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SECTION 1955
Modification or extinguishment of certain restrictions on the use of land held for charitable purposes
Real Property Actions & Proceedings (RPA) CHAPTER 81, ARTICLE 19
§ 1955. Modification or extinguishment of certain restrictions on the
use of land held for charitable purposes. 1. Where land is held, whether
or not in trust, for benevolent, charitable, educational, public or
religious purposes and the use of such land is restricted to such
purpose or to a particular application of or means of carrying out such
purpose by a special limitation or condition subsequent created in the
conveyance or devise under which the land is so held, or by an agreement
to convey, reconvey or surrender the land or the estate so held upon a
contingency relating to its use, an action may be brought in the supreme
court to obtain relief from such restriction as provided in this
section.

2. No action for the relief provided in this section shall be
commenced until the expiration of two years from the creation of the
special limitation or condition subsequent, or the making of the
agreement. The attorney-general shall be a party to such action.

3. In determining whether relief shall be granted, and the nature of
such relief, the court shall consider and shall make findings with
respect to the following:

(a) whether the primary purpose of the special limitation, condition
subsequent or agreement to convey, reconvey or surrender was to restrict
the use of the land;

(b) whether the purpose of the restriction was to ensure that the
substantial value of the land or of the estate subject to the special
limitation, condition subsequent or agreement, rather than the land
itself, or such estate itself, be devoted to and employed for a
benevolent, charitable, educational, public or religious purpose.

If the findings with respect to (a) and (b) are such as to make the
following matters relevant or appropriate for consideration, the court
shall also consider and make findings with respect to the following:

(c) whether the existence of the restriction is substantially impeding
the owner of the land, or of the estate subject to the special
limitation, condition subsequent or agreement, in the furtherance of the
benevolent, charitable, educational, public or religious purposes for
which the land is held;

(d) whether the person or persons who would have a right of entry,
possessory estate resulting from the occurrence of a reverter, or right
to conveyance, reconveyance or surrender of the land or estate in the
event of breach of the restriction at the time of the action will suffer
substantial damage by reason of extinguishment or modification of the
restriction, and, in such event, whether damages or restitution of the
land, or its value, in whole or in part, should be awarded to such
person or persons.

4. The judgment of the court may include, in the discretion of the
court, an adjudication (a) that the restriction is discharged in whole
or in part, or that its tenor is modified as provided in the judgment;
(b) that the holder of the land or estate therein subject to the
restriction be authorized or directed to convey, lease, mortgage or
otherwise dispose of the land or estate therein free of the restriction
and that the purchaser under such disposition shall take free of the
restriction; (c) directing the use to which the avails of any such
disposition shall be put; (d) declaring the interests that the owners of
the possibility of reverter or right of entry, or persons having an
interest pursuant to the agreement, shall have in any property paid for
in whole or in part with the proceeds of the disposition; (e) awarding
damages for such injury as a party to the action may sustain by reason
of extinguishment or modification of the restriction. The judgment may
include such other provisions as will in the opinion of the court
further the benevolent, charitable, educational, public or religious
purposes for which the land is held and such other provisions as equity
may require.

5. This section shall apply to a special limitation or condition
subsequent created or agreement made either before or after September 1,
1958, except that it shall not apply (a) where a right of entry or right
to a conveyance, reconveyance or surrender of the property has accrued
or a reverter has occurred prior to that date, or (b) where the
conveyance creating the restriction was made by or the agreement
creating the restriction was made with the United States, the state of
New York or any governmental unit, subdivision or agency of the United
States or the state of New York.