Description: Challenge to rezoning of golf club property on Long Island in New York as a "Coastal Conservation District."
WG Woodmere LLC v. Town of Hempstead
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 12/01/2022 Opinion and Order Download Motion to dismiss granted. Federal Court Rejected Challenge to Long Island Municipalities’ Coastal Conservation District Zoning for Former Golf Course. Rejecting in part a magistrate judge’s recommendations, a federal court in New York dismissed claims brought by the owners of a former private golf club on Long Island to challenge zoning changes that applied a “Coastal Conservation District” (CCD) to the property. The defendant municipalities stated that a joint purpose of the CCD zoning was to manage climate change risks such as sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding. The court concluded that the owners’ takings and equal protection claims—including an exactions takings claim in which the plaintiffs asserted that the zoning required them to install flood mitigation improvements solely for the benefit of nearby residents—were not ripe because a final decision had not been made on the owners’ subdivision application. The court alternatively found that the plaintiffs failed to state an equal protection claim because they did not allege differential treatment from “similarly situated” parties. Although the court found that the owners’ procedural and substantive due process claims were ripe for adjudication, the court concluded that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim because they did not demonstrate their entitlement to approval of their subdivision application pursuant to the zoning rules that preceded the CCD zoning. The court dismissed state constitutional claims as either barred by the availability of a federal remedy or subject to the same legal standards that warranted dismissal of the federal constitutional claims. The court also found no clear error to the magistrate judge’s conclusion that adoption of the zoning laws violated the State Environmental Quality Review Act. The court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over claims that the defendants exceeded their statutory authority and acted unlawfully. 12/20/2021 Response Download Response filed by plaintiffs to defendants' objections to magistrate's report and recommendation. 10/20/2021 Objection Download Objection filed by Town of Hempstead and Incorporated Village of Woodsburgh to magistrate's report and recommendations. 10/20/2021 Objection Download Objections filed by Village of Lawrence to magistrate judge's report and recommendation on defendants' motions to dismiss. 08/23/2021 Report and Recommendation Download Report and recommendation issued recommending that motions to dismiss be granted in part and denied in part. 08/24/2020 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Owners of Private Golf Club Challenged Rezoning Described as Climate Change Adaptation Measure. The owners of a 118-acre property on Long Island in New York filed a lawsuit challenging a zoning ordinance that applied a “Coastal Conservation District” to the property. Until 2020, the property was used as a private golf club. The owners asserted that the establishment of the Coastal Conservation District—which reduced the number of permitted residential units from 284 to 59—violated their equal protection and due process rights, constituted an unconstitutional taking, constituted an unlawful and ultra vires exercise of zoning power, and unlawfully preempted the review process under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act. The plaintiffs alleged that “no comprehensive environmental, or other, study” supported adoption of the Coastal Conservation District, for which “the stated purpose recites as its principal rationale the need to manage ‘current and future physical climate risk changes due to sea level rise, storm surge and flooding.’” The plaintiffs alleged that the Expanded Environmental Assessment accompanying the District was “prepared entirely as a fig leaf to cover the naked land grab.”