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Regional planning councils
General Municipal (GMU) CHAPTER 24, ARTICLE 12-B
§ 239-h. Regional planning councils. 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 regional planning councils.

(b) Regional planning councils serve as an increasingly 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, regional
planning councils provide focus on opportunities and issues best handled
on a broad geographic scale.

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

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

(f) The great diversity of resources and conditions that exist within
and among regions requires consideration of such factors by regional
planning councils.

(g) It is the intent of the legislature therefore, to provide a
permissive and flexible framework within which regional planning
councils can perform their powers and duties.

2. Definitions. For the purposes of this section and section two
hundred thirty-nine-i of this article the term "municipality" shall mean
any city, town, village or county.

3. Establishment of regional planning council. (a) Creation. Any
municipal legislative body may collaborate with the legislative body of
a contiguous municipal legislative body to create a regional planning
council under this article. The legislative bodies of the municipalities
participating in the regional planning council shall adopt by resolution
an agreement setting forth the terms and conditions of such
collaboration. The regional planning council shall be considered an
agency of a political subdivision or municipality for purposes of
sections one hundred three, one hundred four and article eighteen of
this chapter and articles six and seven of the public officers law.

(b) Membership. Membership and officers on such council shall be
selected in a manner to be determined by the collaborating legislative
bodies. In making such appointments, the collaborating legislative
bodies shall include members from a broad cross section of interests
within the region. 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 council shall be determined by the collaborating
legislative bodies. The collaborating legislative bodies may also
jointly provide for the appointment of individuals to serve as
ex-officio members of the regional planning council. Said ex-officio
members or their designees may participate in the deliberations of the
council, 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 regional planning council as
appointed by a collaborating municipal legislative body pursuant to this
section, because such member is an elected or appointed official of such
municipality. A member of a regional planning council shall excuse
himself or herself from any deliberation or vote relating to a matter or
proposal before such regional planning council 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. As a condition of
appointment to the regional planning council, the collaborating
legislative bodies may establish training, continuing education and
meeting attendance requirements for such members.

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

(f) Removal of members. The legislative body of each collaborating
municipality may remove any regional planning council member which said
municipal legislative body has appointed for cause and may provide by
resolution for removal of any such regional planning council member for
non-compliance with minimum requirements relating to meeting attendance
and training as established by the collaborating legislative bodies by

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

(h) Appropriation; expenses. Collaborating legislative bodies may, in
their discretion, appropriate and raise by taxation, money for the
expenses of the regional planning council; such bodies shall not be
charged with any expense incurred by the regional planning council
except pursuant to such appropriation. The legislative body of each
collaborating municipality is authorized to provide for the payment of
the moneys so appropriated for the expenses of such council to an
officer of the council designated in the council by-laws to receive such
moneys, provided that before any such money shall be paid to such
officer, such officer shall have executed an official undertaking
conditioned for the faithful performance of duties in the manner
provided in section four hundred three of the county law and provided
that such undertaking shall have been approved by the legislative body
of each municipality. The regional planning council 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.

(i) Authority to receive and expend funds. In furtherance of the
purposes of this section, the regional planning council may receive and
expend public and private funds and grants from non-public foundations,
agencies, corporations, and private entities 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.

4. Regional planning council powers and duties. (a) The regional
planning council shall have such of the following powers as shall be
provided in the agreement among the collaborating municipalites:

(i) conduct surveys, studies and research programs which address
regional needs and improve community services;

(ii) distribute information resulting from such surveys, studies and

(iii) prepare a regional comprehensive plan and any amendments thereto
pursuant to section two hundred thirty-nine-i of this article;

(iv) consult and cooperate with appropriate state, municipal and
public or private agencies in matters affecting the region, including,
but not limited to the general protection, enhancement, quality of life,
growth and development of the region;

(v) assist with transportation planning in areas of the region not
served by metropolitan planning organizations created pursuant to
section fifteen-a of the transportation law; and

(vi) conduct reviews of certain classes of planning and zoning actions
by a city, town or village pursuant to sections two hundred
thirty-nine-l and two hundred thirty-nine-m of this article, and review
certain subdivision plats pursuant to section two hundred thirty-nine-n
of this article.

(b) A regional planning council shall not undertake any capital
construction project, including but not limited to the design,
acquisition, construction, improvement, reconstruction or rehabilitation
of any capital asset, whether in the nature of real or personal

5. Annual report and audit. Every regional planning council shall
submit an annual report to the collaborating legislative bodies and to
the department of audit and control which report shall include a summary
of council activities, including planning and technical services and
grant and loan programs, a summary of the financial status of the
council, including the annual budget as well as any federal, state and
local funding and private sector financial assistance, and a summary of
planned future activities as well as topics that are required in the
by-laws of the regional planning council. Every regional planning
council shall engage a certified public accountant to complete an annual
financial audit and audit of the internal control structure of the
regional planning council, a copy of which shall be included in the
annual report.

6. Voting requirements. Every motion or resolution of a regional
planning council shall require for its adoption the affirmative vote of
a majority of all the members of the regional planning council.