Through a review of recent case history, this article examines the role of courts in land use decisions. The consensus of the holdings is that a court should not substitute its discretion for that of a local land use board so long as the board’s decision was based on substantial evidence on the record. The rational for this standard of deference is based on the idea that local land use boards are legislative bodies that understand the needs of the communities they serve. This article highlights several instances where appeals courts reign in the power of trial courts that overstep judicial bounds by annulling valid land use board decisions.
John R. Nolon and Jessica A. Bacher, Court of Appeals Again Restrains Lower Courts, New York Law Journal, Aug. 17, 2005, at 5.