Application for Variance Properly Denied—Courts’ Review Powers Re: Actions of Zoning Board Explained
The Fourth Department determined the zoning board properly denied the petitioner’s application for a variance and explained the courts’ review powers in this context:
It is well settled that the determination whether to grant or deny an application for an area variance is committed to the broad discretion of the applicable local zoning board … . Consequently, when reviewing the denial of an application for an area variance, “[j]udicial review [of such a determination] is . . . limited to the issue whether the action taken by the [board] was illegal, arbitrary, or an abuse of discretion’ . . . [, and the b]oard’s determination should therefore be sustained so long as it has a rational basis and is supported by substantial evidence’ ” … . A reviewing court may not substitute its judgment for that of a local zoning board …, “even if there is substantial evidence supporting a contrary determination” … .
Here, the record establishes that respondent reviewed the appropriate statutory factors in making its determination (see General City Law § 81-b  [b]), and concluded that the application should be denied because, inter alia, the variances would cause an undesirable change to the character of the neighborhood, the variances are substantial, and petitioners’ hardship is self-created (see § 81-b  [b] [i], [iii], [v]). Matter of People, Inc. v City of Tonawanda Zoning Bd. of Appeals, 2015 NY Slip Op 02257, 4th Dept 3-20-15