Court Upholds Board of Appeals’ Reliance On Letters From Municipal Officials In Granting Variance

Petitioner commenced a CPLR Article 78 proceeding to review a determination of the Village of Great Neck Board of Appeals granting an application for variances and site plan approval. The trial court denied the petition and Petitioner appealed.

The appellate court affirmed, holding the Board was entitled to rely on letters it from municipal officials in making the zoning determination. Zoning Board determinations should be upheld where not illegal, irrational, or arbitrary and capricious.  Here, the decision to grant the application had a rational basis and was not arbitrary and capricious. The Court found Petitioner's claim the Board improperly relied on letters it obtained from the Chief of the Great Neck Alert Fire Company and the Village of Great Neck Building Department without affording her an opportunity to respond was without merit. In particular, the Court noted that the letters, which lacked any new factual allegations, were prepared by municipal officials who lacked any vested interest in the outcome of the Board’s deliberations.

The case was Applebaum v Village of Great Neck Bd. of Appeals, 2016 WL 1442271 (2d Dep’t April 13, 2016).

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