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  • Patrick L. Cusato Named to 2023 Power 20 Real Estate Law List

    Congratulations to Patrick L. Cusato for being selected to The Daily Record's 2023 Power 20 Real Estate Law list for the second year in a row. The Power 20 list showcases power players in the Western New York legal community who are recognized as leaders in their area of practice. “The people on this list help clients navigate complex transaction processes to help fulfill their personal dreams or organizational goals. Their job has been made even more difficult over the past two years. At the same time as the COVID-19 pandemic was changing the way the entire real estate transaction process worked, the real estate market was getting turned on its head. These attorneys continued to serve their clients admirably while navigating new ways of doing business thanks to restrictions that limited or halted face-to-face meetings," stated Ben Jacobs, Associate Publisher and Editor of The Daily Record. Cusato, Partner, and Chair of the Real Estate & Finance practice group and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee, focuses his practice on commercial and residential real estate, mortgage banking, and tax credit finance law. Pat is past President and an Executive Board member of the Mortgage Bankers Association of the Genesee Region, an Executive Board member of Bishop Sheen Ecumenical Housing Foundation, and past Chair of the Monroe County Bar Association Real Estate Section.

  • Comprehensive Housing and Zoning Regulations Set to Sweep Across New York

    In January, Governor Kathy Hochul proposed the New York Housing Compact, which includes a series of proposals to address the purportedly low housing selection across New York. The New York Housing Compact aims to complement the Governor’s Housing Plan announced last year to create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes throughout New York. Additionally, several bills sit in the New York State Senate to address housing shortages across the State. The New York Housing Compact proposals are broad and include subsidies for localities to fund infrastructure, mandate minimum housing growth targets for municipalities, rezoning areas near train stations, facilitating housing approval at the State level when localities are unable to meet targets, removing obstacles to housing approvals, and expanding tax incentives and assistance to renters. Subsidies to Fund Infrastructure The New York Housing Compact will create an Infrastructure Fund of $250 million and a Planning Fund of $20 million to encourage new housing throughout the State. Localities may submit requests for subsidies to further Transit-Oriented Development or Preferred Actions, or good-faith measures to increase housing availability. Housing Growth Targets The New York Housing Compact will also require all cities, towns, and villages to create new homes on a three-year basis. New York City is required to meet a 3% growth rate over three years, while upstate municipalities must achieve 1% growth in new homes every three years. The creation of new housing counts toward the target, with extra weight assigned to the creation of affordable units. Municipalities are vested with the power to decide how to meet the targets, but those that do not meet targets may still achieve a Safe Harbor status for one three-year cycle by employing good-faith Preferred Actions, which create capacity to achieve the housing growth targets. Preferred actions may include new housing, particularly below-market rate, income-restricted affordable housing. Transit-Oriented Development and Rezoning Near Train Stations According to the fact sheet from the Governor’s office, the New York Housing Compact will also require localities that have rail stations operated by the MTA “to undertake a local rezoning or higher density multifamily development within half a mile of the station unless they already meet the density level.” The aim is to improve access to jobs through transit. State Override of Local Zoning Laws Governor Hochul derided local governments for their zoning restrictions at her State of the State address in January. To combat this, the New York Housing Compact provides that if a municipality does not remove zoning restrictions which impede new development, and the locality fails to meet its growth target or does not implement Preferred Actions, developers may circumvent the municipality and seek approval via the courts or the newly conceived State Housing Approval Board. Based on the press release from the Governor’s office, projects will be approved by the Board “unless a locality can demonstrate a valid health or safety reason for denying the application.” Many municipalities have interpreted this to mean that developments will be permitted absent any exigent circumstances. Practically speaking, localities will be forced to allow developments that do