Can I stop the county from putting a park across the river from my house?

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Can I stop the county from putting a park across the river from my house?

I live on one side of the Hudson River in upstate NY. The other side of the river is vacant wooded land. This land was actually dredged by General Electric about 20 years ago to clean up the PCBs. It is currently posted with warning signs. There is a county line that runs down the middle of the river. The river is approximately 1/4 mile wide. The county official on the other side of the river wants to turn this vacant land into a park. My property is a corner lot with the river on 2 sides, in a somewhat private area. This park is going to depreciate the value of my property. It will also impact my quality of life as I will now have to listen to children yelling and screaming all day. And possibly snow mobiles in the winter. My property is up higher than the other side of the river creating a cannon like effect. Sound echoesterribly through the cannon. Currently I could literally sit in my yard all evening and not hear or see another person. Is there anything I can do to stop this park. How can they all of a sudden they say the PCBS are not an issue. General Electric is currently dredging the river, but they cannot dredge this area (which is a mile down river from the plant) because the water is too swallow for the barges to get up there.

Asked on June 20, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is probably little or nothing you can do:

1) You probably--almost certainly--do not have the "standing" to challenge the county's actions on the grounds that there might be PCBs or some other danger, since the county's actions do not affect *you* in that regard--you're living near that land anyway. As a general matter, only someone who is directly affected by an action has the right to challenge it.

2) It is sometimes possible to challenge a property use on the grounds it creates a "nuisance," but a "nuisance" has a specific legal meaning of a use that is generally unwelcome or undesirable in society, or whose side affects at least would be generally considered unwelcome or undesirable. There is also a societal balancing often--the interests of society or the community at large are considered as well. Even if you don't want a park nearby, it is very unlikely the community or a judge would consider a park to be a "nuisance" use; typical nuisances including concrete plants or slaughterhouses in residential areas, where there is no community gain and the locatio is clearly inappropriate.

If this matters alot to you, you should of course consult with a real estate attorney who can evaluate the situation in detail and depth; you need to be prepared that it is unlikely, however, that you can stop this. For what it's worth, usually the installation of a nearby park actually raises property values; if this happens, you may at least be in a good position to sell and move elsewhere, if you like.


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