In a decision dated June 9, 2009 Judge Susan Cacace of the New York State Supreme Court issued a ruling “Bernstein V Feiner II”. The decision, in its entirety, will be posted on the town web site in the near future. I would be happy to e mail copies of the decision to anyone requesting it (e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Supreme Court made a decision in the Bernstein case. It ruled that the Theodore Young Community Center and Yosemite Park are recreational facilities, and that this is what the town had maintained. It also ruled that the town has discretion to allow reasonable access by non-residents to use the town’s park and recreational facilities, and that clears up an ambiguity in favor of the Town Board. The town has allowed village residents who are volunteer firefighters and ambulance corp members and disabled individuals to use the park. The court indicated that this does not violate the intent of the Finneran Law. The Town Board will exercise the discretion re: non non resident use very carefully, and always in the best interest and for the benefit of the unincorporated area.
The court also ruled that under the Finneran Law the tennis bubble was an unreasonable use of the town’s discretion because it permits anyone to have access to the bubble. That is unfortunate, because it robs the town of a very valuable and profitable sports facility. Sporttime had entered into an agreement with the town in December, 2007 to lease the tennis courts from the town. Sporttime had proposed to place a bubble over the tennis courts. Sporttime would have built, at their expense, a clubhouse for the town. They would have spent over a million dollars on infrastructure improvements at the courts and the town would have received significant annual income. I will urge the Finneran Amendment Committee to continue its work and to pursue an amendment to the state law so that we can hopefully have this great facility available for us during winter months in the near future. The decision by the Supreme Court provides the town with an opportunity to push for an amendment to New York State Law.
A special thanks to Town Attorney Tim Lewis, Deputy town Attorneys Richard Marasse and David Fried as wll as the legal department support staff who all contributed to and were responsible for the town’s briefs before the court.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor