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GOLDSTAR AUTO SALES, LLC v. TOWN OF HALFMOON

October 8, 1999

GOLDSTAR AUTO SALES, LLC, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TOWN OF HALFMOON AND THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS OF THE TOWN OF HALFMOON, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McAVOY, Chief Judge.

  MEMORANDUM-DECISION & ORDER

Plaintiff Goldstar Auto Sales, LLC ("Goldstar") brings the instant action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Town of Halfmoon (the "Town") and the Zoning Board of the Town of Halfmoon (the "Zoning Board") (collectively "Defendants"), alleging violations of its constitutional rights to substantive due process and equal protection based on Defendants' enforcement of a commercial zoning ordinance that regulates the sale of used automobiles. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, monetary damages, and attorneys' fees.

Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and Defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment, pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 56.

I. Background

Plaintiff entered into a lease agreement for a parcel of land (the "Site") on which Plaintiff intends to operate a used automobile sales business. The Site is located in the Town's C-I Commercial Zoning District, where pursuant to Town of Halfmoon Zoning Law § 506 ("Section 506"), "permitted uses" include, in relevant part:

  13. Franchised or factory authorized motor vehicles,
  farm implement, boat or trailer sales, or rental
  thereof, including accessory service. Used
  automobile, farm implement, boat or trailer sales
  shall be allowable only if incidental to new sales of
  same.
  23. Sales of rental vehicles so long as they are
  vehicles originally purchased for rental by the
  on-site business. Sales of rental vehicles which were
  rented and/or maintained at another location shall be
  prohibited.

On March 10, 1999, a Town Building Inspector informed Plaintiff that it was prohibited under Section 506 from selling used automobiles at the Site. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff filed a Petition for Interpretation of Zoning Law with the Zoning Board, seeking a ruling that Section 506 unlawfully discriminated between land users and, therefore, Plaintiff was permitted, as a matter of right, to operate a used automobile sales business on the Site. See Aff. of Charles Rafferty, Jr. (hereinafter "Rafferty Aff."), at Ex. B. At Defendants' request, Plaintiff also submitted an Application for Variance. See id. at Exs. C, D. The Zoning Board scheduled a hearing for May 3, 1999 on Plaintiff's Petition for an Interpretation of Section 506. At that hearing, Plaintiff's petition was denied.*fn1 Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a Complaint seeking a declaration that Section 506 was unconstitutional because it discriminated between sellers absent a legitimate zoning basis. The parties now separately move this Court for summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff's claims.

II. Discussion

A. Treatment of the Parties' 7.1(a)(3) Statements

Plaintiff argues that Defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment should be denied based on Defendants' failure to comply with Local Rule 7.1(a)(3) of the Northern District of New York. See Pl. Mem. of Law in Opp. to Defs. Cross-Mot. for Summ. J., at 2-3. Here, Defendants submitted a 7.1(a)(3) Statement (absent citations to the record) in connection with their cross-motion for summary judgment, but failed to submit a response to Plaintiff's 7.1(a)(3) Statement.

Because Defendants failed to submit a 7.1(a)(3) Statement in opposition to Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, the assertions in Plaintiff's 7.1(a)(3) Statement are deemed admitted. See N.D.N.Y.L.R. 7.1(a)(3) ("Any facts set forth in the Statement of Material Facts shall be deemed admitted unless specifically controverted by the opposing party."). Indeed, Defendants arguably concede this point, noting that "assuming all of the Plaintiff['s] facts, the [D]efendants are still entitled to summary judgment as none of these facts are sufficient to support a constitutional or other cause of action." Letter of Edwin J. Tobin, Esq., dated September 16, 1999, at 1-2 (Docket No. 28).

Plaintiff also notes that Defendants failed to set forth specific citations to the record in its moving 7.1(a)(3) Statement. While a moving party's failure to set forth specific citations to the record may ordinarily result in the denial of the motion, the unique circumstances of this case compel a different result. Specifically, Defendants' moving 7.1(a)(3) Statement consists of 9 paragraphs, which are based on facts clearly set forth in the Complaint and various sections of state law and Section 506. See Defs. Statement of Undisputed Material Facts, at ¶¶ 1-3; 6-7; 9. Significantly, the gravamen of the parties' respective motions for summary judgment is a legal, rather than a factual, dispute over the constitutionality of Section 506. Moreover, the parties address the same legal issues — whether Section 506 violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses — in their submissions currently before the Court. Accordingly, in this specific and narrow instance, the Court declines to deny Defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment for failure to set forth specific citations to the record in its moving 7.1(a)(3) Statement. However, Defendants' Amended Statement of Undisputed Material Facts, filed in connection ...


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