches of rise by the end of this century. Increasing carbon gas emissions impact all of us, but do not respect national borders. While every place on the planet may not be impacted in the same way, failure to dramatically reduce carbon emissions will cost trillions of dollars in the world economy by 2050 and further complicate global supply chain issues.
The way we get to work and the way we power our buildings and lifestyles have major climate consequences. In New York, public - private partnerships are investing in our future. State law has set ambitious requirements to reduce pollution from our electrical power sector, Offshore wind turbine construction and operation will accelerate, and large-scale battery storage is being advanced to further enable renewable energy such as wind and solar. The electrical grid will need to be updated to allow a transition to high performance electric cars by providing adequate and numerous charging locations. Gasoline car sales in the state will be phased out by 2035. The recent Federal Infrastructure Law will help pay for and enable some of these key changes. In addition, Congress is advancing legislation for substantial investments to address the climate and incentivize change.
Climate change is already demanding a response by our communities. Environmental law, energy law, site remediation and cleanup, and land use and zoning law, will be key to developing a more sustainable future. The good news is that there are many efforts underway that rival the infrastructure changes made after World War II that set America on a course of unrivaled opportunity and prosperity. At this point, however, the immense threat posed by the climate will require an even more significant effort by all of us. There is much to do.
My recent article puts the COP26 conference into the context of what is happening here on Long Island.
The United States Supreme Court has convened for what promises to be a monumental new term, filled with cases touching on the most divisive and controversial issues confronting our nation.
Abortion rights, gun control and the separation of church and state – specifically, taxpayer aid for students attending religious schools – are all on the agenda for SCOTUS first full term with its current 6-3 conservative majority, and the court’s return to in-person arguments after a year of virtual hearings.
Sahn Ward Braff Koblenz PLLC was honored to have our Partner, Elisabetta Tredici Coschignano, recognized as one of the Top 50 Women In Business by Long Island Business News this past Thursday evening at the Crest Hollow Country Club. Elisabetta earned this distinction for her dedication to her clients, the Firm, and her colleagues. She also earned this honor for her consistent involvement in public service to her community.
Most people, and likely most attorneys, are familiar with the impeachment procedure under the federal constitution. This is not only because people are far more familiar with the US Constitution, but because there have been four impeachment trials of American Presidents, including two in less than two years
In Michael Sahn’s most recent article for Innovate Long Island, he discusses the controversial and divisive issues and cases the United States Supreme Court will confront in its new term. Read the full article below.
We are honored that Super Lawyers has recognized sixteen of our attorneys, representing seven practice areas, for exceptional accomplishments and expertise.
Robert Abiuso provides pro bono legal assistance to Calvary Baptist Church, Bishop Kindle, and the Church’s parishioners. Recently, Mr. Abiuso resolved zoning issues regarding the Bishop’s Parsonage and the acquisition of an “abandoned” school for the Church’s new school grounds. Pictured with Mr. Abiuso is Bishop Arthur R. Kindle, Jr.
For the second consecutive year, Sahn Ward was named the Top Real Estate Firm on Long Island by the Long Island Business News 2021 Reader Rankings. In addition, we also received recognition as Runner Up in Best Matrimonial Firm and Best Litigation Firm.
Sahn Ward is proud that our Partners, Elisabetta Coschignano, John Parker and Elaine Colavito, have been named as Top Lawyers of Long Island, by Richner Communications, Inc./ The Herald Community Newspapers.
The climate-change crisis is accelerating, COVID is surging, particularly the Delta variant. Both present immediate challenges and, quite interestingly, recent research shows there are undeniable links between these converging crises.
Member and Partner, Dan Braff, was quoted in a recent article in The New York Times entitled, “Building with Sections that Seem to Hover in Midair” by Tim McKeough. In the article, Dan discussed when and why he typically sees cantilevered buildings in New York City. Dan explained that he often sees cantilevers when there is a height limit that caps a developer’s ability to build upward when acquiring floor area from an adjoining property. For example, a developer may want to purchase and incorporate unused floor area from a neighbor’s property but does not have any place to put that floor area on the development site because a height limit prevents the developer from utilizing this available floor area in additional floors. By cantilevering, the developer can incorporate this available floor area in a horizontal manner through larger floor plates while still complying with the applicable height limit. Dan Braff leads the firm’s New York City Land Use and Development Practice. The purchase and sale of development rights including, frequently, cantilever rights, continues to be one of several primary areas of Dan’s land use practice.
Elisabetta Coschignano guided Breslin Realty to zoning approvals in Lynbrook to construct a 201-unit multi-family transit-oriented development at the site of the vacant former Mangrove Feather Factory.
Our real estate attorneys have been active in many areas. We are proud to recognize several of the Group's accomplishments. Michael Sahn and Michelle Greenberg represented our client in the sale of a Garden City office building to a Brookfield Asset Management real estate fund. The transaction also involved the assignment of the underlying ground lease from Nassau County. Michelle Greenberg guided the acquisition and financing of a medical office building in Bayshore. Michelle counseled the client in negotiating the deal terms and the contract of sale in connection with the purchase and negotiated the loan documents for the financing. The client will use the property for operation of its medical practice. Ellen Savino represented a prominent law firm with offices in Suffolk County and Manhattan in the negotiation of a lease for new office space in a Class A Office building in Suffolk County. Wayne Edwards and Ellen Savino successfully closed on the purchase of a commercial building in Aquebogue, NY. The building was occupied by multiple tenants and the clients obtained institutional financing for the purchase.
