The Second Department, reversing the zoning board, determined that the denial of petitioner’s application for site plan approval was improperly based solely on generalized community opposition. The village consultants and the negative State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) declaration did not support the board’s determination:
“Although scientific or other expert testimony is not required in every case to support a zoning board’s determination, the board may not base its decision on generalized community objections” … . In contrast, a zoning board’s reliance upon specific, detailed testimony of neighbors based on personal knowledge does not render a variance determination the product of generalized and conclusory community opposition … .
Here, we agree with the petitioner that the record lacks sufficient evidence to support the rationality of the Board’s determinations denying the petitioner’s application for site plan approval … . The only evidence in the record concerning the traffic and safety issues cited by the Board in the determinations was the conclusory opposition of neighboring residents, which was not supported by any of the Village’s consultants and was contradicted by the negative SEQRA declaration adopted by the Board … . Under the circumstances, the Board’s determinations were improperly based on generalized community opposition and should have been annulled … . Matter of Ramapo Pinnacle Props., LLC v Village of Airmont Planning Bd., 2016 NY Slip Op 08238, 2nd Dept 12-7-16
ZONING (ZONING BOARD’S DENIAL OF APPLICATION FOR SITE PLAN APPROVAL ANNULLED, BOARD’S DETERMINATION BASED SOLELY ON GENERALIZED COMMUNITY OPPOSITION)