The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wexler, District Judge.
Plaintiffs, Lawrence J. and Doris W. Koncelik,
("plaintiffs"), husband and wife, bring this action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Town of East Hampton (the "Town"),
the Town Board of East Hampton ("Town Board"), the Town
Planning Board of East Hampton ("Planning Board"), the East
Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals ("ZBA"), and unnamed John
Doe conspirators Nos. 1 through 10 (collectively "defendants").
Plaintiffs allege violations of their constitutional rights to
procedural and substantive due process under the Fifth and
Fourteenth Amendments and further allege a taking of their
property without just compensation, also in violation of their
Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Presently before the
Court is defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, the
motion is granted in part and denied in part.
Since 1948, plaintiff Doris Koncelik has owned approximately
17 undivided acres in the Town of East Hampton and both
plaintiffs own a contiguous parcel of 1.5 acres. In 1957, the
property was subjected to one acre zoning. Later it was
re-zoned to two acres and in 1985, just prior to the Town's
purchase of the approximately 600 acre Grace Estate (contiguous
to plaintiffs' land) as a nature preserve, it was re-zoned to
In November 1987, in order to develop her property, Doris
Koncelik applied to the ZBA for a variance to have the property
divided into four lots. Plaintiffs allege that defendants
conspired to deny the requested variance (and later to impose
numerous unreasonable easements and other conditions on their
approval of the Konceliks' application for a conforming
subdivision) in order to prevent the development of the
property, thereby effectively increasing the size of the
adjacent Grace Estate Town Nature Preserve. More specifically,
plaintiffs allege that at closed-door sessions the ZBA received
improper and prejudicial input from the Pine Barrens
Commission, the Town of East Hampton Department of Planning
("Planning Department") and the Planning Board. On August 3,
1988, on a split vote, the ZBA denied the variance.
Rather than seek judicial review of the ZBA's decision, on
November 18, 1988, the Konceliks applied to the Planning Board
for a conforming five-acre, three-lot subdivision and for a lot
line modification that would join their abutting 1.5 acre lot
with the two acres remaining from their proposed subdivision.
Without notice to the Konceliks, the Planning Board conducted
hearings, made various contradictory findings and
recommendations, and suggested numerous easements and other
restrictions which severely limited the area in which new
housing could be built. The Konceliks hired an environmental
expert who studied the property and found that the Planning
Board's recommendations and restrictions were all unnecessary,
and in some cases environmentally counter-productive.
On April 2, 1990, the Planning Board stated that it would
grant conditional approval of the Konceliks' application if the
Konceliks agreed to adopt the Planning Board's latest
recommendations. The Konceliks rejected those recommendations
on April 10, 1990, and insisted that the Planning Board act on
the application as submitted. On May 16, 1990, the Planning
Board approved the application, but subject to twenty-eight
The Board found that the applicants had complied
with all statutory requirements for subdivision
waiver approval. . . . Nevertheless, conditions
inconsistent with intelligent planning, without
legitimate governmental or public purposes for
safety, health, welfare or environmental
interests, in contravention with the Town Code and
absent evidence demonstrating necessity were
imposed. . . . [T]he conditions employed by the
Planning Board are arbitrary, capricious, improper
and in excess of the powers delegated.
Koncelik v. Planning Board of the Town of East Hampton and the
Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of East Hampton, No.
90-12629, (Supreme Court, Suffolk County, Nov. 2, 1990), at pp.
2-3 (unrecorded decision).*fn2 Accordingly, the state court
excised all twenty-eight of the Planning Board's conditions.
The Planning Board and the ZBA appealed and the Konceliks
cross-appealed regarding their ZRA claim. Both appeals are
currently before the Appellate Division.
After the appeals were perfected, plaintiffs brought this
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that defendants
violated their rights to procedural and substantive due
process, and deprived them of their property without just
compensation. They seek two million dollars in damages on each
of these claims, plus attorney fees.
Defendants suggest that plaintiffs brought this federal suit
merely as a means of pressuring them to give up their state
court appeal. They move to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and, in the alternative,
urge this Court to decline jurisdiction due to the pendency of
the state action.
A. Abstention Doctrine Is Not Applicable
Defendants recognize this Court's jurisdiction pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 1343. Nevertheless, they request that this
Court abstain from exercising its jurisdiction because of the
pending state court appeals. They argue that the state courts
can provide plaintiffs with full and complete relief.
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 44, 91 S.Ct. 746, 750, 27
L.Ed.2d 669 (1971) and its progeny have held that principles of
federalism and comity require a federal court to decline
jurisdiction when it is asked to enjoin certain ongoing state
proceedings. See e.g., Huffman v. Pursue, Ltd., 420 U.S. 592,
604, 95 S.Ct. 1200, 1208, 43 L.Ed.2d 482 (1975). In the instant
case, however, plaintiffs have already obtained their desired
injunctive relief from the state court. This § 1983 ...