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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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SECTION 239-C
County planning boards
General Municipal (GMU) CHAPTER 24, ARTICLE 12-B
§ 239-c. County planning boards. 1. Legislative findings and intent.
The legislature hereby finds and determines that:

(a) significant decisions and actions affecting the immediate and
long-range protection, enhancement, growth and development of the state
and its communities are made by county planning boards.

(b) county planning boards serve as an important resource to the state
and its localities, helping to establish productive linkages between
communities as well as with state and federal agencies.

(c) through comprehensive planning and special studies, county
planning boards focus on opportunities and issues best handled at a
county-wide scale.

(d) the development of a county comprehensive plan can foster
cooperation among governmental agencies in the planning and
implementation of capital projects. Similarly, county comprehensive
plans can promote intermunicipal cooperation in the provision of public
services.

(e) citizen participation is essential to the design and
implementation of a county comprehensive plan.

(f) the great diversity of resources and conditions that exist within
and among counties requires consideration of such factors by county
planning boards.

(g) it is the intent of the legislature therefore, to provide a
permissive and flexible framework within which county planning boards
can perform their power and duties.

1-a. Alternate members of county planning boards. (a) A county
legislative body may, by local law or as a part of the local law
creating the county planning board, establish alternate planning board
member positions for purposes of substituting for a member in the event
such member is unable to participate because of a conflict of interest.
Alternate members of the county planning board shall be appointed by
resolution of the county legislative body, for terms established by such
legislative body.

(b) The chairperson of the planning board may designate an alternate
member to substitute for a member when such member is unable to
participate because of a conflict of interest on an application or
matter before the board. When so designated, the alternate member shall
possess all the powers and responsibilities of such member of the board.
Such designation shall be entered into the minutes of the initial
planning board meeting at which the substitution is made.

(c) All provisions of this section relating to county planning board
member training and continuing education, attendance, conflict of
interest, compensation, eligibility, vacancy in office, removal, and
service on other boards, shall also apply to alternate members.

2. Establishment of county planning board. (a) Creation. In the
absence of a county administrative code or county charter which may
otherwise provide for the creation of a county planning board, the
county legislative body alone, or in collaboration with the legislative
bodies of the municipalities in such county may establish a county
planning board.

(b) Membership. Members and officers of such board shall be selected
in a number and manner determined by the county legislative body. In
making such appointments, the county legislative body shall include
members from a broad cross section of interests within the county.
Consideration should also be given to securing representation by
population size, geographic location and type of municipality. The terms
of membership as well as the filling of vacancies on such board shall be
determined by the county legislative body. The county legislative body
may provide for the appointment of individuals to serve as ex-officio
members of the county planning board. Said ex-officio members or their
designees may participate in the deliberations of the county planning
board, but shall not have voting privileges.

(c) Membership of elected or appointed officials. No person shall be
precluded from serving as a member of a county planning board, as
appointed by the county legislative body pursuant to this section,
because such member is an elected or appointed official of the county or
a municipality. A member of a county planning board shall excuse himself
or herself from any deliberation or vote relating to a matter or
proposal before such county planning board which is or has been the
subject of a proposal, application or vote before the municipal board of
which he or she is a member.

(d) Training and attendance requirements. (i) Each member of a county
planning board shall complete, at a minimum, four hours of training each
year designed to enable such members to more effectively carry out their
duties. Training received by a member in excess of four hours in any one
year may be carried over by the member into succeeding years in order to
meet the requirements of this paragraph. Such training shall be approved
by the county and may include, but not be limited to, training provided
by a regional or county planning office or commission, county planning
federation, state agency, statewide municipal association, college or
other similar entity. Training may be provided in a variety of formats,
including but not limited to, electronic media, video, distance learning
and traditional classroom training.

(ii) To be eligible for reappointment to such board, such member shall
have completed the training promoted by the county pursuant to this
paragraph.

(iii) The training required by this paragraph may be waived or
modified by the county when, in the judgment of the governing board, it
is in the best interest of the county to do so.

