Posted by: Patricia Salkin | May 19, 2015

NY Appellate Court Upholds Zoning Board’s Denial of Area Variance Application for Single Family Home

In a proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78 to review a determination of the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Southold, which denied the petitioners’ application for area and lot-width variances, the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Southold appealed from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Suffolk County. The Supreme Court had granted the petition, annulled the determination, and directed the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Southold to grant the application.

Since local zoning boards have broad discretion in considering applications for variances, judicial review was limited to determining whether the action taken by the board was illegal, arbitrary, or an abuse of discretion. Here, the court found that the denial by the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Southold of the petitioners’ application for area and lot-width variances to build a single-family dwelling had a rational basis and was supported by evidence in the record. Furthermore, the granting of the variances would have resulted in the creation of a nonconforming lot in a unique neighborhood. Finally, the court determined that the ZBA’s granting of a particular prior application for an area variance did not constitute a precedent from which the ZBA was required to explain a departure, especially since the petitioners failed to establish that the prior application bore sufficient factual similarity to the subject application. Accordingly, the court held that the Supreme Court should not have disturbed the ZBA’s determination denying the petitioners’ application for area and lot-width variances.

Traendly v Zoning Board of Appeals of Town of Southold, 2015 WL 1915489 (NYAD 2 Dept. 4/29/2015)

The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/ad2/calendar/webcal/decisions/2015/D45128.pdf


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