Betensky Law PLLC has extensive experience representing municipalities and obtaining land use approvals for private homeowners, commercial real estate developers and public utility companies. We handle all types of land use applications, including special use permits, use variances, area variances, steep slope permits, building permits, and freshwater wetlands permits.
Regularly appearing before Village, Town and City Councils, Boards of Trustees, planning and zoning boards in Westchester County, Rockland County, and Putnam County, the attorneys at Betensky Law use their intimate knowledge of the State and local rules and procedures to guide an application efficiently through the zoning process, including the processes required by the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”).
Residential homeowners often require area variances in order to construct additions, detached garages, swimming pools, tennis courts, cottages, fences and other improvements. Commercial property owners often require area variances to build a structure on an irregular shaped lot, build an accessory structure within a building setback, or increase impervious surface or building coverage in excess of the maximum permitted under the local zoning code. Having obtained countless area variances, we are abundantly familiar with the State criteria and we often work with clients and their design professionals to identify which variances are necessary, whether any other approvals are necessary, the likelihood of success, and the most efficient path toward obtaining those approvals.
If a particular use is not permitted in the zoning district in which the property is located and the use is not deemed a legal pre-existing nonconforming use, a residential or commercial property owner may require a use variance. The criteria for obtaining a use variance in New York are stricter than obtaining an area variance. For example, the property owner must affirmatively prove with dollars and cents evidence that the property owner cannot realize a reasonable return and the hardship is not self-created. If you believe you need a use variance, please call our office for a consultation.
Special Use Permits
Many municipalities allow certain uses in certain zoning districts as of right provided that the applicant meets certain conditions. For example, a public utility wireless telecommunications provider may need to prove that the facility be located a certain distance from the property line and the nearest residence. A liquor store or cannabis dispensary might have a minimum distance to a school or church. A riding academy might have a minimum acreage per horse and minimum setback for a manure dumpster. The conditions are designed to mitigate the impact of the subject use on the surrounding properties. Betensky Law has extensive experience obtaining special use permits for all types of uses.
State and Local Wetland Permits
In New York wetlands can be regulated by the State or local municipality. The attorneys at Betensky Law have abundant experience obtaining permits or no action letters from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, local wetland commissions and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. We routinely work with clients and their environmental professionals and engineers to submit wetland delineation maps, wetland functional analyses and wetland mitigation plans.
Legalization of Structures
We routinely assist clients with legalizing existing structures and uses. For example, we have assisted with resolving violations on equestrian properties, landscape nurseries, single family residences, and commercial properties. If you need to obtain a building permit, certificate of compliance or certificate of occupancy, please do not hesitate to call our office.