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Niagara County Planning Board

Project Referral Requirements

New York State General Municipal Law requires cities, towns, and villages to refer certain actions to the county planning board for review and recommendation in order to address potential intercommunity and countywide concerns. The following actions are required to be referred to the county planning board by local municipalities:

  • Adoption or amendment of a local comprehensive plan
  • Adoption or amendment of a zoning ordinance or local law
  • Issuance of a special use permit
  • Approval of a site plan
  • Granting of a use or area variance
  • Related actions at the request of a municipality
Cities, towns, and villages are required to refer the above actions to the county planning board if the project is located within 500 feet of the following:
  • A city, town, or village boundary
  • The boundary of any existing or proposed county or state park or other recreation area
  • The right of way of any existing or proposed county or state roadway
  • The right of way of any existing or proposed county owned stream or drainage channel
  • The boundary of any county or state owned land that has a public building
  • The boundary of an active farm operation located in an agricultural district (area variances excluded)
Niagara County Planning Board Referral Map - Use this online map to search for an address. If the parcel intersects any of the buffer layers, then a project at that location likely requires County Planning Board review.  Click the "Information" icon and "More Details" for more information and instructions. 

 

Intermunicipal Agreements

The Niagara County Planning Board has intermunicipal agreements with most of the cities, towns, and villages in Niagara County. These agreements establish the specific actions that are required to be referred to the County Planning Board, while exempting other actions from referral on the basis that they are of local rather than intercommunity or countywide concern. The table below identifies the actions that each municipality must refer to the Niagara County Planning Board.
 
Intermunicipal Agreements
List of actions subject to Niagara County Planning Board review
Group A - The Niagara County Planning Board does not have intermunicipal agreements with the Town of Newfane, Town of Niagara, and Village of Lewiston. These municipalities are required to refer all actions to the Niagara County Planning Board:
  • Adoption or amendment of a local comprehensive plan
  • Adoption or amendment of a zoning ordinance or local law
  • Issuance of a special use permit
  • Approval of a site plan
  • Granting of a use or area variance
Group B - The Niagara County Planning Board has intermunicipal agreements with the City of Lockport, Town of Cambria, Town of Hartland, Town of Lockport, Town of Porter, Town of Royalton, Town of Somerset, Town of Wheatfield, Town of Wilson, Village of Barker, Village of Middleport, and Village of Youngstown. These municipalities are required to refer only the following actions to the Niagara County Planning Board pursuant to intermunicipal agreement:
  • Adoption or amendment of a local comprehensive plan having a municipal-wide effect
  • Adoption of amendment of a zoning ordinance or local law having a municipal-wide effect
  • Actions within 500 feet of a municipal boundary
  • Actions within 500 feet of a state or county park
  • Actions on corner lots on state or county highways
Group C - The Niagara County Planning Board has intermunicipal agreements with the City of North Tonawanda and Town of Lewiston. These municipalities are required to refer only the following actions to the Niagara County Planning Board pursuant to intermunicipal agreement:
  • Adoption or amendment of a local comprehensive plan
  • Adoption or amendment of a zoning ordinance or local law
  • Issuance of a special use permit
  • Approval of a site plan
  • Granting of a use variance
Group D - The Niagara County Planning Board has an intermunicipal agreement with the Town of Pendleton that requires referral of only the following actions to the Niagara County Planning Board:
  • Adoption or amendment of a local comprehensive plan having a municipal-wide effect
  • Adoption or amendment of a zoning ordinance or local law having a municipal-wide effect
  • Actions within 500 feet of a municipal boundary
  • Actions within 500 feet of a state or county park
  • Actions on corner lots on state highways
  • Referral of area variances is NOT required


Group E - The Niagara County Planning Board has an intermunicipal agreement with the Village of Wilson that requires referral of only the following actions to the Niagara County Planning Board:

  • Adoption or amendment of a local comprehensive plan having a municipal-wide effect
  • Adoption or amendment of a zoning ordinance or local law having a municipal-wide effect
  • Actions within 500 feet of a municipal boundary
  • Actions within 500 feet of a state or county park
  • Actions on corner lots on state highways


