Z&S Secures Dismissal of Challenge to Town of Poughkeepsie’s Vehicle Fueling Station Floating Zone


David Cooper and Jody Cross obtained a Decision and Order granting a motion to dismiss in a lawsuit challenging the Town of Poughkeepsie’s adoption of a new floating overlay district regulating gas stations. The lawsuit was commenced by a property owner that had obtained approvals in 2015 to operate a gas station, but let them lapse prior to vesting. After the Town enacted the new floating overlay zone in 2021, the property owner sued the Town claiming it was entitled to build and operate a gas station under the 2015 approvals. The lawsuit invoked the special facts exception, as well as claims premised upon vested rights, spot zoning, estoppel and res judicata. The property owner also alleged violations of due process and equal protection.


The Supreme Court, Dutchess County, dismissed all claims in a June 7, 2023 Decision and Order. The Court held the record contained no evidence of undue delay, fraud, or other misconduct to support the property owner’s allegations. To the contrary, the Court found that the adoption of the floating overlay zone related to legitimate public interests, such as protecting community character and the general health and safety of the residents. Since the Town Board’s record demonstrated that the zoning amendment “was enacted after study and consideration, and is consistent with the Town’s comprehensive plan,” the Court found the property owner could not establish a its claims premised upon various theories of bad faith municipal action.


David Cooper also served as Special Counsel to the Town Board in the adoption of the subject floating zone in 2021. He assisted the Board through a 9-month legislative and SEQRA review process, compiling the record ultimately utilized by the Court to dismiss the lawsuit.

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