The Northern Westchester Examiner

Appellate Division Affirms Ruling Against Cortlandt ZBA Denial of Specialty Contractor’s Yard

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The Appellate Division, Second Department recently affirmed a 2013 ruling by a state Supreme Court justice who tossed out an April 2012 decision by the Cortlandt Zoning Board of Appeals that blocked a business owner from pursuing site plan approval for a specialty contractor’s yard on Highland Avenue where a hotel was once proposed.

James Meaney of Green Materials of Westchester had submitted an application to the ZBA in 2008 seeking an interpretation as to whether the demolition and distribution of concrete aggregate constituted a “Special Trade Contractor” under the town’s Zoning Ordinance. Four years later, the ZBA concluded Meaney could not apply for a special permit since his activities “require the processing of raw materials.”

Supreme Court Judge Lester Adler ruled on May 6, 2013 “there is nothing in the record before this court which supports a finding that the 2012 Decision & Order is based upon objective facts that Meaney’s application for site plan approval was amended to include the processing of ‘pure rock’ or ‘virgin rock’ in addition to the recycling of concrete aggregate…Additionally, a review of the minutes from both the ZBA and Planning Board meetings reflect that there was great confusion on this issue, and that numerous attempts to clarify the nature of the site plan approval were unsuccessful.”

On October 21, 2015, four judges in the Appellate Division concluded, “The Supreme Court properly concluded that the ZBA’s determination was not supported by the evidence in the record and lacked a rational basis and, hence, was arbitrary and capricious.”

Daniel Pagano, Meaney’s attorney, said the town imposed a moratorium and changed the zoning of the 3.7-acre property to try to stop his client.

“The decision affirms the conclusion that the defendants lied about the application of Green Materials,” Pagano stated. “Why the Puglisi administration is fighting this great proposal that will create jobs and revenue is perplexing. We look forward to the new phase of the litigation.”

Town Attorney Thomas Wood maintained the Appellate Division’s affirmation was “meaningless,” and noted a separate application to park school buses on the site was also pending before the town.

“It doesn’t change anything,” Wood said of the decision.

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