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New York Updates

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New information added on April 3, 2014

  • A Twentieth Anniversary Celebration for the Property Rights Foundation of America — News Release. March 26, 2014
    The Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc., will celebrate its Twentieth Anniversary with a special dinner on Tuesday evening, April 8 at The Century House in Latham. William Perry Pendley, the President and CEO of Mountain States Legal Foundation, will deliver the evening address on “Defending Freedom in an Anti-Constitutional Era.” more...
  • Eminent Domain Based on Blight Photo Gallery“The Battle Over Eminent Domain Based on ‘Blight’” - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, June 30, 2010
    An unforgettable hearing at the State Court of Appeals on June 1 over the use of eminent domain to take small businesses for the expansion of Columbia University, a callous decision on June 25 accepting the evidence of blight from the Empire State Development Corporation, and some history of the expansion of the definition of blight to validate a public purpose tell a tale of the abysmal state of private property rights in New York.
    See also: Eminent Domain — New York
  • “Rep. Maurice Hinchey Proposes Hudson Valley National Park Study” By Carol W. LaGrasse, Property Rights Foundation of America, January 2010
    The significance of the mighty Hudson River as the nations first superhighway after the completion of the Erie Canal that enabled goods to be transported from the Midwest and down the Hudson to the port of New York o cause New York City to become the nations richest city is entirely missed in Hinchey's vague study proposal, which portrays the important facets of the Hudson to the nation as its Native American heritage, the site of Revolutionary War events, the inspiration for the Hudson River school of landscape painting, and the like.
    See also: Heritage Rivers and Areas — New York
  • Dillenburg v. State of New York, Threat to Adirondack Tax Base” - By Peter LaGrasse, Chairman, Board of Assessors, Town of Stony Creek (March 3, 2008)
    This paper shows the results of Peter LaGrasses research into the history and law involving the case Dillenburg v. State of New York. The historical documents demonstrate the motivation of the framers of the 1886 legislation providing for the state payments of taxes on the Forest Preserve land on the basis of statewide benefit. However, LaGrasse expresses concern with the State Supreme Court Chautauqua County (which is under appeal) decision because this court precisely followed a State Court of Appeals case.
    See also: Government Land Acquisition — New York
  • “Gov. Spitzer Vetoes Bill That Would Have Muddled Law of Adverse Possession” - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Reprinted from the New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 11, No. 4 (PRFA, Fall 2007
    On August 28, Governor Eliot Spitzer vetoed a bill that was said to reform the law of adverse possession, but would have made it difficult obtain title insurance in New York State and precipitated a host of new lawsuits by setting up a new test for adverse possession of whether the adverse possessor had knowledge of the correct boundary. The bill had passed with only two opposing votes, but the Real Property Section of the State Bar Association and the Property Rights Foundation let their opposition be known to the Governor after passage by the legislature.
    See also: Adverse Possession — New York
  • “Adverse Possession Heats Up In Legislature After Court Ruling” - by Carol W. LaGrasse, Reprinted from New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 11, No. 3 (PRFA Summer 2007)
    Although a survey existed in the case of Walling v. Przybylo, both sides were mistaken about the boundary between their properties until the Przybylos had a survey done many years after they owned their property. After the 2006 ruling adhering to the traditional law of adverse possession in favor of the Wallings by the New York State Court of Appeals, the Legislature reacted in sympathy to the Przybylos, who lost a strip of surveyed property, by passing a bill in 2007 that would create a hole in the law of adverse possession by stopping the claimants right if he can be deemed to have knowledge of the formally surveyed boundary. However, the traditional law of adverse possession serves the important purpose of establishing a statute of limitations and allowing the claimant to quiet title, and should not be muddied.
    See also: Adverse Possession — New York
    See also: Adverse Possession — National
  • “New York State Legislative Reform” - By Jim Malatras, Legislative Director, Office of Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, New York State Assembly; Speech to the Ninth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 22, 2005)
    Jim Malatras discusses key problems with New Yorks eminent domain process, the role of public authorities in eminent domain, and compares the approach of Assemblyman Brodsky with others in the context of the Kelo v. New London Supreme Court Decision.
    See also: Eminent Domain — New York
  • “Bill Introduced by Sen. DeFrancisco Would Limit Eminent Domain” - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, February 2006)
    An eminent domain reform bill introduced by Senator John A. DeFrancisco, Chair of the New York State Senate Judiciary Committee, would limit the use of eminent domain to true public projects such as highways, schools, and parks; require that eminent domain by authorities be approved by an elected body, and pay relocation costs.
    See also: Eminent Domain — New York
  • “Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky Introduces Eminent Domain Bill” - By Carol W. LaGrasse (Reprinted from NY Property Rights Clearinghouse, Summer 2005)
    Responding to the groundswell of outrage at the U.S. Supreme Courts Kelo v. New London decision, NY State Assemblyman Brodsky has proposed the 2005 Eminent Domain Reform Act to build on his earlier eminent domain reforms. Local government will have to jump through more hoops, property owners will get more time to appeal, homeowners compensation will be improved, tenants will be compensated, and a commission will explore further protections.
    See also: Eminent Domain — New York
    See also: Eminent Domain — National
  • April 23, 2004
    260,000-acres of International Paper Co. in Adirondacks to be “Protected”
