Thursday, January 9, 2014


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 acquisition.

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 otherwise.

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.

Paul Steinberg


  1. I have always wondered about how this might tie in with the water filtration plant insanity and Paul summed it nicely. We are lucky that so many new people are stepping up to the plate and willing to get this terrible injustice some attention. I sent it to some state officials I know and attorneys.

  2. Great letters but they have absolute power now and don't care.

  3. That probably means another expensive lawsuit under an Article 78. That's the way we operate under a Democratic Administration in Croton. Remember Harmon (By the way, no one has taken advantage of the new zoning regulations. Lots of legal fees for nothing! How about the Katz property or the Exxon canopy lawsuits?)