not conform with current local zoning laws, which could create developments that do not match with the character of existing neighborhoods and may run contrary to a comprehensive plan, may pose issues for code enforcement, and could set precedent the locality sought to avoid. Relief from Environmental Review Relief from environmental review is included in the housing growth and transit-oriented development proposals in the New York Housing Compact, although the State has indicated that it remains committed to exercising safeguards to prevent harm to the environment and public health. Tax Incentives for Developers The Governor intends to allocate $5 million in State Low Income Housing Tax credits to foster development of affordable housing. The New York Housing Compact includes several tax incentives to encourage housing development throughout the State, such as new property tax exemptions for mixed income housing development near train stations and affordable housing in commercial buildings that are converted to residential use in New York City. Further, the Governor plans to unveil a new 421-a property tax exemption program that would provide an exemption to real-estate developers for building new multifamily residential housing buildings in New York City. Support for Homeowners The New York Housing Compact includes plans to update property tax exemptions for homeowners that build accessory dwelling units and includes proposed changes to prevent penalizing municipalities who use Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) agreements with tax cap calculation. Governor Hochul has also disclosed two new proposals to assist renters and homeowners. The first is a fund modeled after the Buffalo East Homeownership Assistance Program to aid homeowners with repairs in targeted areas that have been identified as having high levels of homeowner distress or low-income homeowners of color. Next, the Governor has proposed increasing funding and presence for the State’s Tenant Protection Unit (TPU). The TPU acts as a proactive law enforcement office within New York State Homes and Community Renewal. Its purpose is twofold: preserving affordable housing by discouraging patterns and practices of landlord fraud and harassment; and encouraging compliance by keeping tenants informed of their rights and responsibilities under the rent regulation laws. The expansion of the TPU is aimed to benefit mobile home residents, as well as those living in farmworker housing. Additional Housing and Zoning Proposals Before the Legislature Three bills currently sit before committee in the New York State Senate. Senate Bill S7574, would amend General City and Village Laws by preventing cities from establishing various zoning requirements, including a minimum lot size of more than 1,200 square feet, requiring off-street parking as a condition for construction of a building (except for the loading of deliveries), and prohibiting construction and occupation of a building for four or fewer families in a single lot, imposing height or setback restrictions, or prohibiting the construction and occupation of a dwelling for six or fewer families on a single lot for those dwelling near a rail or subway station operated by the MTA. Bill S7574 would also amend Town Law to prevent towns from establishing a minimum lot size of more than 5,000 square feet if a lot has access to sewer and water or a minimum lot size of more than 20,000 square feet in any area. Senate Bill S4547A, amends the Real Property Law to legalize accessory dwelling units (ADUs) throughout the State, including existing basement apartments, in-law suites, and backyard cottages. The bill also includes a mechanism for a party who has been denied a permit for an ADU to appeal the denial in a court of competent jurisdiction. Senate Bill S7635A amends the Public Housing Law by streamlining the permit application process for low- or moderate-income housing developments. It also requires municipal Zoning Boards of Appeals to approve applications for low- or moderate-income housing unless written findings show that the proposed development would have a specific, adverse impact on public health or safety, and there is no feasible manner to mitigate or avoid such adverse impact. If applications are still denied or are granted with conditions by a local Zoning Board of Appeals, applicants may appeal to the State Board. Change is certainly afoot throughout the State to address housing shortages. However, what remains to be seen is the long-term effect it will have on municipalities and their communities at large. Ericka B. Elliott, an Associate in our Litigation and Municipal Law Practice Groups, focuses her practice on commercial litigation, land-use, and municipal law matters. If you have any questions regarding this article, please contact Ericka here or call 585.258.2800. Reprinted with permission from The Daily Record and available as a PDF file here.

