Appellate Divison Decision in 200 Amsterdam is Absurd and Unreasonable
Statement from MAS & CFESD
On March 2, 2021, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court issued a decision in our case against 200 Amsterdam Avenue. The Court reversed Justice Perry’s previous decision.
We are extremely disappointed in this decision. The Appellate Division has given developers carte blanche to tell the City what a zoning lot looks like. The Zoning Resolution is not ambiguous in any way on the topic of partial tax lots—it explicitly states that a zoning lot is “a tract of land, either unsubdivided or consisting of two or more lots of record.”
Partial tax lots are by their very nature are neither whole nor unsubdivided; the gerrymandered 39-sided zoning lot at 200 Amsterdam Avenue is a direct and explicit violation of the law. In the last 40 years, since we’ve had these regulations, no developer has misinterpreted the description of a zoning lot to the extent that this developer has. And therefore there never been any litigation prior to this.
Furthermore, the argument that our case is moot because we pursued injunctions only at the outset of the process is absurd and unreasonable. Over the course of a three-year litigation like this one, filing for an injunction every step of the way would cost plaintiffs hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Beyond the topic of partial tax lots and the dangerous precedent set by this project, we are deeply concerned about what this decision will mean for any community group or non-profit organization seeking to hold rapacious developers accountable to the law.
The tactics used to create 200 Amsterdam are unprecedented, but they will become all too common if this decision is left to stand. We are evaluating our next steps, including possible action at the New York State Court of Appeals.