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HAMPTON BAYS CONNECTIONS, INC. v. DUFFY

January 18, 2002

HAMPTON BAYS CONNECTIONS, INC., AND PHOENIX GROUP OF HAMPTON BAYS, INC., PLAINTIFFS,
V.
ROBERT DUFFY, INDIVIDUALLY, NANCY GRABOSKI, INDIVIDUALLY, JOHN BLANEY, INDIVIDUALLY, PEG CARAHER, INDIVIDUALLY, VINCENT MARTORELLO, INDIVIDUALLY, PAUL J. HOULIHAN, INDIVIDUALLY, "JOHN DOE" AND "JANE DOE", #'S 1-5, 6-10, AND 11-15, INDIVIDUALLY AND PERSONALLY, REPRESENTING THE FICTITIOUS NAMES OF INDIVIDUALS, WHOSE FULL NAMES ARE UNKNOWN TO PLAINTIFF, WERE AT ALL RELEVANT TIMES HEREIN EMPLOYEES OF THE TOWN OF SOUTHAMPTON DEPARTMENT OF LAND MANAGEMENT PLANNING DIVISION, THE TOWN OF SOUTHAMPTON DEPARTMENT OF LAND MANAGEMENT AND ZONING DIVISION, AND THE TOWN BOARD MEMBERS OF THE TOWN OF SOUTHAMPTON, AND THE TOWN OF SOUTHAMPTON, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Spatt, District Judge.

  MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

Presently before the Court is a motion by the defendants for the following relief: (1) pursuant to Local Rule 6.3, an order granting reargument of the motion to dismiss the substantive due process claim in regard to the plaintiffs' application for a construction permit; (2) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) an order modifying the Court's January 26, 2001 order to add the language of the statute necessary for the defendants to seek an immediate appeal to the Second Circuit from this Court's determination that "the plaintiffs' conduct in applying for approvals and permits regarding the McDonald's construction is protected by the First Amendment right to petition the government for the redress of grievances," id. at 373; and (3) to stay the time within which the defendants must answer the amended complaint until either the Court determines the present motions or the Court of Appeals hears the defendants' appeal, whichever date is later.

I. BACKGROUND

The complete factual background of this dispute is set forth in the Court's January 26, 2001 decision and order, Hampton Bays Connections, Inc., 127 F. Supp.2d at 368-71, and is deemed incorporated in this decision. Although familiarity with the Court's prior decision is presumed, the factual allegations pertinent to the present motions are briefly repeated here. They are derived from the plaintiffs' amended complaint.

A. The HBC Property

In the early fall of 1997, HBC, a real estate developer, leased the front portion of a parcel of land to McDonald's for the construction of a 3000 foot McDonald's restaurant. HBC intended to build an ambulatory surgery center, which would be used by Stony Brook Hospital ("Stony Brook"), on the rear portion of its property, which was zoned for residential use.

On March 23, 1998, McDonald's applied to the Southampton Planning Board (the "Planning Board") for a special exception use permit and site plan approval to build the restaurant on the front portion of the HBC property.

On April 24, 1998, the New York State Department of Health ("DOH") issued a Certificate of Need to Stony Brook authorizing the construction of the ambulatory surgery center. The Certificate of Need was conditioned on construction commencing on or before December 31, 1998, and if construction did not begin by that date, the approval would be deemed cancelled.

Meanwhile, on August 27, 1998, HBC filed an application to change the zoning designation of the rear portion of its property from residential use to Planned Development District ("PDD") so that construction could begin on the ambulatory surgery center. On September 14, 1998, the Planning Board returned the application to HBC, because it was incomplete.

On September 28, 1998, before HBC could resubmit its application for a change of zone, and before the Planning Board decided McDonald's application for its site plan approval and special exception use permit, the Southampton Town Board imposed a six-month moratorium on the issuance of any zoning approvals in the Hampton Bays. The moratorium made it impossible for HBC to begin construction on the ambulatory surgery center by December 31, 1998. Therefore, pursuant to the conditions set forth in the Certificate of Need, the DOH cancelled the Certificate of Need, Stony Brook looked at other property to build its ambulatory surgery center, and HBC lost a 25-year, $17,000,000 lease with the hospital.

On June 10, 1999, the Planning Board granted McDonald's special exception use permit and site plan approval. On June 17, 1999, McDonald's applied for a building permit from the Town of Southampton Department of Land Management and Zoning ("Building Department"). The Building Department returned the application on the ground that it was not submitted with a wastewater management approval.

On July 13, 1999, the Town Board adopted an amended local zoning law. On the same date, McDonald's resubmitted its application for a building permit, and on August 17, 1999, the Building Department denied McDonald's application based on the newly enacted zoning law.

B. The Phoenix Property

The president of HBC, as well as most of the company's officers and board members, are also officers and board members of Phoenix. In 1995, Phoenix owned a parcel of property in the Hampton Bays on which it intended to construct two medical arts buildings: 223 West Montauk Highway, and 225 West Montauk Highway. On October 24, 1996, the Planning Board approved Phoenix's site plan application for construction of a medical office building at 223 West Montauk Highway and granted Phoenix a special exception permit for renovation of the building located at 225 West Montauk Highway.

Phoenix did not build the structure at 223 West Montauk Highway within the two years allotted by the Board's site plan approval. Thus, on October 24, 1998, Phoenix re-applied for approval of its site plan at 223 West Montauk Highway. This application was submitted after McDonald's had applied for a special exception use permit and for site approval to build the restaurant on ...


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