The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined there was a question of fact whether the public trust doctrine applied to town easements such that the easements could not be conveyed to a developer without legislative approval. The court further held that the Open Meetings Law was not violated by posting relevant documents only seven hours before the town meeting:
… “[A] parcel of property may become a park by express provisions in a deed . . . or by implied acts, such as continued use [by the municipality] [*2]of the parcel as a park” … . “A party seeking to establish . . . an implied dedication and thereby successfully challenge the alienation of the land must show that (1) [t]he acts and declarations of the land owner indicating the intent to dedicate his [or her] land to the public use [are] unmistakable in their purpose and decisive in their character to have the effect of a dedication and (2) that the public has accepted the land as dedicated to a public use” … .
… [P]etitioner alleged in its petition-complaint that the Town Easements were part of the “Auburn Trail linear park” and that they were parkland for purposes of the public trust doctrine. In support of that part of each motion seeking to dismiss the second cause of action under CPLR 3211 (a) (1), respondents submitted the conveyances that created the Town Easements. Inasmuch as those instruments provided that the Town Easements were to be used as a “pedestrian pathway” for “public use” and required the Town to restore the easement property to “a park like condition” after construction of the pedestrian pathway, respondents’ own documentary evidence creates issues of fact whether there was an express or implied dedication of the Town Easements subject to the public trust doctrine. Thus, respondents failed to meet their burden of submitting documentary evidence that conclusively refuted petitioner’s allegations … . In addition, deeming the material allegations of the petition-complaint to be true, we conclude that “the allegations in the second cause of action presented a justiciable controversy sufficient to invoke the court’s power to render a declaratory judgment,” and thus respondents were not entitled to dismissal of that cause of action pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (7) … . Matter of Clover/Allen’s Cr. Neighborhood Assn. LLC v M&F, LLC, 2019 NY Slip Op 05280, Fourth Dept 6-28-19