The Extent of the Planning Board Review Powers In Reviewing Site Plans

In Moriarty v. Planning Bd. (119 AD2d 188, lv denied 69 NY2d 603), the Second Department reviewed the provisions of Village Law 7-725 (the predecessor to Village Law 7-725-a) in determining the extent of the review powers possessed by the Planning Board in reviewing site plans. At the time Moriarty was decided, section 7-725, in addition to the specifically enumerated criteria for site plan review, permitted consideration of "such other elements as may reasonably be related to the health, safety and general welfare of the community." (Village Law 7-725 [1] [a].) Moriarty found that this additional "general welfare" criteria did not provide the Planning Board with the power to deny site plan approval "because of the lack of nearby public water for fire protection purposes, a factor unmentioned in the State enabling statute or the derivative sections of the ... Zoning Ordinance" (supra, at 193). The Court determined that ejusdem generis was applicable which required the Court to limit the general language of the statute by the specific phrases which preceded it. The words contained in the "general welfare" clause of the predecessor statute were " 'construed to embrace only objects similar in nature to those objects enumerated by the preceding specific words'." (Supra, at 197.)