VOL. I, NO. 1 JULY, 2000

Welcome to our first “Report from Counsel”, a newsletter for the Firm’s clients updating them on our practice as well as interesting new developments in the law.


New Additions:
The Firm is pleased to announce that on February 1, 2000, Jon A. Ward became associated with the Firm. Jon earned his B.A. from Yale in 1987 ae began his practice in Manhattan with the international law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue. Prior to joining the Firm, Jon was also associated with the Nassau County law firm of Farrell, Fritz.

Jon’s practice focuses on land use, zoning, real estate transactions, environmental law and estate plnd his J.D. Magna Cum Laude, from The University of Notre Dame Law School in 1991. Hanning. He also represents the Firm’s clients in civil litigation in both State and Federal Court.

New Website:
The Firm’s new web site is up and running. Please visit us at or e- mail us at Individual e-mail address are as follows:, and

Same Building, New Address:
The Firm has moved into a new suite in its current building effective July 1, 2000. The Firm’s new address is Sahn & Ward, PLLC, 666 Old Country Road, Suite 820, Garden City, New York 11530. We also have a new facsimile number (516) 228-0038


The Firm recently secured municipal approvals for a 194,000 square foot self-storage facility in New Hyde Park, in the Town of North Hempstead. The application required site plan approval of the Town Board of the Town of North Hempstead as well as a variances from the Board of Zoning Appeals of the Town of North Hempstead.

Additionally, the Firm recently obtained approvals from the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Town Board of the Town of North Hempstead for the conversion of an existing mixed use commercial and office building in Westbury into a “Media Technology Center” with 130,000 square feet devoted to hi-tech computer usage and co-location facilities. The building will be used to house computer hardware for internet communications.


The Firm is representing several commercial property owners in litigation with the New York State Department of Transportation over its decision to erect a 1,300 foot long, 22 foot high sound barrier wall in front of their buildings as part of the Long Island Expressway widening in Western and Central Nassau County. The Firm commenced a proceeding against the DOT in Supreme Court, Nassau County, to enjoin the DOT’s construction of the sound barrier on the grounds that the DOT failed to perform a proper noise study for the barrier wall under Federal and State noise regulations as well as failed to comply with the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act before incorporating the barrier into the project. The Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the DOT from constructing the barrier and held a full evidentiary hearing on the property owners’ request for a preliminary injunction. A decision is expected shortly.

In Supreme Court, Suffolk County, the Firm is representing a commercial property owner in a proceeding to annul a determination of the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Huntington, which denied the property owner’s application to convert a portion of an existing gasoline service station into a retail convenience store.

Additionally, the firm is defending corporate clients in connection with investigations by the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Aviation Administration.


The firm represented a national retail chain in an Article 78 proceeding in which the Appellate Division, Second Department, affirmed a decision of the Nassau County Supreme Court that overturned a Town’s denial of an application to use business zoned property for a retail supermarket without having to first apply for a special use permit. The Supreme Court based its decision on the long-standing principle that zoning ordinances are in derogation of common law and must be strictly construed against the municipality. The Town argued both in Supreme Court and in the Appellate Division that previous special use permits granted for different uses on the property required all new uses to first obtain a special permit even if the proposed use was otherwise permitted as a matter of right in the zoning district. In other words, the Town argued that the “as of right” status was lost after special use permits were granted for the property. The Courts disagreed. The Courts held that the Town’s interpretation of the law was arbitrary and capricious and not supported by substantial evidence. The Courts found that each use must be evaluated on its own terms and that the Town is obligated to strictly adhere to its own ordinances.

In a case in which the firm represented the owner of a residentially zoned parcel of property, the Nassau County Supreme overruled the decision of a Zoning Board of Appeals denying a property owner’s application to subdivide his property into three (3) separate lots on acul-de-sac which would share a common, private driveway to the Town’s street. The Court held that under the New York State Town Law, in order to obtain the permits for the three (3) lots, the applicant only had to show that the lots had adequate access to the public street and that access through a common driveway is permissible provided that the access to each proposed structure is unobstructed. The Court ruled that the Town Zoning Board had misinterpreted the law in denying the application on the basis that each parcel did not have its own, separate frontage on the Town’s road. The Court also found that the Board’s findings of fact were not sufficient because they were not adopted contemporaneously with the Board’s decision and did not adequately inform the Court as to the basis for the Board’s conclusions.


Michael Sahn joined with the legal counsel to the Nassau County Planning Commission in presenting a lecture and discussion to the New York Condemnation Conference concerning the development of the proposed Nassau County Transportation Hub. The presentation was given at the home of the Nassau County Bar Association and also included a tour of the Nassau County Hub site. Michael Sahn’s presentation discussed the laws and regulations applicable to the development of a large commercial parcel of property within the Hub area, including a review of the applicable zoning laws, environmental rules and regulations, subdivision regulations and the coordination of the development with the various state, county and town authorities having jurisdiction over the Hub area.

SAHN WARD & BAKER, PLLC’s “Report from Counsel” is published with the intent to inform readers of recent developments at the Firm and in the law. It is not intended, nor should it be used, as a substitute for legal advice or opinion which can be rendered only when related to specific fact situations.

333 Earle Ovington Boulevard, Suite 601 Uniondale, New York 11553
Telephone: 516.228.1300 E-Mail: