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Court Temporarily Halts Village of Piermont From Processing Application To Build Multi-Family On Piermont Avenue

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Court Order Prevents Piermont Planning Board From Advancing Developer’s Application For Special Permit


Rockland Supreme Court Justice Hal Greenwald has halted, at least temporarily, the processing of an application pending before the Village of Piermont for a Special Permit to construct a multi-family dwelling unit at 447-477 Piermont Avenue in Piermont.

A lawsuit filed last month by four Piermont residents, who oppose a proposal to construct a modern multifamily residential building in the Village’s historic downtown, sought to void the Village’s zoning law and to stop the developer’s application before any approvals or permits are issued.

Greenwald entered an order granting the residents the relief sought. The order derails the application, prevents the processing or granting of any approvals, and precludes the Village from holding a public meeting unless and until it complies with New York’s Open Meetings Law by making the materials available related to the application available to the public.

The Court will revisit the temporary order July 8th.

In a letter to the Court on May 21, Brian Condon, counsel for the residents, told the court that decision on the application appeared imminent.

The Village had set a Planning Board meeting on the application for June 10th – but according to counsel for the developer, Lee Lefkowitz, the developer is still revising its architectural plans and was not expecting any Special Permit or approvals at the June 10th meeting.

The requirement for a Special Permit is part of a new zoning law, passed in March of 2023, that created the CBM (Central Business Multi-Use) zone. The permit would allow residential multifamily buildings along historic Piermont Avenue.

Plaintiffs Janice Young, Laura Healy-Grznar, John Grznar, and Valentina Zitt, live within 500 feet of the proposed project at 447-477 Piermont Avenue. They allege the new Zoning Law and the CBM zone are illegal and have asked the Court to declare the local law “null and void.”

The dispute arose after the Rockland County Planning Department, in a series of letters, wrote the “local law that created the Central Business Multi-Use (CBM) District was not properly referred” to the County Planning Department and that it is “jurisdictionally defective”.

Zoning Amendments require review by the Rockland County Department of Planning under what is generally referred to as GML (General Municipal Law) Section 239 Review.

The Village says it fully complied back in January of 2023 when it mailed the proposed text amendment to the County Planning Department, as well as other municipal entities that have acknowledged receipt of the GML package. The County Planning Department maintains the Village did not comply and says the local law creating the new zone was “not properly referred.”

Under New York State law, a referral to the County Planning Department is accomplished when a “full statement” of the proposed action is received by the County, but “received” under the law only requires that the package is delivered by mail to the clerk of the County Planning Department. When delivery is made by mail, the date of the postmark is considered the date of delivery.

According to the Village, the Village Clerk has prepared an affidavit attesting to mailing the GML package to the County on January 10, 2023. The County maintains says it never received the package.

Justice Greenwald’s ruling did not address the legality of the CBM district. It only maintains the status quo until July 8th when the Court could either lift, modify, or extend its order.