(iv) No decision of a county planning board shall be voided or
declared invalid because of a failure to comply with this paragraph.

(e) Member reimbursement. The members of such county planning board
shall receive no salary or compensation for their services as members of
such board but may be reimbursed for authorized, actual and necessary
travel and expenditures.

(f) Removal of members. The county legislative body may remove any
member of such planning board for cause, and may provide by resolution
for removal of any planning board member for non-compliance with minimum
requirements relating to meeting attendance and training as established
by the county legislative body by resolution.

(g) By-laws. The county planning board shall adopt by-laws governing
its operation, which shall be approved by the county legislative body
and shall keep a record of its resolutions, transactions, findings and
determinations, which record shall be a public record.

(h) Appropriation; expenses. The county legislative body and municipal
legislative bodies may, in their discretion, appropriate and raise by
taxation, money for the expenses of such county planning board. Such
bodies shall not be charged for any expense incurred by such board
except pursuant to such appropriation. The county planning board shall
have the power and authority to employ staff, consultants and other
experts and to pay for their services, and to provide for such other
expenses as may be necessary and proper, not to exceed the appropriation
that may be made therefor by the county legislative body for such county
planning board.

(i) Authority to receive and expend funds. In furtherance of the
purposes of this article, the county planning board may receive and
expend public funds and grants from private foundations or agencies and
may apply for and accept grants from the federal government or the state
government and enter into contracts for and agree to accept such grants,
donations or subsidies in accordance with such reasonable conditions and
requirements as may be imposed thereon.

3. County planning board powers and duties. (a) Review of certain
municipal planning and zoning actions. The county legislative body may,
by resolution, authorize the county planning board to conduct reviews of
certain classes of planning and zoning actions by a city, town or
village within such county pursuant to sections two hundred
thirty-nine-l and two hundred thirty-nine-m of this article, and to
review certain subdivision plats pursuant to section two hundred
thirty-nine-n of this article.

(b) County comprehensive plan. The county legislative body may request
the county planning board to assist in the preparation of a county
comprehensive plan and amendments thereto pursuant to section two
hundred thirty-nine-d of this article.

(c) County official map. The county legislative body may request the
county planning board to prepare a county official map and amendments
thereto pursuant to section two hundred thirty-nine-e of this article.

(d) County studies. The county planning board may undertake studies
relevant to the future growth, development, and protection of the county
and municipalities therein, including studies in support of a county
comprehensive plan.

(e) Local studies. The county planning board may assist a city, town,
or village in the study of ways to obtain economy, efficiency and
quality in the planning and provision of municipal services.

(f) Collection and distribution of information. The county planning
board may collect and distribute information relative to county or
municipal planning and zoning in such county. Upon request from the
county or a municipality the planning board may recommend to the
legislative body of the county or such municipalities whose
jurisdictions are served by the county planning board a comprehensive
plan which shall designate suitable areas to be zoned for land uses,
taking into consideration, but not limited to, such factors as existing
and projected highways, parks, open spaces, parkways, public works,
public utilities, public transportation terminals and facilities,
population trends, topography and geologic structure.

(g) Local technical assistance. The county planning board may furnish
such technical services as a municipality within the county may request.
Such services may include, but not be limited to assistance with
planning and land use functions, use of geographic information systems,
infrastructure development, as well as inter-municipal services
delivery, and may be provided directly by the county planning board or
in coordination with other county departments or agencies. The charges,
if any, to be made for such services shall be established by the county
legislative body.

(h) Highway construction. Before the final approval of any plan
involving the construction or reconstruction of any state or county
highway, with or without federal aid, the county planning board shall be
given an opportunity to examine such plans and offer suggestions with
respect thereto. This paragraph shall in no manner be construed as
nullifying or contravening the final approval of the commissioner of
transportation.

4. Annual report. The county planning board shall submit an annual
report to the county legislative body and include in such report topics
that are required in the by-laws of the county planning board.

5. Voting requirements. Every motion or resolution of a county
planning board shall require for its adoption the affirmative vote of a
majority of all the members of the county planning board.