In affirming Supreme Court’s determination that the State Liquor Authority (SLA) should have granted petitioner’s application for a liquor license, the Second Department explained its review powers:
In reviewing the SLA’s determination of whether the public convenience and advantage would be served by granting or denying an application for a retail liquor license, the inquiry of the court is strictly limited to whether the SLA acted arbitrarily and capriciously … . A determination is “arbitrary and capricious when it is taken without sound basis in reason or regard to the facts” … .
Judicial review of a determination by the SLA “is limited to the grounds invoked by the agency” … . “If those grounds are inadequate or improper, the court is powerless to affirm the administrative [determination] by substituting what it considers to be a more adequate or proper basis” … . Furthermore, reliance upon an improper basis for its determination requires that the determination be annulled, regardless of whether the SLA also relied, in part, upon valid considerations … . Matter of Costco Wholesale Corp v New York State Liquor Auth, 2015 NY Slip Op 01274, 2nd Dept 2-11-15