A New York court has let stand a local law enacted by the town of Mamaroneck governing development outside its borders. Under the law, large-scale developments that abut, adjoin, or are adjacent to the Mamaroneck’s borders must undergo a comprehensive review and obtain a permit from the Town Board.
The law covers residential projects of 250 or more homes, facilities of more than 100,000 square feet, and projects involving parking for more than 1,000 vehicles. In granting a permit, Mamaroneck will consider the impact on natural resources, noise, traffic, cultural or aesthetic resources, and community or neighborhood character.
The law was adopted last year in response to a 270,000 square foot Ikea furniture store proposed for a site adjacent to Mamaroneck’s border, but entirely within the neighboring town of New Rochelle. The superstore was expected to generate thousands of car trips each day.
New Rochelle contends Mamaroneck has no right to regulate land outside it borders and challenged the law in court. When Ikea abandoned its planned superstore earlier this year, New Rochelle continued the court case, arguing that Mamaroneck’s law is unconstitutional on its face, regardless of any specific impact. New Rochelle also claims that the law is hampering its efforts to attract developers to redevelop the proposed Ikea site.
In July, the Westchester County Supreme Court let Mamaroneck’s law stand, noting that it has never been utilized and has not affected the use of any property, and cannot be found unconstitutional in the absence of a specific controversy. The Court found New Rochelle’s claim that the law impeded its redevelop efforts to be insufficient evidence of harm.
Mamaroneck officials insist that the law is well within the authority of a local government to protect its citizens. That authority, they say, must on occasion extend beyond the town limits to address external problems with internal impacts.