Land Use, Zoning and Development



Representative Matters


Land Use and Zoning Law

Land Use, Zoning and Development Law Includes:

  • Special use permits
  • Site plan and subdivision approval
  • Use and area variances
  • Non-conforming use determinations
  • Requests for interpretation of zoning laws
  • Adoption and amendment of zoning laws
  • Municipal zoning and planning counsel
  • New York City ULURP

Young/Sommer helps developers, municipalities, individuals and environmental organizations navigate the complexities of local zoning and land use control laws involving special use permits, site plan and subdivision approvals, use and area variances, non-conforming use determinations, requests for interpretations of zoning laws and the adoption and amendment of zoning laws. Our knowledge of the local planning process allows us to provide cost-effective advice to our clients and obtain the required approvals as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Project Management/Professional Relationships

We work closely with our clients to assemble project proposals that meet their development needs while ensuring that the project is consistent with community character and planning objectives. These projects frequently require the assistance of other environmental professionals such as engineers, surveyors and planners. As part of our client service, we have established relationships with technical professional firms and engineers. We understand the relationship between law and science in “getting the job done.”


In recent years, our land use attorneys have appeared before local zoning and planning boards on a wide range of projects involving construction and/or expansion of shopping centers and other commercial development, industrial facilities, sand and gravel mines, resort hotel/condominium developments, residential subdivisions, television broadcast facilities, cellular towers, wind farms and conversion of residential structures to commercial use.


The firm has decades of experience navigating the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and various state and federal environmental laws. We have also appeared on behalf of clients at many scoping and workshop sessions with local boards and at public hearings. We have advised town boards on the adoption of zoning laws and amendments ranging from limited changes to significant updating of existing laws. Over the years, several of our attorneys have worked as counsel to various local zoning boards, providing us with valuable insight into zoning issues from the municipal perspective. Our familiarity with both sides of the zoning process allows us to work with others to foster cooperation and achieve the desired results.

New York City Protection

We also are regularly involved in zoning issues in New York City and are adept at working through the New York City Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. In New York City we primarily represent land owners and community groups who are concerned with projects that will adversely affect their properties and we are one of a few firms with the skills and political independence to represent the rights of affected communities from a potentially harmful land use decision. Recent cases in this area include challenges to the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn and the Yankee Stadium project.

The firm’s land use, zoning and development practice group includes David Brennan and Jeffrey Baker.

The following Young/Sommer attorneys represent clients in this practice area.

Jeffrey S. BakerJeffrey S. Baker

Jeffrey S. Baker has extensive experience in environmental, zoning and land use law. He has represented both the public and private sector, including major environmental organizations in the permitting and opposition to major commercial and industrial projects.


David C. BrennanDavid C. Brennan

David C. Brennan graduated cum laude from Albany Law School with a concentration in environmental law and holds a bachelor of science in environmental engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Joseph F. CastiglioneJoseph F. Castiglione

Joseph F. Castiglione primarily practices in the areas of commercial, contract, municipal, land-use, administrative and environmental law, with his practice primarily dedicated to litigation in State and Federal courts.


James A. Muscato IIJames A. Muscato II

Jim Muscato is a partner and his practice focuses on environmental and energy law and litigation. Jim assists clients in environmental permitting, State Environmental Quality Review Act issues, alternative energy project development, pollution cleanup and litigation.


J. Michael NaughtonJ. Michael Naughton

J. Michael Naughton is a partner in the firm, and has practiced as a litigator for over 25 years. He began his career in New York City and moved to Albany in 1987. Mr. Naughton was a partner at the law firm of Shanley, Sweeney Reilly & Allen, P.C. before joining Young/Sommer LLC in 2005.


Allyson M. PhillipsAllyson M. Phillips

Allyson M. Phillips received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Fordham University and is a 2006 graduate of Albany Law School. While at Albany Law, Allyson served as Associate Editor for the Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology and was a research assistant for the Dean of the Albany Law School Government Law Center, Patricia E. Salkin.


Laura K. BomyeaLaura K. Bomyea

Laura Bomyea received her J.D. from Albany Law School, and her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, with a concentration in Literature, from Bard College.  She spent… Read More


E. Hyde ClarkeE. Hyde Clarke

E. Hyde Clarke joined Young/Sommer after receiving his J.D. from Albany Law School in May 2014. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from… Read More


Kristin Laviolette PrattKristin Laviolette Pratt

Kristin Laviolette Pratt (Associate) has been practicing environmental law, commercial litigation, and real property law at Young/Sommer LLC since 2005. Kristin has represented both corporate and individual clients before the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in negotiating regulatory proceedings as well as before local government boards.


Scott P. OlsonScott P. Olson

Mr. Olson has been a strong advocate for the wireless communications industry since the mid-1990’s. He has successfully represented international tower companies and FCC licensed… Read More


Avramis v Sarachan, 97 AD3d 874 (3d Dept. 2012)

Young/Sommer won an appeal for the City of Ithaca (Tompkins County) in a zoning dispute over the proposed expansion of a parking lot at a… Read More

Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County, Inc. v. Town of Allegany Planning Bd., et al., Sup Ct, Cattaraugus County, 2011, Index No. 79455

The firm represented the Respondents in an Article 78 proceeding involving the proposed construction of a 29 unit wind farm. The Plaintiffs’ challenged the Planning… Read More

Cring v. Bonnie Belle Association, Sup Ct, Warren County, 2004, Index No. 44157

In a case regarding the Plaintiffs’ ability to rent out vacant rooms in their home, the firm successfully represented the Defendant, Bonnie Belle Association, in… Read More

Dever v. DeVito, 84 AD3d 1539 (3d Dept 2011)

The firm represented the defendants in this residential property dispute involving private covenants and restrictions in a homeowner’s association. In this case, a neighbor attempted… Read More

Gellert v. Town of Livingston Planning Board, et al., Sup Ct, Columbia County, 2013

The firm represented Plaintiffs-Petitioners Anthony Gellert and Alexander Gellert in a combined proceeding brought pursuant to CPLR Article 78 and CPLR §3001 seeking relief annulling… Read More

Highview Estates of Orange County, Inc. v Town Bd. of Town of Montgomery, Orange County, 955 NYS2d 175 (2d Dept 2012)

The firm represented Taylor Holdings Group, Ltd/Taylor Biomass Energy in overturning a lower court judgment that annulled several state and local approvals that permit the… Read More

In the Matter of Lori Bergami, et al., v. Town Board Of The Town Of Rotterdam, et al., 97 AD3d 1018 (3d Dept 2012)

The firm represented Plaintiffs Lori Bergami and a group of neighboring property owners in a proceeding challenging the rezoning of property in the Town of… Read More

In the Matter of the Application of Ten Towns to Preserve Main Street, et al. v. The Planning Board of the Town of Northeast, et al., Sup Ct, Dutchess County, 2013, Index No. 3816/2013

The firm successfully defended New York real estate developer Southern Realty and Development, LLC (“Southern”) in a State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) challenge to… Read More

In the Matter of the Application of Ticonderoga Property Development LLC, APA Order Granting Variance, 2005-261V, October 18, 2006

The firm represented Ticonderoga Property Development LLC in its application in the Adirondack Park for a variance from Appendix Q3 standards regarding sign regulations. TPD… Read More

Nesheiwat v. ElJamal, Sup Ct, Westchester County, 2012, Index No. 615/2011

The firm represented the plaintiff in a successful share holder derivative action and contract dispute involving the sale of commercial property in Westchester County, which… Read More

Town of Henderson Town Bd. v. Town of Hounsfield Planning Bd., et al., Sup Ct, Jefferson County 2010, Index No. 2010-0336

In an Article 78 proceeding, the firm represented the Applicant for a proposed 82 turbine wind farm project in the Town. Petitioner sought to reverse,… Read More