Appellate Court Affirms the Annulment of Zoning Map Change Based On Collateral Estoppel

In 2006, Petitioner purchased property in Scarsdale zoned in a multi-family district. In 2007, Petitioner submitted a site plan application to build a multi-family development. The Town’s Commissioner of Planning issued a memorandum directing the Town Engineer to alter the Official Zoning Map to show that the property was actually in a single-family district, and advising the Town's Zoning Board of Appeals that the property had been placed in a multi-family district in error. As such, the ZBA denied Petitioner's appeal, after which the petitioner commenced a CPLR Article 78 proceeding to review the ZBA's determination. The Supreme Court granted the petition, finding that the Official Zoning Map had been amended without notice and a hearing as required under Town Law §§ 264(1) and 265(1). The Court also held that the ZBA's finding that an error in an earlier zoning map had been carried forward to the current map was arbitrary and capricious, based on community pressure, and in bad faith. After the Petitioner submitted a new site plan approval, the Town Board passed resolutions rezoning various properties, including Petitioner’s. Petitioner commenced a second Article 78 proceeding.

In the instant proceeding, the Court ruled that the Town’s arguments were precluded by the doctrine of collateral estoppel. The Town's argument that its amendment of the Official Zoning Map was to correct an error and show that the property was properly zoned in a single-family district was the same issue that was decided in the first proceeding. As the Town had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue then, the doctrine of collateral estoppel precluded the Town from re-litigating an issue already raised and decided. The Supreme Court’s decision to grant Petitioner relief was therefore affirmed.

The case is S & R Development Estates, LLC v Feiner, 132 A.D.3d 772 (App. Div. 2d. Dep’t. 2015).

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