June 25, 2021
You may have read the article in Newsday or saw on News 12 the Suffolk County Legislature’s vote on Pal-O-Mine Equestrian. I am writing to provide you with additional information about the Village’s litigation with Pal-O-Mine concerning the organization’s expansion into residentially zoned property that was erroneously designated by the County Legislature as “agricultural.” Since the organization has been misrepresenting the facts of this litigation and three court decisions have held that Suffolk County has not been following the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), I feel it is necessary to set the facts straight in this matter.
Contrary to what was reported, the vote by the County Legislature on June 22 solely concerned whether one of several residentially zoned properties that have been acquired by the horse farm’s owner should be recommended for inclusion in an agricultural district, not whether the horse farm should be permitted to continue to operate. In addition, the Village never said it was taking eminent domain actions against the Pal-O-Mine properties. Here are the facts:
- The Village has taken no action against the property where the “horse farm” is located. Rather, the Village’s positions and litigations concern other properties acquired and owned by Pal-O-Mine in the surrounding residential neighborhood.
- The New York State Supreme Court’s determinations confirm that the uses at these other properties violate the provisions of the Village Code. Meanwhile, throughout the four years of these litigations, Pal-O-Mine has done nothing to seek to legalize these uses. Instead, it has sought to evade compliance with Village Code requirements.
- The Court agreed with the Village, finding that the purported “agricultural” use of these residential properties is not permitted by the Village Code and is, thus, unlawful. It further held that the determinations of Suffolk County to nonetheless recommend certification of the properties for “agricultural” use were issued in violation of SEQRA. As a result, the Court declared the County’s associated resolutions null and void and vacated them.
- The Village issued notices of violation regarding these properties back in October 2020. Pal-O-Mine did not take action to cure the violations; rather, it simply ignored them. Seven months later, with no response from Pal-O-Mine, the Village issued court summonses to the organization.
- Pal-O-Mine has had more than enough time to seek to legalize its unlawful uses of the subject properties, and it only has itself to blame for its failure and refusal to do so in the interim. That it is now seeking to “litigate” its position in the newspapers and TV stations without attending to its own legal obligations, as every other citizen is required to do, while pretending that the Court’s rulings do not exist, is disappointing and disingenuous.
It’s unfortunate that Pal-O-Mine would characterize the Village’s enforcement actions with respect to its repeated violations of the Village Code and disregard for environmental laws as a vendetta. I hope this letter provides you with a clearer explanation of the Village’s position on this matter and has provided insight into the County’s actions. As always, if you have any questions, please contact me at 631-348-1133 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allan M. Dorman