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Bayville zoning laws on apartments overturned

Mayor Paul Rupp, flanked by trustees Joe Russo

Mayor Paul Rupp, flanked by trustees Joe Russo and Timothy Charon, previously backed the zoning amendments saying they would draw local businesses and young professionals to Bayville. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Controversial zoning laws that permitted apartments in Bayville business districts have been overturned by a state judge.

The June 30 decision in State Supreme Court in Mineola by Judge Jerome Murphy invalidated three amendments on the grounds that they did not go through a required environmental review.

“The determination to amend the zoning ordinance . . . was arbitrary, capricious, and not undertaken with regard to the applicable provisions of [the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act] SEQRA,” Murphy wrote.

The village board passed the amendments on June 22, 2015, in a split vote at the end of a contentious four-hour hearing attended by about 400 people. The changes made it possible for properties in areas zoned as business districts to have up to four ground floor apartment units and reduced the required distance between properties zoned as business and residential properties to 50 feet from 250 feet.

In September, an organization formed in opposition to the zoning change called Save Bayville Now, Inc. sued the village to seek to nullify the laws.

Rena Bologna, president of the group, said they were concerned about traffic, congestion, water use, pollution and additional students in schools.

“It’s a village,” Bologna said. “It’s not an area where we typically would have multiple dwellings; it’s not what we think of when we think of Bayville.”

Bayville Deputy Mayor Joe Russo said the village had no comment.

“We are reviewing the decision with the village attorney,” Russo said in an email. “As no properties have applied for permits applicable to these laws there is no affect.”

At the time the amendments were adopted, Mayor Paul Rupp had said the “changes are expected to boost local businesses by reducing and eliminating blight while simultaneously attracting young professionals to Bayville.”

The plaintiff’s legal argument, which Murphy agreed with, hinged on the village board’s decision to limit SEQRA review to individual applications rather than on the amendments themselves.

“They’re obligated to look at the cumulative impact of what could be anticipated to happen,” said the plaintiff’s attorney, Howard Avrutine, of Syosset-based Avrutine & Associates PLLC. “If you look at just the impact of each individual application you might conclude that there’s minimal impact by that particular application, but if, say, there’s ten of them, and you look at the cumulative impact, it’s way different.”


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