A property owner commenced an Article 78 litigation against the Village of Port Jefferson Zoning Board of Appeals to challenge the Board’s determination denying an application to utilize a structure on the property as a multi-family building. Christopher A. Bianco, Esq. successfully defended the Board and achieved a New York Supreme Court decision dismissing the owner’s claims.
The owner argued that the multi-family residential use was a legal non-conforming use entitled to protection under the law as a vested right. It pointed to what it regarded as the long-established history of the structure as a residential building. The owner also argued that Port Jefferson’s zoning code permitted the use of the subject structure as multi-family residential building alongside its existing commercial building on the property. In response, the firm successfully argued that the owner had failed to present evidence that a legal non-conforming use had existed. Mr. Bianco also persuaded the Court that the owner’s land use plan violated zoning district regulations that did not expressly permit both residential and commercial structures on a single property, or the type of multi-family structure sought by the owner.
The high cost of housing on Long Island has incentivized owners and developers to convert or legalize dense residential land uses on their properties. It is important for local land use boards to thoughtfully consider these proposals while also ensuring that their determinations comply with state and local laws.
The Supreme Court's decision dismissing the Article 78 Petition is attached.