N.D.N.Y. Denies Motion To Dismiss Claim That Zoning Ordinance Violates The FHA And ADA, Part II

This is the second part of our look at Rehabilitation Support Services, Inc. v. City of Albany, 2015 WL 4067066 (NDNY 7/2/2015).

After finding that the Plaintiff had standing, the Court next rejected Defendants arguments that the case was frivolous because the claim could be (and was) brought in an Article 78 proceeding seeking “substantively identical” relief. First, the Court found that relief sought was not “substantively identical,” as the Article 78 sought review of the denied application, while the instant action sought a ruling on the constitutionality of the Zoning Ordinance itself. In addition, Plaintiff could not have raised his claims regarding the facial constitutionality of the Zoning Ordinance in an Article 78 proceeding.

Finally, Defendant argued Plaintiff failed to make out a prima facie case of disparate treatment because (1) Plaintiff failed to allege it was denied a use variance permit because of the individuals it serves, and (2) because the BZA had legitimate reasons to deny the permit. The court disagreed, finding instead that the Plaintiff’s allegation that multiple-person dwellings serving people with disabilities faced more burdensome requirements should survive a motion to dismiss because it was a claiming that the Zoning Ordinance itself was facially discriminatory. Also, Plaintiff was not challenging the denial of the permit in the instant suit, making the BZA’s legitimate reason for denying the specific permit irrelevant. In addition, it was not necessary for the Plaintiff to show animus in order to survive a motion to dismiss. The Court thus found that Plaintiff had alleged facts sufficient to state a claim under the FHA and ADA.

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