NY Appellate Court Rules that Lawsuit Challenging “House of Worship Law” was Timely Filed and Sufficiently Alleged SEQRA Violations

This post was authored by Amy Lavine, Esq.

The NY Appellate Division, Second Department, issued a pair of SEQRA decisions in March, 2023 involving the Village of Chestnut Ridge’s 2019 “House of Worship Law,” which sought to allow additional gathering places and houses of worship in residential districts.

in the first case, Matter of Kogut v Village of Chestnut Ridge, 2023 NY Slip Op 01283 (2d Dept. 3/15/23), the court held that the petitioners were timely in filing the proceeding pursuant to the savings provision of CPLR 205(a). The court found that the requirements in that section were satisfied because the “action would have been timely at the commencement of the first proceeding, and this action was commenced within six months of the issuance of the order directing the dismissal of the causes of the action in the first proceeding which were for declaratory relief. Further, the determination directing dismissal of those causes of action was not based upon a voluntary discontinuance, lack of personal jurisdiction, neglect to prosecute the first proceeding, or a final judgment on the merits.”

In the second case, Matter of Kogut v Village of Chestnut Ridge, 2023 NY Slip Op 01297 (2d Dept. 3/15/23), the court found that the petitioners had standing under SEQRA based on their ownership of property that was affected by the zoning amendments, and it affirmed the denial of the village’s motion to dismiss because the petition sufficiently alleged improper segmentation and a failure by the village to take a hard look at the environmental impacts of the zoning amendments. The court also observed that “the evidence submitted by the Village in support of the motion either was not documentary evidence…, did not resolve all factual issues as a matter of law, or did not conclusively establish that a material fact as claimed by the petitioners was not a fact at all and that no significant dispute exists regarding it.

Matter of Kogut v Village of Chestnut Ridge2023 NY Slip Op 01283 (2d Dept. 3/15/23)

Matter of Kogut v Village of Chestnut Ridge2023 NY Slip Op 01297 (2d Dept. 3/15/23)

* This case is related to a previous LOTL post – https://lawoftheland.wordpress.com/2022/10/01/fed-dist-court-of-ny-dismisses-establishment-clause-claims-over-enactment-of- zoning-law-related-to-houses-of-worship-for-lack-of-standing/