Mohegan Lake Legal Defense Fund

History of this site

This site was originally set up to fight 3 of 5 zoning variances proposed by the FBC development at Sagamore Trail and Mohegan Ave that eliminates two single family homes while nearly quadrupling the parking and occupancy loads of the old Lakeland Jewish Center. That effort failed and the application is currently before the Planning Board.

While Save Mohegan Lake will continue to update you on that issue, we are moving on to all issues affecting the lake, such as Mohegan Lake Improvement District (MLID) meetings, agenda and budget. This site is not an official mouthpiece for MLID, but some updates will be provided on this site; the official site is located here.

We do it all here, so long as it's Mohegan Lake related. Feel free to submit comments, content, garage sale notices, police blotters, PSA's, essays on the virtues of our 105 acre ice rink, rants, raves, etc... We love it all.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Like Watching Paint Dry

The new return date on the article 78 petition will be pushed out a bit past 3/6/2012; at the end of the day, our legal system takes time to navigate.  Initially, and naively, I was expecting this action to come to a conclusion in a quick dramatic fashion.  That is not going to happen.  It will happen in a fair and just manner though.  I'm sure of it.

So, in the meantime, I leave you with this: the deed and the restrictions attached to the wetland parking lot.

Background: the two lots across Sagamore Ave. from Faith Bible Church used as parking were transferred to the Lakeland Jewish Center from Shrub Oak Lake Estates [an adjacent home owners association] to use for 6 parking spaces.  Shrub Oak Lake Estates (SOLE)  transferred title to the Lakeland Jewish Center in 1969 and it included six (6) legally binding terms and conditions.

It's a bit hard to read, let me enlarge that for you.

Still having trouble reading it? Here's a transcription of the six (6) terms and conditions of the wetland deed that Faith Bible Church is legally required to observe.  

1. Approval of the Supreme Court of Westchester County to the conveyance.

2.  That the Grantee [Lakeland Jewish Center--now Faith Bible Church] shall develop, grade gravel and maintain the subject parcel as and for an automobile parking area.
 Setting aside the fact that the wetland lot is now paved, they comply with that term.
3. The Grantor [Shrub Oak Lake Estates] hereby reserves a permanent easement on behalf of its membership to use the subject parcel at all times for parking purposes at no cost to the Grantor [SOLE] or any of its individual members of the Grantor and the Grantee [Faith Bible Church].
That speaks for itself [emphasis mine].
4. That the subject parcel be permanently posted by the Grantee to indicate it as private property for the exclusive use of the members of the Grantor and the Grantee.
I like how attorneys use such crisp, clear language.
5. In the event the Grantee shall abandon the subject parcel and not use the same for parking purposes or if the Grantee shall use the subject parcel for any purpose other than parking, then the Grantor its successors, then the Grantor its successors and/or assigns.
No can argue FBC does not comply with that condition.

6. That the Grantee shall not in any way encumber the subject parcel by mortgage, lien or easement, but shall always maintain clear and unencumbered title to the subject parcel excepting the easement herein reserved to the Grantor, and in the event of a breach thereof, the Grantor shall have the right of re-entry and the fee shall revert forthwith to the Grantor, and in the event a breach thereof, the Grantor, its successors and/or assigns.
Let's all marinate on that while the paint dries.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Someone's Not Truthin'

Someone's not being honest with themselves, their community, the Mohegan Lake residential community and the Yorktown government.

Today, Sunday, February 26th, 2012, Faith Bible Church parked 88 cars to support an average occupant load; an average load, per pastor Zottolli's Planning Board application is about 150 to 160 people.

The new building that would take the place of two single family homes and the very small church that allows 100 occupants 3 days per year would allow for 344 people on the second floor alone. The church's architect, Larry Dalfino, has made up a code section about "non-simultaneous occupancy" claiming the 1st floor would never be occupied if the 2nd floor was being used. That's not only a lie, but also completely unenforceable.
Read the deed that ZBA chairman Gregg Bucci never took the time to read, here.

Let's set that falsehood aside. Let's pretend that the church is legally allowed to occupy the premises with "150-160 people" and park 88 cars on site to get those people there [the church is actually only allowed 100 people 3 days a year, for 3 hours and can only legally park 23 cars on site]. Let's then pretend the town approved "344" people to occupy the new building. How many cars would they have to park to support that occupant load? If it takes 88 parking spaces to allow 160 people on the site, how many spaces would be required to support 344 people? This is middle school math, but I'm going to give away a $40 gift certificate to The Winery At St. George for the first person to correctly figure out the number of parking spaces required to support 344 people (based on the current ratio of 88 cars to 160 parishoners) and leave the answer in the comment section.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What's Happenin' Now

2/24/2012: tomorrow, FBC's attorney is due in court at 9:30 in the "forenoon" [that's fancy lawyer-speak for "morning"]. He's trying to insert himself into the case because he doesn't think the Yorktown's attorney will do a good enough job.

