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People Partner

Education

Colgate University, B.A., 2002, magna cum laude; Albany Law School of Union University, J.D., 2006

Alita regularly represents various industrial and commercial clients in all facets of environmental law, zoning and land use issues, related administrative and judicial proceedings, and commercial litigation. She is highly experienced in developing strategies to ensure a timely and thorough environmental, land use and/or permitting process occurs that will both comply with law and provide the client a defensible record. She regularly advises energy companies developing, acquiring, and operating renewable and other energy projects on all aspects of environmental and land use law, remediation issues, and the environmental aspects of commercial transactions.  She has extensive knowledge of New York’s solid waste program, including for the management of asphalt, concrete, fill and other C&D materials, and regularly represents clients on these issues.  She has also represented a number of clients in the New York Brownfield Cleanup Program, including advice on the remediation and tax credit aspects of the program.  She also assists clients with respect to contamination issues, including remediation pursuant to federal and state remedial programs. She has advised clients regarding a number of complex environmental statutes, such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Act, CERCLA, SEQRA, and others. She is also an experienced litigator who has researched and drafted numerous Article 78 petitions, injunctions, complaints, motions and other documents, in addition to overseeing complex litigation in a variety of practice areas, including breach of contract, construction defect, commercial landlord and tenant, eminent domain, trade name protection and real property.

Admissions

  • New York State Courts
  • Pennsylvania State Courts
  • United States District Court for the Northern and Western Districts of New York
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Professional Experience

  • Advising clients on State Environmental Quality Review Act compliance, permitting under a number of environmental statutes, as well as all varieties of land use matters.
  • Evaluating applicable zoning requirements, developing strategy, and drafting zoning amendments to suit a client’s individual project.
  • Advising clients on procedural and substantive environmental and land use requirements associated with developing projects.
  • Representing clients before municipal boards, and state and federal agencies, regarding land use and permitting.
  • Interpreting DEC’s Part 360 regulations with respect to transport and reuse of RUCARBs and fill materials, as well as obtaining permits and registrations and operational advice for 361 facilities
  • Providing legal advice and strategies with respect to advancing mining, asphalt and concrete permit applications, as well as related environmental review and land use applications.
  • Completing due diligence on financing, sale, and other transactions related to solar, wind and other energy projects, including advice regarding environmental risk and permitting strategies, issuance of opinion letters and assisting clients with developing, acquiring and operating renewable energy projects.
  • Drafting comments on regulatory proposals, articles, and amicus curiae briefs, and advising association regarding local, state and federal issues of interest, and challenging regulations or proposals burdensome on industry across New York on behalf of statewide trade association representing mining, asphalt and concrete industries.
  • Assisting clients with obtaining or amending PILOT agreements, including compliance with New York’s IDA requirements and/or RPTL 487
  • • Successfully defending a 30-year PILOT agreement for a multi-use development, and related litigation regarding municipal road abandonment issues
  • Assisting local developer with completion of Brownfield Cleanup Program, obtaining state grant, and obtaining complex zoning approval for multi-use redevelopment
  • Counseling clients on mixed use development projects, retail projects and state or county-wide E-911 communications systems.
  • Developing strategies to defend SEQRA and/or regulatory approvals and exemptions from local land use regulation.
  • Advising clients regarding admission to the Brownfield Cleanup Program pursuant to the original and amended statutes, assisting with compliance with BCP requirements and evaluating possible tax credit eligibility.
  • Collaborating in corporate transaction matters on potential environmental exposure due to sale of property, strategies and negotiations to resolve same.
  • Representing various major projects, including a proposal for a state gaming facility, in complex SEQRA and zoning review process.
  • Appearing on behalf of a multi-state solid waste management company in local SEQRA review process and DEC adjudicatory hearings.
  • Prosecuting action seeking recovery for damages to commercial property resulting from PFOA contamination in Hoosick Falls, NY
  • Representing clients in civil and criminal environmental enforcement matters, including developing appropriate cleanup standards, negotiating Consent Orders with the regulatory agency, and advising clients with respect to ongoing site monitoring and maintenance activities.
  • Opposing unfavorable regulatory proposals, statutes, and other actions, including via litigation.
  • Representing clients in environmental litigation (Article 78 proceedings, declaratory judgments, 1983 actions and other relief) as well as complex constitutional law issues related to property rights.
  • Complex commercial litigation and arbitration on a variety of issues, including construction defect litigation, contract interpretation, commercial disputes, trade secrets and others.
  • Successfully defeating a motion to dismiss asserting governmental immunity in negligence action related to massive landslide resulting in multiple lawsuits.
  • Seeking injunctive relief before trial and appellate courts to protect client interests in various litigation, including Article 78, trade secrets, and to protect leasehold via a Yellowstone injunction.
  • Protecting trade secrets and confidential information.
  • Drafting appellate briefs, engaging in discovery practice and developing strategy for all variety of litigation.

News

Memberships

  • Albany County Bar Association
  • Rensselaer County Bar Association
  • Capital District Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York
  • New York State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, Co-Chair, Mining and Oil and Gas Exploration Committee
  • New York Construction Materials Association
  • Associated General Contractors of New York State LLC

2023