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Udell v. Haas

Court of Appeals of New York
21 N.Y.2d 463 (1968)


Facts

Daniel Udell (plaintiff) owned parcels of land on both the eastern and western sides of Lakevillle Road in the Village of Lake Success (Village) (defendant). When Udell assembled the eastern parcel, he operated the land as a restaurant. The property had been zoned for business use for approximately 12 or 13 years. The eastern parcel continued to be zoned for business use for eight or nine years. Udell later acquired the western parcel, which was also zoned for business use. The zoning ordinances of Lake Success had long designated this entire area as for business use. The zoning map showed that the area was in a neck of the Village that was isolated from residences but close to a main road. On June 21, 1960, Fred Rudinger, an associate of Udell’s, submitted to the Village’s office a preliminary sketch for the development of the western parcel into a bowling alley and supermarket. That same evening, the Village planning board recommended a change in zoning for the western and eastern parcels from business to residential use. The minutes of the meeting reflected that the issue of a traffic problem on Lakeville Road was discussed. A month later, the planning board’s recommendation was adopted in Village Ordinance No. 60. Udell challenged the rezoning. At trial, the Village’s expert stated that the traffic problem would be made worse by business use of the western parcel than by such use of the eastern parcel; the expert also admitted that the eastern parcel was in an area that he himself had recommended in an earlier report to be rezoned for commercial and manufacturing purposes. The trial court held that the rezoning of the western parcel was confiscatory and unconstitutional, as the parcel’s topography and neighborhood meant that residential zoning would preclude any use for which the parcel was reasonably adaptable. However, the trial court upheld the rezoning of the eastern parcel, holding that residential zoning was not out of character with the neighborhood and that residential use was practical for the parcel. Udell appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Keating, J.)

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