Gary R. Tarnoff, co-chair of the Land Use department, focuses his practice on zoning, land use, landmarks and New York City administrative law. Gary has more than 20 years of experience as a land use lawyer representing developers, corporations, REITs, banks, medical institutions, universities, nursing homes, schools, museums, religious organizations and individuals in New York City land use matters. Gary has served as land use counsel on a wide variety of development projects, ranging from large-scale development projects and campus expansion and redevelopment to alterations and enlargements to individual town houses in historic districts.
Gary regularly represents clients at the city’s land use agencies, including the City Council, the City Planning Commission, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Board of Standards and Appeals, the Department of Buildings, and local Community Boards. He applies for and obtains discretionary land use approvals, including rezonings, special permits, variances, city map changes and large-scale development authorizations. He also advises clients on site acquisition and assembly, development feasibility, zoning lot mergers, and transfer of development rights. He performs land use due diligence for lenders and transactional real estate counsel.
He began his legal career at the New York City Corporation Counsel’s office. Over a 13-year period in that office, he rose to deputy chief of the Administrative Law Division, where he supervised more than 40 lawyers and advised the Mayor’s Office and the city’s administrative agencies on land use, zoning and other regulatory matters.
Gary is a well-regarded lecturer on land use matters. He has taught CLE courses at the New York State Bar Association and for other organizations and has been a guest law school lecturer.
Gary was recognized by Chambers USA (2017 – 2020), Legal 500 US (2014 – 2018), Best Lawyers (2008 – 2020) and New York Super Lawyers (2006 – 2019). Best Lawyers named him New York Area’s Land Use and Zoning Lawyer of the Year in 2020. According to Chambers USA, he has “extensive knowledge” and is “a pleasure to work with” (2020), is “well respected” (2018), and “wins plaudits from clients as ‘an extremely thoughtful attorney . . . and is very conscientious and very strategic in his thinking’” (2017). The New York Times recognized Gary as one of the “Lawyers Who Mold the Shape of the City” in a 1996 article about New York City’s leading land use lawyers.
J.D., cum laude, Brooklyn Law School, 1974
B.S., Brooklyn College, 1969
New York, 1975
- U.S.D.C., Southern District of New York
- U.S.D.C., Eastern District of New York
- U.S.C.A., 3rd Circuit