    In celebration of Earth Day, April 22, 2004, Gov. George E. Pataki announced the biggest acquisition of land in the Adirondacks yet - 260,000 acres of International Paper Co. forest in 9 counties and 34 towns within the Adirondack Park, nearly all of IPs Adirondack holdings. In a deal involving the Conservation Fund, the State will own 2,000 acres in fee simple and will acquire conservation easements in 255,000 acres. Full story.
    See also: Adirondack Park Agency APA)
  • “Property Rights-Related Bills in the New York State Legislature” - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, May 13, 2004)
    Descriptions of 13 bills in the NY Legislature that benefit property owners, including wetlands tax abatement, statute of limitations on APA Act, tax exempt non-profit reform, forestry tax exemption reimbursement, separate wetlands assessment, wetlands homeowners relief, citizens wetlands expertise fund, wetland owner just compensation, authority reform, and eminent domain notification reform.
    See also: Property Rights — New York
  • Gov. Pataki’s State of the State: The Land Acquisition Threat Among Platitudes & Promises
    “Two years ago, I announced an ambitious ten year goal to protect one million acres of land. We’re more than on track to meet our goal. I’m proud to announce that with the purchase of development rights on 6,000 acres of farmland, we have now protected 500,000 acres,” declared Gov. George E. Pataki on January 7 in his State of the State address. “Every child, regardless of where they live, deserves clean air, clean water, and pristine open space. Our programs are guaranteeing that.” He announced “a new urban forestry initiative…to plant thousands of trees throughout our urban neighborhoods and parks.” He also announced that a new State goal is that all school buses will run on clean energy.
    See also: Government Land Acquisition — New York
  • Eminent Domain Threatens Haverstraw Owner for Supermarket and New Rochelle Owner for Tower Developer
    The Village of Haverstraw is condemning the John Graziosi Medical Complex to make way for a Compare Supermarket, according to The JournalNews.com on December 29. In opposition, Village Trustee Angelo Cintron said, “We’re not in the real estate business or the supermarket business,” according to the news publication, which stated that the Village sought to use eminent domain after the nonprofit Housing Opportunities for Growth, Advancement and Revitalization was unsuccessful in buying the property. The JournalNews.com reported on December 28 that Martin Silver, the owner of Bell Aqua Pool Supply, could be the victim of eminent domain to serve the plan’s of developer Louis Cappelli, who has plans for New Roc Tower in downtown in New Rochelle.
    See also: Eminent Domain — New York
  • Appellate Court Voids North Hempstead’s Rental Data Requirement
    In a case involving Port Jefferson investor Anthony Neville, the Appellate Division on December 1, according to Newsday, prohibited the Town of North Hempstead from enforcing two parts of a law requiring that landlords provide data about tenants because the provisions “violate the tenant’s constitutional right to privacy.” One such provision was that the landlord obtain the “names, ages and relationships, if any, to the owner of the premises of each person presently residing in or occupying such premises intended for rental occupancy.” The second was that a new form had to be filed whenever “a new tenant or other person” moved in. Mr. Neville objected to the requirements because it turned him into an investigator for the town, Newsday reported, interviewing the landlord’s lawyer. The newspaper quoted the attorney saying that there is a drive on Long Island to keep out renters. No kidding!
    See also: Defending Landlord’s Rights — New York
  • NYS Court of Appeals Limits Free-Rein Forfeiture
    New York’s highest court ruled against Nassau County on November 24 in a civil forfeiture case against Michaele K. Canavan, who was arrested in September 2000 and charged with driving while intoxicated, speeding, and failure to signal. The 1995 Saturn automobile she had been driving was seized and she was given notice that it might be forfeited to the County. She had pleaded guilty to the traffic infractions of speeding and driving while impaired by alcohol. Chief Justice Kaye, who wrote the opinion, held that the Nassau County’s ordinance was unconstitutional on two grounds and should be rewritten. She held that because it provided that “every conceivable offense—however minor” may be subject of forfeiture, the ordinance was “devoid of standards.” The ruling also voided the ordinance because it did not mandate a prompt post-seizure hearing in all cases.
    See also: Asset Forfeiture — New York
  • “Governor Pataki Vetoes Eminent Domain Reform”
    - By Carol W. LaGrasse PRFA, November 1, 2003
    Both houses of the Legislature had unanimously passed a bill to require written notice to property owners before the condemnation of their property. As it is now, when property owners receive the condemnation notice, it is too late to protest. Gov. Pataki vetoed the bill on Sept. 22, saying that it would cost too much, but nearly every other state has this notice.
    See also: Eminent Domain — New York
  • Adirondack Citizens Council Announced - First Meeting, Colton, N.Y., April 24, 2003.
    A new organization has formed to give a greater voice to citizens in legislation and policy making for the future of the Adirondacks. Hank Ford announced the first meeting at a packed gathering of hunting clubs, local government and legislatures at the Stillwater Club in April. Hunters, fishermen, snowmobilers, ATVers, logging industries, local government, businesses and citizens are invited.
    See also: Northern Forest Lands
  • “Legislation Would Tighten Laws Allowing Tax Exempt Properties” — By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, February 25, 2003)
    Proposed reforms would reduce the current shift of the real estate tax burden to homeowners from tax-exempt organizations. Senators Bonacic and Little introduced legislation early this year to tighten standards for qualifying charities, to require clear and convincing proof that the property is being used for the charitable purpose, and to give localities the option of whether to grant exemptions for certain charities that are now entitled to the exemptions.
    See also: Real Estate Tax and Assessments—New York
  • “Governor Pataki Announces Plan to Preserve an Additional One Million Acres of Land” (PRFA,
    September 2002)

