Posted by: Patricia Salkin | March 2, 2014

NY Appellate Court Holds Proposed “Affordable” Development Substantially Complies with “Master Plan” and Does Not Constitute Impermissible Spot Zoning

This case arose out of the rezoning of a parcel of real property in the Town of Huntington from an R–40 district, which permits the construction of one single-family residence per acre, to an R–RM Retirement Community District. The petitioners acknowledged that the property, although zoned R–40, was operated for many years as a nonconforming horse farm and stables, and was occupied by numerous nonconforming structures. Triangle Equities proposed the construction of 66 townhouses on this property, and proposed to erect 14 of the townhouses and the 3 single-family homes on adjoining parcels in the Town of Oyster Bay, with nine of the units were to be classified as affordable housing. The Town Board approved Triangle’s proposal and the plaintiffs challenged this decision in court.

The Town’s “Master Plan” delineated several concerns and goals, such as to retain the low-density, village-like character of the Town; the plan also discussed additional goals because of the fact that the demographics of the Town’s population were changing. The Master Plan therefore outlined the needs for diverse housing, senior housing, affordable housing, as well as the need to preserve open spaces. The court found that the petitioners failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether there was a clear conflict between the rezoning and the Master Plan. Even though the proposed development would likely increase the density of the neighborhood, it would also preserve a sizable portion of the property as open land, provide senior housing, and provide a number of affordable units. Accordingly, the court found that the determination to rezone the subject property was in compliance with the overall policies outlined in the Master Plan, and therefore did not constitute impermissible spot zoning.

Hart v. Town Bd. of Town of Huntington, 2014 WL 444174 (N.Y. A.D. 2d Dept. 2/5/2014)

The opinion can be accessed at:
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2014/2014_00665.htm


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