"Orthodox Monks Fight Wind Project" - News Brief, PRFA, January 2008
"City of Buffalo Issues Summonses to Banks Holding
Mortgages on Abandoned Properties"
- News Brief, PRFA, January 2008
"Ministry of Brooklyn's 'Green Church' Is Threatened
By Community Preservationists"
- News Brief, PRFA, January 2008
"Neighbors Rescue Small Bookstores By Investing
In Them" - News Brief, PRFA,
Rights Bill Would Stop the Rules from Changing" - Carol W. LaGrasse, News Item, PRFA, February 7,
Municipalities have been adding new rules in response to NIMBY's
after applications are filed. The Vested Rights Bill (A6023-A
and S3852-A) would put a stop to this unfair practice.
"Impact Fees Are Becoming a Popular Tool of Tax-strapped
- News Brief, PRFA, Nov. 2007
- By Carol W. LaGrasse,
March 31, 2005
"Court Allows Awosting Development at Base of
Shawangunk Ridge" - PRFA
News Brief, March 10, 2005
New York State Supreme Court, Ulster County, overruled Town
of Gardiner zoning board of appeals' ruling prohibiting
central sewage system for the upscale Awosting Reserve plan at
the edge of the preservationists' coveted Shawangunks.
"Ellenville Thumbs Its Nose at Freedom of Information
Law; Activist Landlord Dies"
- Reprinted from N.Y. Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol.
8, No. 4 (PRFA, Fall 2004)
"Zoning Concepts Don't Seem to Matter in Exclusive
- PRFA, Summer 2004
In view of the beautiful Hudson River, well-to-do commuters
are buying luxury townhouses adjacent to noisy rail yards that
look like industrial sites-at prices from $400,000 to over $1.6
"Assemblyman Prentiss Introduces Bill to Protect
Property Owners from Stealth Rules" - PRFA, Summer 2004
A bill called "The Homeowner's Detrimental
Reliance Act" (A. 10445) introduced into the New
York State Legislature would protect building permit applicants
from being hit with citations from state and federal agencies
that they never heard about after they complied with a local
"Should Synagogues That Do Not Allow Driving
on the Sabbath be Required to Provide Parking?" - March 2004
Houses of worship are prospering in Flushing, but residents
complain about the parking problem. A proposed New York City
zoning rule would require all places of worship to provide parking
in line with their largest meeting hall, but Orthodox Jews do
not drive on the Sabbath.
"Property Rights Legal Foundation Inaugerated"
(PRFA, Oct. 18, 2003)
Attorney Madeline Sheila Galvin announced at the Seventh Annual
Conference on Private Property
Rights that the long-envisioned Property Rights Legal Foundation
was incorporated in September. The primary purpose of the non-profit
organization is "to promote freedom, property rights, civil
constitutionally guaranteed rights."
of Techniques Used to Oppose Restrictive Land Use Laws:
Letter - By Carol W. LaGrasse, May 20, 2004
This letter was mailed to every
household with a Stony Creek address or post office box a few
days before the public hearing that the Town Board held about
a proposed "Law to Regulate
the Storage and Maintenance of Junk Motor Vehicles."
As a result of the letter, the town hall was so packed that all
seats were filled and people crowded around the back and sides
of the room. Mostly new, more well-to-do people in this small
town said that they wanted the law, but the vast majority of
the people were offended. Many stated their opposition with eloquence.
Rules for You" - Poem
by Carol W. LaGrasse, May 23,2004
Carol LaGrasse read this poem aloud
at the public hearing held by the Stony Creek Town Board for
their unwanted proposed "Junk"
law designed to control unlicensed vehicles that the people keep
for a multitude of reasons.
Subsidized Housing Keeps the Poor Down" Book review
by Carol W. LaGrasse, April 9, 2005
Review of: America's Trillion-Dollar Housing Mistake-The
Failure of American Housing Policy
By Howard Husock (Ivan R. Dee, Chicago 2003)
Pacific Legal Foundation
(litigates important private
property rights cases)
& web site
(national organization of automobile hobbyists,
also helps private property owners against zoning)
Positions on Property,
Vol 3-No. 2 "New
Crimes, New Power:
Zoning & Building Codes"
(PRFA, May 1996)
A Wake-Up CallOrganizing for Success, Proceedings of the Fifth Annual New York Conference
on Private Property Rights, edited by Carol W. LaGrasse,
Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.
National leaders and experts reveal essentials about reaching
your representative, exposing government to the light of day,
effective media work, web outreach, cable television, the successful
newsletter, keeping a group together, building coalitions, and
fund-raisingall in the context of defending freedom.
