Variance May Not Be Conditioned Upon Term of Ownership of Current Owner

In a recent decision by the Appellate Division Second Department that Court again reminded litigants that variances run with the land and zoning boards can only place conditions on variances that relate to the property involved and the purpose of zoning. In Fowlkes v Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of North Hempstead the Court went through the usual balancing test and found that the zoning board had, despite certain conclusory findings, “appropriately considered the other statutory factors and concluded that the detriment to the neighborhood outweighed the benefit to the petitioner.”

However, the petitioner apparently also argued that a balance could be struck in her favor if the variances sought were limited to her term of ownership. In rejecting that argument the Court pointed out: “any condition imposed when granting a variance must be directly related to the property involved and to the underlying purpose of the zoning code, without consideration of the particular person owning or occupying it….”