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  • In the Matter of Raritan Development Corp. v…In the Matter of Raritan Development Corp. v. Silva
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In the Matter of Raritan Development Corp. v. Silva

New York Court of Appeals
689 N.E.2d 1373 (1997)


Zoning provisions for a planned development permitted a floor-area ratio of 0.5 per building, limiting the total floor area to 50 percent of the area of the lot on which the building was located. The provisions defined the floor area as the sum of the areas of all the floors of a building, including any floor space used for dwelling purposes, no matter the location. The provisions, however, excluded from the floor-area calculation any cellar space, defined as space situated more than halfway below ground-level. Based on these provisions, the architect of a planned three-story building in the development excluded from his floor-area ratio calculations the ground-floor space on the basis that it constituted a cellar. Thereafter, the New York City Department of Buildings (the department) opposed the calculations, contending that the ground-level space should have been included in the floor area because it was a dwelling area, despite its status as a cellar under the provisions. After finding that the cellar exclusion applied only to cellar space used for non-dwelling purposes, the department revoked the building permit from the Raritan Development Corporation (plaintiff). Raritan appealed to the Board of Standards and Appeals (the board), which concluded that the department’s decision was reasonable and based upon the appropriate consideration of added population and parking burdens on the neighborhood.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

Dissent (Levine, J.)

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