Welcome to the Spring/Summer 2012 edition of "Report from Counsel," a Newsletter for the Firm's clients and the other professionals who consult with the Firm, updating them on our practice as well as important new developments in the law.

SAHN WARD COSCHIGNANO & BAKER is a full service law firm concentrating in the areas of zoning and land use planning; real estate law and transactions; civil litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts; municipal law and legislative practice; environmental law; corporate / business law and commercial transactions; telecommunications law; labor and employment law; real estate tax certiorari and condemnation; estate planning and administration. The Firm is committed to providing its clients with the highest quality legal representation, counsel and advice, and to using our expertise to achieve our clients’ goals. The Firm has an extensive client base that includes Fortune 500 companies, prominent regional businesses, municipalities, government agencies and authorities, and individuals. Our offices are centrally located to serve our clients on Long Island and in New York City.

New Developments at the Firm

Michael Sahn Attends the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement

     Founding partner Michael Sahn traveled to Washington, D.C. on June 11th to attend The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement. In its thirteenth year, The Burton Awards recognizes and rewards legal scholarship, writing and achievements in the law by partners and counsel from the nation’s law firms, members of the Judiciary and legal educators.  More

Michael Sahn with Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.,
at the 13th Annual Burton Awards for Legal Achievement.

The Firm Welcomes Distinguished Attorneys
Wayne G. Edwards, Esq.,  Brian S. Stolar, Esq.  and Joseph Bjarnson, Esq.

     The Firm is honored to welcome distinguished attorneys Wayne G. Edwards and Brian S. Stolar, who have joined the Firm as Partners.  We also welcome Joseph Bjarnson who has become a litigation associate with the Firm.  More

Wayne G. Edwards, Esq. Brian S. Stolar, Esq. Joseph Bjarnson, Esq.

New Developments in the Law

Beyond Smart Growth: New Urbanism
By Michael H. Sahn, Esq.
     The term “Smart Growth” has become common parlance in the world of land use planning and zoning. There is no one definition of “Smart Growth”. The term is used frequently and in various contexts. Nonetheless, generally speaking, Smart Growth is associated with the establishment of pedestrian-friendly communities that encourage residents and neighbors to shop and to interact in a community with mixed-use development. Advocates of “Smart Growth” argue that the suburbs built after World War II, which depended on access to highways and brought about the reliance on automobiles to commute to and from a city or metropolitan area for work, are no longer sustainable. The argument is that Smart Growth is sustainable growth because it does not depend on highways and roadways to sustain a standard of living, the economy and for employment.   More

Suffolk County Land Bank and Brownfield Redevelopment
By Jason Kaplan, Esq.
     On March 13, 2012, the Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved a resolution to create the Suffolk County Land Bank Corporation (“Land Bank”), pursuant to the New York State Land Bank Program (Article 16 of the New York Not-For-Profit Corporation Law), signed into law by Governor Cuomo in July 2011. Article 16 provides New York State municipalities the ability to apply for and create land banks in their communities to take control and redevelop vacant and abandoned land, known as brownfields. More

New York State Legislature Adopts New Law to Allow More Flexibility in Granting Extensions of Time to Complete Requirements of Conditional Approval of Final Subdivision Plats
By Jason Horowitz, Esq.
     The New York State Legislature amended Section 32-7(c) of the New York State General City Law, Section 7-728-7(c) of the New York State Village Law and Section 276-7(c) of the New York State Town Law.  These amendments permit the Planning Board or other municipal body having subdivision jurisdiction to grant more than two (2) extensions of conditional approval of final plats if warranted by the particular circumstances of each application. Previously, conditional approval of a final plat expired after 180 days, with a maximum of two ninety day extensions.  More

Matters of Interest at the Firm

     The Firm is pleased to have represented The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. as zoning and land use counsel in connection with its move to new corporate headquarters. Michael Sahn, as Lead Counsel, provided guidance on the land use negotiations and approvals involved in establishing their new offices in approximately 86,100 square feet at 1111 Marcus Avenue, Lake Success.