    On September 17, Governor George E. Pataki officially announced the State’s new Open Space Conservation Plan, which is updated every three years. Even though the State’s environmental department and parks office say that they have acquired over 394,000 acres of land since the Republican governor took office in 1995, they went for a cool one million acres of additional private land to acquire. The goals in the plans are for rolling achievements. Each edition of the plan sets high and lesser priority acquisitions, and, as some of these lands are gobbled up, as well as various publicly unplanned acquisitions, the agencies target different private properties. For many years, those concerned about the economies of the Catskill and Adirondacks regions, which bear the brunt of the lockups for wilderness restoration, have tried to get the State to recognize that its environmental law requires that the final cumulative goal must be publicly laid out, but to no avail. However, because of 9/11, the State is too financially strapped to meet its grandiose wilderness plans.
    See also: Government Land Acquisition—New York
  • The New York Times gets Power of Condemnation, Indirectly (PRFA, January 2002)
    The Empire State Development Corporation plans to condemn private property on Eighth Avenue between 40th and 41st streets, Manhattan, to transfer it to another private property owner, The New York Times, whose headquarters on West 43rd street are now too “old” and “cramped.” The New York Post, which is often at odds with the liberal Times, argued in favor of the condemnation, dismissing the right of landlords of a row of “smut shops” to stop the “grand new headquarters” for the Times. Early this year the Post pointed out that the owners of the building at 265 W. 40th Street had their land taken by the Nazis in Poland, and calls “all too obvious” the “invidious parallel.” The Post asks, “Will the city have a beautiful new home, with public amenities, for a media company that employs thousands – or be left with a creepy remnant of the infamous ‘Minnesota Strip?’”
    See also: Eminent Domain—New York
  • The Nature Conservancy Gets 11,000 Acres of Great South Bay Bottomlands (PRFA, October 23,
    2002)

    One-third of the lands beneath Great South Bay, which were acquired by The Nature Conservancy recently, will be transferred within three years to the Town of Brookhaven or the State of New York, according Paul Rabinovitch, executive director of the conservancy’s Long Island program. The bottomlands, which are located on the south shore of eastern Long Island, have been owned for nearly a century by the Bluepoints Company, which sold the land but withheld about 1,400 acres where it still grows oysters. According to Newsday on October 22, the Arlington Virginia-based conservancy acquired the 11,000 acres of water-covered land, valued at about $2 million, with the intent to enlist several “partners” to reach a “consensus” on the best use. The partners include SUNY Stony Brook’s Marine Sciences Research Center, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Town of Brookhaven, and the State Department of Environmental Conservation. Mr. Rabinovitch was quoted as saying that they also intend to include in the process the baymen who harvest shellfish off the bay’s floor. The conservancy typically acts as a middleman to transfer land from private ownership to the government.
    See also: Land Trusts
  • “Cops Harvest Pot on State Forest Preserve” (PRFA, August, 2002)
    Pot entrepreneurs are being given credit for trying to put to use a small corner of the State’s three million acres of Adirondack Forest Preserve land. On August 20, police officers from the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office filled a small dump truck from the Town of Arietta and a pickup truck from the county highway department with a crop of 123 marijuana plants, most over six feet tall, that they seized from five plots on State Forest Preserve land along State Route 10 in the Town of Arietta. According to the Hamilton County News, the officers burned the plants at the Arietta stump dump that afternoon. The plants were growing in camouflage-painted black plastic pots. DEC officer Peter Buswell said that, at about $1,600 per mature plant, the haul was worth $196,000. The plants were doomed when a passerby spotted some of them growing along the highway and called the sheriff’s department. Hamilton County Sheriff Douglas Parker said that a description of a suspect and a vehicle led nowhere.
    See also: Management of State-owned Land—New York
  • October 2001:
    Department of Environmental Conservation Open Space Conservation Plan

    The 485-page document describes the DEC/Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s philosophy, land acquisition plan, and generic environmental impact statement, and gives the regional advisory committee reports.
    Copies of the Open Space Plan are available over the web or at the DEC contact address listed on this web page. Telephone (518) 402-9417.
    See also: Access to Government Lands—New York
  • July 10, 2001
    “DEC settles in access for disabled lawsuit”-Reprinted by permission from the Hamilton County News, July 10, 2001
    The State of New York has caved in to three years of civil rights litigation brought by disabled local residents in federal court. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will give the disabled real access to the State Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains-including access to motor vehicle roads exclusively used by the State and the expenditure of nearly $4.8 million to make parking areas, restrooms, fishing access sites, boat launches, campsites, picnic areas, equestrian mounting platforms and offices accessible to the disabled.
    See also: The Adirondack Park Agency
    See also: Access to Government Lands
  • May 30, 2001:
    “Update on Adirondack Litigation”-Speech by Carol W. LaGrasse to the Adirondack Park Agency Local Government Review Board, Baxter Mountain Lodge, Keene, N.Y.
    This speech describes the lawsuit challenging the State acquisition of the Champion International tracts and the lawsuit that Carol LaGrasse brought challenging new regulations promulgated by the APA. The speech also points out the likely reason why the Conservation Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Adirondack Park Agency and the National Parks and Conservation Association are behind the new Adirondack Community Information Centers and the Twinning project—wolf reintroduction.
    See also: The Adirondack Park Agency
  • February 9, 2001
    DEC Open Space Conservation Plan

    The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, in conjunction with the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, periodically revises its land acquisition plan, which it calls the “Open Space Conservation Plan.” Work on a new revision in each DEC region has begun. At the meetings of the governor-appointed Regional Advisory Committees, which are open to public attendance, the committee members started working on revised plans early in 2001.
    See Also: Government Land Acquisition - New York State

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