Handbook, 2000 - Fifth Ed."
CD ROM digest of N.Y. State zoning law, available free from New
York State Department of State
Committee on Open Government
State of New York
Department of State
Robert J. Freeman, Exec. Dir.
Address and website
"Town Law Manual - For Town
Supervisors and Town Boards"
The Association of Towns of the State of New York
A well-organized, thorough compendium of law in ordinary language
for town officials - everything from town board meetings, fiscal
matters, town legislation, town officers, and employees, to sewer
and water improvements, fire protection, and the state environmental
quality review act.
(Non-member price: $10.00)
The Association of Towns of the State of New York
Houston Property Rights Association
James Bovard, Freedom
in Chains (St. Martin's Press, 1999)
James Bovard, Lost
Rights (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1994)
Bernard H. Siegan,
Property and FreedomThe Constitution, The Courts, and
land-Use Regulation (Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick
Bernard H. Siegan,
Land Use Without Zoning - (Bartholdi & Lazarus, Houston,
Domain & Land Regulation Should Be Reined In" -
By Carol W. LaGrasse, President, Property Rights Foundation of
America, Inc., December 2010
Full report on Fourteenth Annual National Conference on Private
Property Rights, Lake George, New York, Oct. 23, 2010. John S.
Marwell of Shamberg Marwell Davis and Hollis in Mr. Kisco and
James E. Morgan of Galvin and Morgan in Delmar discuss how land
use regulations and controls push particular people out of communities
and prevent certain population groups from moving into communities
in the powerful section of the conference on "New
York's Troubling Land Use Controls."
Zoning" - By John S. Marwell, Esq., Shamberg Marwell
Davis & Hollis, Mt. Kisco, New York, Twelfth Annual National
Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October
The moratorium is the ultimate no-growth zoning tool, during
which a town can institute new planning and zoning requirements,
even after an applicant has filed for a permit. Ever-increasing
impositions include no use of land said to be wetland, wetland
setbacks, steep slopes, viewsheds, even exposed rock outcroppings.
Now, "environmental subtractions" can
remove these from density computations. Organizing and education
to expose the junk science behind new rules is essential. The
Vested Rights Bill in the New York State Legislature would protect
property owners who have submitted applications from a moratorium
and new rules.
Power Meets Zoning" - By Alan J. Knauf, Esq., Knauf
Shaw LLP, Rochester, N.Y.; Twelfth Annual National Conference
on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
Across New York and the country in zoning boards, planning
boards, and in courts, landowners and developers are fighting
town officials, NIMBY 's and somewhat hypocritical environmentalists
to utilize wind power, an abundant natural resource in upstate
New York. This talk outlines the current status of what's
going on with wind power and zoning regulation, particularly
in upstate New York. One solution may be legislation to supersede
Rights of Religious Institutions Facing Zoning and Historic Preservation"
- By Roman P. Storzer, Storzer & Greene, P.L.L.C. Washington,
D.C.; Twelfth Annual National Conference on Private Property
Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
In no other area is there as much restriction on religious
exercise, a First Amendment freedom, than in the land use context,
with possibly the exception of prisoners. The federal Religious
Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, RLUIPA, targets landmarking
and land use laws. Zoning boards no longer hold all the power.
Churches, mosques and temples can go to court and get redress
under a relatively strong standard of review.
- "The Façade
of New Urbanism & the Form-Based Code" - By Lolita
Buckner Inniss, J.D., L.L.M., Associate Professor of Law, Cleveland-Marshall
School of Law, Cleveland State University, Cleveland Ohio, Twelfth
Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA,
Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
Form-based code, a tool of New Urbanism, is not doing what
advocates claim. It tries to create by design what was spontaneous
over a century. The "collaborative" charette
process, ostensibly based on the "community,"
is monopolized by a small strand of people, the elite. New Urbanism
tries to recreate old urbanism, but old cities like New York
existed as a great range of neighborhood characters experienced
by different groups of people. Old urban centers were based on
wealth and inherently exclusionary. Zoning originated to protect
wealthy urban interests. Zoning contributes to the decline of
cities by excluding industrial workplaces from areas where workers
and Building Codes: Rules Beyond Reason" - By Carol
W. LaGrasse., President, Property Rights Foundation of America,
Inc., Twelfth Annual National Conference on Private Property
Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
Delivered as the welcome address, this speech gave LaGrasse's
overview from personal experience and observations, first as
a civil engineer practicing in New York City and over most recent
decades involved in private property rights in upstate New York.
