The Appellate Division restated the requirement that all interested parties must be named in an action challenging a site plan approval and that a property owner and prospective developer are not necessarily united in interest. In Matter of Mensch v Planning Bd. of the Vil. of Warwick, the Court found that the failure of the Petitioner/Plaintiffs (“Petitioners”) to name the owners in the original Petition/Complaint was not cured by the filing of an amended pleading, subsequent to the passage of the thirty day statute of limitations.
The developer, 116 Elm Street Realty LLC (“the Developer”), sought permission to develop a parcel owned by Frank D. Petrucci, Lynn Crane, and Glenn Petrucci (“the Owners”). The Village Planning Board conducted a SEQRA review and issued a negative declaration. Thereafter, the Planning Board granted site plan approval to the Developer, permitting construction of a restaurant/catering facility on the property at issue. The Petitioners, who own property that borders the site in question, then brought this hybrid Article 78/Declaratory Judgment Action, challenging the actions of the Planning Board, seeking a determination from the Building Inspector that the approval was for a use not permitted in the Zoning Code and a declaration that the use was not permitted. Initially, Petitioners failed to name the Owners of the property. When Petitioners filed an amended Petition/Complaint, it was filed and served subsequent to the expiration of the statute of limitations. The lower court dismissed the case.
In upholding the lower court decision, the Appellate Division held: