County Planning Board
The Lewis County Planning Board holds a regular meeting on the third Thursday of every month. Municipalities with projects that require County Planning Board review, must submit their referral to the Lewis County Planning Department at least 12 days prior to the regularly scheduled monthly meeting in order for the project to appear on the agenda and be reviewed. Once the recommendations are made, the referrals are sent back to the municipalities and they make the final determination. Our Planning Board does not review subdivisions. The County Planning Board plays an advisory role, not a regulatory role.
County Planning Board Regulations
New York State General Municipal Law Article B, Sections 239-m requires municipal boards to refer certain planning actions to the County Planning Board for review before taking final action. These laws encourage local decision-makers to consider the countywide and inter-municipal impacts of their local land use decisions. Neglecting to refer a land use action pursuant to General Municipal Law could constitute a “procedural or jurisdictional error” that could legally invalidate the municipality’s land use decision.
Municipal officials, clerks, zoning enforcement officers, members of local planning & zoning boards should be aware of 239-m requirements. The following municipal actions may be subject to County Planning Board review:
- Adoption or amendment of a comprehensive plan
- Adoption or amendment of a zoning ordinance or local law
- Issuance of special use permits
- Approval of site plans
- Granting of use or area variances
The following planning actions are subject to County Planning Board review if the real property is located within 500 feet of the following (250 feet for the Ag District):
- The boundary of any city, village or town
- The boundary of any existing or proposed county or state park or any other recreation area
- The right-of-way of any existing or proposed county or state parkway, thruway, expressway, road, or highway
- The existing or proposed right-of-way of any stream or drainage channel owned by the county or for which the county has established channel lines
- The existing or proposed boundary of any county or state owned land in which a public building or institution is situated
- The boundary of a farm operation located in an agricultural district, as defined by Article 25-AA of Agriculture & Markets Law
Still wondering if your project will require a County Planning Board Review? Use our interactive Lewis County GML 239m Mapper! If your project is on a property highlighted below, it will trigger a County Planning Board review in addition to local municipal review.
Referrals submitted to the County Planning Board will be reviewed by Planning Department Staff to determine completeness. If the referral and associated materials (full statement) are deemed incomplete, staff will notify the referring body. Within 30 days of receiving the full statement of the proposed action, the County Planning Board will respond with a recommendation. If the County Planning Board does not respond within 30 days of receiving the full statement, then the municipality may proceed with the final action.
Please note that referrals are not accepted directly from project sponsors or applicants; they must be submitted by the local municipality. The required “full statement” materials are as follows:
- State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) and associated materials used by the referring body to make a determination of significance pursuant to the SEQR. Part 1 is required by the County Planning Board to review the action.
- Copy of the application submitted by the applicant or project sponsor to the referring body
- Copies of all maps and plans submitted to the referring body
- If applicable, a copy of the full text of the ordinance or local law being proposed, adopted or amended
Planning Department Staff provides technical assistance to the County Planning Board so that they can determine if there will be any countywide or inter-community impacts as a result of the proposed action. Their review may consider the following:
- Compatibility of adjacent land uses
- Impact of any additional traffic
- Compatibility with existing municipal comprehensive plans
- Effects on community character and appearance
- Impacts on community facilities
Once the full statement is received and reviewed, the County Planning Board will choose from the following actions:
- Approve with Conditions
- Matter of Local Concern
A municipality can only act after the County Planning Board’s decision has been issued. No conditioned approvals based on County Planning Board approvals should occur. The referring body can only act without a County Planning Board decision if they have not received notice from the County after 30 days from their acceptance of the full statement. Once a County Planning Board decision has been received by the referring body, they can act as follows:
- County Planning Board Approval: Referring body may approve, approve with any conditions or disapprove with a majority vote.
- County Planning Board Approval with Conditions: Referring body may approve with the exact County conditions or disapprove with a majority vote. The referring body may add further conditions to its approval but can only override any County conditions with a super majority vote (majority plus one; includes absent or vacant positions). The board must then adopt a resolution citing the reasons for its decision.
- County Planning Board Disapproval: Referring body may disapprove with a majority vote or approve with or without conditions with a supermajority vote and resolution.
- County Planning Board Matter of Local Concern: Referring body may proceed to take final action.
If you have any questions regarding projects, the referral process, or the County Planning Board, please call our office at: (315) 376-5422.