Ben and Hank Brinkmann are the owners of Brinkmann’s Hardware, a business started by their parents in 1976. Today, that business has grown to four locations with hopes for a fifth store on the North Fork of Long Island.
But the town of Southold, where they purchased a commercial-zoned lot, has done everything possible to stop the Brinkmanns: it slow-played the permitting process, imposed exorbitant fees, and then enacted a targeted moratorium on building permits along a one mile stretch of road with the Brinkmanns’ property in the center.
Once it became evident that the Brinkmanns wouldn’t surrender and that there was no valid reason under the law to deny their right to build on their land, the town resorted to the extreme tactic of suddenly declaring that it needed a park on that precise spot and authorized eminent domain for that purpose. Now, the Brinkmanns have teamed up with the Institute for Justice in federal court to end the town’s attempts to thwart their business.