January 8, 2020

The Supreme Court, Suffolk County has upheld a decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Village of Westhampton Beach in Propper v. Zoning Board, Index No. 3055/2019.  The case involved a variance application made to the ZBA to allow a 10-foot relaxation of a 30-foot side yard setback requirement for a single-family home.   The driving force for the variance application was the existence of wetlands on the property — in order to maximize the setback from the wetlands to the south, the owner sought to reduce the setback from the lot line to the north.  The ZBA, after weighing the benefits and detriments of the proposal, granted the variance, citing, among other things, the environmental benefits that result from the increased wetland setback.  When the neighbor adjacent to the northerly lot line sued, the Honorable William B. Rebolini of the Supreme Court agreed that the ZBA’s decision rationally weighed the various factors before granting the variance.  In particular, Justice Rebolini, citing Wambold v.  Village of Southampton Zoning Board, 140 A.D.3d 891 (2016), agreed that the ZBA rationally concluded that “significant environmental benefits would inure to the Village as a whole by increasing the setback from the wetlands….”