Reaffirmation of Spot Zoning Standards

Land Use

“The power to zone is derived from the Legislature and must be exercised in the case of towns and villages in accord with a ‘comprehensive plan’  (see, Town Law § 263Village Law § 7–704) or in the case of cities in accord with a ‘well considered plan’ (General City Law § 20 [25] ).”  Asian Americans for Equality v. Koch, 72 N.Y.2d 121, 131 (1988).  This requirement “not only insures that local authorities act for the benefit of the community as a whole but protects individuals from arbitrary restrictions on the use of their land.”  Id.  When a municipality fails to follow this requirement, the Court can invalidate a rezoning as illegal “spot zoning”.  The Court defines spot zoning as “the process of singling out a small parcel of land for a use classification totally different from that of the surrounding area, for the benefit of the owner of such property and to the detriment of other owners [citations omitted], ‘spot zoning‘ is the very antithesis of planned zoning.”  Rodgers v. Village of Tarrytown, 302 N.Y. 115, 123 -124 (1951).  When a litigant seeks to challenge a rezoning through litigation, a common allegation is that the rezoning constituted illegal spot zoning.  Thus, many decisions have been written on this subject and the law is well established.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by John Christopher