Areas of Focus

Art Giacalone zealously represents his clients at public hearings and adminstrative proceedings, and in New York’s trial and appellate courts.

Zoning & Land Use Law

Municipalities often approve requests for zoning amendments, variances and special permits without complying with the procedural and substantive safeguards meant to protect adjacent landowners and the surrounding community. Art Giacalone has helped concerned individuals and groups of citizens challenge a wide variety of zoning and land use decisions, from a rural town’s rezoning of nearly 200 acres of farmland to allow operation of a stone quarry, and a suburban town’s approval of a major expansion of an existing office park adjacent to existing townhouses, to a city’s decision to allow a hospital heliport to be located within 100 feet of private residences.

SEQRA & the Environmental Review Process

NY’s Legislature recognized more than 30 years ago that State and local agencies were making important decisions without taking into consideration adverse impacts on the environment. SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) was enacted in hopes of correcting that problem. Intentionally or otherwise, decision-makers continue to approve projects and adopt policies with significant environmental consequences without first complying with the letter and spirit of SEQRA. Art Giacalone has challenged many types of agency decisions when SEQRA’s mandates appear to have been violated, from a town’s enactment of a deer bait-and-shoot program, and a village’s approval of a lease of its property for use as a solid waste transfer station, to a town board’s resolution inviting the State to place its low-level radioactive waste disposal facility within the township.

Challenges to “Wind Farm” and “Big Box” Development

They may be touted as “green and clean,” but inappropriate siting of industrial-scale wind turbines can adversely impact the health of nearby residents (“wind turbine syndrome”), the community’s rural character, and the value of properties within the towers’ viewshed. Similarly, “big box” retail projects can overwhelm nearby residential neighborhoods with unwanted traffic, lights, and noise, and can also have a devastating economic impact on local shops and businesses. Art Giacalone has helped residents in towns throughout western and upstate NY prepare for public hearings on proposed wind energy facility laws and projects, and on proposed “big box” development. He has fought for full and objective environmental reviews, at local hearings and in court proceedings, and highlighted potential conflicts of interest. Art Giacalone has also assisted local officials who wish to prohibit industrial-scale wind projects by drafting a model wind energy law that bans all but small wind turbines. Likewise, he has served as special counsel to municipal boards wishing to say “No” to proposed Wal-Mart projects.