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Denial of Area Variance Due to Community Pressure Reversed

Finding that a zoning board had “improperly succumbed to community pressure,” the Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed the lower court’s reversal of the denial of an area variance. In the case of Schumacher v. Town of East Hampton Zoning Board of Appeals, the Court noted the limited nature of judicial review of zoning board decisions but found that the zoning board’s actions were arbitrary.

In reversing the zoning board, the Court found that the proposed reconstruction of the applicant’s home would actually be an increase of the existing setback from the wetlands at issue and that all of the lots surrounding the property were “nonconforming in terms of the applicable requirements for setbacks from wetlands.” The court concluded that the zoning board’s determination that the house should be decreased in size was “irrational.”

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