The Third Department determined a homeowners’ association (HPHA) could not restrict the placement of a political sign on property along a road which had been dedicated to the town. Because there was no evidence the HPHA reserved the right to regulate signs on the strip of land transferred to the town, the HPHA had no authority to prohibit the placement of a sign on the land:
Respondents contend that, although Hudson Pointe, Inc. dedicated land to the Town for the purpose of maintaining the roads within the development, such dedication was subject to the restrictive covenants contained in HPHA’s Declaration. Thus, according to respondents, although petitioners’ political signs were located on Town property, HPHA maintained the authority to enforce its sign restriction on this public land. Generally, the process of dedication is “of the nature of a gift by a private owner to the public” …, and dedication requires, among other things, “absolute relinquishment to public use by the owner” …. Thus, a town may acquire a road in fee through dedication “when there has been a complete surrender to public use of the land by the owners, acceptance by the town, and some formal act [by public authorities] adopting the highway . . . coupled with a showing that the road was kept in repair or taken in charge by public authorities” (…see Highway Law § 171///).
While the record is devoid of evidence of the Town’s acceptance of ownership of the roads within the development, the parties do not dispute that the land in question is owned by the Town through dedication. The 1997 deed conveying certain property within the development from Hudson Pointe, Inc. to the Town, contained in the record, does not explicitly reserve to HPHA or Hudson Pointe, Inc. any interest in the conveyed property. In the absence of such reservation, respondents lack the authority to enforce HPHA’s sign restriction on Town land as a matter of law … . Matter of Jasinski v Hudson Pointe Homeowners Assn Inc, 2015 NY Slip OP 00274, 3rd Dept 1-8-15