Second Department Upholds Special Permit and Site Plan Approval for Lodging Facility

Respondent Rhinebeck Village Place sought to develop a lodging facility on a lot owned by Respondent Mirbeau of Rhinebeck, LLC.  Petitioner, owner of an adjacent hotel, sought to invalidate the issuance of a negative declaration of adverse environmental impact pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”), an area variance from the 5–foot maximum front-yard setback requirement in §120–8 of the Village of Rhinebeck Zoning Law (“Zoning Law”), and site plan and special permit approvals. The area variance was 296.7 feet to permit a front-yard setback of approximately 302 feet. The amended petition alleged that the project failed to comport with Village Center principles pursuant to §120–19 of the Zoning Law and would negatively impact the character of the community. The Supreme Court denied the petition and dismissed the proceeding. Petitioner appealed.

On appeal, Petitioner argued that the Village of Rhinebeck Planning Board erred in determining that the project would not create a material conflict with the community’s current plans or goals as officially approved or adopted, and that the project “would not result in the impairment of the character or quality of important historical, archeological, architectural, or aesthetic resources or existing community or neighborhood character.” The Court found that the record established that the review conducted by the Planning Board comported with the procedural and substantive requirements of SEQRA. In addition, while the area variance was substantial, there was no evidence that the variance would produce an undesirable change in the neighborhood, adversely impact the neighborhood’s physical/environmental conditions, that the benefit to the applicant could be achieved by other means, or that the difficulty was self-created. As such, the Court held that the Supreme Court properly denied the amended petition and dismissed the proceeding.

The case was Beekman Delamater Properties, LLC v. Village of Rhinebeck Zoning Board of Appeals, 150 A.D.3d 1099 (2d Dep’t 2017).

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