Posts Tagged ‘land use’

MONDAY — Get on the bus and rally against fracking!

Are You Fracking Mad?

Then Get On The Bus!


Protect Our Water

From Fracking

Food & Water Watch is coordinating a bus to Albany to make sure Governor Cuomo and our legislators know that New Yorkers don’t want the gas industry fracking with our water.

Josh Fox – Director of Gasland will be there!

Will you?

Monday, April 11, 2011
Bus leaving from Brooklyn 6:30 am

For more information or to reserve your seat please contact

Eric Weltman, Food & Water Watch Organizer at 718-943-9085


TONIGHT! Screening of “The Vanishing City” — 4/4 at 6:30 PM, Geraldo’s

Environmental Law Society and Street Vendor Pro-Bono Project host:



By: Jen Senko and Fiore DeRosa

Monday April 4th –   GERALDOS   –   6:30pm

Documentary film Vanishing City takes a revealing look at the forces and driving vision behind the “Luxurification” of New York City and its far-reaching and devastating effects on the middle class and working poor.

Highlights eminent domain, affordable housing and rent regulation and redevelopment after the crash.

Click here to read more about the Vanishing City

Vendors in the News and Street Vendor Pro Bono Project Meeting on Friday, 1/28

There has been a vendor struggle unfolding on 86th and Lexington over the past few weeks. The corner has been the home of Paty’s Taco Truck for the past three years.  While the overwhelming majority of people who live around 86th & Lex love the truck and welcome its presence, it has been the source of some controversy in the past year.  Last summer, motivated in large part by the presence of Paty’s Taco Truck on the Upper East Side, Councilwoman Jessica Lappin introduced a bill that would revoke the permits of food trucks if they receive three parking tickets.

While efforts to pass that bill seem to have stalled, Paty’s Taco Truck  has been targeted for enforcement of a traffic law which prohibits the selling of “merchandise” (not food) from a metered parking spot.  Last week, Paty’s truck was towed three times, and all three tickets were dismissed by the traffic court. A lingering legal question is whether or not the law even applies to food vendors — the vending laws in New York City consistently distinguish between “food” vendors and “general merchandise vendors,” and this traffic law clearly seems intended for the latter.

Continue reading

In case you missed it…

The BLS ELS hosted a *fantastic* panel discussion this afternoon on Superfund sites, liability issues, and brownfield redevelopment!  Following a lively conversation on removal / remediation efforts under CERCLA, state versus federal response actions, and some larger issues of risk assessment, we enjoyed delicious Caribbean food from the Jamaican Dutchy vendor.

Below are some pictures, in case you were not able to join us.

Panelists Sarah Flanagan (EPA) and Larry Jacobs (Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer) discuss Superfund sites, and development on brownfields.

A packed room 503 engaged in a lively conversation, and enjoyed some delicious jerk chicken.

Panel organizer, Lee Miller, along with the speakers.

TODAY! Brownfield Redevelopment: A Panel Discussion (11/18)

Brownfield Redevelopment: A Panel Discussion

TODAY! Thursday, November 18

12:30 PM — Room 503

What is a brown field?

“any real property were development or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous waste, petroleum, pollutant or contaminant.”

What issues are involved in brownfield redevelopment?

“environmental contamination…planning, financing, community involvement, liability issues, technology selection, regulatory requirements, and the coordination of stakeholders.”


Sarah Flanagan; EPA Region 2

Assistant Regional Counsel, Superfund Branch

Larry Jacobs; Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A.

Environmental Law; Renewable Energy & Building Green

Speaker Bios:

Sarah Flanagan, EPA

Sarah Flanagan is an Assistant Regional Counsel in the EPA Region 2 Office of Regional Counsel, New Jersey Superfund Branch, providing legal support to the Superfund program in Region 2.  Ms. Flanagan’s responsibilities include responsible party identification and case development, negotiation of settlements for performance of Superfund response actions and/or recovery of EPA’s costs, litigation with respect to Superfund liability, and other, diverse aspects of counseling related to Superfund response actions.

Prior to joining EPA in 2001, Ms. Flanagan worked in private practice, advising clients on environmental issues in real estate and corporate transactions, negotiating with federal and state authorities, and litigating environmental disputes. Ms. Flanagan has a J.D. from NYU School of Law, 1991, and a B.A. from Brown University, 1982.