Elaine M. Colavito was recently recognized as a Premier Business Women of Long Island at the Awards Gala in the legal category on July 14, 2021. The Awards Gala celebrates high-level female business leaders who are making an impact on Long Island in their given fields. The event was hosted by RichnerLIVE in conjunction with Herald Community Newspapers.
Michael Sahn, Joseph Bjarnson and Joshua Brookstein shared the honor of representing our Firm at the “steel beam topping off” ceremony for the Advanced Surgical Pavilion at North Shore University Hospital. We are proud to represent Northwell Health, and be part of the great team that brought this state of the art healthcare facility from the drawing board to reality. Once completed, the ASP will accommodate new ICU patient rooms and operating rooms for the most sophisticated and advanced medical procedures and services.
On March 31, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act into law. The new law, among other things, legalizes the use, cultivation, distribution and retail sale of marijuana and other cannabis products.
The law establishes an Office of Cannabis Management, which will be an independent entity within the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control that will develop a regulatory framework, and issue licenses for cultivation, distribution and sales in the upcoming months. Reports indicate that about 300 licenses will be issued by 2023; and the number of licenses is expected to triple by 2027.
The clean-up and re-use of contaminated properties is an important part of the environmental work we do at Sahn Ward Braff Koblenz. In this category, the CERCLA “Superfund” law goes beyond clean-up of contaminated sites and authorizes the State, as a Trustee, to seek Natural Resource Damages caused by disposal of hazardous waste. A number of cases were brought to civil and criminal Courts to address the clean-up of contaminated debris that was used to fill a public park in Brentwood. These cases were noteworthy and significant. John Parker, the head of the firm’s Environmental and Energy Practice Group was able to reach a favorable resolution and settlement for a client in the Natural Resources Damages component of one of these matters that was brought in federal Court in the Eastern District by the Attorney General’s Office.
We are very pleased and excited to announce the promotion of Michelle Greenberg to Partner.
Michelle served as Counsel with the Firm since 2019, representing business and property owners in the purchase and sale of commercial buildings; financial institutions, healthcare providers and not-for-profit-entities in complex commercial lease transactions; and lenders in construction financing, throughout New York City, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Jon Ward, the Chair of the Firm’s litigation and appeals practice group, and Joseph Bjarnson, a Partner in the Firm’s litigation and appeals practice group, have obtained a landmark ruling from the Suffolk County Supreme Court on behalf of Suffolk County and the Suffolk County Comptroller in LIPA v. Suffolk County and the Suffolk County Comptroller (Index No. 622697/2017). The ruling was featured on the front page of Newsday on April 6, 2021. You can view the Newsday Article here.
Michael Sahn guided the change of zone and special permit approvals to build a mixed use building consisting of 54 rental units with commercial space. The apartments will be located on the corner of Warner and Railroad Avenue near the Roslyn railroad station.
Sahn Ward Braff Koblenz proudly welcomes Ellen N. Savino, as a Partner in our growing real estate practice. Ms. Savino concentrates her practice in the areas of real estate transactions and banking law.
Michael Sahn was recognized by Long Island Business News as one of Long Island's Power 25 in Law. This elite group of leaders were selected by Long Island Business News' Editor, Associate Publisher and the editorial team based on their achievements and standing in the law community. To learn more about all the honorees read more below.
As we continue to navigate one of the most difficult and tumultuous times in our nation’s history, many families, friends and colleagues reflect on the transitions they have had to make in order to adapt to the hardships caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has re-appointed Adam Koblenz as pro bono counsel for 2021. The Nassau County SPCA is dedicated to the rescue, care and placement of animals that have been displaced or harmed. The nonprofit group protects animals from abuse and neglect. The Firm is proud to support this terrific organization in its efforts to better serve the community at large.
On January 28, 2021 in a virtual ceremony, Elisabetta T. Coschignano, was sworn in as Vice President of the Columbian Lawyer's Association of Nassau County by the Honorable Anthony W. Paradiso, Nassau County District Court Judge. The Columbian Lawyer’s Association is a nonsectarian, legal and professional organization whose purpose, goals and objectives are the enhancement and awareness of Italian-American culture as it applies to the development of law and furtherance of justice and equality.
Once again this year, Tom McKevitt and Josh Brookstein are coaching Nassau County high school teams in the New York State Mock Trial Tournament in Nassau County. The Nassau County Bar Association administers the tournament to encourage and motivate students to consider careers in the legal profession. The tournament gives students the opportunity to prepare and present an actual case before Judges who also volunteer their time. Due to Covid-19, students will be presenting their cases virtually. This is the 24th year that Tom McKevitt has coached a team, the last 22 years with Holy Trinity Diocesan High School. Josh Brookstein is in his 5th year of coaching, and this year is mentoring the Oceanside High School team. Both Tom and Josh have dedicated their time and efforts, and this year, more than ever, recognize the need to impart a respect and understanding of the law and the legal process to their students.
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