Posted by: Patricia Salkin | February 1, 2017

NY Appellate Court Upholds Reversal of Decision on Variances Where Zoning Board Failed to Follow its Own Precedent

Following the granting of area variances by the zoning board of appeals permitting the applicant to subdivide a parcel he owned into two substandard lots, and to construct a two-family residence on each lot. Petitioners commenced a proceeding to review the determination on the ground that it was arbitrary and capricious, alleging that the Board failed to properly distinguish the subject application from a substantially similar prior application, made as to the same parcel, which the Board had denied earlier in in 2010. The trial Court granted the petition and annulled the determination, and the applicant appealed.

The appellate court said that administrative agencies must adhere to their own prior precedent or indicates its reason for reaching a different result on essentially the same facts, and not to do so is arbitrary and capricious. Where as here, the zoning board reached a contrary result on substantially similar facts, the Court said that an explanation is required, yet the Board did not offer one. Therefore, the Court found that the court below properly granted the petition and annulled the determination.

Amdurer v. Village of New Hempstead Zoning Bd. of Appeals, 2017 WL 189159 (NYAD 2 Dept. 1/18/2017)

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