Town of North Hempstead v. Village of North Hills, No. 78 C 520.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
Writing for the CourtNEAHER
Citation482 F. Supp. 900
PartiesTOWN OF NORTH HEMPSTEAD, The Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Association, an unincorporated association, The North Hills Preservation Committee, an unincorporated association, Muriel Koeppel, Katherine M. Rooney, Marilyn A. Hoffman, M. D., Col. Eugene Schuff, Mae Schuff, Lowell Kane, M. D., Richard Milgroom and Frederick Brown, M. D., Plaintiffs, v. VILLAGE OF NORTH HILLS, Nassau County Sewer District No. 2, Manhasset-Lakeville Water District, Frank Martucci, as Mayor of the Village of North Hills, Louis Foti, Teresa Shamscher, Edward Schumacher, and Frank O'Connor, as Trustees of and constituting the Board of Trustees of the Village of North Hills, Henry Cazalet, Arthur Gatehouse, George Bayer, Alexander Summers and Michael Tsontas, as members of and constituting the Board of Appeals of the Village of North Hills, Defendants.
Docket NumberNo. 78 C 520.
Decision Date06 December 1979

482 F. Supp. 900

TOWN OF NORTH HEMPSTEAD, The Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Association, an unincorporated association, The North Hills Preservation Committee, an unincorporated association, Muriel Koeppel, Katherine M. Rooney, Marilyn A. Hoffman, M. D., Col. Eugene Schuff, Mae Schuff, Lowell Kane, M. D., Richard Milgroom and Frederick Brown, M. D., Plaintiffs,
v.
VILLAGE OF NORTH HILLS, Nassau County Sewer District No. 2, Manhasset-Lakeville Water District, Frank Martucci, as Mayor of the Village of North Hills, Louis Foti, Teresa Shamscher, Edward Schumacher, and Frank O'Connor, as Trustees of and constituting the Board of Trustees of the Village of North Hills, Henry Cazalet, Arthur Gatehouse, George Bayer, Alexander Summers and Michael Tsontas, as members of and constituting the Board of Appeals of the Village of North Hills, Defendants.

No. 78 C 520.

United States District Court, E. D. New York.

December 6, 1979.


482 F. Supp. 901

Joseph A. Guarino, Town Atty., Town of North Hempstead, Manhasset, N. Y., for plaintiffs.

Jaspan, Kaplan & Levin, Garden City, N. Y., by A. Thomas Levin, Garden City, N. Y., for defendants Village of North Hills, Foti, Shamscher, O'Connor, Cazalet, Gatehouse, Bayer, Summers and Tsontas.

Molloy, Fletcher, Dunne & Sibell, Manhasset, N. Y., by John P. Dunne, Manhasset, N. Y., for defendant Manhasset-Lakeville Water District.

Marshall, Bratter, Greene, Allison & Tucker by James M. Bergen, Nicholas A. Robinson, New York City, and John Francis Woog, Garden City, N. Y., for Martucci and Roslyn Pines, Inc., intervenor-defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

NEAHER, District Judge.

This is an action to enjoin the construction of residential development projects in the Village of North Hills, Town of North Hempstead, Nassau County. Jurisdiction allegedly exists on the basis of anticipated environmental injury unless the development is halted, all in claimed violation of various federal environmental laws hereinafter

482 F. Supp. 902
mentioned. Plaintiffs are the Town of North Hempstead, two civic associations, and several residents of the Village of North Hills. In addition to the Village, defendants are the Mayor and Board of Trustees of North Hills, and the municipal agencies responsible for sewage treatment and drinking water supply in the Village. Since owners of property which would be affected were not joined, the court by order dated December 19, 1978 granted leave to Frank Martucci and Roslyn Pines, Inc. to intervene as of right as parties defendant (hereinafter "intervenors").1 The action is before the court on intervenors' motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) and (6), F.R.Civ.P., for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the reasons which follow, the motion is granted

The relevant facts are briefly summarized. North Hills is an incorporated village in northwestern Nassau County that encompasses slightly less than three square miles, or approximately 1750 acres. Prior to the complained of actions, North Hills had a population of approximately 300 people, most of its residential area being zoned "R-2", which restricted land use to residential and open space and established a minimum lot requirement of two acres. In 1970, the Village Zoning Ordinance was reformed to retain the basic "R-2" classification but to authorize the "downzoning" of certain areas within the Village to "R-CL", which permitted clustered housing of not more than four residential units per acre on contiguous tracts of four or more acres. (Complaint, ¶¶ 11, 13.)

During 1977, the Board of Trustees of North Hills took a series of actions, more particularly described in Exhibit A to the complaint, "downzoning" and granting variances to twelve parcels of land within the Village. Typical of those actions was the "downzoning" of a 29.1 acre tract owned by intervenors from "R-2" to "R-M" to permit up to six residential units per acre. Just prior to the institution of this action, intervenors had applied for and obtained building permits for the construction of four model homes. The pendency of this suit, intervenors claim, has effectively stalled further development by discouraging the successful negotiation of construction loans and mortgage financing. Robinson Affidavit dated June 22, 1978, at ¶¶ 5-11.

