Michael D. Zarin

(914) 682-7800

Michael has been a staple in real estate development and litigation throughout the Hudson Valley and in New York City for more than three decades, advising his clients on all aspects of land use and environmental law.  His innovative and collaborative approach to many of the most challenging land use development and real estate matters has made him a well respected leader in the field, and sought after in bringing these matters to successful resolutions.

Michael co-founded Zarin & Steinmetz in 1997, and has overseen the firm’s rise as a recognized leader in the region. Michael’s practice encompasses land use/zoning, complex real estate transactions and financing, environmental law, site remediation, public-private partnerships, SEQRA/NEPA, urban renewal, administrative law, eminent domain, due diligence, and environmental and general litigation. He has helped private and municipal clients achieve their goals for transformational projects that have breathed new life into downtowns, waterfronts, and brownfield sites throughout the state. Michael specializes in developing pro-active and creative financing models, which take advantage of the latest tools in pursuing successful public-private development projects. Michael has also represented clients in numerous federal, state and administrative proceedings through-out the nation, as well as intensive arbitration and mediation proceedings.

Michael is also frequently retained by municipalities as Special Land Use and Environmental Counsel on large, complex development projects. His municipal work also includes serving as an eminent domain expert, including as an expert witness for the New York City Law Department in connection with its comprehensive blue-belt condemnation program on Staten Island.

Michael is an Adjunct Professor at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, and previously taught a “Land Use Regulation” seminar at Hofstra Law School. He has lectured at the New York University Real Estate Institute, and at the Pace Law School’s Environmental Master’s Program. He is a former member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association’s Environmental Section, and Co-Chair of the Land Use Committee. He also assisted the Chief Administrative Judge for the Ninth Judicial District in the formation of a Special Environmental Claims Part for the District.

Prior to forming Zarin & Steinmetz, Michael was a partner with the law firm of Sive, Paget & Riesel. He began his legal career as an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in its Business Reorganization Department. Michael received his Juris Doctor from Hofstra University School of Law in 1985, where he served as Articles Editor for the Hofstra Law Review. He also received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1976.


Hofstra University School of Law, J.D.

University of Wisconsin, B.A.


New York

United States District Court, Southern District of New York

United States District Court, Eastern District of New York


Professional of Year, Westchester Business Journal, 2021

New York Metro SuperLawyers®, Land Use & Zoning, since 2013

Notable Work

  • Special Counsel to the City of Glen Cove in its public-private partnership to redevelop 56 acres of former brownfield sites along the City’s waterfront as a mixed-use project.
  • Catskill Casino and Development Project – representing Kansas City publically traded REIT in all phases of $1 billion redevelopment of former 1,200 acre Catskill/Concord development site, including obtaining all site plan approvals, awarding of New York State Gaming License, securing $150 infrastructure bond financing, coordinating all transactional matter involving ground leasing and construction of casino, waterpark, golf course and other amenities, prevailed in $70 million Percentage Rent Arbitration, and all ongoing operational and transactional matters.
  • Introduced and represent major office building owner and residential developers in creation of Joint Venture to subdivide two existing office parks and develop high end residential housing, including, handling all approvals, financing and real estate transactions
  • Representing 12th Generation Japanese Sake Manufacturer in the acquisition and repurposing and development of abandoned Stop and Shop into first Sake manufacturing and tourist tasting facility on the United States East Coast.
  • Representing international hospitality firm in development of boutique hotel and villas on the site of and in partnership with the Culinary Institute of America New York, including, developing innovative ground leases and financing model and overseeing complex approval process.

