Court Upholds the Denial of an Area Variance as Supported by Substantial Evidence

Respondent Zoning Board appeals from a judgment granting a CPLR article 78 petition and annulling the determination of the Board denying petitioners' application for two area variances for the construction of an apartment building. On appeal, the Appellate Division found the Zoning Board rendered its determination after considering the appropriate statutory factors and therefore the determination was not illegal, arbitrary, or an abuse of discretion. Specifically, the Board found that granting the requested area variances would cause increased population density from the presence of an apartment building in a neighborhood of single-family homes, that further substantial variances to construct the building would be necessary, and that Petitioners' difficulty was self-created because they knew of the property's zoning classification at the time of purchase.  Having properly weighed the benefits to Petitioners against the detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood or community if the variances were granted, the appeal was dismissed and the judgment of the trial court reversed.

The case was People, Inc. v City of Tonawanda Zoning Board of Appeals, 126 A.D.3d 1334 (App. Div. 2015). The full decision can be found here:

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