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Rodgers v. Village of Tarrytown

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Rodgers appealed a court judgment that permitted Rubin to construct multiple houses on a single property in accordance with amended zoning requirements.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    The courts will not interfere with zoning decisions that are not arbitrary.

    Facts.

    Tarrytown created a new zoning type that allowed multiple houses to be built on a single property if the property is greater than 10 acres. Rubin asked to have her property that was over 10 acres to be rezoned to the new districting type, while Rodgers, who only owned six acres near Rubin, sued under claims of spot zoning to stop Rubin from raising multiple houses on her property. The lower court dismissed Rodger’s complaint, and Rodgers appealed.

    Issue.

    Whether the courts will interfere with zoning decisions that are not arbitrary?

    Held.

    No. The judgment of the lower court is affirmed. The new zoning ordinance is not arbitrary because it was meant to benefit the entire village, and not one individual landowner. Similarly, the 10 acres requirement was necessary to approve housing developments, and individual landowners like Rubin are able to request reclassification under the new zoning requirements. There is therefore no evidence of spot zoning.

    Dissent.

    (Conway, J.) Zoning does not exist in this neighborhood. Rather, variance exists whereby other landowners in Tarrytown cannot predict which properties will be granted exceptions as Rubin has.

    Discussion.

    A town has the right to amend its own zoning restrictions in a way that is neither arbitrary or promotes the welfare of the community. The burden of proof is on the complaining party to determine whether a zoning restriction is arbitrary. Spot zoning is one arbitrary zoning ordinance where one owner is allowed to benefit at the detriment of other owners.


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