Summit Greenfield appeals dismissal of its State suit against the town
October 19, 2012
by Christine Yeres
Last Friday Summit Greenfield appealed the dismissal of its State Supreme Court suit against the Town of New Castle. The filing falls well within the 30-day window the plaintiff had in which to file its appeal. Town Supervisor Susan Carpenter was unfazed by the action, saying she would have been surprised if the developer had not filed an appeal.
See One shoe drops: Judge dismisses Summit Greenfield’s state suit against the town, NCNOW.org, 10/5/12, for background and a timeline.
The state complaint, dismissed and now appealed
In the complaint filed in state court Summit Greenfield alleged that the town’s failure to act on their application had deprived the Plaintiff of all economically viable use of the commercial portion of the Property, and therefore, constituted a taking without recompense. The Summit Greenfield sought compensatory damages—even suggesting that the town be made to purchase the property—and attorneys’ fees.
The federal complaint, still pending
“This action,” the federal complaint alleged, “arises out of Defendants’ continued efforts to prevent affordable housing in New Castle – which is highly likely to be occupied by racial or ethnic minorities and the elderly –by unconstitutionally and intentionally denying Plaintiff its rights and expectations to a fair, timely and unbiased decision on its long pending land use application.”
The Summit Greenfield laid out three motivations for the town’s actions:
1. To prevent the construction of affordable housing;
2. To maintain Chappaqua Crossing in its “stately and bucolic condition;” and
3. “To limit economic activity in the commercial portion of the Property so high-priced residential housing in the immediate vicinity can enjoy the benefit of having a sleepy, park-like campus atmosphere at the Property.”
Summit Greenfield argued that the town board’s actions were a violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. Sections 3601 et seq and had deprived it of its constitutional rights to substantive due process and equal protection under 42 U.S. C. Section 1983.
Summit Greenfield seeks compensatory and punitive damages, to be determined by a jury, and attorneys’ fees.
On Monday, the developer submitted an application for a change of zoning that would permit a total of 120,000 square feet of retail, including an anchor grocery of between 36,000 and 66,000 square feet. See Chappaqua Crossing submits preliminary plan for retail development; retail makes partial use of existing buildings, plus new construction, NCNOW.org, 10/16/12. On Tuesday, the Town Board declared its intent to act as lead agency in the environmental review of the application and officially asked the Planning Board to begin its review of it.
The Town Board will continue the public hearing on the zoning change—and simultaneously open a public hearing on Summit Greenfield’s application—on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, to begin at 8:00 p.m.