The Westchester County Department of Planning provides resources to assist and educate members of local planning and zoning boards in addition to making technical information available to professional planners in the county.
The Local Planning Law Resource Guide allows officials and planners to explore a vast palate of land use tools already in place in nearby communities that address the needs of our region. The goal is to make research and enactment easier and perhaps more acceptable as the cost and effort associated with conducting independent research and preparing original drafts will be reduced. The diverse subjects address sustainable development, environmental protection, historic preservation, tourism promotion and maintenance of the character of an area.
The Department of Planning works closely with the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation (WMPF) to arrange programs and speakers of interest to the Westchester planning community including the annual spring land use training institute, the popular brown bag lunch discussions and special topic sessions.
WMPF is a voluntary association of officials representing the county’s municipal governments, zoning and planning boards and land use consultants including lawyers, engineers and planners. WMPF is governed by a board of directors. Authorized under New York State’s General Municipal Law in 1962, the organization's purpose is to "create an effective and permanent countywide organization for the exchange of information among the municipalities on matters of planning interest."
Planning primer series
In cooperation with WMPF, the Department of Planning has prepared and regularly updates the Municipal Planning Primer series as a guide to the land use planning process:
As of January, 2007, minimum training requirements for municipal planning and zoning board members are now the law. Four hours each year are mandatory for members of county, city, town and village planning and zoning boards. There are many different avenues of training permitted, and WMPF courses are a good place to start. Take a look at a brochure on the law.
The spring Land Use Training Institute introduces new planning and zoning board members to key planning concepts and keeps others up-to-date on the latest planning trends, ideas and legal issues. Members of municipal planning and zoning boards may satisfy all training requirements if they attend at least two of the three nights. Other events are scheduled throughout the year; attendance can also be credited toward training requirements.
There are online training opportunities available through the New York State Department of State. In order to receive accreditation, please check with your municipality to be sure that they will accept the course for credit. View the NYS DOS training videos. The tutorial registration e-mail is: . You may also call the DOS, Local Government Training Unit at 518-473-3355.
WMPF Annual Awards Program Dinner
WMPF conducts an annual awards program to recognize outstanding planning achievements and distinguished citizen planners in Westchester County. Awardees are celebrated at a well-attended dinner each year in early June at an outstanding Westchester location.
The federation awards a $2,000 scholarship each year to a student who is currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate planning program. Priority is given to students who have direct contact with Westchester County, either living or having lived here, or working here, or some other meaningful relationship. Students should also have a demonstrated interest in the planning issues confronted by older, developing suburban areas.