Group F - The Niagara County Planning Board has an intermunicipal agreement with the City of Niagara Falls that requires referral of only the following actions to the Niagara County Planning Board:

  • Adoption or amendment of a local comprehensive plan having a city-wide effect
  • Adoption or amendment of a zoning ordinance or local law having a city-wide effect
  • Actions immediately adjacent to a municipal boundary or park and the international bridge plazas
  • Actions on corner lots on Hyde Park Boulevard and all other state and county highways east thereof

 

Project Review Process

The purpose of county planning board review is to bring attention to pertinent intercommunity and countywide planning, zoning, site plan, and subdivision considerations, which may include:
  • Compatibility of adjacent land uses with one another especially near municipal borders
  • Traffic characteristics including impact on adjacent land uses and capacity of existing infrastructure
  • Impact on county or state institutional uses such as government buildings as well as other uses
  • Impact on community character as established by existing land uses, population density, relationship between residential and nonresidential areas, and community resources including natural, cultural, and historic resources
  • Impact on regional drainage systems including drainage infrastructure, drainage capacity, water quality, coastal resources, natural and community resources, wetlands, floodplains, etc.
  • Impact on community facilities including educational facilities, community centers, recreation areas, etc.
  • Consistency with local and county development policies as outlined in community plans and regulations
  • Other considerations as they relate to public convenience, to governmental efficiency, and to achieving and maintaining a satisfactory community environment
Actions are referred to the Niagara County Planning Board for review through the local municipality. The Niagara County Planning Board must review the action within 30 days of receiving the referral and must report back to the municipality with a recommendation of either approval, modification, or disapproval of the action, or can report that the action has no significant countywide or intercommunity impact. If the County does not take action within the 30-day time frame, the local municipality may proceed without input from the County. The 30-day time frame for review can be extended if the parties mutually agree.

A recommendation of modification or disapproval requires a vote of majority plus one of all members of the applicable municipal review board in order to overrule the County’s recommendation. The referring municipality must file a report back to the County within 30 days of taking final action on the project.
For more information on the Niagara County Planning Board review process, please contact:

Niagara County Planning Board
6311 Inducon Corporate Drive
Sanborn, New York 14132
Phone: (716) 278-8750
Fax: (716) 278-8757
Email:
 

Meeting Schedule/Project Submission Deadlines

Regular meetings of the Niagara County Planning Board are held on the third Monday of every month, except when the third Monday is a holiday, in which case the regular meeting is held on the fourth Monday of the month. The deadline for municipalities to submit projects for Niagara County Planning Board review is ten (10) calendar days prior to the meeting date. All materials must be received by 4:00 pm on or before the submission deadline and any projects received after the deadline will be reviewed at the following month's meeting. Please refer to the official schedule below.

Niagara County Planning Board Schedule

All regular monthly meetings are held at 2:00 pm in the offices of the Niagara County Department of Economic Development at the address listed below. All regular monthly meetings are open to the public. Project representatives are encouraged to attend the meeting on the date in which their project is scheduled for review in order to answer questions about the project.

Niagara County Department of Economic Development
6311 Inducon Corporate Drive
Wheatfield, New York 14132

View larger map and get directions
 

Niagara County Planning Board Documents

Niagara County Planning Board Project Referral and Review Guide - detailed information on project referral requirements, project referral and review processes, and considerations used by planning board members and staff when reviewing projects as well as forms used by local municipalities.

Niagara County Planning Board Referral Process Brochure - brief overview of project referral requirements, project referral and review processes, and referral deadlines as well as contact information for the Niagara County Planning Board.

Niagara County Planning Board Referral Form - form used by municipalities to refer projects to the Niagara County Planning Board for review and recommendation including a list of documents required to be submitted with each referral.

Notice of Final Action Form - form used by municipalities to provide the Niagara County Planning Board with notice of final action taken on the project - by law, this form must by filed within 30 days of final action by the local municipality.


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