Welcome to Everything Croton, a collection of all things Croton--our history, our homes, our issues, our businesses, our schools--in short, EVERYTHING CROTON.
With permission to post, Paul Steinberg's Gouveia letter to the Gazette (the 1/9/14 edition), appears below. See additional links to important Gouveia information at the end.
To the editor:
The highest court in
NY has agreed to hear a case which will likely impact the proposed Gouveia
The case involves the use of a portion of Union Square park to erect a
restaurant, and opponents are saying that the state legislature in Albany must
approve the plan because it involves alienation of municipal parkland in
violation of the public trust doctrine.
Application of the "public trust doctrine" was at issue in the 2001
development of a water filtration plant in Van Cortlandt park, and that case
would seem to be squarely on point in the Gouveia matter, although the Village Trustees
fail to see things that way.
The Van Cortlandt park case is available from public library sources, and the
citation is 745 N.E.2d 383 (2001).
In that decision, the court said that once land has become municipal parkland,
there is a "public trust" which government officials must uphold.
That logic would appear to cover the Croton Trustees, much as they may think
While the Van Cortlandt court did allow for "de minimis" intrusion on
parkland, it held that the 5-year construction of the underground filtration
was indeed an alienation of municipal parkland and hence it required
legislative permission, even though the purpose was for a public good.
In the Gouveia case, the use proposed is not a public use but rather for use as
a private home. The upcoming case involving Union Square park may result in
some clarification, but unless the court radically changes course the law of
this state will remain the same, and the proposed Gouveia acquisition will
remain improper as a matter of law.