Larry Jacobs, Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer

Lawrence F. Jacobs is a shareholder of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer and Chair of the Environmental Team.  He concentrates on advising clients in all phases of regulatory compliance with environmental laws and brownfields redevelopment.  Mr. Jacobs has extensive negotiating experience with federal, state and local authorities on permit applications and enforcement proceedings.

Mr. Jacobs is the co-author of a chapter in the two-volume treatise “Commercial Real Estate Transactions in New Jersey” (ICLE 2003, 2006).  He is also the author of the articles “Urban Brownfields”  (Urban Land Magazine, February 2002) and “Managing Environmental Risk”  (Urban Land Magazine, June 1999).  Mr. Jacobs is also a frequent lecturer on environmental issues for planning organizations and for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE).

In addition, Mr. Jacobs is the Chair of the Northern New Jersey District Council of the Urban Land Institute, whose mission is to provide responsible leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.


Lunch from the Jamaican Dutchy in coordination with the Street Vendor Pro Bono Project

Street vendors in the news!

As you may already know, this year the BLS Environmental Law Society (in partnership with the Urban Justice Center’s Street Vendor Project) launched the Street Vendor Pro-Bono Project, giving law students the opportunity to represent street vendors in front of the Environmental Control Board when they receive tickets.

A report issued this week by the New York City Independent Budget Office found that in 2008 and 2009, street vendors were issued $15.8 million in tickets. The report notes that a “complex system of regulation and enforcement has evolved” to regulate vendors and that the “rules can change from one block to the next, making it difficult for the police, who have the primary enforcement role when vendors are on the streets, to know what applies and where.” The report concludes by commenting “while there may always be some tension between the interests of vendors and the interests of community residents and businesspeople, the current system appears to provide little relief to any of them.”

The report cited enforcement by the police that is inconsistent with the law as one of the primary reasons that vendors have received $15 million in tickets in the past two years. The report failed to note that fines for vendors escalate each time they receive a ticket, even if the ticket was not for the same violation as their previous ticket. The result is that after receiving 5 tickets, each subsequent ticket that a vendor receives will cost them $1000. For example, a vendor who set up 9 rather than 10 feet from a crosswalk one day, who was wearing a scarf that covered their license (which they are required to display at all times) another day, and put a box on the ground next to their cart while they were unloading merchandise another day, would quickly find themselves approaching $1000 tickets.

In response to the report, the Street Vendor Project’s Legal Director, Matt Shapiro, was interviewed for a front page article in Metro New York yesterday. A vendor who was interviewed for the Metro NY article noted that he makes $45-$50 per day and cannot afford to pay the $1000 fines that he receives. Matt pointed out one of the many irregularities in the way vendors are regulated as compared to “brick and mortar” businesses: vendors who do not post their prices can receive a ticket for $1000; Matt asked “how many times do you walk into a bar and know what the drink prices are?” There was also a good article on Gothamist on the report which is also worth reading.

If you’d like to get involved with the Street Vendor Pro-Bono Project, please email

Two exciting lunches at BLS this Wednesday

If you are interested in community gardens in New York City or the intersections of food and the law, then there are two interesting lunches happening this week that may interest you.  (And if you are interested in both community gardens and food and the law, then unfortunately, you may have a tough choice.)

The State of Community Gardens, Wednesday (10/20) – 12:30-2PM (in the Subotnick Center)

On Wednesday, the Environmental Law Society and the Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship Program are presenting The State of Community Gardens.  We will have an opportunity to learn about the history of community gardens in New York, hear about the impact of the recent expiration of the 2002 Community Gardens Agreement, and discuss the future of this unique urban land use.

The speakers include attorneys Christopher Amato of the Department of Environmental Conversation and Christopher Reo of the New York City Law Department, both of whom were actively involved in reaching the 2002 Community Gardens Agreement.

Please rsvp to Lee Miller if you would like to attend.

NLG World Food
Day Panel – Wednesday (10/20) – 1-2 PM (Student Lounge)

Join the National Lawyer’s Guild to learn about the intersections between food and the law.  Speakers will include: Marianne Cufone of Food and Water Watch; Professor Marsha Garrison of Brooklyn Law School; and Joel Kupferman of the New York Environmental Law & Justice Project.

Lunch will be served, but please bring a can of food or a dollar to donate to programs that help to feed the hungry in New York City.

And please sign the petition to end world hunger: