1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. Town
  4. Article 16: Zoning and Planning


Section 271 Planning board, creation, appointment

Town (TWN)

1. Authorization. The town board of each town is hereby authorized by local law or ordinance, to create a planning board consisting of five or seven members and shall, by resolution, appoint the members of such board and designate the chairperson thereof. In the absence of a chairperson the planning board may designate a member to serve as chairperson. The town board may, as part of the local law or ordinance creating said planning board, provide for the compensation of planning board members.

  2. Appropriation for planning board. The town board is hereby authorized and empowered to make such appropriation as it may see fit for planning board expenses. In a town containing one or more villages, or parts thereof, such charges and expenses less fees, if any collected, shall be a charge upon the taxable property of that part of the town outside of said villages and shall be assessed, levied and collected therefrom in the same manner as other town charges. The planning board shall have the power and authority to employ experts, clerks and a secretary and to pay for their services, and to provide for such other expenses as may be necessary and proper, not exceeding in all the appropriation that may be made therefor by the town board for such planning board.

  3. Town board members ineligible. No person who is a member of the town board shall be eligible for membership on such planning board.

  4. Terms of members first appointed. The terms of members of the board shall be for terms so fixed that the term of one member shall expire at the end of the calendar year in which such members were initially appointed. The terms of the remaining members shall be so fixed that one term shall expire at the end of each calendar year thereafter. At the expiration of the term of each member first appointed, his or her successor shall be appointed for a term which shall be equal in years to the number of members of the board.

  5. Terms of members now in office. Members now holding office for terms which do not expire at the end of a calendar year shall, upon the expiration of their term, hold office until the end of the calendar year and their successors shall then be appointed for terms which shall be equal in years to the number of members of the board.

  6. Increasing membership. Any town board may, by local law or ordinance, increase a five member planning board to seven members. Additional members shall be first appointed for single terms as provided by resolution of the town board in order that the terms of members shall expire in each of seven successive years and their successors shall thereafter be appointed for full terms of seven years. No such additional member shall take part in the consideration of any matter for which an application was on file with the planning board at the time of his or her appointment.

  7. Decreasing membership. A town board which has seven members on the planning board may by local law or ordinance, decrease the membership to five, to take effect upon the next two expirations of terms. However, no incumbent shall be removed from office except upon the expiration of his or her term, except as hereinafter provided.

  7-a. Training and attendance requirements. a. Each member of the 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 subdivision. Such training shall be approved by the town board and may include, but not be limited to, training provided by a municipality, 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.

  b. To be eligible for reappointment to such board, such member shall have completed the training promoted by the town pursuant to this subdivision.

  c. The training required by this subdivision may be waived or modified by resolution of the town board when, in the judgment of the town board, it is in the best interest of the town to do so.

  d. No decision of a planning board shall be voided or declared invalid because of a failure to comply with this subdivision.

  8. Vacancy in office. If a vacancy shall occur otherwise than by expiration of term, the town board shall appoint the new member for the unexpired term.

  9. Removal of members. The town board shall have the power to remove, after public hearing, any member of the planning board for cause. Any planning board member may be removed for non-compliance with minimum requirements relating to meeting attendance and training as established by the town board by local law or ordinance.

  10. Chairperson duties. All meetings of the planning board shall be held at the call of the chairperson and at such other times as such board may determine. Such chairperson, or in his or her absence, the acting chairperson, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses.

  11. Appointment of agricultural member. Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter or of any general, special or local law or ordinance, a town board may, if an agricultural district created pursuant to section three hundred three of article twenty-five-AA of the agriculture and markets law exists wholly or partly within the boundaries of such town, include on the planning board one or more members each of whom derives ten thousand dollars or more annual gross income from agricultural pursuits in said town. As used in this subdivision, the term "agricultural pursuits" means the production of crops, livestock and livestock products, aquacultural products, and woodland products as defined in section three hundred one of the agriculture and markets law.

  12. Service on other planning boards. No person shall be disqualified from serving as a member of the town planning board by reason of serving as a member of a village or county planning board.

  13. Rules and regulations. The planning board may recommend to the town board regulations relating to any subject matter over which the planning board has jurisdiction under this article or any other statute, or under any local law or ordinance of the town. Adoption of any such recommendations by the town board shall be by local law or ordinance.

  14. Report on referred matters; general reports. a. The town board may by resolution provide for the reference of any matter or class of matters, other than those referred to in subdivision thirteen of this section, to the planning board before final action is taken thereon by the town board or other office or officer of said town having final authority over said matter. The town board may further stipulate that final action thereon shall not be taken until the planning board has submitted its report thereon, or has had a reasonable time, to be fixed by the town board in said resolution, to submit the report.

  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 investigations, maps, reports and recommendations in connection therewith relating to the planning and development of the town as it seems desirable, providing the total expenditures of said board shall not exceed the appropriation provided therefor.

  15. Alternate members. a. A town board may, by local law or ordinance, or as part of the local law or ordinance creating the 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 planning board shall be appointed by resolution of the town board, for terms established by the town board.

  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 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.

  16. Voting requirements. Every motion or resolution of a planning board shall require for its adoption the affirmative vote of a majority of all the members of the planning board. Where an action is the subject of a referral to the county planning agency or regional planning council the voting provisions of sections two hundred thirty-nine-m and two hundred thirty-nine-n of the general municipal law shall apply.