Builder Wins Lawsuit Against Southampton Village, Which Has Appealed - 27 East

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Builder Wins Lawsuit Against Southampton Village, Which Has Appealed

Brendan J. O’Reilly on Jun 12, 2024

A Southampton builder has prevailed over the Village of Southampton in New York State Supreme Court, but on Friday, the village filed a notice of appeal, meaning he won’t be getting the certificate of occupancy he sought anytime soon.

Builder Michael White sued the village in November 2023, telling the court that he had received a building permit to construct a new home on North Main Street and a certificate of appropriateness from the village’s Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation. He wrote that despite passing multiple inspections, the village has refused to conduct a final inspection and issue a certificate of occupancy. He asked the court to order the village to conduct a final inspection.

The village’s attorneys told the court that the problem was that it had been discovered that the building plans White had submitted for his building permit application did not match the plans that the Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation had approved. The plans he submitted were designed by a different architect and used different building materials.

Then in December, while the court action was pending, the village building inspector revoked White’s building permit for the home.

“When the case was taken over by the State Supreme Court, they decided to go around the court’s back and revoke my permit,” White said.

According to a June 4 decision signed by Justice C. Stephen Hackeling, the village relied on the revocation of the building permit to divest the court of its jurisdiction.

White amended his court petition to ask Hackeling to also order the village to reinstate his building permit.

Hackeling’s decision states that the “revocation of the building permit was arbitrary and capricious and contrary to law.” He annulled the revocation and said the building permit is reinstated. He also ordered the village to give White a certificate of occupancy within 30 days.

That order is now on hold because the village is appealing to the Appellate Division of the Second Judicial Department. The appeal argues that the Supreme Court erred in its ruling by finding that White applied for a building permit in good faith, despite the fact that his application for a building permit did not match the plans that were approved by the Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation.

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