Jody T. Cross

jcross@zarin-steinmetz.com
(914) 220-9797
Biography

Jody is a proven litigator and land use practitioner, representing private and municipal clients in zoning, Constitutional law, and real estate development matters.

Jody brings a creative and logical approach as an advocate for her clients in Article 78 proceedings, declaratory judgment actions, and appeals in both State and Federal Courts. She has a particular passion for, and has successfully handled, land use and zoning matters that intersect with civil rights, including exclusionary zoning, RLUIPA, and the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Jody also processes applications on behalf of private developers and landowners to obtain approvals for projects from zoning, planning, and legislative boards. She has significant experience navigating the “Padavan Law,” helping both non-profit and for-profit sponsors of community residences through the siting approval process. She has successfully protected the rights of these homes to be established in residential neighborhoods before Administrative Hearing Officers and the Courts.

Jody serves on the Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee of Congregation Shir Shalom of Westchester and Fairfield Counties. She also is the Consulting Attorney and a Committee Member of the Lewisboro Playground Improvement Corporation. She has previously served on the Small-Midsize Law Firm Advisory Task Force for the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and as an Associate Editor of the Westchester Bar Journal.

Jody received her Juris Doctor, cum laude, and a Certificate in Environmental Law from what is now the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Pace Environmental Law Review. She was also a Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Land Use Law Center. Jody holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a concentration in Environmental Studies, from Muhlenberg College.

Education

Pace University School of Law, J.D., cum laude; Certificate in Environmental Law

Muhlenberg College, B.A in Psychology; concentration in Environmental Studies

Admissions

New York

Connecticut

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

United States District Court, Southern District of New York

United States District Court, Northern District of New York

Awards

New York Metro SuperLawyers®, Land Use & Zoning, since 2016

Notable Work

  • Represented a large national retailer in obtaining approvals for a gas station in the Town of Yorktown. This included securing a zoning map amendment, special use permit, and site plan approval – and then successfully defending those approvals in the lower and appellate Courts.
  • Successfully defended the Village of Airmont and its ZBA against legal challenges arising from a certificate of occupancy violation issued to a religious school. Served as special counsel to the ZBA and Village during the land use process, litigation, and ultimate settlement.
  • Represented a private developer in obtaining approvals for two additional hotel pads on an existing hotel site in the Town of New Windsor. Jody guided her client through the full SEQRA EIS process, and defeated an Article 78 challenge.
  • Represented the franchisee of a national doggie daycare center in obtaining all land use and rezoning approvals to develop and operate in the Village of Port Chester as part of an adaptive reuse of an existing building.
  • Guided a for-profit sponsor of a community residence for adolescents with eating disorders through the Padavan Law siting process in the Town of Lewisboro.

Our Attorneys work across multiple practice areas

In The NEws
Insights (Speaking Engagements & Publications)

Speaking

  • Guest Judge, National Environmental Moot Court Competition, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, February 24, 2022
  • Guest Lecturer, “The Land Use System: 101,” Special Topics in Construction Engineering & Management, Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering at Clarkson University, February 2, 2021
  • Guest Lecturer, “Regulating Religious Land Uses,” Sustainable Development Law, The Elisabeth Haub School of Law, March 12, 2018
  • Presenter, Regulation of Religious Land Use, Land Use Leadership Alliance Training Program, The Land Use Law Center at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law, May 12, 2017
  • Panelist, RLUIPA Zoning Decisions, New York Planning Federation 2017 Annual Conference, March 27, 2017
  • Guest Judge, National Environmental Moot Court Competition, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, February 24, 2017

 

Publications

  • Aesthetics and Community Character as Bases for Rejecting Conditional Use Permits: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Planning Bd. of the Town of North Elba, 12 Envtl. L. in N.Y. 21 (2001)
  • A Right Thing in a Wrong Place: Nuisance Law Elements in New York Zoning Law, 4 J. Pace Ctr. Envtl. Leg. Stud. 1 (Spring 2001)
Community Involvement

Greater Westchester

  • Consulting Attorney & Committee Member, Lewisboro Playground Improvement Corporation
  • Executive Committee, Board of Trustees of Congregation Shir Shalom of Westchester and Fairfield Counties

 

Memberships

  • New York Bar Association – Local & State Government Law Section (Co-Chair, State & Federal Constitutional Law Committee); Environmental Law Section; Real Property Law Section
  • Westchester County Bar Association – Municipal Law Section
  • Westchester Women’s Bar Association – Environmental & Land Use Committee
  • Fairfield County Bar Association