Our Attorneys work across multiple practice areas

Insights (Speaking Engagements & Publications)

Speaking Engagements (Partial List)

  • Moderator/Participant, Pace School Land Use Conference, Update on Land Use Cases, Spring 2018 – Present
  • Seminar, Creative Public-Private Redevelopment Infrastructure Financing, 2019
  • Co-Chair, New York State Bar Association Environmental Law Section Annual Meeting, January 25, 2013.
  • Speaker, International Transportation Engineers 2012 Technical Conference, July 2012.
  • Speaker, Land Use Training Institute, Westchester Municipal Planning Federation, March 2012.
  • Speaker, Practical Issues and Strategies Regarding Public/Private Partnerships, Lorman Education Services, January 25, 2012 & September 22, 2010.
  • Speaker, Ethics Problems in Everyday Environmental and Municipal Law Practice, Environmental and Municipal Law Sections of New York State Bar Association, October 22, 2011
  • Speaker, Using Vesting Strategies to Protect Approvals, ALI-ABA Teleconference Seminar, June 14, 2011.
  • Panelist, SEQRA: Practical Issues and Strategies, Lorman Educational Services, February 2009.
  • Panelist, SEQRA and Public-Private Partnerships, Lorman Educational Services, February 2005-2008.
  • Panelist, Eminent Domain, Legal Update, National Business Institute, July 19, 2006.
  • Panelist, Eminent Domain, Lorman Educational Services, June 30, 2006.
  • Speaker, Considering Environmental/Land Use Factors, Westchester Municipal Planning Federation, Land Use Training Institute, March 22, 2006
  • Panelist, The Many Faces of SEQRA, February 2006.
  • Panelist, SEQRA in New York, February 2005.
  • Speaker, Environmental Issues for Residential Real Estate Attorneys, Westchester County Bar Association, June 2004.
  • Panelist, The Use of Eminent Domain in Public-Private Development Partnerships, Lorman Educational Services, November 2003.
  • Panelist, SEQRA, Albany Law School Institute of Legal Studies, SEQRA 25th Anniversary Conference, Albany, New York, 2001.
  • Speaker, Condemnation and Urban Renewal: The Public Purpose, Westchester County Bar Association, White Plains, New York, 2000.
  • Speaker, New York Environmental Law Practical Skills, New York State Bar Association, New York, New York, 1999.
  • Speaker, Seminar on Appraising Contaminated Properties, Long Island Appraisal Institute, 1994.

Publications (Partial List)

  • “Vested Rights: A “Win-Win” for Municipalities and Redevelopers in Long-Term, Public-Private Redevelopment Projects,” Environmental Law in New York, Vol. 24, No. 5, May 2013
  • “Ethical Problems in Everyday Environmental and Municipal Practice,” The Municipal Lawyer, Vol. 25 (Fall 2011), (with Daniel M. Richmond & Jeremy E. Kozin).
  • “Vested Rights and Public-Private Redevelopment Projects,” New York Zoning Law and Practice Report, September/October 2009.
  • “The ‘Public Purpose’ Test Becomes Reality in New York: What Does This Mean For Public-Private Economic Development Partnerships in New York?”, Spring 2009.
  • “Border Wars and SEQRA,” Environmental Law in New York, May 2006.
  • “The Use of Eminent Domain in Public-Private Development Partnerships,” Environmental Law in New York, February 2004.
  • Border Wars: A Case of Economic Disparity, Not A Flaw In SEQRA,” SEQRA 25th Anniversary Conference and Training Institute, March 2001.
  • “Public Purpose Doctrine In Public/Private Eminent Domain Transactions, Westchester County Bar Association Municipal Law Section, June 2000.
  • “Who Pays to Clean Up the Property?/Managing the Risk with Insurance,” New York Law Journal, June 6, 1994.
  • “Land Use Conflict between City and Watershed Area Heats Up,” New York Law Journal, June 14, 1993.
  • “Reporting Ancient Spills,” Real Estate Reporter, 1992.
  • “Protecting Environmental Claims in Bankruptcy Proceedings,” Practicing Law Institute, Summer 1991.


New York State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section & Municipal Law Section

Community Involvement

Former Board Member, Gilda’s Club

Candidate New York State Senate

Former AAU Basketball Coach, Northern Westchester

Volunteer Urban Dove Charter Schools