senate Bill S4338

2013-2014 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
May 19, 2014 referred to judiciary
delivered to assembly
passed senate
May 12, 2014 advanced to third reading
May 07, 2014 2nd report cal.
May 06, 2014 1st report cal.544
Jan 08, 2014 referred to cities
returned to senate
died in assembly
Apr 30, 2013 referred to judiciary
delivered to assembly
passed senate
Apr 29, 2013 advanced to third reading
Apr 24, 2013 2nd report cal.
Apr 23, 2013 1st report cal.426
Mar 21, 2013 referred to cities

Votes

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May 6, 2014 - Cities committee Vote

S4338
6
0
committee
6
Aye
0
Nay
0
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
0
Excused
0
Abstained
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Cities Committee Vote: May 6, 2014

Apr 23, 2013 - Cities committee Vote

S4338
6
0
committee
6
Aye
0
Nay
0
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
0
Excused
0
Abstained
show Cities committee vote details

Cities Committee Vote: Apr 23, 2013

Co-Sponsors

S4338 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A1265A
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 Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: A5829, S4358
2009-2010: A8259, S5484

S4338 - 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:S4338

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 cases 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:

2012: S.4358 PASSED SENATE; A.5829 Assembly Judiciary Committee
2011: S.4358 PASSED SENATE; A.5829 Assembly Judiciary Committee
2009-10: S.5484 SENATE RULES COMMITTEE; A.8259 Assembly Judiciary
Committee.
2007-08: S.3232 PASSED SENATE; A.5482 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 Governments
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
________________________________________________________________________

                                  4338

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             March 21, 2013
                               ___________

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 ESTABLISHED BY 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  ESTAB-
LISHED BY THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR SUCH OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED
BY THE LEGISLATIVE BODY.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02517-02-3

S. 4338                             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 ESTABLISHED BY THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR SUCH OTHER  PROCE-
DURE AS DETERMINED 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  ESTAB-
LISHED  BY  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 ESTABLISHED  BY
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 ESTABLISHED BY 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 ESTABLISHED BY THE UNIFIED COURT
SYSTEM OR SUCH OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY THE BOARD  OF  TRUSTEES.

S. 4338                             3

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
ESTABLISHED BY 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 ESTABLISHED BY 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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