2/28/2012, I will receive the town's motion to dismiss. They will argue that FBC should have been party to my lawsuit. There's still a snowball's chance that happens. 3/6/2012: Assuming I'm not thrown out of court for notifying FBC, I will have served my response to the town's motion to dismiss and reply to my petition to the court. I get the feeling it's going to be summer--at the earliest--before we have resolution. In the meantime, please enjoy this TV theme song instrumental. What'sHappenin' Now!! Oh no I didn't.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

3 Day Weekend!

I hope the holiday weekend affords you some time for leisurely reading, too.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What Does It All Mean?

I agreed to a conditional adjournment with Jeanneatte Koster (the Yorktown attorney) yesterday.  Initially I had opposed such a move.  My reasoning was that since the Zoning Board had deviated so radically from their normal procedure when certifying variance approvals, why would I agree to give them more time to respond to my petition.  Whereas a normal zoning variance gets recorded with the town clerk 30 days or more past the zoning board publicly votes on an application, the variances for FBC were recorded in 4 days (12/8/11-12/12/11).  Some of the variances they voted on last November still haven't even been certified!  Because there was no other application which the ZBA certified that quickly in all of 2011 (nothing even came close), it put me at a great disadvantage.  Anyhoo, out of the kindness of my heart, I've pushed out the return date to 3/6/2012.  If the ZBA weren't totally unaccountable for their actions (Jeannette has to defend them), I wouldn't have budged.
Note the only italicized words in her letter are "pro se."  That's code to the judge that she thinks I'm cray-cray

But wait, there's more.  Al Capellini, esq, on behalf of FBC, has filed a motion to intervene.  He is sad he wasn't invited to the party and wants to get served too.  He notes in his letter to the Honorable Judge Barbara Zambelli that he has directed the town to it is his understanding that..." Yorktown will move to dismiss my suit on grounds that I didn't serve the applicant, FBC.  In the same breath, he files a formal reply to my petition in Westchester County supreme court.

What does it all mean?

It means that Al Capellini will now get to serve as de facto council for Yorktown (read: I'm going to get tag-teamed by two attorneys now).  This, of course, presumes the judge doesn't throw me out of court for not serving the landowner (I checked my magic 8 ball and the outlook is good that I won't).

It's important to understand that I'm challenging the ZBA's, not FBC's, decision making process and the action of approving MAJOR zoning variances; I did not challenge 3 of the original five variances because they were reasonable.  I'm claiming that their action of approving the variances was  arbitrary and will be detrimental to our small residential community.  I've made the facts of this controversial public application and my article 78 petition so widely available to the public, he's already finished his reply to paperwork he's not yet been served. Ha!
What does it all mean?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Word of the Day: Impleader

Happy Valentine's Day!  As you're well aware, today is the return date on my article 78 petition.  There's a few happenings going on we'll talk about later, but in the mean time, please take the time to research today's word of the day.

Impleader, defined.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Judgement (Valentine's) Day

February 14th is the return date (the day the judge is set to render a decision).  The town attorney's office asked me to adjourn the matter for a couple of weeks.  I respectfully said no. That decision was partly emotional, being so close to the issue and not having the means to afford an attorney to represent my family; it was also based on the fact that the ZBA certified their vote with the town clerk in 4 days.  Normally it takes at least a month, if not longer.  My research with the town clerk's office covering the last 12 months shows that this move was unprecedented (I'll show you the data if you email me at
I apologize for not cropping this painting before I posted it the first time.  I promise to steal it from the artist and scan it in one shot so we don't have that unsightly crease in the center as well.  Fine art though, right?
Unless the judge grants an adjournment without my consent, it should all happen very quickly.  Though it's quite possible the judge needs more time to review it because of a heavy case load or whatnot.  I honestly have no idea what is about to happen because I'm not an attorney and have never done this before.  It's all rather exciting and scary. What if the judge reprimands me and I end up looking like an ass and all of Yorktown hates me, forever.  That would suck.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Save Mohegan Lake

Thanks to Patrick Van Maanen for donating the original artwork.  I have to say, the large mouth bass is easily my most favorite fish in all of Mohegan Lake.