Steven’s areas of specialization include land use law, environmental law, local government law, real estate, as well as related litigation. Having represented numerous developers, businesses, municipalities, and community organizations in more than 30 years of practice, Steven has handled projects of all sizes — from a large master planned community of 1195 units with a commercial center, to a small 3-unit subdivision, both inside and outside New York City. Steven has litigated in the United States Supreme Court; in federal courts in the Second, Fifth and Tenth Circuits; and at the New York Court of Appeals, Appellate Divisions, and trial courts in multiple counties. Steven has been qualified as a land use law expert witness in Supreme Court, Nassau County. Steven brings to any project a wide range of skills, including drafting complex real estate transactional documents, obtaining land use and related project approvals, undertaking required environmental analysis, and culminating in litigation, when necessary. Steven has written and lectured extensively in his areas of expertise. He is an adjunct Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School where he has taught Land Use Law, State and Local Government Law, and Real Estate Practice.

Results
  • Tuxedo Land Trust, Inc. v. Town Board of Town of Tuxedo (2d. Dept. 2013): successfully obtained and defended the approvals for the largest planned community in the Hudson Valley
  • South Bronx Unite!, et al., v. New York City Industrial Development Agency, et al. (Sup. Ct. NY Co. 2013): successful defense of the environmental review of the Fresh Direct relocation project
  • LaBarbera v. Woodstock, 55 A.D.3d 1093 (3d Dept. 2008) and 29 A.D.3d 1054 (3d Dept. 2006): successfully defended the legality of the conservation easement imposed by the Town to preserve its equivalent of “Central Park”
  • Nozzleman 60, LLC v. Cold Spring Zoning Board of Appeals, 34 A.D.3d 682 (2d Dept. 2006):  retained after the Village lost in the lower court and successfully overturned the lower court decision and reinstated a variance denial by the Village’s Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Sovak v. Cornwall-on-Hudson (Sup. Ct. Orange Co.2006): successfully obtained subdivision approval and successfully litigated to strike down an illegal condition imposed on that approval prohibiting all future subdivision of the land
  • Montgomery Group, LLC v. Town of Montgomery, 4 A.D.3d 458 (2d Dept. 2004):  successfully overturned the denial of a variance from a zoning moratorium
  • West Branch Conservation Association v. Town of Ramapo, 726 N.Y.S.2d 137 (2d Dept. 2001): successfully struck down a rezoning of property as not having been adopted in accordance with the Town’s comprehensive plan
  • Trujillo v. City of Albuquerque, 693 P.2d 1006 (1995) and 798 P.2d 571 (1990):  represented all New Mexico municipalities in successfully defending the constitutionality of the damage limits of the New Mexico Tort Claims Act
  • Cruz v. Deierlein, 84 N.Y.2d 890 (1994):  successfully obtained a precedent-setting ruling to require proposed amendments to the Yonkers City Charter to be placed on the election ballot in what is now the leading case governing how charter commissions undertake their work
  • Mehiel v. County of Westchester, 571 N.Y.S.2d 808 (2d Dept. 1991): retained on appeal after loss in the lower court and successfully obtained a reversal and a decision upholding the County’s home rule powers regarding election redistricting
Legislative Drafting and Lobbying
  • Yonkers: Drafted multiple City Charter amendments as special counsel for Yonkers Charter Revision Commission; principal drafter of the recodification of the Yonkers City Code
  • Rio Rancho City Charter; Grants City Charter; Town of Taos Land Development Code
  • N.M. Municipal Election Code; amendments to Chapters 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 13, 14, 29, 35, and 47 NMSA
Activities
  • American Bar Association member
  • New York Bar Association member
  • New Mexico Bar Association member
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York member (prior member of Land Use Committee)
  • New York County Lawyers Association
  • Zoning Advisory Council
Lectures
  • Brooklyn Law School, Adjunct Professor – Land Use Law and Real Estate Practice, 1997 – present
  • Real Estate Board of New York – Lecturer at CLE program for real estate brokers, 1999 – 2005
  • Westchester County Planning Federation – Short Course on Zoning
  • Albany Law School Conference on the Public Trust Doctrine Nat. League of Cities Annual Conference for Self-Insurance Pools, Attorneys’ Section: Government
  • Liability for Regulatory Takings
  • Land Use I, II, and III: Lecturer at CLE program sponsored by the New Mexico Bar Association
Publications
  • How Yonkers Home Rule Case Applies to Yankee Stadium Ballot Challenge, NYLJ, pg. 1, October 5, 1998.
  • When Does Government Regulation Go “Too Far”?, co-author, VI Fordham Env. Law J. 565
  • Unraveling the Bundle of Rights in Takings Jurisprudence, co-author, NYLJ, November 28, 1994
  • The New Nexus in the Regulatory Taking Arena, co-author, NYLJ, pg. 1, July 12, 1994
  • Local Government Redistricting in New York: Where Does the Power Repose?, co-author, 57 Bklyn. L.R. 1049 (1992)
  • Pamphlets written for the N.M. Municipal League: Municipal Election Districts – Legal Issues and Authority, Municipal Regulation of Public Soliciting, and Model Municipal Procurement Regulations