The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the property owners seeking a use variance to build a “Dollar Store” did not demonstrate the existing zoning regulations imposed unnecessary hardship on them. The proof presented to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) did not demonstrate the owners inability to realize a reasonable return for the property absent a use variance:
… [T]here is no evidence in the record establishing whether respondents could realize a reasonable return on the parcel if it were used for any other conforming use. Indeed, respondents’ expert did not discuss any possible use of the property other than as vacant land. Thus, inasmuch as respondents’ expert failed to discuss the possible return with respect to all uses permitted within the zoning district, respondents failed to meet their burden of demonstrating that they cannot realize a reasonable return on the property without the requested use variance … .
… The fact that respondents’ application for a use variance was limited to the two-acre parcel is “of no moment; the inquiry as to an inability to realize a reasonable return may not be segmented to examine less than all of an owner’s property rights subject to a regulatory regime” … . The expert’s failure to address respondents’ ability to obtain a reasonable return on the remaining parts of the parcel, or on other permissible uses within the zoning district, is fatal to the application. Thus, the determination is not supported by substantial evidence … . Matter of Dean v Town of Poland Zoning Bd. of Appeals, 2020 NY Slip Op 04242, Fourth Dept 7-24-20