Justice Eugene D. Faughnan


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Petitioner sought a determination Town of Vestal’s Zoning Board of Appeals’ (ZBA) denial of its variance requests was arbitrary. It sought to add new buildings to existing student housing development it operated near Binghamton University campus. It sought to reduce minimum living space requirements per family, lot size requirements for two and three story multi-family residences, and increase building height maximums. The ZBA denied the variance requests at its Feb. 9, 2017 meeting, issuing a March 22 written decision of its findings. The ZBA claimed its determination had a rational basis and it properly considered the statutory factors required. Petitioner argued ZBA did not perform required balancing test, but was influenced by community pressure. The court found it was not irrational for ZBA to conclude the variances were substantial and that there were alternatives to the variances. It stated ZBA proceedings revealed petitioner ZBA and the public all addressed various aspects of the project and variance requests and the court could not state the ZBA overlooked any relevant factors or that its determination lacked a rational basis. Thus, it was not arbitrary and the Article 78 proceeding was denied.