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Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC

Q&A WITH Environmental Law Partner
Miriam Villani

In addition to her active environmental law practice, Miriam Villani is a member of the Executive Committee of The Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. Miriam also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Section's newsletter. In this interview, Miriam explains her devotion to the profession and her leadership role in the Bar Association.

When did you get involved in the Section?
I was a student member of the NYSBA Environmental Law Section in law school and then continued my membership once I started practicing. I got involved as an active member after a few years of practice. I had been attending Section CLE programs with my EPA colleagues, and liked the camaraderie of the Section. Soon after I entered the private sector, I was nominated as an Executive Committee member-at-large by one of my law school professors and mentors, Phil Weinberg. A year or so later, I was invited to chair the Section's environmental law essay contest. I still chair that contest. In 2000, I was nominated as an Officer and continued through the five-year term of officer from Secretary to Section Chair. I became the Editor-in-Chief of the Section's journal at the end of my term as Officer and have continued in that role since. As Editor-in-Chief and as a former Chair of the Section, I remain on the Executive Committee.



John Ward

Over the past several months, the Firm has been retained to litigate a number of important legal matters on behalf of clients in wide-ranging areas of the law. In this edition of the e-newsletter, we brief some of these cases which highlight the diversity and complexity of the Firm’s litigation practice.

Led by Jon Ward and Ralph Branciforte, we are defending the developer of a $100 million nursing home facility in a construction litigation commenced by neighboring property owners who are seeking to enjoin the construction on the grounds that it allegedly imperils the structural integrity of neighboring buildings.

We are prosecuting an appeal in the Appellate Division, Second Department, on behalf of a homeowners association, seeking to enforce restrictive covenants limiting the use of waterfront property in a residential neighborhood.

Jon Ward and Andrew Roth are prosecuting an insurance coverage action in federal court on behalf of a municipality against its general liability insurer for breach of the duty to defend the municipality in an underlying litigation.

Christian Browne and Nicholas Cappadora obtained an order from the Nassau County Supreme Court annulling a zoning board's denial of area variances to a client seeking to convert her home into a two-family residence on the grounds that the denial was arbitrary and capricious.


New York City Real Estate Transaction Update

Daniel Braff

Adam Koblenz and Dan Braff Recently Completed Several Manhattan Commercial Leases

The Firm's New York City-based real estate practice continues to grow under the leadership of Adam Koblenz and Dan Braff. Recent transactions include several Manhattan commercial leasing transactions in the past 60 days. In particular, the Firm represented a dual-language (English and Spanish) not-for-profit preschool in connection with a lease for a new location on the Upper West Side within a landmarked church. The preschool has been a fixture on the Upper West Side since the late 1970s, and was unable to extend its prior lease.

In another transaction, the Firm represented an energy trading firm in the lease of new office space in West Chelsea, and also represented the company in connection with the sublet of their prior office in an SL Green building in Midtown Manhattan. The company had outgrown its prior space.

Additionally, the Firm represented a business advisory company in the pharma, biotech, and innovative healthcare space, for the lease of new office space in Midtown Manhattan. The firm is also currently working with clients to negotiate leases for medical, retail and office uses.


John Christopher

John Farrell Achieves Success for The Salvation Army in a Redevelopment Project in New Cassel and Guides a Rezoning in Brookhaven for a Rocky Point Gas Station

John Farrell successfully represented the Salvation Army before the Town of North Hempstead in obtaining necessary variances and site plan approvals to allow the organization to redevelop its property on Prospect Avenue in New Cassel. The new multimillion-dollar, 20,000-square-foot facility will replace the Salvation Army’s existing building on the site, which was formerly used as a bar and restaurant and had become increasingly rundown over the years. The new facility became necessary following the growth of its ministry and its after-school programs.

Mr. Farrell also successfully represented the owner and operator of a non-conforming Rocky Point gasoline service station in an application to rezone its property from J-2 Business to J-5 Business before the Brookhaven Town Board. While the gas station has been located on the site since the 1950s, the applicants sought to convert the former repair shop in the service station to a convenience store, necessitating the change of zone application. The approval will allow the station to continue to operate at the site and subsequent approvals in the planning stage will allow for the entire site to be re-developed.


