Court Finds Planning Board Determination On Site Plan Approval Had Rational Basis

Petitioners, Panevan Corporation, which owned 784 Central Park Avenue in the Town of Greenburgh, and 784 SCPA Rest. Corp. (collectively “Petitioners”), which leased that property and operated a diner, challenged a determination of the Greenburgh Planning Board to grant site plan approval and special permits to the respondent Dimitri Ostashkin, doing business as 788 Central Park Avenue.  These special permits, including parking permits, allowed Ostashkin to develop his property, located adjacent to 784 Central Park Avenue. The Town and the Planning Board moved to dismiss the proceeding as Petitioners lacked standing. The Supreme Court granted the motion, denying the petition and dismissing it in its entirety.  The Supreme Court further determined that the Planning Board properly granted site plan approval and the special parking permits to Ostashkin.

On appeal, the Court noted that “a local planning board has broad discretion in deciding applications for site-plan approvals, and judicial review is limited to determining whether the board's action was illegal, arbitrary and capricious, or an abuse of discretion.” Here, the court found that contrary to Petitioners’ contention, the determination regarding site plan approval had a rational basis, and was not illegal, arbitrary and capricious, or an abuse of discretion. Additionally, it found that the Supreme Court had properly determined that Petitioners had failed to establish standing.  As such, the Court dismissed the appeal.  However, the Court also noted that this was a hybrid Article 78/declaratory judgment action, and as such modified the order appealed from to include a provision declaring that the special permits issued by the Planning Board are valid, that the Planning Board had jurisdiction to grant Ostashkin a set-back variance, and that the Board's determination to approve the application for site plan approval was valid.

The case was Panevan Corp. v. Town of Greenburgh, 144 A.D.3d 808 (2d Dep’t 2016).

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