AND BIASED OPINION
PIECE ARE WRONG.
Times Union, Thursday
February 18, 2016 pages C1 and 3.
Churchill obviously did not read
the court papers before he wrote
the above column which is a biased
advocacy opinion intended to sway
public opinion- not factual news
Read my Article 78 petition to gain
a clear understanding that Supreme
Court Justice Connolly properly
annulled use of 738 New Scotland
Avenue, a single family residential
dwelling, located in a single family
zoning district pursuant to the Albany
City Zoning Code based on a clear
interpretation of the intent, language
definitions and provision of the law.
Justice Connolly did not legislate
from the bench - he correctly decided
the case on the law.
Bethany Family Promise lawyers
and the Albany City Board of Zoning
Appeals did not read and comply
with the provisions of the Albany
City Zoning code with regard to
uses allowed in a single family
zoned residential district.
They did not seek a use variance
because they could not meet all
4 of the state law provisions which
must be met in order to obtain
a use variance. Most notably,
Bethany and Family Promise
could not prove that operating
a regional homeless social services
hub out of 738 New Scotland Avenue
would not alter the essential
character and residential integrity
of this residential single family zoned
Nor, could they prove that home
values, the city property tax base
and support for city schools would
not be adversely impacted.
In a City that is on the brink of
fiscal insolvency, approval of the
Bethany Family Promise application
would result in "killing the golden
Instead, Bethany and Family
Promise lawyers took an end
run around the law seeking an
"Interpretation" from the BZA
approving the Bethany Family
Promise application on the
basis of religion, supported by
public opinion rather than the law.
In an "Interpretation Appeal"
the BZA is limited to a strict
interpretation of the law. The
BZA exceeded its' lawful authority.
In sum, Justice Connolly reached
the right decision - on the law!
Churchill's biased opinion piece
conclusions and its' headline
Justice Connolly's Decision in
this Matter is not about religion
it is about upholding the provisions
of the Albany City Zoning Code
that pertain to protecting the
residential integrity and quality
of life in this single family zoned
It is a land use decision upholding
the zoning code which protects
home values, the city tax base
and support for city schools/
city services in a city on the verge
of fiscal insolvency.
SUPREME IN THE
STATE OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF ALBANY
In the Matter of
JOSEPH P SULLIVAN
Petitioner pro se
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
CITY OF ALBANY, NEW YORK
TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, ALBANY COUNTY
The petition of JOSEPH P SULLIVAN to the court as follows:
1. Petitioner is a homeowner residing at 737 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208
for these past 40 years, in an R-1B single family zoned District pursuant to the City
of Albany, NY Zoning Code, aggrieved by a Decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals
changing the use of a single family dwelling, 738 New Scotland Avenue, which is
in close proximity to and in the same zone as the petitioner's home, which will
reduce the use, enjoyment and value of the petitioner's home.
2. Petitioner is founder and President of the Buckingham Pond Crestwood Neighborhood
Association these past 30 years, dedicated to maintaining/improving the residential
integrity and quality of life in the neighborhood bounded by Western Ave, South Manning
Blvd, NYS Thruway and Rte 85.
3. Respondent Board of Zoning Appeals (Board) is a 7 member body, including Chairman
Richard Berkley appointed by the Mayor, City of Albany, NY
4. This proceeding pursuant to C.P.L.R, Article 78 seeks judicial review of the Board
Decision 3/25/15 (Exhibit A) in reversing a denial of a permit requested by Bethany
Reformed Church 760 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208 for a change of use
of 738 New Scotland Avenue, the church parsonage, a single family dwelling located
in an R-1B single family residential zoning district pursuant to the City of Albany Zoning
Code, to a use as a rented "home base" Family Promise of The Capital Region
(Family Promise) a 501 (c) (3) Not For Profit, to operate it's homeless-social services
network, which is in the process of being established.
5. The Code Administrator correctly interpreted the Code provisions that a "home base":
as proposed by Bethany, was not a listed permitted use in R-1B single family residential
zoned district, that the proposed change of use would require a USE VARIANCE
( Exhibit B Code Administrator Denial 12/8/15) See also Code Article III Sec 375-8
and 375-9 (D)
6. Bethany appealed, not asking for Board approval of a use variance, but, rather for
an INTERPRETATION by the Board to interpret Bethany's proposed ed use of
738 New Scotland Avenue as" a use permitted within its zoning district"
(Page 2 of Bethany Appeal 12/15/14)
7. Bethany did not appeal for a reversal of the Administrator's denial of permit, nor did
Bethany apply for a use variance, most likely because a party seeking a use variance
must prove that granting of a use variance requires that the applicant prove, and the
Board find, that granting the use variance
will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood ( Code sec 375-26 (B-2 (g)
8. Petitioner submitted a statement to the Board, prior to the hearing and decision of the
Board 3/25/15 stating:
(1) the question presented at the hearing is not accurate (2) The City Administrator
has correctly denied Bethany a permit (3) that the Family Promise program is a social
services program, not a ministry of the church (4) that may one day take over the church
at 760 New Scotland Ave and parking lot and (5) the Board has compelling reasons to uphold
the Code including the negative, transformational effects on the neighborhood, home values, the
city tax base and support for city schools and city government services.
( Exhibit C Petitioner Statement for Entry in the Hearing Record. Refer also, to posts
from January 2015 to the present regarding this matter
on the neighborhood website: http://lbpcnanews.blogspot.com
9. In an Interpretation Appeal the Board's review is limited to interpreting the provisions of
the code. The Board must view the Code as, if, it were the Administrator, and make a
decision accordingly. The Board cannot rewrite the Code or read something into it that is not
there. Only the Common Council, the legislative
body of the City, has the power to amend the Code.
10. Petitioner allegations regarding the Decision of the Board 3/25/15
a) The correct property address in this matter is 738 New Scotland Avenue
b) the correct parcel ID is 64-72-2-37.2 a 60 x 59 foot lot whereon the single
family dwelling , with a taxable value of $240,000 sits ( 2014 City Tax Roll)
c) The Matter presented when interpreting the Code, as the Board is limited to do
on such and appeal can only result in a denial by the Board based on the law.
The question appears to be phrased in a way to result in the decision reached by the Board
d) The Board unlawfully reversed the Code Administrators denial and ordered
unlawfully the the Administrator to issue Bethany a permit to proceed with the change
of use of 738 New Scotland Avenue from a single family dwelling in an R-1B single family
zoned district to a new use as "home base" for the Family Promise homeless
social services network which is not a permitted use in said district as the
Administrator correctly interpreted the Code to read.
e) Contrary to #16 Decision Family Promise and Bethany entered into a lease involving
payment of rent amounting to 1,300 dollars monthly by Family Promise to Bethany
(see Record, November 9, 2014 letter of inquiry to Administrator inquiring is a use variance
was need by Bethany, and supporting lease copy)
f) The "missions and ministries" referenced in the papers, hearing and decision in this matter
are more about rent and other forms of income, including donations and government grants
for Family Promise and churches struggling to remain solvent in the face of aging
congregations, reduced attendance and contributions.
g) Code Definitions shall be strictly construed, 738 New Scotland Avenue is a one (single)
family dwelling, not a House of Worship. A House of Worship is a structure or part of a
structure used for worship or religious ceremonies. A Use Variance is authorization by the
Board for a use of land for a purpose ..not allowed or is otherwise prohibited by the
provisions of this chapter . Administrator means The Commissioner of Buildings and
Regulatory Compliance of the City of Albany, NY or another City official designated by
law to fulfill the duties of that position. ( Code Definitions Sec 375-27)
h) The Board did not properly interpret and apply the Code Definitions in (g) in arriving at it's
Decision of 3/25/15
11. The Board was precluded granting a Special Use, or special exception, Permit by the Code.
Section 375-27-B (1-(a) a proposed use is not listed among the permitted uses for an R-1B
district, and (375-27- B (1-(c) that will have an adverse effect on the character of the
and neighborhood and (375-27-B (1- (g) will not be in harmony with, or that will adversely
effect the neighborhood.
12. In sum, the 3/25/15 Decision of the Board in this matter was, contains errors of law
made in contravention of the law (Code), contains errors of law, is arbitrary, capricious
and an abuse of discretion.
WHEREFORE your petitioner deponent requests that this Court:
A) Annul the Board of Zoning Appeals
City of Albany, NY
Decision of March 25, 2015
B) Affirm the City of Albany, NY
Denial of a Permit to Bethany
Dated December 8, 2014
and such other and further relief as may to the Court seem just and proper.
Date: April____ 2015 ______________________________________________
____Joseph P Sullivan_____
_____737 New Scotland Ave, Albany, NY 12208____
_____518 438 5238_________________________