City zoning serves well-connected interests. The State's
regional Adirondack zoning for supposedly environmental purposes
is in reality the product of scheming wealthy New York City interests,
as well. Building codes have gone far beyond their original purpose
to protect public health and safety, to micromanage and obstruct
private homeowners' plans.
of Occupancy without Building Inspection" - By Kenneth
Switzer, Rock Stream, N.Y., Select Citizen's Panel-Brief Presentation,
Twelfth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights
(PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
Using every imaginable tactic to put pressure on the town
officials, Mr. Switzer succeeded in persuading them to allow
him to sign a waiver of liability and the town gave him a certificate
of occupancy in his seven-year-old house without a building inspection.
- "Property Rights
Around New York" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, President,
Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc. (Speech to the Building
& Realty Institute of Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Region,
White Plains, N.Y., September 11, 2008)
On the anniversary of 9/11, the insidious attempt to repeal
new building code protections of high-rise office occupants that
were the culmination of the work of the best minds in fire protection
and engineering points to the true need for government that would
protect the economy and property rights of New Yorkers by dealing
with dictatorial historic preservation, NIMBY obstruction of
local development, utility obstruction, warrantless rental inspections,
overzealous wetland protection, free-wheeling eminent domain,
and limitless preservation-oriented land acquisition.
Your Story" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (Property Rights
Foundation of America Research Form, February 2008)
Have you been snared by local officials after you made an
application for a site plan, subdivision, or building permit?
Did they add new regulations that weren't in place when
you submitted your application? Please tell your story on this
form, which will help illustrate the failure of the current land
use and environmental review law, and may help change the law.
Asking for It" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, March 2007)
Local government's disdain for the public, the obstruction
of development by local officials, and the willingness of local
government to sign away the right of the people to govern locally,
while officials assume more power and receive more money, make
local government vulnerable to consolidation and regional restructuring.
York Property Rights Directions"-Speech by Carol W.
LaGrasse, Cato Institute Conference-"Property Rights on
the March: Where from Here," December 1, 2006, Washington,
An overview of where property rights stand in New York, what
the directions are, and where the work for our cause has been
effective: focusing on the battle to keep land in private hands,
holding off extreme land-use regulation, the issue of conservation
easements, regional preservationist land-use battles, ubiquitous
zoning conflicts; and eminent domain.
Slew of Property Rights Bills Submitted to State Legislature"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, June 2006)
Bi-partisan bills in the New York State Legislature tackle
eminent domain reform, local permit applicant uncertainty, and
uniformity of Adirondack regulations with statewide rules, as
well as economic impact of Adirondack Park Agency and DEC planning.
Is Not The Answer" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Speech sponsored
by Austerlitz Citizens Together (ACT), Spencertown, New York,
May 22, 2006
The other side of rural zoning includes interest-driven preservation
grants, unrealistic assumptions about the countryside, formulaistic
studies and plans by consultants, and strait jacketing of grandfathered
small businesses. Instead, private property rights and freedom
should be paramount.
of Engagement"-By Carol W. LaGrasse, President, Property
Rights Foundation of America. Speech to the Ninth Annual National
Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y.,
October 22, 2005)
"First of all, fight to win. Set your goals. Speak your
issue clearly to be heard by the government and by those who
can follow you," begins Carol LaGrasse's short,
to-the-point summary of the basic, essential rules for grassroots
success in defending private property rights at every level.
Rights, Trails, & Open Space Preservation" - By
Carol W. LaGrasse, Speech to the Comprehensive Planning Advisory
Committee, Town of Ballston, June 22, 2005
Private property rights were fundamental to the founders and
protected other rights, but a brief chronology shows that U.S.
Supreme Court rulings dealing with zoning and open space have
both eroded and protected these rights. Trails threaten private
property owners with liability and other problems, but reversionary
title is protected.
in Opposition to 42-acre Zoning in Town of Queensbury"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse, President, Property Rights Foundation
of America, Queensbury Town Hall, Queensbury, N.Y., January 10,
The town board proposed radical, dead-end zoning of 42 acres
per lot for 22 percent of the land, the same as the strictest
zoning in the Adirondack Park. Section 265 of the Town Law provides
for a 3/4 vote of the town board if owners of 20 percent of the
affected land object. Low-income workers already have difficulty
finding housing, according to a 2003 statement about the success
of their open space plan by the town's planner.
on Open Government Assists LaGrasse FOIL Request" -
By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, Dec. 29, 2003)
Records of citations of rental properties were sought after
small landlords in Ellenville complained to PRFA about numerous
petty citations. The Village of Ellenville imposed a $300 "administrative
fee" in addition to the statutory 25 cents per copy
RightsThe Court of Appeals of New York" - By Stuart R. Shamberg,
Founder, Shamberg Marwell Hocherman Davis & Hollis, P.C.,
Seventh Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights
(PRFA, October 18, 2003)
In 2002, NY's Court of Appeals ruled that courts could
not substitute their decision for the determination of the local
zoning board if there was any evidence in the administrative
record to support its decision.
