NY Trial Court Finds Enough Evidence of Potential Open Meetings Law Violation to Support Preliminary Injunction | LAW OF THE LAND

Editor’s Note: The below summary was prepared by the NYS Committee on Open Government,  See: https://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/foil_listing/findex.html

Motion by plaintiffs for a preliminary injunction enjoining defendants (Town) from enforcing an amendment to a Town building zone ordinance granted on the basis that plaintiffs had shown enough of a likelihood of success on the merits in establishing good cause for their claim of violation of the Open Meetings Law. At the outset of a public hearing regarding a controversial amendment to a local building zone ordinance, the proposed amendment was itself amended to delete a “24/7 time requirement” for free compressed air at local gasoline stations and only require the service station provide free compressed air “when the gasoline station is opened for business.” Members of the public that wished to speak to the “24/7” issue were reminded that the Town was not seeking a 24/7 time requirement. The Board reserved decision at the end of the public hearing. However, the resolution adopted several months later included the 24/7 requirement. The Court held that “[t]he express amendment to the amendment at the outset of the public hearing, to delete the ’24/7 time requirement,’ followed by the unexplained reinsertion of that requirement in the resolution approved months later, appears on its face to be an attempt to circumvent the purpose of the Open Meetings Law.”

McCabe v. Town of Hempstead, Supreme Court, Nassau County, Index no. 6892/2016 (January 5, 2017)

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