Petitioners owned and operated the Greentree Country Club in New Rochelle, New York (“Greentree”), a beach club with clubhouse facilities overlooking the Long Island Sound. The petitioners added two walls to each of two partly-enclosed outdoor porches on the second floor of the clubhouse to create secure storage and office space. The City of New Rochelle issued the petitioners a violation for not obtaining a building permit. The petitioners then applied for a building permit. The application was denied. The Deputy Building Official found that the enclosure of the porches was not a “renovation” within the scope of the Code of the City of New Rochelle § 331–45(D), which allowed membership clubs to renovate their premises as of right. Petitioners then applied to the Zoning Board for a use variance. The Zoning Board denied the application, and the petitioners commenced an article 78 proceeding to review the denial and direct the Building Official to legalize the enclosed porches.
The court began by noting that “In a proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78 to review a determination of a zoning board of appeals, judicial review is limited to ascertaining whether the action was illegal, arbitrary and capricious, or an abuse of discretion” Section § 331–45(D) of the Code allows beach clubs to “remain or be renovated at their present location” subject to various specifications and restrictions relating to, inter alia, maximum size and coverage of structures on the lot, allowable noise and sound levels, and the number of cabanas or lockers. Here, testimony established that the enclosure of the porches did not extend the “footprint” of the clubhouse or increase Greentree’s capacity to add to their membership. The testimony also established that the enclosures were made within the existing footprint of the two porches. Further, the proposed renovation did not result in detriment to neighboring properties. The appellate court concluded that the trial court properly granted the petition, annulled the Zoning Board’s determination, and ordered the issuance of the permit.
Greentree Country Club, Inc. v City of New Rochelle, 2014 WL 2958423 (NYAD 2 Dept. 7/2/2014)
The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2014/2014_04931.htm