  • Large NYS Employers with Warehouse Workers Must Follow New Law

    Effective February 9, 2023, upon execution by Governor Hochul, the New York State Warehouse Worker Protection Act requires New York employers who have at least 100 employees in a single warehouse, or 500 employees statewide, to provide written notice to their employees of any production quotas. Employers subject to the new law also must be sure the quotas reflect employees taking reasonable rest periods and bathroom breaks and must comply with all other local, state, and federal health and safety laws. Employers subject to the new law would be wise to have all the relevant quota and safety information (including any possible discipline/coaching related to missing quotas) in the job description signed by the employee, in addition to on a separate notice posted where all the other labor and employment law notices are on display. Employers also must notify their employees in writing how the quotas were developed (e.g., long experience, that they are reasonable, industry benchmarking, etc.). While this law was purportedly aimed at Amazon and similar entities, it applies to any company with the requisite number of employees and given that it was premised on data showing increased injuries in workplaces with quotas, Department of Labor enforcement is likely. If you have any questions regarding this new law, or any other labor or employment law topic, please call Paul F. Keneally at (585) 258-2882 or email Paul here. To have these legal alerts sent straight to your email, click here to subscribe.

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  • Jennifer A. Shoemaker - Family Law Attorney | Underberg & Kessler

    Jennifer A. Shoemaker Partner Rochester, NY (585) 258-2825 (585) 258-2821 View Jennifer's LinkedIn Send Jennifer a Message Family and work—two of the most important areas of life come under Jennifer’s purview as a practicing attorney. She represents clients across the spectrum of family law issues, including divorce, custody, support actions, the negotiation of separation agreements, adoptions, and prenuptial agreements. Jennifer is certified as a mediator, a collaborative divorce attorney and is a member of the Collaborative Law Association of the Rochester Area (C.L.A.R.A.). In addition to her family law practice, Jennifer represents private and public-sector clients in a variety of litigation and employment matters, including contract disputes, tort claims, discrimination, retaliation, workplace issues, and harassment. She also represents clients in complex national liability litigation and has conducted jury trials, bench trials and arbitration proceedings. Jennifer appears in both federal and state courts and before various government and administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York Division of Human Rights, OSHA, and the Department of Labor. Jennifer has authored several employment law-related articles and is a regular lecturer for the Society of Human Resource Management. Her extensive background in general litigation, dispute settlement, and arbitration diplomacy, coupled with her empathy, are significant assets to her clients. Download a printer-friendly version of Jennifer's bio: PRACTICE AREAS Family Law ​ Labor & Employment ​ Litigation EDUCATION Boston College Law School, J.D. Ithaca College, B.S. COURT ADMISSIONS New York State Massachusetts US Court of Appeals Second Circuit US District Court for the Western District of NY US District Court for the Eastern District of NY US District Court for the Northern District of NY US District Court for the Southern District of NY US District Court - District of Massachusetts PROFESSIONAL & COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT A member of the New York State, Monroe County, and Wayne County Bar Associations, Jennifer also serves as President of the Board of Directors of Camp Stella Maris. She is a former Co-President of the Harris Hill Parent Teacher Association and member of the Association of Collaborative Family Law Attorneys. She recently became a member of the ARC of Monroe Board of Directors. AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS Jennifer was named to the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers in America® for her work in Civil Rights Law. She was named to Super Lawyers for her work in family law and is listed in the 2018 Top 20 Plaintiff’s Labor and Employment Jury Verdicts obtained in the United States comprising of various matters tried in either state or federal courts. In one such matter, her client was awarded over $7,000,000. She was selected a 2021 & 2022 Upstate New York Super Lawyer. The group represents the top 5% of attorneys in Upstate New York who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Jennifer was also selected to 2022 and 2023 The Daily Record Power 20 Family Law list. JENNIFER'S ARTICLES & POSTS Sharing Insight with HR Professionals at the 2023 Legal Update Two U&K Attorneys Named to 2023 Power 20 Family Law List Cintineo & Shoemaker Recognized as a Power 20 - Family Law View All of Jennifer's Articles & Posts

  • Underberg & Kessler | Rochester, NY - Buffalo, NY Law Firm | Attorneys

    Welcome to Underberg & Kessler LLP 1/2 The Partner You Can Count On With law firm offices located throughout the Western New York region, our attorneys in Rochester, Buffalo, Canandaigua and Geneseo, NY are just steps away from where you live and work. As the world grows smaller, our clients’ needs grow larger and more complex in scope. Our attorneys provide a real-world perspective that is refreshingly practical, creative, knowledgeable, confident, and results oriented. As individuals, our attorneys come from very distinct backgrounds and bring a diversity to our firm that gives us much of our strength. As a result, we excel in providing full-service legal representation. Commercial Lending Construction Corporate & Business Creditors' Rights Environmental Estates & Trusts Family Law Health Care Intellectual Property Labor & Employment Litigation Municipal Law Real Estate & Finance Tax Law Ericka B. Elliott 7 days ago Comprehensive Housing and Zoning Regulations Set to Sweep Across New York Governor Hochul proposed the New York Housing Compact, which includes proposals to address the purportedly low housing selection across NY. Paul F. Keneally Mar 6 Large NYS Employers with Warehouse Workers Must Follow New Law Effective February 9, 2023, upon execution by Governor Hochul, the New York State Warehouse Worker Protection Act requires New York . . . Ryan T. Biesenbach Mar 1 NLRB Holds Non-Disparagement and Confidentiality Provisions in Severance Agreements to Be Unlawful The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) recently issued a decision that may significantly alter the terms used in severance agreements. Underberg & Kessler Feb 17 Sharing Insight with HR Professionals at the 2023 Legal Update Our Labor & Employment team spoke to a sold-out crowd at the 2023 Legal Update regarding NYS's sexual harassment prevention program. View All Articles & Posts Firm & Legal Updates

  • Contact Us | Underberg & Kessler

    CONTACT US show on all pages Please fill out the form below and someone from our firm will be in touch shortly. Alternatively, we can be reached at (585) 258-2800. Preferred Method of Contact Phone Email Who Are You Trying to Contact? Choose an option arrow&v Submit Thanks for submitting! We will be in touch shortly.

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