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LLC v. Town of Southampton

United States District Court, E.D. New York

September 16, 2014

545 HALSEY LANE PROPERTIES, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
TOWN OF SOUTHAMPTON, TOWN OF SOUTHAMPTON ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS, ADAM GROSSMAN, HELEN BURGESS, BRIAN DeSESA, DENISE O'BRIEN, KEITH TUTHILL, DAVID CANGE and JOHN and JANE DOES Nos. 1-6, Defendants

Page 258

For the Plaintiff: David Samuel Julian Neufeld, Esq., Of Counsel, Neufeld & O'Leary, New York, NY.

For the Defendants: David H. Arnsten, Esq., Kelly E. Wright, Esq., Of Counsel, Devitt Spellman Barrett, LLP, Smithtown, NY.

Page 259

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

ARTHUR D. SPATT, United States District Judge.

On April 11, 2014, the Plaintiff 545 Halsey Lane Properties, LLC (the " Plaintiff" )

Page 260

commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging the denial of its appeal to the Defendant Town of Southampton Zoning Board of Appeals (" ZBA" ) from a decision of the Town of Southampton Building Inspector denying the Plaintiff's request for a building permit to erect a regulation-size basketball court on its property. The property at issue is subject to an agricultural reserve pursuant to a Grant of Easement afforded to the Town by the Plaintiff's predecessor-in-title. The Plaintiff alleges a violation of its Substantive Due Process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and breach of contract.

On May 30, 2014, the Defendants Town of Southampton (the " Town" ), the ZBA, plus Adam Grossman, Helen Burgess, Brian DeSesa, Denise O'Brien, Keith Tuthill, and David Cange (the " Individual Defendants," and collectively the " Defendants" ), moved pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (" Fed. R. Civ. P." ) 12(b)(6) to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Also pending before the Court is a letter motion by the Plaintiff to strike certain arguments raised for the first time in the Defendants' reply memorandum in support of their motion to dismiss. For the following reasons, the Court (1) grants the motion to dismiss the Substantive Due Process claim and dismisses that claim; (2) declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the New York State breach of contract claim and dismisses that claim without prejudice; and (2) denies as moot the motion to strike.

I. BACKGROUND

Unless stated otherwise, the following facts are drawn from the complaint and construed in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, the Plaintiff.

A. The Parties

The Plaintiff is a New York limited liability company.

The Town is a municipal corporation.

The ZBA is a Board created by the Board of Southampton pursuant to New York Town Law § 267.

The Defendant Adam Grossman (" Grossman" ), sued in his individual capacity, is and/or was a member and Vice Chairperson of the ZBA at the relevant times herein.

The Defendant Helen Burgess (" Burgess" ), sued in her individual capacity, is and/or was a member of the ZBA at the relevant times herein.

The Defendant Brian DeSesa (" DeSesa" ), sued in his individual capacity, is and/or was a member of the ZBA at the relevant times herein.

The Defendant Denise O'Brien (" O'Brien" ), sued in her individual capacity, is and/or was a member of the ZBA at the relevant times herein.

The Defendant Keith Tuthill (" Tuthill" ), sued in his individual capacity, is and/or was a member of the ZBA at the relevant times herein.

The Defendant David Cange (" Cange" ), sued in his individual capacity, is and/or was a member of the ZBA at the relevant times herein.

The Defendants John and Jane Doe Nos. 1 through 6 are presently unknown individuals and entities.

B. Factual Background

By deed dated February 26, 2003, the Plaintiff purchased a 40.747 acre parcel of property located in the Town, known as Suffolk County Tax Map No. 900-105-1-1.030 (the " Property" ).

Page 261

The Property is identified on a subdivision map known as the Map of Broadlands, approved by the Town Planning Board (the " Planning Board" ) on July 3, 1980, and filed in the Office of the Suffolk County Clerk on August 29, 1980, as Map No. 6930. All or part of the Property had been utilized as agricultural farmland since prior to the establishment of the Broadlands Subdivision.

In 1980, the prior owners of the Property, Raymond G. Wesnofske and Leonard Schulman (the " Grantors" ), entered into an agreement with the Town pursuant to New York General Municipal Law § 247 that imposed certain understandings and agreements concerning use of the Property.

The aforesaid agreement was memorialized within a Grant (the " Grant" ) which, following a public hearing, was authorized by the Town Board by Resolution dated August 16, 1980. The Grant, which was filed in the Office of the Suffolk County Clerk, expressly reserved to the Grantors and their " successors, heirs, legal representatives, and assigns" numerous property rights, including future uses of, and rights to make improvements on, the Property. The Plaintiff is a successor-in-title and interest to the Grantors. Under the terms of the Grant, in consideration for the subdivision and aforementioned easement rights, the Grantors expressly retained and reserved for themselves and their successors the right to utilize the Property for " some or all" of the following:

1. Farming operations and activities, including soil preparation, cultivation, fertilization, irrigation, pest control, water and drainage control, farm buildings, all other normal and customary farming operations and the use of farm vehicles and equipment in connection therewith . . .;
2. Open, fallow, landscaped and wooded areas, with lanes, walkways, foot paths, ...

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