Opinion 97 - 5


This opinion represents the views of the Office of the State Comptroller at the time it was rendered. The opinion may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinion.

REAL PROPERTY TAXES AND ASSESSMENTS -- Assessments (imposition of assessment for construction of private road)

STREETS AND HIGHWAYS -- Private Roads (construction of by village)

VILLAGES -- Powers and Duties (construction of and assessment for private road)

VILLAGE LAW, §§6-622, 22-2200: A village may not, pursuant to Village Law, §§6-622 and 22-2200, construct a private road with the costs assessed against adjoining properties.

You ask whether a village may construct a private road leading from a village street into property of a not-for-profit corporation, with the costs assessed against the property of the not-for-profit corporation pursuant to Village Law, §22-2200. You state that it is the intention of the not-for-profit corporation that the road remain private and not become a village street.

Village Law, §6-622 provides that a village board of trustees may cause a "street" in the village, or a part thereof, to be graded and paved or repaired wholly at the expense of the village, wholly at the expense of the owners of the adjoining land, or partly at the expense of each. If the whole expense is to be assessed against adjoining land, the cost must be assessed in proportion, as nearly as may be, to the benefit which each lot or parcel will derive therefrom. Section 22-2200 sets forth procedures for the imposition of assessments for local improvements at the expense of the owners of benefited land (see also Village Law, §5-518).

As noted, section 6-622 authorizes a village board to, among other things, grade and pave a "street" in the village wholly at the expense of the adjoining land. The word "street" as used in section 6-622 is defined in Village Law, §6-600 to include a highway, road, avenue, lane or alley "which the public have a right to use" (see also NY Const, article VIII, §1). A private road, therefore, does not fall within the provisions of Village Law, §6-622 (1980 Opns St Comp No. 80-617, p 168; cf. 1992 Opns St Comp No. 92-42, p 107).

Accordingly, a village may not, pursuant to Village Law, §§6-622 and 22-2200, construct a private road with the costs assessed against adjoining properties.

February 18, 1997
Kevin M. McArdle, Esq., Village Attorney
Village of Harrisville