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A New York court ruled that a city zoning board acted improperly in denying a homeowner's application to use his home as a church. The court noted that "the inclusion of churches among uses permitted in the [residential] zoning district is tantamount to a legislative determination that the use is in harmony with the general zoning plan and will not be detrimental to the surrounding area. It is presumed that a religious use will have a beneficial effect in a residential area." However, this presumption may be "rebutted with evidence of a significant impact on traffic congestion, property values, municipal services and the like." The zoning board's refusal to allow the homeowner to use his home as a church was improper since it was "based on conclusory findings and not upon substantial evidence of significant adverse effects." Neddermeyer v. Ontario Planning Board, 548 N.Y.S.2d 951 (1989).

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Posted:
  • May 1, 1990