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Wambat Realty Corp. v. Adirondack Park Agency

Citation: 6 ELR 20690
(N.Y. Sup. Ct., 07/28/1976)

The court denies most of the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment that the Adirondack Park Agency Act is unconstitutional per se and as applied as a taking without just compensation, but strikes down as an impermissible exercise of the police power a provision allowing local governments to zone land more restrictively than has the state. Plaintiff Town of Black Brook lacks standing to challenge the substantive constitutionality of state law affecting its governmental powers. Similarly, the court dismisses plaintiff Wambat's allegation that the Act is unconstitutional as applied to all private property within the Adirondack Park, since plaintiff cannot vindicate the constitutional rights of other owners. The court holds unconstitutional as an unreasonable grant of the state's police power the Act's provision allowing local restrictions to the stricter than those imposed by the state's "overall intensity guidelines" by prohibiting certain uses. This provision grants to local governments an unlimited zoning power that the state does not itself possess. Pretrial discovery is allowed to commence to ascertain fact questions about the Act's unconstitutionality as applied to Wambat's land. The Act does not illegally "spot" zone, since the state need not zone with a comprehensive plan. Whether the Act denies plaintiffs the equal protection of the law must be pursued at trial to determine whether the state could use less restrictive alternatives to achieve the Act's objectives. Similarly, whether the Act inhibits the constitutionally protected right of travel must be investigated at trial to determine whether the Act interferes with primary housing needs in the locality.

Counsel for Plaintiff Wambat Realty
Robert Rosenthal
21 Cannan Road
Monsey NY 10952
(914) 352-2378

Counsel for Plaintiff Town of Black Brook
Lewis P. Meconi
25 Clinton St.
Plattsburgh NY 12901
(518) 563-2370

Counsel for Defendant
Louis J. Lefkowitz, Attorney General
Francis J. Keehan
State Capitol
Albany NY 12224
(518) 474-7330

Counsel for Defendant-Intervenor Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, Inc.
David Sive
Winer, Ncuberger & Sive
425 Park Ave.
New York NY 10027
(212) 421-2150

Counsel for Intervenor Hawkeye Property Owners Association
Robert J. Kafin
8 Pine St.
Glens Falls NY 12801
(518) 793-6631