senate Bill S5484

2009-2010 Legislative Session

Authorizes municipal legislative bodies to enact local laws and ordinances providing for mediation of land use decisions

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jun 15, 2010 reported and committed to rules
Apr 13, 2010 reported and committed to finance
Jan 06, 2010 referred to cities
May 11, 2009 referred to cities

Votes

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Jun 15, 2010 - Finance committee Vote

S5484
33
0
committee
33
Aye
0
Nay
0
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
0
Excused
0
Abstained
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Apr 13, 2010 - Cities committee Vote

S5484
5
0
committee
5
Aye
0
Nay
0
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
0
Excused
0
Abstained
show Cities committee vote details

Cities Committee Vote: Apr 13, 2010

Co-Sponsors

S5484 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A8259
Current Committee:
Law Section:
General City Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§20, 81-a & 27, Gen City L; amd §§64, 267-a & 271, Town L; amd §§4-412, 7-712-a & 7-718, Vil L

S5484 - Bill Texts

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Authorizes certain municipal legislative bodies, including towns and villages, to enact local laws and ordinances providing for non-binding mediation of land use decisions.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER: S5484 REVISED 05/20/09

TITLE OF BILL :

An act to amend the general city law, the town law, and the village
law, in relation to authorizing the use of mediation in land use
decisions


PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL :

To authorize municipalities to utilize mediation as an alternative
procedure in reaching certain land use regulation decisions.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS :

The bill would amend the General City Law by adding a new subdivision
39 to section 20, amending subdivision 3 of section 81-a and paragraph
b of subdivision 14 of section 27 to authorize city governments,
including the zoning board of appeals and planning board to establish
procedures (by local law or ordinance) to use mediation for reaching
land use decisions. The bill would also make the same authorizations
in the Town Law by amending subdivision 26 of section 64, subdivision
3 of section 267-a, and paragraph b of subdivision 14 of section 271,
and the Village Law by amending subdivision 3 of section 4-412,
subdivision 3 of section 7-712 and paragraph b of subdivision 14 of
section 7-718. The proposed language emphasizes that mediation is
voluntary and non-binding and allows for mutually agreed to extensions
of existing time limits for proposals submitted to boards while
mediation takes place. If extensions are granted an end date for such
extensions must be specified at the time mediation is approved.

JUSTIFICATION :

Interested parties to a land use decision by local governments can
often end up in protracted legal disputes. As legal fees continue to
soar and court dockets become increasingly congested, local
governments may turn to mediation as an alternate resolution method.

The New York State Community Dispute Resolution Centers Program within
the Office of Court Administration was established in 1981. Through
its 62 county-based centers, mediation has been used to resolve
disputes in education, affordable housing and other areas. As
envisioned in the proposed legislation, mediation would be employed to
promote timely and effective land use decisions by working to resolve
conflicts in such areas as: review and approval of comprehensive
plans, rezonings, subdivision plans, site plans and special use
permits.

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy has conducted a survey of
participants in mediated land disputes and found that 85% had a
positive view of the experience and in case that were settled, 92% of
the parties believed their own interests were served by the
settlement. About two dozen other states currently authorize land use
mediation. Mediation of land disputes currently takes place in NYS
through the USDA agricultural mediation program, and the Adirondack
Park Agency is using mediation to attempt to resolve differences over
a proposed development project in Tupper Lake.

Mediation can be an effective vehicle for municipalities in sorting
out complex, often controversial, land use issues. With the help of a
trained mediator, local officials and interested parties may be better
able to explore alternatives and weigh options that enhance the
traditional municipal planning and zoning review process.


This bill is not a mandate, rather it provides authorization for local
governments to establish mediation as an alternative land use conflict
resolution method, while assuring that the rights of individual
parties are protected and established planning and zoning review
processes are preserved. The bill provides that mediation would be
used to supplement, not replace, existing municipal review procedures
and decision making by a local government.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :

2007-08: A.5482/S.3232 - Assembly Local Government; Passed Senate
2005-06: A.5631 - Assembly Local Government; S.2749 - Passed Senate
2004: A.9782 - Assembly Local Government; S.6184 - Passed Senate
2001: A.7146 - Assembly Local Government;S.3560 - Passed Senate

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :

None to the State. It is anticipated that legal expenses and court
costs for municipalities and applicants may be reduced or avoided
through the use of this alternate resolution technique, resulting in
reduced expenses for local governments, applicants and taxpayers.

EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect on the first day of July next succeeding
the year in which it shall have become a law, and shall not affect any
local laws or ordinances providing for the mediation of zoning and
planning decisions enacted prior to this effective date.
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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

    S. 5484                                                  A. 8259

                       2009-2010 Regular Sessions

                      S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y

                              May 11, 2009
                               ___________

IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sens. WINNER, AUBERTINE, STACHOWSKI, VALESKY,
  YOUNG -- (at request of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources)
  -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to
  the Committee on Cities

IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. KOON, LIFTON, BACALLES, BURLING --
  read once and referred to the Committee on Judiciary

AN ACT to amend the general city law, the town law, and the village law,
  in relation to authorizing the use of mediation in land use decisions

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Section 20 of the general city law is amended by  adding  a
new subdivision 39 to read as follows:
  39.  TO  PROVIDE  BY LOCAL LAW FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING
MEDIATION PURSUANT TO GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED  COURT  SYSTEM  OR  SUCH
OTHER  PROCEDURE  AS  DETERMINED BY ITS LEGISLATIVE BODY. WHEN UTILIZING
SUCH MEDIATION, THE APPLICANT AND  THE  LEGISLATIVE  BODY  MAY  MUTUALLY
AGREE,  IN  WRITING,  TO  STAY  OR EXTEND THE STATUTORY TIME PERIODS FOR
REVIEW OF SUCH APPLICATION, AND SAID AGREEMENT SHALL SPECIFY THE DATE ON
WHICH THE STAY OR EXTENSION WILL END. THE LEGISLATIVE  BODY  SHALL  MAKE
SUCH  WRITTEN AGREEMENT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC BY FILING A COPY THEREOF
IN THE CITY CLERK'S OFFICE.
  S 2. Subdivision 3 of section 81-a of the general city law,  as  added
by chapter 208 of the laws of 1993, is amended to read as follows:
  3.  Assistance to the board of appeals.  (A) Such board shall have the
authority to call upon any department, agency or employee  of  the  city
for such assistance as shall be deemed necessary and as shall be author-
ized by the legislative body. Such department, agency or employee may be
reimbursed for any expenses incurred as a result of such assistance.
  (B)  THE  ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE LEGISLATIVE
BODY TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING MEDIATION AS  AN

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02350-02-9

S. 5484                             2                            A. 8259

AID  IN  FOSTERING LAND USE DECISIONS, PURSUANT TO THE GUIDELINES OF THE
UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR SUCH OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY THE LEGIS-
LATIVE BODY.
  S  3.  Paragraph b of subdivision 14 of section 27 of the general city
law, as amended by chapter 418 of the laws of 1995, is amended  to  read
as follows:
  b.  The  planning  board  may  review  and  make  recommendations on a
proposed city comprehensive plan or amendment thereto. In addition,  the
planning  board shall have the full power and authority to make investi-
gations, maps, reports,  and  recommendations  in  connection  therewith
relating to the planning and development of the city as it deems desira-
ble, providing the total expenditures of said board shall not exceed the
appropriation  provided therefor.   THE PLANNING BOARD MAY BE AUTHORIZED
BY THE LEGISLATIVE BODY TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBIND-
ING MEDIATION AS AN AID IN FOSTERING LAND USE DECISIONS, PURSUANT TO THE
GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR SUCH OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETER-
MINED BY THE LEGISLATIVE BODY.
  S 4. Section 64 of the town law is amended by adding a new subdivision
26 to read as follows:
  26. MEDIATION. IS AUTHORIZED TO PROVIDE BY LOCAL LAW FOR  THE  USE  OF
VOLUNTARY  AND  NONBINDING  MEDIATION  PURSUANT TO THE GUIDELINES OF THE
UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR OTHER PROCEDURE  AS  DETERMINED  BY  THE  BOARD.
WHEN  UTILIZING  SUCH  MEDIATION,  THE  APPLICANT AND THE TOWN BOARD MAY
MUTUALLY AGREE, IN WRITING, TO STAY OR EXTEND THE STATUTORY TIME PERIODS
FOR REVIEW OF SUCH APPLICATION, AND SAID  AGREEMENT  SHALL  SPECIFY  THE
DATE  ON WHICH THE STAY OR EXTENSION WILL END. THE TOWN BOARD SHALL MAKE
SUCH WRITTEN AGREEMENT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC BY FILING A COPY  THEREOF
IN THE TOWN CLERK'S OFFICE.
  S  5.  Subdivision  3  of section 267-a of the town law, as amended by
chapter 248 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows:
  3. Assistance to board of appeals.   (A) Such  board  shall  have  the
authority  to  call  upon any department, agency or employee of the town
for such assistance as shall be deemed necessary and as shall be author-
ized by the town board. Such department, agency or employee may be reim-
bursed for any expenses incurred as a result of such assistance.
  (B) THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE TOWN BOARD TO
PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING MEDIATION AS AN  AID  IN
FOSTERING  LAND USE DECISIONS, PURSUANT TO THE GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED
COURT SYSTEM OR OTHER SUCH PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY THE BOARD.
  S 6. Paragraph b of subdivision 14 of section 271 of the town law,  as
amended  by  chapter  418  of  the  laws  of 1995, is amended to read as
follows:
  b. The planning  board  may  review  and  make  recommendations  on  a
proposed  town comprehensive plan or amendment thereto. In addition, the
planning board shall have full power  and  authority  to  make  investi-
gations,  maps,  reports  and  recommendations  in  connection therewith
relating to the planning and development of the town as it seems desira-
ble, providing the total expenditures of said board shall not exceed the
appropriation provided therefor.  THE PLANNING BOARD MAY  BE  AUTHORIZED
BY  THE  TOWN  BOARD  TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING
MEDIATION AS AN AID IN FOSTERING LAND USE  DECISIONS,  PURSUANT  TO  THE
GUIDELINES  OF THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED
BY THE BOARD.
  S 7. Subdivision 3 of section 4-412 of the village law is  amended  by
adding a new paragraph 14 to read as follows:

