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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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SECTION 261-B
Incentive zoning; definitions, purpose, conditions, procedures
Town (TWN) CHAPTER 62, ARTICLE 16
§ 261-b. Incentive zoning; definitions, purpose, conditions,
procedures. 1. Definitions. As used in this section:

(a) "Incentives or bonuses" shall mean adjustments to the permissible
population density, area, height, open space, use, or other provisions
of a zoning ordinance or local law for a specific purpose authorized by
the town board.

(b) "Community benefits or amenities" shall mean open space, housing
for persons of low or moderate income, parks, elder care, day care or
other specific physical, social or cultural amenities, or cash in lieu
thereof, of benefit to the residents of the community authorized by the
town board.

(c) "Incentive zoning" shall mean the system by which specific
incentives or bonuses are granted, pursuant to this section, on
condition that specific physical, social, or cultural benefits or
amenities would inure to the community.

2. Authority and purposes. In addition to existing powers and
authorities to regulate by planning or zoning, including authorization
to provide for the granting of incentives, or bonuses pursuant to other
enabling law, a town board is hereby empowered, as part of a zoning
ordinance or local law adopted pursuant to this article, or by local law
or ordinance adopted pursuant to other enabling law, to provide for a
system of zoning incentives, or bonuses, as the town board deems
necessary and appropriate consistent with the purposes and conditions
set forth in this section. The purpose of the system of incentive, or
bonus, zoning shall be to advance the town's specific physical, cultural
and social policies in accordance with the town's comprehensive plan and
in coordination with other community planning mechanisms or land use
techniques. The system of zoning incentives or bonuses shall be in
accordance with a comprehensive plan within the meaning of section two
hundred sixty-three of this article.

3. Implementation. A system of zoning incentives or bonuses may be
provided subject to the conditions hereinafter set forth.

(a) The town board shall provide for the system of zoning incentives
or bonuses pursuant to this section as part of the zoning ordinance or
local law. In providing for such system the board shall follow the
procedure for adopting and amending its zoning ordinance or local law,
including all provisions for notice and public hearing applicable for
changes or amendments to a zoning ordinance or local law.

(b) Each zoning district in which incentives or bonuses may be awarded
under this section shall be designated in the town zoning ordinance or
local law and shall be incorporated in any map adopted in connection
with such zoning ordinance or local law or amendment thereto.

(c) Each zoning district in which incentives or bonuses may be
authorized shall have been found by the town board, after evaluating the
effects of any potential incentives which are possible by virtue of the
provision of community amenities, to contain adequate resources,
environmental quality and public facilities, including adequate
transportation, water supply, waste disposal and fire protection.
Further, the town board shall, in designating such districts, determine
that there will be no significant environmentally damaging consequences
and that such incentives or bonuses are compatible with the development
otherwise permitted.

(d) A generic environmental impact statement pursuant to article eight
of the environmental conservation law and regulations adopted by the
department of environmental conservation shall be prepared by the town
board for any zoning district in which the granting of incentives or
bonuses have a significant effect on the environment before any such
district is designated, and such statement shall be supplemented from
time to time by the town board if there are material changes in
circumstances that may result in significant adverse impacts. Any zoning
ordinance or local law enacted pursuant to this section shall provide
that any applicant for incentives or bonuses shall pay a proportionate
share of the cost of preparing such environmental impact statement, and
that such charge shall be added to any site-specific charge made
pursuant to the provisions of section 8-0109 of the environmental
conservation law.

(e) The town board shall set forth the procedure by which incentives
may be provided to specific lands. Such procedure shall describe:

(i) the incentives, or bonuses, which may be granted by the town to
the applicant;

(ii) the community benefits or amenities which may be accepted from
the applicant by the town;

(iii) criteria for approval, including methods required for
determining the adequacy of community amenities to be accepted from the
applicant in exchange for the particular bonus or incentive to be
granted to the applicant by the town;

(iv) the procedure for obtaining bonuses, including applications and
the review process, and the imposition of terms and conditions attached
to any approval; and

(v) provision for a public hearing, if such public hearing is required
as part of a zoning ordinance or local law adopted pursuant to this
section and give public notice thereof by the publication in the
official newspaper of such hearing at least five days prior to the date
thereof.

(f) All other requirements of article eight of the environmental
conservation law shall be complied with by project sponsors for actions
in areas for which a generic environmental impact statement has been
prepared including preparation of an environmental assessment form and a
supplemental environmental impact statement, if necessary.

(g) Prior to the adoption or amendment of the zoning ordinance or
local law pursuant to this section to establish a system of zoning
incentives or bonuses the town board shall evaluate the impact of the
provision of such system of zoning incentives or bonuses upon the
potential development of affordable housing gained by the provision of
any such incentive or bonus afforded to an applicant or lost in the
provision by an applicant of any community amenity to the town.
Further, the town board shall determine that there is approximate
equivalence between potential affordable housing lost or gained or that
the town has or will take reasonable action to compensate for any
negative impact upon the availability or potential development of
affordable housing caused by the provisions of this section.

(h) If the town board determines that a suitable community benefit or
amenity is not immediately feasible, or otherwise not practical, the
board may require, in lieu thereof, a payment to the town of a sum to be
determined by the board. If cash is accepted in lieu of other community
benefit or amenity, provision shall be made for such sum to be deposited
in a trust fund to be used by the town board exclusively for specific
community benefits authorized by the town board.

4. Invalidations. Nothing in this section shall be construed to
invalidate any provision for incentives or bonuses heretofore adopted by
any town board.