Second Department Finds Insufficient Evidence In Record For Board’s Denial of Petitioner’s Site Plan Application To Have Rational Basis

Petitioner owned a medical office building in the Village of Airmont, with a single means of ingress and egress on the premises’ south side. Petitioner applied for approval of an amended site plan to add additional parking, improve drainage, and add a second means of ingress and egress on the north side of the premises. The Planning Board of the Village of Airmont denied the application on April 24, 2014, but upon reconsideration on May 8, 2014, the Board approved the amended site plan after removing the additional access point for ingress and egress. Petitioner commenced the instant CPLR Article 78 proceeding to review the April 24, 2014, determination or, alternatively, the May 8, 2014 to the extent it eliminated the new access point. The Supreme Court denied the petition and dismissed the proceeding.  Petitioner appealed.

The Appellate Division, Second Department found that the only evidence in the record addressing the traffic and safety issues cited by the Board’s determination was the conclusory opposition of neighbors.  This view was not supported by any of the Village's consultants, and was contradicted by the negative SEQRA declaration adopted by the Board.  As such, the Court held that the record lacked sufficient evidence to support the Board’s determinations as having a rational basis to deny the application, and remitted the matter to the Board for the approval of Petitioner's amended site plan, with the condition that it would provide an amended site plan with a one-way, entrance-only access via DeBaun Avenue.

The case was Ramapo Pinnacle Properties, LLC v. Village of Airmont, 145 A.D.3d 729 (2d Dep’t 2016).

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