Court Holds City Council May Disapprove Planning Commission’s Grant of a Special Use Permit On Policy Grounds

Petitioner brought a proceeding under CPLR Article 78 seeking reversal of the City Council’s decision to deny a special permit application. On review, the Court held the New  York City Council may disapprove of the Planning Commission's grant of a special use permit where there is a rational basis and it was not arbitrary and capricious. The Court noted that even where the Council had legislated a standard, the City Council “has not divested itself of the power of further regulation, unless the standards expressed purport to be so complete or exclusive as to preclude consideration of other factors.” Thus the power to grant or deny a special permit is not limited to the specific permit standards in the Zoning Resolution. Rather, the Court found the City Council may properly consider policy issues, and that here the Council, "...properly denied petitioners' application upon consideration of matters related to the public welfare, including concerns about the over-saturation of similar buildings in the area, the poor condition of petitioners' building, and the precedent that approval of the permit would set for overbuilding first and requesting permission after the fact."

The case is Liska NY, Inc. v City Council of the City of New York, and the full decision may be found here:

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