New York State General Municipal Law and the Westchester County Administrative Code require municipalities to refer specific proposed zoning, subdivision and planning actions to the County Planning Board before making a decision. The purpose of this requirement, as stated in the County Code, is "to aid in maintaining a high level of effectiveness of municipal action...and [to bring] pertinent inter-community and county-wide considerations to the attention of such municipal agencies."
The County Planning Board only responds to submissions that are made by a municipality. The response is provided directly to the municipality. The comments included are based on the material that was submitted. The County Planning Board does not initiate referrals, does not contact applicants and does not hold hearings. The municipality accepts applications, conducts public hearings and determines compliance with all applicable procedures including SEQR and timeframes. The decision-making on the referred action is in the hands of the municipality.
County Planning Staff receive zoning, subdivision and planning applications required by a municipal agency to the county planning board. Municipalities must provide notice a minimum of 10 calendar days before public hearing. See Table I for the list of actions required to be referred.
County Planning Staff review the submission and draft response comments to the municipal agency on behalf of the County Planning Board. When appropriate, the submission is given to other county staff to review, including staff of other county departments (i.e. Public Works, Environmental Facilities, Parks, Transportation) as well as other staff in planning with special professional knowledge (i.e. wetlands/stormwater, historic preservation, housing).
The county Planning Board discusses and approves the response comments at monthly Planning Board meetings.
Focus of Review
The County Planning Board focuses the review and advisory comments to the municipal agency on the following :
- The Westchester 2025 elements of review - density of development, relationship to surroundings and visual impact
- Intermunicipal relationships
- The themes of advocating smart growth, meetings housing needs and protecting water quality
- Consistency with municipal comprehensive plans