Court rejects challenge to Brooklyn rezoning

Owner claimed that City illegally spot zoned his two lots. In 2006, the City Council voted to rezone 80 blocks of Midwood, Brooklyn, including two lots on Ocean Avenue owned by Jacob Fetman. When the City Council voted on the plan, it modified the initial district proposed by City Planning for the west side of Ocean Avenue between Avenues L and M, giving the west side of that block a different zoning district than the east side, where Fetman owned his two properties. 3 CityLand 24 (March 15, 2006).

Fetman filed an article 78 petition, claiming that the down-zoning of his two lots was arbitrary and equaled an illegal spot zoning. He also asked the court to rezone his lots to either the R6A zoning designation given to the west side of the block or back to its original R7A designation.

Fetman’s claims, finding the rezoning to be the result of a well-considered and comprehensive plan. The court analyzed the existing buildings on the east and west sides of Ocean Avenue, finding clear differences in the buildings’ characteristics and concluding that it was rational for the City to zone each differently. Justice Schmidt emphasized that a zoning ordinance is a legislative function and courts cannot alter a property’s zoning.

Fetman v.Burden, 238 N.Y.L.J. 28 (KingsCty. Sup.Ct. July 10, 2007) (Schmidt, J.).

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