The Town Attorney's Office provides
for the legal services of the municipal corporation known as the "Town
of Colonie" and its special districts, including the Latham Water
District and the Colonie Sewer Improvement Area. This includes the
7 town board members, 25 departments, 500 ± full time employees
and 250 + part time employees and volunteers. Our duties are those
commonly associated with the law department of a large corporation
and include provision of all aspects of legal counsel to such corporation.
Although we interact with residents and business entities regarding
municipal issues on a daily basis, and provide countless written and
oral responses to their inquiries, we cannot act as their attorneys
for private matters. Thus, for private issues and conflicts, one must
retain a private attorney. The outline below provides general information
about some of the areas within which we work.
of Legal Services
- Initiate, coordinate and defend actions and proceedings for the
Town in all levels of court - State, Federal and Town.
- Drafting, review and administration - Negotiate, prepare and review all legal documents for the
Town of Colonie such as town board resolutions, contracts, agreements,
deeds and leases.
- Legal Counsel - Provide legal assistance and guidance to the Supervisor,
the Town Board, and all other Town Departments, Boards, Committees,
Officials, employees and volunteers.
Administration - Coordinate and develop the Town's risk management and insurance
programs and coverages. Also review of claims against the Town.
- Legislation - Assist with the development and drafting of proposed legislation,
rules, regulations and policies for both Town programs and operations,
and also review legislation, rules and regulations of other governmental
agencies which may impact the Town. Review legislative proposals
submitted by outside agencies, individuals and special interest
- Tax Certioraris - Assist in the review of 40 - 50 yearly tax challenges against
the Town Assessor, and coordinate the defense of these property
- Real Property
- Assists in reviewing subdivision maps and easements forwarded
by the Town's Planning and Economic Development Department. Also
draft real property instruments, including deeds, leases and easements
for Town transactions. We also conduct real property closings as
necessary for the Town and Community Development's program for first
- Legal Research - Conduct legal research on behalf of the Town Supervisor,
Town Board, Department Heads and employees.
& Traffic / Local Law Prosecution -
Prosecute Vehicle and Traffic Law violations on behalf of the Town
of Colonie Police Department and Local Law violations on behalf
of various Town departments.
of Public Services
of Information Act ("FOIL") -
The Attorney's Office spends a considerable amount of time processing
the public's requests for official Town documents under New York's
Freedom of Information Law. FOIL requests must be made in writing
and although not required, a FOIL request may be submitted on a
Town FOIL Request Form. Requests may also be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more
information about the process, go to Frequently Asked Questions,
- Notary Services
-The Town Attorney's Office, along with the Assessor, Tax Receiver,
Town Clerk, Employee Relations and Comptroller's offices have Notary
Public's available. If a document is being sent to another state
or country and requires a notary "seal" rather than just
a notary stamp, please come to our office as we have individuals
who can provide this service.
1. How do I contact the Town
Attorney's Office if I have a problem?
Our office is open from 8:30 a.m.
to 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. If you wish to call us, our phone number
is 783-2704, or if you wish to stop in person, our office is located
across from Siena College in Memorial Town Hall, Newtonville, on the
Second Floor. Since our staff each specializes in certain areas, when
calling or visiting in person, it is best to describe the nature of
your problem so that your inquiry may be properly directed. The phone
number for the Consumer Protection Office is (518) 783-2790; the phone
number for Vehicle & Traffic inquiries is 783-2714.
2. Can the Town Attorney's
Office represent Colonie Residents?
Unfortunately, the role of the Town
Attorney's Office does not include providing legal advice to Town
residents. Our role is similar to that of a corporate lawyer and therefore
is limited to providing counsel to the Town Supervisor, Town Board
members, the 25 Town departments and agencies, employees, and volunteers
in their official capacities.
3. Freedom of Information
Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) allows public access to government
records. To obtain copies of public records, simply submit a written
request to the department whose records you seek. The Town has a form
available for your convenience on this web site or at the Town offices,
although it is not necessary to use this form when submitting a request;
it is only necessary that your request be in writing. Requests may also be submitted electronically to email@example.com. Once received,
the law requires the Town to respond within 5 business days. If the
records are not readily available, you will instead receive an acknowledgement
of your request and an estimated date when the records will be available.
You may either look at the records, or request photocopies, in which
case the fee is 25¢ per copy. While FOIL generally allows access
to records, not all records will be released. The Freedom of Information
Law and other laws protect certain types of information from being
released to the public. For example, dates of birth and social security
numbers will always be taken out of the records. If a request has
been denied, in whole or in part, you may appeal the decision in writing
within 30 days to the Town Attorney at Memorial Town Hall, P.O. Box 508, Newtonville, NY 12128. There is no cost for
4. Vehicle & Traffic
When is Traffic Court? Except for major holidays, Traffic Court is
usually held every Monday evening at 7 PM at the Public Safety Building,
312 Wolf Road. Trials are usually held on Tuesday mornings at the
same location at 8:30 AM.
