Charisma Holding Corp. v. Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Lewisboro
New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
699 N.Y.S.2d 89 (1999)
Charisma Holding Corporation (Charisma) (plaintiff) owned commercially zoned land in Lewisboro, New York. Charisma’s land was the site of a car dealership and was bordered on two sides by residentially zoned properties. In 1988, Charisma petitioned the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Lewisboro (the board) (defendant) for an area variance to build a 3,000-square-foot garage to be used for washing, painting, and servicing vehicles. A garage was a permitted use in the commercial zone, but regulations limited the developed area of the property to 60 percent of the property’s total area, and Charisma’s proposed garage would bring the developed area to 69 percent. Charisma’s residential neighbors objected to the location of the garage. The board considered two alternative sites and recommended that Charisma place the garage in the middle of the property, but Charisma refused. The board denied Charisma’s request for an area variance after finding that the variance would result in substantial undesirable change in the residential neighborhood’s character and would cause a substantial detriment to surrounding properties, and that there was an alternative site for the garage. The board found that the detriment to health, safety, and welfare of the neighborhood outweighed the benefit to Charisma. However, the board granted Charisma an area variance based on placing the garage in the middle location. Charisma appealed, arguing that the board had exceeded its authority by considering the location of the garage, which Charisma claimed was a matter solely for the planning board. The New York Supreme Court directed the board to grant the requested variance as proposed by Charisma, finding that the garage was a permitted and conforming use and that the board had improperly considered irrelevant matters. The board appealed to the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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