Supreme Court of Nassau County Decides In Favor of RMF Client, Chase Partners, in Proposed Rockville Centre Development Plan

Uniondale, Long Island, New York, July 7, 2006 – Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, P.C. announced today that its client, Chase Partners, LLC, the proponent of a multi-family residential development in the Village of Rockville Centre, has received a favorable decision from the Supreme Court, Nassau County. The decision has groundbreaking implications for land use planning and development on Long Island.

The Court held that proposed amendments to the local zoning ordinance that prohibited residential growth in the downtown area were adopted in bad faith and, in an attempt to defeat Chase’s particular proposal, would not apply to the project proposed by Chase. The issues related to the Chase Partners project have generated considerable controversy within the Village over the last several years.

“The decisions are a stunning victory for the development of commuter housing in downtown areas, a much-needed component for the continued growth of the region,” said Michael L. Faltischek, lead counsel for Chase Partners, LLC and a senior partner at the law firm Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, P.C. “It is a vindication of the decision rendered by the Nassau County Planning Commission nearly two years ago and fosters the position advocated by leading planning groups of the region, including the Long Island Association, the Long Island Partnership for Housing, Vision Long Island and the Neighborhood Network.”

Chase Partners will be permitted to proceed with the project as originally designed, which called for the construction of 349 luxury rental units in what is currently an underutilized industrial area of the Village. The industrial area is within walking distance of the Rockville Centre train station, thereby providing future residents with easy access to public transportation within a suburban community setting. The project was awarded a Smart Growth Award by Vision Long Island and the Village had previously been awarded a Smart Growth Award for legislation that fostered residential development in its downtown center. 

However, by allowing the project to proceed without further interference, the Court has also supported the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program, which encourages volunteers to clean up contaminated sites. The industrial site selected by Chase Partners currently has contamination and could only be cleaned up expeditiously through the voluntary Brownfield Cleanup Program if the development proposed by Chase Partners was allowed to proceed. By delaying site plan approval of the project over these many years, the Village stalled the ability to proceed with a clean-up, since only a volunteer would be eligible for the program and any volunteer could not expend the many millions of dollars required to affect the clean-up without certainty as to its ability to proceed with the project contemplated.

“I am extremely pleased by the decision of the Court,” said Clark Hamilton, the principal of Chase Partners. “When we first met with the Village, we laid out a plan that would provide for redevelopment of an industrial area that impacted the Village with heavy traffic, trucks, noise and an existing contaminated site condition. Our development will clean up and significantly enhance the property, add a much-needed component to the housing stock of both the Village and the region, afford people alternatives in housing options, generate new tax revenues for various municipalities and school districts and stands as encouragement to developers that good projects that address local and regional needs can overcome unsubstantiated and unreasonable local opposition.” 

In accordance with the Court’s order, the Village is required to issue building permits for the project upon completion of the environmental clean up under the Brownfield Cleanup Program. The Village Planning Board can no longer interfere with the process, nor can the Village Board of Trustees, by the adoption of new legislation, prevent this development from proceeding. The result represents a breakthrough in the development logjam, which has traditionally been created as a result of an ever-expanding not-in-my neighborhood mentality.

For more than 35 years, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, headquartered in Uniondale, has built a reputation as one of the region's leading providers of innovative legal services. Cornerstone groups in all major practice areas of the law are represented at the firm. Through its independent arm, Island Strategies, lobbying services are provided at all governmental levels. Clients include large and mid-sized corporations, including Fortune 500 companies, privately held businesses, institutions and individuals.

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