In 1995, Petitioner bought a 157,241 sq. ft., property in the Village of North Haven (“Village”) that was improved with a single-family dwelling. The property was zoned “R–1,” which required a minimum lot size of 80,000 square feet. In 2016, Petitioner applied for an area variance so he could subdivide the property into two lots. The north lot would be 80,000 sq. ft. and include all existing residential improvements. The south lot, which was in a natural state, would be 77,241 sq. ft. and developed into a single-family residence. After a hearing, the Village’s Zoning Board of Appeals (“ZBA”) found that although the variance was not substantial, the substandard lot would have a detrimental effect on the character of the neighborhood, which contained many lots that were significantly larger than the required 80,000 sq. ft. Petitioner commenced a proceeding CPLR article 78 to review the ZBA's determination, and the Supreme Court denied the petition and dismissed the proceeding. Petitioner appealed.
On appeal, the Second Department held that the record demonstrated that the ZBA engaged in the required balancing test and considered the relevant statutory factors. Specifically, the Court found that the ZBA's determination that the introduction of a substandard lot was detrimental to, and would cause an undesirable change in, the character of the neighborhood had a rational basis. In addition, Petitioner presumably knew about the applicable zoning restrictions when he purchased the property. As such, any resulting hardship was self-created. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the Supreme Court's determination to deny the petition and dismiss the proceeding.
The case was Kaye v Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village of North Haven, 185 A.D.3d 820 (2d Dep’t 2020).