In a recent decision involving the New York Rising Program, the Court reversed a decision to deny a homeowners previously approved claim for damage to his home caused by Superstorm Sandy.
Petitioner’s State Historic Residence in Herkimer County experienced serious damage due to storm surge caused by Hurricane Sandy. Petitioner applied for assistance from New York Rising, which included funding for bulkhead repair along the Otsquago Creek. New York Rising approved then denied the application based upon ever changing program deadlines and requirements. The homeowner-petitioner hired La Reddola, Lester & Associates, LLP to file a CPLR Article 78 review of the denial.
Hon. Charles C. Merrell, J.S.C. found that “Respondents’ determinations to terminate Petitioner’s appeal rights or right to seek an extension, without notice, to be arbitrary and capricious” and that “it cannot be said that Respondent followed its own policies in that the policies were either nonexistent . . . or constantly changing without adequate advance notice to applicants (e.g. permit deadlines and requests for deadline extensions)”. The decision stated that judgment be entered in favor of homeowner-petitioner and that “Respondent is to provide funding for bulkhead repair/replacement as approved and permitted by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, subject to petitioner meeting all other deadlines set by Respondent. . .”
Robert La Reddola, attorney for Petitioner stated, “This decision confirms the supremacy of the Administrative Review Process by the Courts and serves as a reminder that administrative agencies must follow their own policies and procedures to accomplish program goals, rather than set unreasonable burdens to frustrate homeowners”. (Snyder v. New York Rising Housing Recovery Program)