An attorney who concentrates on land use and municipal matters for commercial and residential clients, Erin A. Sidaras works closely with architects, engineers, surveyors and other professionals in the handling of land use applications before town and village boards, including planning and zoning boards in matters such as site plan review and subdivision and variance approvals throughout New York State. She deals with issues involving SEQRA, lead agency status and the applicability of other federal, state, county and local environmental laws and regulations. Erin also advises on remediation of potentially contaminated properties, redevelopment of those properties and the rights and obligations of the municipality and private property owners with respect to cleanup, board up, blight and nuisance claims. She also provides counsel to various villages and represents clients in state and federal court at both the trial and appellate level in commercial litigation matters, as well as Article 78 proceedings, toxic tort, hazardous waste and other environmental-related matters.
Erin handles both residential and commercial real estate transactions, and assists clients in securing financing and land use approvals. She is well-versed in unique land development uses such as map filings and abandonments, riparian right disputes, adverse possession claims and boundary line disputes.
Is there one matter that is particularly significant for you?
While representing the Town of Islip in a land use Section 1983 matter, a jury trial judgment was entered against the town in the sum of $3.5 million. On a post-trial re-argument motion to the federal court judge, I argued that the jury verdict and its monetary award were not supported by the evidence. Setting aside a jury verdict is an extraordinary request; however, the judge agreed with my analysis and vacated the entire monetary award. That is a victory of which I am particularly proud.
“Success for me is making excellence a habit.”
How do you help your clients through these processes?
I try very diligently to manage clients’ expectations. I spend a significant amount of time trying to prepare my clients for realistic outcomes. Doing this builds good relationships from the start. During the process, my goal is to always be responsive. Even if there’s not much to report, I know that returning a phone call can help a situation. Being honest and truly understanding of what a client has to say are also critical.
Why should clients consider Farrell Fritz?
I worked with many firms during my tenure in government and private practice, including Farrell Fritz. I was always impressed by the knowledge, responsiveness, preparedness and breadth of experience Farrell Fritz attorneys possessed. Now that I’m a member of this firm, it’s nice to have all of these resources available, including very seasoned lawyers who I can call upon to answer clients’ questions.
How are you active in the community?
I am a board member of the Touro Law Center’s Land Use Institute, which was re-created in 2013. On a personal level, I’ve been very involved with the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Support Alliance at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, which is an organization for women dealing with breast cancer under the age of 45. I also enjoy mentoring young lawyers and continue to keep in touch with them as they progress in their careers. It’s very fulfilling for me.