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Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC

Suffolk County Practice Update

Chris Coschignano and John Farrell Lead the Firm's Expanding Suffolk County Zoning, Environmental and Real Estate Practice

Partners Chris Coschignano and John Farrell are leading the Firm's expanding Suffolk County zoning, environmental and real estate practice. Just as the Firm has established its New York City-based practice, the Firm is looking east towards Suffolk County for new growth. From Melville to Montauk – that's the Firm's new direction. The development opportunities are great in Suffolk, and the Firm is at the forefront of many cases. Here are just a few examples:

Michael Sahn, Miriam Villani, Jon Ward and Joe Bjarnson represented several Village of Asharoken residents who opposed a proposal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore certain beaches in the Village, subject to the Village agreeing to provide public access to the beaches. The proposal required the Village to condemn private property owned by the Firm's clients to provide public access easements over their properties to the beaches. The Village Board of Trustees rejected the proposal.

Miriam Villani, Jon Ward and Dan Braff represented a real estate partnership in a lease option agreement for a solar panel farm in Riverhead. The agreement paves the way for the energy company to lease approximately 50 acres of land from the partnership in Suffolk County over a period of 20 years.

Chris Browne is representing property owners opposed to the expansion of a restaurant/motel in Montauk. The clients, whose property abuts that of the motel, claim the motel operators are flouting town law in an attempt to reopen the restaurant that originally closed down in 1970. The shuttered restaurant currently sits in the Resort District, where a special permit is now required in order to operate a restaurant.

John Farrell 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 redeveloped.

John Farrell and Nick Cappadora successfully had an application reconsidered and approved by the Town of Huntington Board of Appeals. The client's application to the Board of Appeals had been denied and the Firm was retained to challenge the determination in an Article 78 proceeding. After filing the Article 78, Mr. Farrell and Mr. Cappadora extensively examined the history of the site and discovered that the Board was provided with false testimony about the history of the structure in question and, on the basis of this evidence, requested that the Board reconsider the decision to deny the relief. The request for reconsideration was granted and, based on the evidence presented at the new hearing, the Board of Appeals granted the application. This saved the client significant time and money in litigation.

John Farrell and Adam Koblenz successfully represented a property owner in connection with the development of two homes before the Village of Greenport Planning Board. Prior to the Firm's involvement with these matters, the property owner was experiencing resistance to the development of these properties and had gone through several hearings with the Planning Board without much success. Mr. Farrell was able to successfully argue for the approval of both applications.

John Farrell and Chris Coschignano represented a developer before the Town of Islip Planning Board in connection with an application to rezone a property zoned for industrial uses to zoning that would permit the development of an apartment complex with 96 residential units. After a contentious public hearing, the Board adopted a resolution to recommend that the Town Board change the zoning of the property to permit the development to go forward. This recommendation is an important step in the approval process and allows the matter to proceed to the Town Board for formal approval of the change of zone. The Firm will provide updates as this matter progresses.

John Farrell and Michael Sahn have been actively engaged in numerous matters for Northwell Health's Southside Hospital campus. They have conducted zoning analyses on many parcels in the area and have assisted in Northwell's expansion in the Bay Shore area in the Town of Islip.

John Farrell and Wayne Edwards are acting as zoning counsel to a fitness company seeking to establish a facility in Bridgehampton in the Town of Southampton. They have provided their client with a comprehensive analysis of the zoning issues related to the development, including the SEQRA process. Mr. Farrell and Mr. Edwards have extensive knowledge of the local zoning codes and the required environmental review process.

Jon Ward is prosecuting an appeal in the Appellate Division, Second Department, on behalf of a homeowners association, from an order of the Suffolk County Supreme Court dismissing the homeowners association's lawsuit seeking to enforce restrictive covenants limiting the use of waterfront property in a residential community. The homeowners association's lawsuit was dismissed because the trial court found that it did not have standing to enforce the restrictive covenants.

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