Court Reverses Zoning Board’s Denial of a Use Variance

In Greentree Country Club, Inc. v City of New Rochelle, 119 A.D.3d 570 (2d Dept. 2014), the court reversed the denial of a use variance to legalize the enclosure of outdoor porches in a clubhouse, finding that the denial was arbitrary and capricious.

The Petitioners and owners of Greentree Country Club in New Rochelle added two walls to each of their two partly-enclosed outdoor porches to create storage and office space. The City of New Rochelle issued the Petitioners a violation for enclosing the porches without a building permit.  Petitioners applied for a building permit but the application was denied because the Deputy Building Official found that the enclosures were not considered a renovation under City Code, which allows clubs to renovate their premises as of right.

Petitioners applied to the Board of Appeals on Zoning of the City of New Rochelle for a use variance but the Zoning Board denied the application.

Petitioners commenced a CPLR article 78 proceeding to review the denial of their application and direct the Building Official to legalize the enclosed porches.  The testimony established that the enclosures were made within the existing footprint of the two porches, even though the square footage increased, and that the proposed renovation did not result in any detriment to neighboring properties.

The Supreme Court granted the petition, annulled the Zoning Board’s determination, and directed the appellants to issue the building permit.

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