The Appellate Division Second Department recently ruled that, under the procedure followed by objecting neighbors, the local Zoning Board of Appeals (“ZBA”) lacked jurisdiction to rule on the neighbors’ objection. In Matter of Capetola v. Town of Riverhead, the Petitioners/Plaintiffs (“Petitioners”), who owned a property nearby the property in contention, had raised an issue as to whether the proposed development required a lot area variance, but had failed to follow the proper procedure for raising such an objection.
The owner of the property seeking a building permit, Edward Hocker, received a denial from the Town Building Inspector, indicating that Hocker needed four area variances in order to obtain a building permit. “At the public hearing concerning Hocker’s application, the petitioners…, who own a house close to the subject parcel, complained that, among other things, Hocker needed a lot size area variance to build on the subject parcel. After the hearing, the ZBA granted Hocker’s application for the four variances. The ZBA also determined that Hocker did not need a lot size area variance.”
Despite Petitioners’ objection at the hearing, claiming that a lot area variance was required, Petitioners had never directly appealed the determination of the building inspector, which determination did not include a finding of the need for a lot area variance.