     The Firm’s Litigation Department continues to expand under Jon A. Ward’s supervision and leadership. In recent months, the Firm has handled highly complex commercial matters involving cutting edge areas of the law, which include, a potential class action lawsuit, which involves arbitration issues under the Federal Arbitration Act that have been the subject of recent rulings by the United States Supreme Court; securities litigation implicating breach of fiduciary duty claims involving creditors; Federal Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law claims; partnership disputes regarding voting agreements; construction law and lateral support; adverse possession; complex mortgage foreclosures and environmental contamination. 

     Partner Daniel Baker represented national retailer Costco Wholesale Corp. at a public hearing concerning an application before the Hempstead Town Board to install a gasoline station at a Costco store in Lawrence, Nassau County.   More

Out & About

      Chris J. Coschignano recently attended the Vatican's Path to Peace Foundation Dinner at the New York Athletic Club.  Pictured with Chris are His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan of the Roman Catholic Church and Michael V. Hayden, retired United States Air Force Four-Star General and former Director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Chris Coschignano with Cardinal Egan Chris Coschignano with Gen. Michael Hayden

    Long Island Business News featured Michael Sahn in its annual report for 2011, Who's Who in Commercial and Residential Real Estate Law. In an article published in this special section, Michael Sahn addressed the issues and trends surrounding the "greening" of municipal building codes, noting that New York and its municipalities have thus far moved slower than other jurisdictions in adopting green building standards.

     Michael Sahn joined a distinguished panel of speakers at the Town of North Hempstead's "Buildings Department Conference," held on April 30 at the Harbor Links Golf Course in Port Washington.

     Daniel Baker, Co-Chair of the Nassau County Bar Association Real Property Law Committee, moderated a program entitled "Successful Closings in a Distressed Real Estate Market" on Wednesday, March 14th.

      Partner Miriam Villani and Jason Kaplan gave a presentation on the benefits of solar energy for the agribusiness sector at the New York Agri-Women's Second Annual Conference in Riverhead on March 3. The Conference was an all-day event centered on agriculture and farming.

Michael Sahn and Chris Coschignano pictured with Distinguished Dignitaries of the
Town of Oyster Bay and the legendary classic rock group “America” at the
“Music Under the Stars” concert series on July 10th.

     Long Island Business News recognized Adam H. Koblenz in the “LI Lawyer Ones to Watch” column that appeared in the June 8-14 issue.

Adam Koblenz and Dan Braff pictured with the tennis participants at
CMF's 37th Annual Golf & Tennis Charity Classic

      Associate Elaine Colavito, as one of the leaders in the Firm's matrimonial practice, has become a Member of the Board of the Directors of the Nassau County Women's Bar Association and is very active with the Matrimonial Committee.  More

Up Close & Personal

     We are pleased to highlight Brian Stolar, who joined the Firm as a Partner and concentrates his practice in the areas of zoning and land use planning, real estate development, municipal law, and litigation. He represents private property owners and municipalities, and appears regularly before municipal boards in connection with land use applications.  More

     We are also pleased to highlight Jason Kaplan, who joined the Firm as an associate. Before joining the Firm, he served as an associate in two Garden City law firms. Previously, he was a law clerk for General Electric Company, where he focused on Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) matters on behalf of the Corporate Environmental Programs EHS management.  More


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Table of Contents

Cover Page

New Developments at the Firm

New Developments in the Law

Beyond Smart Growth:
New Urbanism

Suffolk County Land Bank and Brownfield Redevelopment

NYS Legislature Adopts New
Law to Allow More Flexibility in Granting Extensions of Time to Complete Requirements of Conditional Approval of Final Subdivision Plats

Matters of Interest at the Firm

Out & About

Up Close & Personal


Firm Partners

Michael H. Sahn

Jon A. Ward

Chris J. Coschignano

Daniel J. Baker

 Miriam E. Villani

Wayne G. Edwards

Brian S. Stolar

Andrew M. Roth

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