Daniel Braff

Firm Represents Real Estate Partnership in Lease-Option Agreement with Solar Energy Company for the Development of Solar Panel Farm

Partners Jon Ward, Dan Braff, and Miriam Villani recently represented a real estate partnership in connection with the negotiation and consummation of a lease-option agreement with a solar energy company.

The agreement paves the way for the energy company to lease an approximate 50-acre parcel of land from the partnership in Suffolk County for 20 years for development and use as a solar panel farm.

Michael Sahn

Wayne Edwards Assists Merrick Dentist in Efforts to Expand Practice

Wayne Edwards has been a patient of Dr. Steven Levy, a Merrick dentist, for over 30 years. When Dr. Levy needed legal help, he retained Mr. Edwards to represent him for the purchase of his existing office, but unfortunately, an agreement could not be reached with the building owners. Mr. Edwards, a resident of Merrick, noticed a building at the intersection of Beverly Road and Merrick Road for sale. The building was previously used as a residence and photography studio.


firm news

John Christopher

John Christopher Begins Term as President Elect of NYSBA YLS Section and Speaks at NYSBA Section Leaders Conference

John Christopher, a Partner with the Firm, was a panelist at the New York State Bar Association’s 2016 Section Leaders Conference on May 12th. Mr. Christopher joined a panel of esteemed colleagues to discuss the various ways that sections can meaningfully engage their members through collaboration, community outreach and connections. Mr. Christopher spoke on the importance of holding networking events with other young professional groups in order to provide valuable networking opportunities for Young Lawyers Section members.

Mr. Christopher is an Officer of the NYSBA’s Young Lawyers Section and serves as a Section Delegate to the NYSBA House of Delegates and a Liaison to the Real Property Law Section.

LIBN Interviews Wayne Edwards on the Current Trend in Development of Service Stations

Wayne Edwards, a Partner with the Firm, was interviewed by Long Island Business News on the current industry trend for gasoline service stations to expand goods and services to boost revenues by adding full-service convenience stores on the premises. The article cites QuickChek and Cumberland Farms as examples.

Read More


Joseph Bjarnson

EPA Proposes Changes to Construction General Permit Regulating Construction Activity Stormwater Discharges

By. Joseph R. Bjarnson

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently proposed to reissue the Construction General Permit (CGP). The CGP, a general permit issued under the Clean Water Act’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), authorizes certain stormwater discharges from construction activities subject to NPDES regulations. The reissued CGP will replace EPA’s 2012 version which will expire on February 16, 2017.


Michael Barone

What to Do When Deeds Overlap

By. Michael J. Barone, Jr.

Property owners are often confronted with situations where deed descriptions for adjoining properties overlap, meaning the legal description of one parcel overlaps with the legal description of an adjoining parcel. This presents a circumstance in which adjoining owners can each claim title to the same portion of property. Our office has confronted this issue in recent transactions and there are several solutions.



Adam Koblenz Co-Chairs Tennis Event of CMF’s 41st Annual Golf & Tennis Classic

Adam H. Koblenz recently co-chaired for the Children’s Medical Fund of New York’s 41st Annual Golf and Tennis Charity Classic, which took place on June 20 at the Glen Oaks Club. He currently serves as vice president of the Men’s Division. Mr. Koblenz has been involved in the CMF for many years, having also chaired the “Cycle for CMF” event. Children’s Medical Fund of New York is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. Through a wide network of friends, volunteers and deeply committed donors, CMF has raised over $85 million to help build, equip and secure ongoing funding for programs that are vital to the needs of seriously ill children and their families.


Elaine Colavito

Elaine Colavito's "Bench Briefs" Appears in Suffolk Lawyer

Elaine Colavito had her "Bench Briefs" column published in the May 2016 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. "Bench Briefs" is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.



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