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Introduction to Reviewing Development Projects: Case Scenarios. Thursday, June 25, 2009 Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management. General Municipal Law 239.

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Introduction to Reviewing Development Projects:

Case Scenarios

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management

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General Municipal Law 239

New York State General Municipal Law 239 Sections -l, -m and -n require that municipal boards refer certain land use planning projects to the County Division of Planning.

The Planning Division’s role is to review these matters for possible inter-community and county-wide impacts.

  • Inter-community and county-wide impacts may include:

    • Outdoor boilers impacting air quality and views

    • Corridor development impacting traffic

    • Ridgeline development impacting views, storm water runoff, erosion and flooding potential

    • And many more!

Our goal is to use our resources and experience to help each municipality achieve the best possible development.

Our recommendations are advisory in nature– your municipal board may approve or overturn our recommendations by a vote of a majority plus one.

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Actions Subject to Referral:

  • Adoption or amendment of a comprehensive plan

  • Adoption or amendment of a zoning ordinance or local law

  • Issuance of special use permits

  • Approval of site plans

  • Granting of use and area variances

  • Approval of subdivisions

  • Moratoria

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County Jurisdiction:

  • A Project must be referred to the County Planning Division if the project site lies within 500 feet of

    • A municipal boundary

    • The right-of-way of any state or county road

    • A state or county park or recreation area

    • State or county land on which a public building or institution is located

    • A farm operation within a NYS Agricultural District

    • The right-of-way of any county stream or drainage channel

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Case #1: Special Use Permit-- Improvements to Camp


Bunk House

Recommendation: Disapproval

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Case #2: Area Variance-- Zero Foot Setback

Proposed Building



Recommendation: Disapproval

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Case #3: Subdivision-- Two Lot

Contours continue to the northwest



20 foot contours,

slope in excess of 30%








Approx. 108 feet

Recommendation: Modification

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Case #4: Use Variance-- Studio Apartment Above Existing Garage

Principal Permitted Uses:

1&2 family dwelling units on 15% slope or less

Agriculture and animal husbandry

Forest management

Wildlife management

Outdoor recreation

Public facilities and utilities

Public parks and recreational facilities

Special Uses:

1&2 family dwelling unit on greater than 15% slope

Multifamily dwelling units (limited to 1 unit per 2 acres average density)

Commercial recreation (excluding theme parks)

Mobile homes

Minor mineral extraction

Oil and natural gas drilling

Educational institutions

House of worship

Eating and drinking establishments

Outdoor recreation

Planned unit developments

Hotels and motels

Bed and breakfasts

Boarding houses

Business and professional offices

Canoe liveries


Children’s camps


Accessory Uses:

Private garages

Home based businesses

Farm stands

Swimming pools

Private stables

Other customary accessory uses and buildings, provided such uses are clearly incidental to the principal use and do not include any activity commonly conducted as a business

Proposed Studio Apartment

Recommendation: Local Determination

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Case #5: Local Law-- Zoning Text Amendments Garage

Proposed amendment: Accessory buildings.

Accessory buildings may not be used as a dwelling.

Proposed amendment: Supplementary regulations applying to all districts.

The primary purpose of a windmill is to provide electrical power to the residence it serves. Windmill systems that are used to provide electrical power back into the electrical grid may be considered a business and/or a commercial operation. Properties not zoned Commercial may require a variance and a hearing before the Zoning and/or the Planning Board.

Recommendation: Modification

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Case #6: Subdivision-- 150 Lot Garage

From the Zoning Code:

If the developer plans to construct dwelling units… he or she shall maintain the natural cover to control stormwater runoff, limit flooding, protect groundwater supplies and provide erosion control. Clearing for building purposes shall be limited to twenty percent (20%) for the lot area with reduction to ten percent (10%) for slopes over fifteen percent (15%) in grade.

Yield Plan

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Case #6: Subdivision--150 Lot Garage

Intersection of two County roads

Homes on steep slopes

Federal wetland not depicted

Ball courts on

steep slopes

County road between village and nearby hamlet

Subdivision Plat

Recommendation: Disapproval

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Case #6, Revised: Subdivision-- 148 Lot Garage

Steep slopes


Steep slopes


Wetland undisturbed, storm water detention pond added

Revised Subdivision Plat

Recommendation: Modification

Excessive parking

for mailboxes

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Some Tips for a Smooth Review Process Garage

Know what approvals are required: Special Use Permits vs. Use Variances

Accessory Uses: Accessory Dwelling units provide affordability, flexibility, and promote infill.

Complex Subdivisions: Meet with developer and County Planning prior to formal review.

Referrals must comply with your zoning or subdivision law, and include all necessary materials, to be deemed complete by County Planning.

Increasing development means increasing stormwater runoff, erosion, and flooding in your municipality and adjacent towns. Require stormwater pollution prevention plans for large projects, and look closely at them.

Steep slopes laws further reduce erosion and flooding potential.

Help facilitate alternative energy projects and infrastructure by defining alternative energy projects, for individual residences and on a larger, commercial scale.

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Call Us! Garage

The Planning Division is always available to provide technical assistance.