Posted by: Patricia Salkin | June 11, 2017

NY Appellate Court Holds Town Planning Board Acted Arbitrarily and Capriciously in Denying Appeal Challenging Boundaries of District

Gilbert owned property located within a Woodlot Overlay Protection District in the Town of Irondequoit. As applicable to this case, Section 235–44 Irondequoit Town Code provides that the “Town Department of Planning and Zoning shall be responsible for interpreting EPOD boundaries based on an interpretation of the Official Town of Irondequoit EPOD Maps, as well as the use of various criteria set forth in this article for determining such district boundaries.” Section 235–44 of the Town Code provides that “appeals from a determination of the Town Department of Planning and Zoning regarding boundaries of overlay districts shall be made to the Town Planning Board in accordance with the public hearing procedures.” Here, pursuant to Town Code § 235–44, petitioner appealed to respondent regarding the boundaries of the Woodlot EPOD that encompassed his property, and submitted evidence in support of his assertion that his property did not meet the criteria for a Woodlot EPOD as set forth in section 235–53(B). Respondent, Planning Board of Town of Irondequoit, denied the appeal, and petitioner commenced this CPLR article 78 proceeding.

On appeal, the court found that the plain language of the Town Code did not prohibit respondent from changing the boundary lines of an EPOD as shown on the EPOD maps, and respondent’s authority to make such changes was not limited to those situations in which the property was located near the existing boundary as shown on the EPOD map. As to respondent’s contention that the appeal was untimely, the court found that the applicable section of the Town Code did not set forth any time limitation for when property owners could seek an interpretation of overlay district boundaries. As such, the Planning Board’s denial of the appeal was reversed, and the petition was reinstated.

Gilbert v Planning Board of Town of Irondequoit, 148 A.D. 3d 1587 (4 Dept. 3/24/2017)


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