Matter of Ithaca City School Dist. v. City of Ithaca

App. Div. of NY Supreme Court, 3rd Dept., 2011 NY Slip Op 01551, March 3, 2011: Holds local landmarks preservation commission can’t prevent demolition of historical landmark owned by schools district because school district is a “state agency” under NY law.

The school district (District) sought to demolish the 1932 Markles Flats Building it owned that had been previously designated a historical landmark by the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission (ILPC). When the ILPC denied demolition permission, the district appealed, asserting that the ILPC lacked jurisdiction. The trail court and appeal court agreed with the District. The appeals court noted it had previously held “a local government’s authority to regulate landmarks ‘does not include the power to regulate the activity of a [s]tate agency which might affect historical or cultural property under the control and jurisdiction of the [s]tate agency’ (Matter of Ebert v New York State Off. of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preserv., 119 AD2d 62, 65-66 [1986], lv denied 68 NY2d 612 [1986]”. Juxtaposing that decision with others holding that school districts are state agencies, the Court held the District’s proposed demolition of its own building could only be subject to “oversight and regulation” by other state agencies, not the ILPC, which lacked jurisdiction in this matter.

Decision available at http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2011/2011_01551.htm.

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