Supreme Court Upholds Residential/Golf Course Development Approvals

November 15, 2023 – In a pair of decisions, the Supreme Court, Suffolk County (Hon. Joseph Farneti) has denied the legal challenges brought by neighbors and upheld the decisions of the Huntington Town Zoning Board and Planning Board, in connection with the project known as the Preserve at Indian Hills.  

In the “Article 78” proceeding against the Zoning Board, Justice Farneti issued a 21-page decision that addressed each argument made by the neighbors, as well a the responses from the project sponsors and the Town’s ZBA.  Among other things, Justice Farneti rejected the neighbors’ claims that the ZBA (1) committed procedural violations during its vote, (2)  “usurped” the powers of the Town Board, (3) failed to make proper findings, (4) failed to respond to a request for interpretive relief, (5) improperly limited its scope of review, and (6) failed to comply with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).  Justice Farneti found many of the neighbors’ claims misdirected against the ZBA, when they should have made those claims against an earlier decision made by the Town’s Planning Board. 

In the second proceeding against the Planning Board, Justice Farneti issued a 15-page decision in which he explained the Court’s ultimate finding “that the petition has been brought long after the Planning Board’s decision-making process had concluded and the time to commence any legal challenge had expired.”  Justice Farneti agreed with the project sponsors that, under established New York law, claims “challenging a subdivision approval must be raised in an Article 78 proceeding against the Planning Board commenced no more than 30 days after the Planning Board files its preliminary approval of a proposed project,” but in this case, “instead of bringing a timely Article 78 Petition against the May 18, 2021 approval, the petitioners waited over two years to bring the instant Article 78 proceeding, and they did so challenging only the final subdivision approval.”

EHADP represented the project sponsors in both proceedings.