S. 5484                             3                            A. 8259

  (14)  MEDIATION.  MAY  PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING
MEDIATION PURSUANT TO THE GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR SUCH
OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES.  WHEN  UTILIZING
SUCH  MEDIATION,  THE  APPLICANT  AND THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES MAY MUTUALLY
AGREE,  IN  WRITING,  TO  STAY  OR EXTEND THE STATUTORY TIME PERIODS FOR
REVIEW OF SUCH APPLICATION, AND SAID AGREEMENT SHALL SPECIFY THE DATE ON
WHICH THE STAY OR EXTENSION WILL END. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES  SHALL  MAKE
SUCH  WRITTEN AGREEMENT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC BY FILING A COPY THEREOF
IN THE VILLAGE CLERK'S OFFICE.
  S 8. Subdivision 3 of section 7-712-a of the village law,  as  amended
by chapter 248 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows:
  3.  Assistance  to  board  of appeals.   (A) Such board shall have the
authority to call upon any department, agency or employee of the village
for such assistance as shall be deemed necessary and as shall be author-
ized by the village  board  of  trustees.  Such  department,  agency  or
employee may be reimbursed for any expenses incurred as a result of such
assistance.
  (B)  THE  ZONING  BOARD  OF  APPEALS MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE BOARD OF
TRUSTEES TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING MEDIATION AS
AN AID IN FOSTERING LAND USE DECISIONS, PURSUANT TO  THE  GUIDELINES  OF
THE  UNIFIED  COURT  SYSTEM OR SUCH OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY THE
BOARD OF TRUSTEES.
  S 9. Paragraph b of subdivision 14 of section  7-718  of  the  village
law,  as  amended by chapter 418 of the laws of 1995, is amended to read
as follows:
  b. The planning  board  may  review  and  make  recommendations  on  a
proposed  village  comprehensive plan or amendment thereto. In addition,
the planning board shall have the  full  power  and  authority  to  make
investigations,  maps, reports, and recommendations in connection there-
with relating to the planning and development of the village as it seems
desirable, providing the total expenditures  of  said  board  shall  not
exceed  the  appropriation provided therefor.  THE PLANNING BOARD MAY BE
AUTHORIZED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF  VOLUNTARY
AND  NONBINDING  MEDIATION  AS  AN  AID IN FOSTERING LAND USE DECISIONS,
PURSUANT TO THE GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED COURT  SYSTEM  OR  SUCH  OTHER
PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES.
  S  10. This act shall take effect on the first of July in the calendar
year next succeeding the calendar year in which it shall have  become  a
law, and shall not affect any local laws or ordinances providing for the
mediation  of  zoning and planning decisions which were enacted prior to
such effective date.

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