senate Bill S4358

2011-2012 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 - Passed Senate


  • 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
Jan 24, 2012 referred to judiciary
delivered to assembly
passed senate
Jan 23, 2012 advanced to third reading
Jan 19, 2012 2nd report cal.
Jan 18, 2012 1st report cal.77
Jan 04, 2012 referred to cities
returned to senate
died in assembly
Jun 06, 2011 referred to judiciary
delivered to assembly
passed senate
May 16, 2011 advanced to third reading
May 11, 2011 2nd report cal.
May 10, 2011 1st report cal.613
Mar 31, 2011 referred to cities

Votes

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Jan 18, 2012 - Cities committee Vote

S4358
6
0
committee
6
Aye
0
Nay
0
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
0
Excused
0
Abstained
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Cities Committee Vote: Jan 18, 2012

May 10, 2011 - Cities committee Vote

S4358
5
0
committee
5
Aye
0
Nay
0
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
1
Excused
0
Abstained
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Cities Committee Vote: May 10, 2011

excused (1)

Co-Sponsors

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S4358 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A5829
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
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S5484, A8259

S4358 - 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.

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BILL NUMBER:S4358

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

SUMMARY OF 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.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2009-10: S.5484 Senate Rules Committee; A.8259 Assembly Judiciary
Committee.
2007-08: S.3232, Passed Senate; A5482 Assembly Local Governments
Committee.
2005-06: S.2749 Passed Senate; A.5631, Assembly Local Governments
Committee.
2004-05: S.6184 Passed Senate; A.9782, Assembly Local Governments
Committee.
2003-02: S.3560 Passed Senate; A.7146, Assembly Local Government
Committee.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None to the State.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
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
________________________________________________________________________

                                  4358

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             March 31, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced by Sen. 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

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
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.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD09878-01-1

S. 4358                             2

  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:
  (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

S. 4358                             3

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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