Stuart R. Shamberg
Peter J. LaGrasse
State Court of Appeals Favors Applicants for Variances"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse (Reprinted from New York
Property Rights Clearinghouse, Summer 2003)
The state's highest court ruled on July 2, 2003 that
it is not necessary for an applicant for a variance to show "practical
difficulty" or "unnecessary harship,"
because the state law requiring that the benefit to the applicant
be weighed against the detriment to the health, safety and welfare
of the community, and other factors, preempts local law establishing
Laws are Callous, Bureaucratic" -
By Carol W. LaGrasse, Letter to the Editor, Published in the
Post- Star, Glens Falls, N.Y., July 24, 2003
Older women are the victims of property maintenance regulations.
It's not surprising that a Hudson Falls building inspector would
abuse his power under such a callous ordinance.
Jurisdictions Requiring Permits in New York State" -
By Carol W. LaGrasse, June 4, 2003
When applying for a local building permit, property owners
are unaware of the multiplicity of local, state, and federal
agencies potentially having jurisdiction. The tentative list
of over 30 agencies in "Overlapping Jurisdictions"
shows the urgent need for a State clearinghouse to provide applicants
with an official list of potentially jurisdictional agencies.
Jurisdictions Hit Home with Couple's Dream House" -
By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, June 2, 2003)
The Town of Niskayuna failed to warn a young couple about
the Corps of Engineers' jurisdiction over wetlands. The
State of New York desperately needs a central source for information
about the numerous overlapping permit requiring agencies.
Regulators" - Commentary by Carol
W. LaGrasse (Reprinted from New York Property Rights Clearinghouse,
Southampton,Long Island, officials passed rules imposing fines
and jail sentences if residents hang their wash up to dry in
- "The Wall of Cars"
By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, May 2002)
Junkyard owner Gene Crandall stacks cars four high for one-quarter
mile along his property line, to comply with the Town of Mentz's
order to build a fence.
Click to see large photo
Kennard Walter, used by permission
Peter J. LaGrasse
Zoning was Defeated in Wetmore Township" - Featuring
recollections by Andy Rakiecki (Reprinted from New York Property
Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 2002)
Local citizens defending the rural lifestyle in a Pennsylvania
town in the area of the Allegheny National Forest used a townwide
referendum to get their anti-zoning message across, 399-47.
Maggie and Andy Rakiecki
Warwick Zoning Battle Ends" By Carol W. LaGrasse
(PRFA, February 2002)
Farmers give a little in dispute with urban emigres. Town
drops key parts of farm preservation plan, including "Purchase
of Development Rights" and "Open Space"
by Zoning - by Jack Down, President of Citizens Against Repressive
Zoning (C.A.R.Z.) (February 4, 2002)
Jack Down's moving summary of the roster
of people killed in recent years because of zoning enforcement.
Have Private Property RightsWhat Does This Mean?"
- Carol W. LaGrasse, speech sponsored by "Local,"
Warwick, N.Y., (PRFA, October 29, 2001)
This speech, at the invitation of local farmers and landowners,
addresses the combined threat of zoning farmland as "Open
Space" while pressuring farmers to sell conservation
easements, or PDR's (Purchase of Development Rights),
to preserve the character of the remaining farmland that suburbanites
moving into the area enjoy.
Historic District" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, Letter
to Editor published in Freeman's Journal, Cooperstown, N.Y.,
May 7, 1999
Once a building is placed on the National Historic Register,
either individually or as part of a Historic District, the state's
Environmental Quality Review Act, SEQRA, mandates that every
state and local agency take into account the historic preservation
of the building when the agency receives an application for the
Against Excessive Zoning" - Thomas A. Miller,
Founding Member, Allegany Citizens Rights Committee, Allegany,
N.Y., from Proceedings of the Third Annual New York Conference
on Private Property Rights (1998)
A New Municipality" - Gary Vegliante, Mayor, Village
of Westhampton Dunes, N.Y.. from Proceedings of the Third
Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (1998)
of Local Ordinances on Forestry" Gregory M. DeSylva,
Consulting Forester, Rhinebeck, New York, from Proceedings
of the Third Annual Conference on Private Property Rights
In spite of selective harvesting and monitoring logging jobs
to see that the environment and private property are protected,
this consulting forester found that the forest industry is still
"given hell," with lengthy permits with
outrageous restrictions, excessive bonding, DEC-approved loggers,
no-cut zones, and other problems.