Jacobowitz and Gubits secured a significant win for the Town of Shandaken, located in Ulster County after a resident constructed and operated a farm stand without the proper permits and violated numerous provisions of the Town Code.
Hanover Farms, Inc. obtained permission to operate a 100 square foot road side farm stand, pursuant to certain parameters set forth by the Town. However, in 2012, Hanover installed and began operating a 2,695 square foot structure, which was over 26 times larger than the structure it had received permission to erect. Hanover also installed electric wiring and insulation, all without the proper permits to do so. Despite notifications that the construction was being done without permits, and direct orders by Town officials to stop the construction, Hanover continued work until the structure was complete and then began operating it – without a permit to operate the business and without a certificate of occupancy. Hanover continued to operate the farm stand in direct violation of Town Code until ordered to stop by the court.
On January 28, 2016, Honorable Supreme Court Justice Mary Work rendered a final decision imposing the maximum daily fine under the Town Code of $200 per day for the 631 days that the farm stand remained standing and operating in violation of the Town Code, for a total fine of $126,200.00. Judge Work stated that she was imposing the maximum penalty against Defendants due to the “egregious and flagrant nature of their violations.”
Defendants’ conduct was made worse by the fact that Town taxpayers had to incur the cost of enforcing the Code and litigating the violations. The fines awarded on behalf of the Town will cover those costs to the Town and taxpayers, and hopefully deter such behavior in the future.