Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council v. Village of Ballston Spa Zoning Board of Appeals

Land Use and Plannin

, New York Law Journal


Justice Edward Spain

Petitioner Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council Inc. provides programs and services to low-income county residents. It contracted to buy property in Ballston Spa's Central Business District Zone. Its Article 78 proceeding challenged the finding that proposed uses for the property—including: a Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program; Head Start offering medical, health, developmental and behavioral screening for children; a Community Services Department fulfilling emergency needs; and a food pantry—were not "vital human services" under the zoning ordinance governing retail use in the Central Business District Zone. Third Department affirmed supreme court's ruling that the zoning appeals board erred in interpreting the ordinance to bar petitioner's proposed uses. The proposed uses qualified as "vital human services" because they were "health related" and "necessary human services" comparable to those offered by medical professionals and facilities, and by social services agencies. Thus, respondent's interpretation of the subject zoning ordinance as barring petitioner's proposed uses was irrational and unreasonable, and properly annulled.

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