If I plead guilty and send in my ticket, do I have to go to Court?
No, the Justice Court will send you a letter indicating whether the
Judge has accepted your plea, and, if so, indicate the amount of the
Does the Town Attorney's Office prosecute DWI's, other misdemeanors
or felonies? No, the prosecutor for these offenses is the Albany County
District Attorney. Their phone number is 487-5460.
d) Can I discuss my ticket with someone? Yes, the Town Attorney's
Office always has a prosecutor available on court night and trial
dates. You may discuss your ticket with him or her. Usually, there
is a sign-up sheet if you would like to meet with them.
Vehicle & Traffic Application Information - Reduction of Charges
5. Does the Town of Colonie
accept service of legal documents by facsimile?
6. My car struck a pothole
and was damaged, will the Town pay?
Generally, all damage claims must
be submitted to this office in writing. We will investigate whether
the Town owns the road on which the pothole was located and whether
we had prior notice of the pothole. If we determine that the Town
is responsible, we will generally request three repair estimates be
7. Paper Streets
What is a Paper Street? The Town of Colonie has many old subdivisions
which were created and never built, or only partially constructed.
These subdivisions have streets which are depicted on the paper subdivision
maps, but were never built. Hence, the term paper street.
Can I build a house or structure on a paper street? No, unless the
paper street is abandoned and the easement on it extinguished. The
process to do that is usually not practicable in the great majority
Who owns the paper streets in the Town? Experience has shown us that
the land upon the paper street is located is usually in the name of
the original developer. The Town Clerk's Office has some records in
this regard, but a competent title company is usually required to
precisely determine ownership.
Is a paper street considered to be a "street" for zoning
purposes? Yes, even though a paper street does not exist on the ground,
it could conceivably be developed at any time. Thus, if your lot has
a paper street abutting it, the area between your house and the paper
street will be considered as a "front yard" for zoning purposes.
8. What can I do about my neighbor's tree branches which extend
onto my property?
Although this is a common question,
we, unfortunately, cannot provide legal advice to Town residents.
Rather, we refer residents to the Albany County Bar Association or
to the Town Library,
which have various legal resources which can be researched to answer
a particular issue, such as this one.
9. Does the Town of Colonie
have a noise ordinance?
Yes, the Town adopted a local law pertaining to noise in 2003. A copy of the local law can be accessed through the home page of this web site. It is in Chapter 135 of the Town Code.
Asked Consumer Protection Questions
1. If I buy something in
the store and decide later that I don't really want it, can I take
Under New York State Law, a store
must conspicuously post its refund policy on a sign attached to the
item itself, or on a sign affixed to each cash register or point of
sale, or on a sign which is clearly visible from the cash register,
or on a sign posted at each store entrance used by the public.
If a store does not have its refund
policy posted in one of the above places, you are entitled to a cash
refund or a credit, up to twenty (20) days from the date of purchase,
provided that the item has not been used or damaged.
2. How do I reduce the amount
of "junk mail" I receive?
To reduce the amount of "junk
mail" you receive, you may write to the following:
Direct Marketing Association
Mail Preference Service
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735
Include in your letter, your mailing
address as well as any variation of your name.
Additionally, you may request that
your bank, credit card company, and magazines to which you subscribe
not to share your name with any advertisers.
3. What should I know before
taking my vehicle in for repairs?
New York State Law provides that upon
your request, a motor vehicle repair shop must make a written estimate
of the parts and labor necessary for a specific job and cannot charge
for work done or parts in excess of the estimate without your consent.
The repair shop may charge a reasonable fee for the estimate.
No work may be done without your authorization.
All work done by a motor vehicle repair shop must be written on an
invoice, a copy of which must be given to you.
A motor vehicle repair shop must return
all replaced parts, components or equipment, except for those which
are normally sold on an exchange basis or subject to a warranty, provided
you make a written request or if you have authorized a repair by telephone.
Any violation of the above provisions
may be reported to the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles by calling
of Recent Litigation
o Deborah Flynn,
et al v. Town of Colonie Zoning Board of Appeals
o Sheer Pleasure
Lingerie, Inc. v. Town of Colonie Planning Board
o John P. Swedick,
et al. v. Town of Colonie, et al.
of Colonie Forms
of Information Law Request Form
Use Request Form
Links of Legal Interest
York State Homepage [www.state.ny.us]
York State Attorney General's Office [www.oag.state.ny.us]
York State Comptroller's Office [www.osc.state.ny.us]
of Congress [www.loc.gov]
Law School [www.albanylaw.edu]
Business Bureau [www.bbb.org]
Trade Commission [www.ftc.gov]
Note: Examples of Litigation and Town of
Colonie Forms are in Adobe Acrobat format. You can click on the above
logo to download the program at no charge.
To Contact The Town Attorney's Office
Office of the Town Attorney
Memorial Town Hall
Newtonville, New York 12128-0508