RECORD DID NOT SUPPORT DENIAL OF SPECIAL USE PERMIT, ZONING BOARD IMPROPERLY BOWED TO THE OBJECTIONS BY TWO NEIGHBORS.
The Third Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the record did not support the zoning board of appeals’ (ZBA’s) denial of a special use permit for keeping dogs on petitioner’s property. The Third Department found the only competent evidence of the noise level was petitioner’s scientific measurement and the neighbors’ complaints about the noise were not a proper basis for denial of the permit:
The record shows that the ZBA advised petitioner that the noise from her property should not exceed 80 decibels … . At the public hearing, petitioner explained that she was certified as a nurse to take sound readings and had done so at the property line over a period of approximately one month at different intervals of the day. She claimed that the noise from her property had not exceeded 70 decibels … . She also offered at least two proposals to address the concerns of the neighbors regarding any noise issue. She proposed a six-foot-high stockade fence and moving the outside pens so that they would be blocked by a building. The nearest neighbor, located across the road from petitioner’s property, played a recording at the public hearing that he claimed was a recording that he made of noise emanating from petitioner’s property. He also claimed that the noise was cited by a prospective purchaser of his property … . Another neighbor, who has a horse training and boarding business approximately 500 feet from petitioner’s property, claimed that some of her customers expressed concerns about the noise from petitioner’s property, and she allegedly provided copies of emails from those customers. …
In its determination, the ZBA did not identify any specific shortcomings in petitioner’s mitigation measures, but summarily determined that petitioner had not offered measures that would sufficiently mitigate the dog noise impact from her business. We view this determination of the ZBA to be without sufficient support in the record. Petitioner offered scientific measurement of the noise level and there was no other objective measure of the noise offered at the public hearing. The neighbor’s recording of the noise is subject to an unreliable interpretation of its level based upon the ability to control the volume of the recording, and reliance on the recording would be unreasonable. Absent reliable proof that rebuts petitioner’s offer of her measurement of the sound level and her offer of measures to address any noise concerns, there is no basis in the record to determine that petitioner did not meet the conditions imposed by the Land Use Law, and it appears that the ZBA bowed to generalized objections from two neighbors … . Matter of Blanchfield v Hoosick, 2017 NY Slip Op 03097, 3rd Dept 4-20-17
ZONING (RECORD DID NOT SUPPORT DENIAL OF SPECIAL USE PERMIT, ZONING BOARD IMPROPERLY BOWED TO THE OBJECTIONS BY TWO NEIGHBORS)/SPECIAL USE PERMITS (RECORD DID NOT SUPPORT DENIAL OF SPECIAL USE PERMIT, ZONING BOARD IMPROPERLY BOWED TO THE OBJECTIONS BY TWO NEIGHBORS)/NEIGHBOR OBJECTIONS (ZONING, RECORD DID NOT SUPPORT DENIAL OF SPECIAL USE PERMIT, ZONING BOARD IMPROPERLY BOWED TO THE OBJECTIONS BY TWO NEIGHBORS)