Town of Carmel v. Melchner

APPELLATE DIVISION
SECOND DEPARTMENT
Real Property

New York Law Journal

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Justice Daniel Angiolillo

Melchner owns a marina on Lake Mahopac—itself owned by New York—in the Town of Carmel. New York also owns the submerged lands under Lake Mahopac's navigable waters. Melchner long disputed regulation of the marina under town zoning laws. In 2009 supreme court granted the town a preliminary injunction, pursuant to authority under the Uniform Building Code Act, barring Melchner's use of certain docks not attached to the shoreline. On July 21, 2010, supreme court adhered to its 2009 decision. It reasoned that although the state's Navigation Law governs waterway use, over which the town has no jurisdiction, the town has authority to regulate the construction of docks and slips under the Uniform Building Code Act and Executive Law. On appeal Second Department—informed by Erbsland v. Vecchiolla and Town of N. Elba v. Grimditch—held that where the state owns a navigable body of water and the submerged land beneath that water, the state has exclusive authority to regulate construction on the submerged land absent a delegation of authority to a municipality. Because the state did not delegate authority to the town, the town lacked authority to regulate the construction or placement of the subject boat docks.

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