Petitioner sought to demolish the structure on its property and construct a 5,400 square-foot restaurant in its place. The Village of Rockville Centre’s (“Village”) Zoning Code required Petitioner to have 54 off-street parking spaces. As the property did not have any off-street parking, Petitioner proposed to merge the subject property with the adjoining lot that it also owned. This would allow Petitioner to utilize an exception to the off-street parking requirement for “interior restaurants that abut municipal parking fields,” as the adjoining property was adjacent to a municipal parking lot. When Petitioner’s restaurant was substantially completed, the Building Department discovered that the proposed merger had never taken place. As such, the Building Department directed Petitioner to apply for a parking variance. Petitioner applied, relying on a license agreement which allowed the petitioner access to the adjoining property’s 40 exclusive parking spaces between 4:00 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. on Monday-Friday. The Village’s Zoning Board of Appeals (Z”BA”) granted the parking variance but imposed the conditions that the restaurant’s operating hours be restricted to the times in the lease agreement, and mandated valet parking. Petitioner commenced a CPLR article 78 proceeding to annul these conditions. The Supreme Court granted Petitioner’s request, and the ZBA appealed.
On appeal, the Second Department found that the ZBA’s conditions were proper because they “related directly to the use of the land and were intended to protect the neighboring commercial properties from the potential adverse effects of the petitioner’s operation, such as the anticipated increase in traffic congestion and parking problems.” The ZBA’s rationale was supported by empirical and testimonial evidence, as Petitioner’s own expert stated that there was a high demand for parking in the area of the subject restaurant. Accordingly, the petition to annul the conditions restricting hours of operation and requiring valet parking was denied.
The case was Bonefish Grill, LLC v Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village of Rockville Centre, 2017 WL 4275872 (2d Dep’t September 27, 2017).