Plaintiffs allege that the environment of the Village and of the areas of the Town of North Hempstead adjoining the Village has been and will be adversely affected by the "downzoning" because of increased pressures on sewage treatment facilities, drinking water supply, and vehicular traffic systems in the area. Hence they seek judgment, inter alia, "enjoining defendants, and each of them, from any actions in their official capacities in furtherance of any of the projects set forth in Exhibit A annexed hereto" (Complaint ¶ 31).

Initially, intervenors assert that plaintiffs have made no allegations sufficient to demonstrate that proposed new construction in North Hills may inevitably lead to any impermissible environmental deterioration. Contending that there is currently no "definite and concrete" controversy between the parties, intervenors conclude that the suit is not a "case or controversy" ripe for adjudication under Article III of the Constitution

482 F. Supp. 903
and therefore that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Haworth, 300 U.S. 227, 240-41, 57 S.Ct. 461, 81 L.Ed. 617 (1937). See also Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 45 L.Ed.2d 343 (1975)

Here, however, unlike the home builders in Warth v. Seldin, supra, 422 U.S. at 516, 95 S.Ct. 2197, intervenors have initiated a specific development project for which they have applied and obtained building permits and variances, and, indeed, there appear to be no contingencies, other than the resolution of this litigation, that could thwart the imminent resumption of construction of these projects. See Maryland Cas. Co. v. Pacific Coal & Oil Co., 312 U.S. 270, 61 S.Ct. 510, 85 L.Ed. 826 (1941); Steffel v. Thompson, 415 U.S. 452, 459, 94 S.Ct. 1209, 39 L.Ed.2d 505 (1974). While it may be true that future events could more precisely reveal the nature of the anticipated environmental harm plaintiffs fear, what appears to be a real and long-standing adversary relation between the interests represented by these parties forecloses the conclusion that the case must be dismissed for lack of ripeness.2

Plaintiffs rely upon Title I of the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq. (1970), as the source of substantive obligations imposed on local governments to protect the environment. NEPA,...

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9 practice notes
  • McClellan Ecological Seepage v. Weinberger, No. CIV S-86-475-RAR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • June 20, 1988
    ...require compliance with an effluent limitation, standard, or administrative order); Town of North Hempstead v. Village of North Hills, 482 F.Supp. 900, 904 (E.D.N.Y.1979) (action under section 505 "may only be maintained to enforce a previously promulgated effluent 707 F. Supp. 1200 standar......
  • State of NY v. United States, No. CV 82-2228.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • October 8, 1985
    ...to bring this action under § 13 of the RHA as an implied private right of action. Town of North Hempstead v. Village of North Hills, 482 F.Supp. 900 (E.D.N.Y. 1979); Parsell v. Shell Oil Co., 421 F.Supp. 1275 (D.Conn.1976) (Newman, J.), aff'd without published opinion sub nom. East End Yach......
  • State of NY v. DeLyser, No. Civ. 89-1590L.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of New York
    • March 11, 1991
    ...consistently with, the state's coastal zone management program. Relying upon Town of North Hempstead v. Village of North Mills, 482 F.Supp. 900 (E.D.N.Y.1979), DeLyser argues that the CZMA does not create jurisdiction here or in any other federal court. The court in North Hempstead stated t......
  • Cangemi v. United States, No. 12–CV–3989(JS)(WDW).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • March 29, 2013
    ...F.Supp.2d 197]clear that CZMA ... is neither a jurisdictional grant, nor a basis for stating a claim upon which relief can be granted.” 482 F.Supp. 900, 905 (E.D.N.Y.1979). Although that case was brought against only the city and other municipal officials, the Second Circuit later extended ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • McClellan Ecological Seepage v. Weinberger, No. CIV S-86-475-RAR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • June 20, 1988
    ...require compliance with an effluent limitation, standard, or administrative order); Town of North Hempstead v. Village of North Hills, 482 F.Supp. 900, 904 (E.D.N.Y.1979) (action under section 505 "may only be maintained to enforce a previously promulgated effluent 707 F. Supp. 1200 standar......
  • State of NY v. United States, No. CV 82-2228.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • October 8, 1985
    ...to bring this action under § 13 of the RHA as an implied private right of action. Town of North Hempstead v. Village of North Hills, 482 F.Supp. 900 (E.D.N.Y. 1979); Parsell v. Shell Oil Co., 421 F.Supp. 1275 (D.Conn.1976) (Newman, J.), aff'd without published opinion sub nom. East End Yach......
  • State of NY v. DeLyser, No. Civ. 89-1590L.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of New York
    • March 11, 1991
    ...consistently with, the state's coastal zone management program. Relying upon Town of North Hempstead v. Village of North Mills, 482 F.Supp. 900 (E.D.N.Y.1979), DeLyser argues that the CZMA does not create jurisdiction here or in any other federal court. The court in North Hempstead stated t......
  • Cangemi v. United States, No. 12–CV–3989(JS)(WDW).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • March 29, 2013
    ...F.Supp.2d 197]clear that CZMA ... is neither a jurisdictional grant, nor a basis for stating a claim upon which relief can be granted.” 482 F.Supp. 900, 905 (E.D.N.Y.1979). Although that case was brought against only the city and other municipal officials, the Second Circuit later extended ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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