About Tal Rappleyea
As a municipal lawyer, Tal Rappleyea gets asked this question all the time: What is a municipality?
A municipality is actually just a technical term for a county or city. Although municipalities are mainly responsible for creating their laws, they hire municipal lawyers that are responsible for enforcing those laws. Tal Rappleyea covers the following municipal law issues to reflect the needs of area residents:
- Education policies, which governs the safety and standards of education in public schools, accommodating students with disabilities, and job security for teachers.
- Property taxes, which outlines how taxed income from residents can be used to benefit the community.
- Police power, which oversees how police officers monitor resident behavior.
- Zoning, which determines how land in the municipality is used.
Some municipal lawyers work internally for one municipality, while others practice law individually for multiple municipalities. Tal practices law individually in his own private practice and serves several counties in the Albany metro area in New York state.
Tal Rappleyea was admitted to the New York State Bar Association in January 1989. This chapter of the bar association is actually the largest voluntary state bar organization in the nation with a membership of more than 74,000 lawyers. Tal is proud to be a member, considering former presidents Grover Cleveland and Chester A. Arthur were members of the New York State chapter as well.
With nearly three decades of experience and a Juris Doctorate from Hamline State University, Tal Rappleyea has explored municipal law in several roles as an attorney, ranging from positions as Attorney for the Town and Attorney for the Village of several municipalities. Currently, Tal is a solo practitioner in his own Law Offices of Tal G. Rappleyea in Valatie, New York and lists municipal law as one of his main concentrations.
Tal is a supporter the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials (NYCOM), which is an organization that trains municipal officials and operates as a general support group for municipal officials in each state. He is also very active in his community, as he is a member of the Capital District Trial Lawyers Association and holds a position in the County Bar Association of New York State.
Although Tal Rappleyea maintains an active lifestyle by volunteering in his community and maintaining memberships in his field of practice, he still makes time for one of his pastimes, golf, by on the range.
- “Deal of the Year” Award from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY)
- Named one of the three new inductees to the Ethics Committee of REBNY
- Named to the Executive Board of New York Residential Specialists (NYRS).
Zoning is a necessity of land development, and while it doesn’t always work to the benefit of the tenants, it can help local governments create a more orderly structure for cities and mitigate major risks like crime, pollution, and overcrowded streets. If you’re interested in starting your own business or looking to get involved in real estate investment, you should understand the fundamentals of zoning, but the basics are fortunately not that complicated.
While zoning laws and regulations vary according to the municipality in question, most zoning regions fall into categories for residential, industrial, and commercial use. These allow cities and towns to help create a more orderly flow to their neighborhoods, but there are a number of complications that can affect the zoning regulations of an area. The location of utility lines is one of the most practical considerations to account for when looking at zoning regulations, but many cities put other standards in place to protect the ambiance, design, and cultural heritage of an area. These can include limitations on everything from architectural design to size and height to the number of rooms allowed. Many zoning regulations will also limit the type and size of additions allowed in a particular zone.
As a result, it’s important to understand the zoning requirements before moving into an area. Even if the area you’re moving to is zoned for the type of business or residence you want, there could be limitations that affect what you want to do, and it’s critical to consider potential growth or development of your property with zoning regulations in mind. If you’re planning on starting a brewery, for instance, you’ll have to consider whether space is zoned for commercial use if you want to add a bar into the property and keep in mind spacing limitations if you have any intentions of expanding.
There’s an understandable amount of push and pull regarding zoning regulations. Local government sees zoning regulations as a means to curate the development of their city, while business owners and residents can sometimes see it as an infringement on their rights. The courts have typically ruled that zoning regulations need to be concrete and serve the general benefit of the community, but there’s a lot of gray area regarding what that actually means.
Regardless of your intents, you’ll want to carefully consider the zoning regulations before investing in a property. If you have any questions about what the regulations actually mean, consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in land use so you won’t be surprised when zoning regulations get in the way of your ambitions.