VOL. II, NO. 2 JULY, 2001

Welcome to our Spring/Summer edition of “Report from Counsel”, a Newsletter for the Firm’s clients and other professionals who consult with the Firm, updating them on our practice as well as important new developments in the law.


The Firm is representing clients in litigated matters in the Federal and State Courts, both at the trial and appellate levels. These diverse matters include land use and environmental litigation, corporate and business transactions, and admiralty and maritime proceedings.

In a new residential project, the Firm is representing a prominent builder in an application to obtain subdivision approval for a new home development in the Village of East Hills.

Also in the area of residential development, the Firm is representing the owner of a prestigious water-front estate on the North Shore. Legal issues involved in the use and development of this parcel include waterfront regulations administered by the Village, the Army Corps of Engineers and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, as well as Village zoning laws and historic building regulations.

In the area of commercial development, the Firm is representing the owner of a large industrial parcel in Westbury in a site plan approval application to re-develop the parcel for a new office, laboratory ware-house and industrial complex.

Additionally, the Firm is representing a marina owner in an action commenced in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York to “arrest” and then sell a boat for non-payment of dockage fees. This action is brought under the admiralty and maritime laws and procedures of the United States Constitution and United States Code.


The Firm represented a major oil company in an Article 78 proceeding in the Supreme Court, Suffolk County, against a Town’s Zoning Board and the Town’s Director of Engineering Services. The Town had refused to issue the oil company a permit to install a retail convenience store at its gasoline service station. The Court ruled in favor of the Firm’s client, annulled the actions of the Town respondents, and ordered the Town to issue the building permit.

The Firm also represented a well known industrial business located in Port Washington in the first phase of the refinancing of its mortgage loans for its warehouse and office facility. At the same time, the Firm is representing the business in its applications to the Town of North Hempstead for land use approvals to expand its building and facilities.

The Firm continues to represent its clients in various applications to obtain land use and zoning approvals. In one recent application, the Firm represented its client in obtaining a municipal approval to allow a well known computer semiconductor firm to move into new offices in Hauppauge. This significant transaction was reported in Long Island Business News.


In a recent federal court case, Sprint Spectrum, L.P. v. Cestone, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York annulled a local zoning board’s denial of an application by Sprint for a special permit to construct a 110 foot high monopole in close proximity to residential properties. Sprint required the monopole to fill a gap in its wireless telecom-munications services in the region. At the hearing before the zoning board, residential property owners raised generalized objections to the application, mainly that the monopole would adversely impact the character of the neighborhood and decrease property values. Sprint presented specific expert testimony refuting the residents’ objections. Despite Sprint’s presentation, the zoning board denied the application. The Court found that the local zoning board’s denial violated the federal 1996 Telecommunications Act because it was not based on “substantial evidence”. The Court found that the denial was impermissibly based on generalized objections rather than specific objections supported by credible expert testimony. The outcome of this case illustrates the importance of having expert testimony at zoning board hearings, whether in support of or in opposition to the application.


We were delighted when the Friday, April 27, 2001 Real Estate Section of Newsday featured Michael H. Sahn in an article concerning the risks involved when a co-signer of a home mortgage loan runs into financial difficulties. Michael advised home buyers to have the co-signer only sign the mortgage note. The co-signer should not co-sign the mortgage itself and should not have their name added to the deed. The April 15, 2001 issue of Real Estate Broker’s Insider featured a short article also quoting Michael H. Sahn on the issue of mortgage co-signers.

On May 15, 2001, Michael H. Sahn co-presented an all-day Seminar on “New York Land Use Current Issues in Subdivision and Zoning Law”, at the Holiday Inn in Plainview. The Seminar was well attended by attorneys, engineers, architects and municipal officials. Notices about the Seminar appeared in Long Island Business News and Newsday.

The New York Law Journal, Long Island Section, included a news article on May 30, 2001 in the column entitled, “This Week’s News”, reporting that Jon A. Ward had become a partner in the Firm.


When you call our office, you speak to Leslie Carr. Leslie has been with the Firm since its founding. Leslie is the Firm’s backbone, and she keeps the office running smoothly. From document preparation, bookkeeping, filing, administering our computer system and web site, directing our e-mail traffic, and supervising our staff, Leslie brings a wealth of experience to her position. Leslie’s career actually began during high school when, as a co-op student, she worked alternate weeks at General Motors in Manhattan. After graduation, Leslie supervised computer systems and staff at blue-chip firms, including Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and General Foods.

In the early 1990's, Leslie met and married her husband Michael, and moved to Long Island. Leslie and Michael have a daughter, Megan, 8 and a step-daughter, Georgina, 16.

Leslie handles all her responsibilities with the highest degree of competence and diligence, and with concern and respect for the Firm’s clients and their individual needs and requirements. Our hats are off to Leslie!

SAHN WARD & BAKER, PLLC’s “Report from Counsel” is published with the intent to inform readers of recent developments at the Firm and in the law. It is not intended, nor should it be used, as a substitute for legal advice or opinion which can be rendered only when related to specific fact situations.

333 Earle Ovington Boulevard, Suite 601 Uniondale, New York 11553
Telephone: 516.228.1300 E-Mail: