Zarin & Steinmetz Secures Dismissal of Neighbors’ Complaint Seeking to Halt Expansion of Burial Areas at Ferncliff Cemetery

David Steinmetz, Jody Cross, and Jaclyn Cohen successfully defended Ferncliff Cemetery, securing a victory on a Motion to Dismiss a Complaint brought by neighboring residents.

The plaintiffs had filed a lawsuit seeking to stop Ferncliff Cemetery from expanding the burial areas on its property by alleging zoning violations and a private nuisance. The expansion project, which began with Site Plan approval in June 2021 and a Building Permit in September 2021, involved the installation of over 700 lawn crypts in the north-central section of the cemetery. By December 2023, the project was substantially complete when the neighbors commenced their action, alleging that a retaining wall built as part of the project violated the Town of Greenburgh’s Zoning Ordinance.

Our team moved to dismiss the case, pointing out that the claims were moot because the project was substantially complete when the neighbors filed their complaint. The court agreed, noting that the plaintiffs had failed to timely challenge the Site Plan approval and Building Permit, or otherwise prevent the construction of the retaining wall. In addition, the Court found that the neighbors living near this long standing Cemetery did not have a valid claim for a private nuisance. As a result, the Court dismissed the action in its entirety.

As this lawsuit shows, there are cases where neighbors attempt to challenge Town approvals long after such approvals were properly issued. Zarin & Steinmetz has the expertise to navigate litigation that arises after final approval – and even projection completion – to ensure our clients’ property and development rights are duly protected.

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