Referral Process Basics: Administrative Policies and Procedures

Items In This Section:
Pre-Referral Submittal Meeting
Submitting A Referral
Full Statement Requirements
Deadlines for Submittal
UCPB Response Timeframe
Final Action Reports
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Pre-Referral Submittal Meeting (Gateway Meeting)

Communities are encouraged to direct applicants to contact the UCPB staff and participate in a pre-referral meeting as early as possible in a project’s planning stages. The staff will coordinate these meetings with the referring agency as well as other involved or interested agencies at the county level including Public Works and/or the Health Department. We also can coordinate with NYSDOT and other state agencies where necessary or requested.

Areas where assistance can be offered include:
• Review concept plans for particular sites
• Identify potential issues and solutions/mediations
• Technical assistance with local laws, plans, and comprehensive plans
• Technical assistance with NYS laws and processes
• Technical assistance with GIS mapping

These meetings will provide a better understanding for all parties of the responsibilities and policies of the reviewing agencies, allow the applicant the opportunity to explain a projects design philosophy, site restrictions, alternatives considered and other issues associated with the proposal. It is never too soon for these initial discussions and staff will meet with applicants numerous times as requested.

Submitting a Referral

Local Board Responsibilities:Referrals must be reviewed by the local board responsible for the action’s approval prior to submittal. The referring body should by formal action determine the completeness of an application.A signature by the Chairperson of the referring body certifying that a formal action of completeness is required .

The UCPB cautions against a policy of having the referring board’s secretary, zoning enforcement officer, or attorney submit applications without prior local board review. See GML “full statement” requirements below.

Applicants are not permitted to make direct referrals to the Board; they must come from the referring body. Supplemental material may be submitted to the UCPB providing the same material will or has been submitted to the referring body, and it has been informed that the UCPB has been sent materials.

Submittals must be accompanied by the proper UCPB form and paper copies of all materials that meet the “full statement requirements” must be included. Digital copies of materials should also be submitted if available.

Referrals must be submitted by mail or hand delivered by the board responsible for approving the action. Fax and email submittals are only permitted with prior approval of the referral officer and are limited to supplementary information/amendments to the original referral.

Full Statement Requirements

GML requires that the UCPB receive a “full statement” of the action being referred. The Board has developed a checklist to guide local boards on the materials that should be included based on the type of approval being requested (see appendix). The UCPB is entitled to allof the material submitted to the referring body required in its local statute. Full statements, by their nature, require deliberation and a decision on completeness by the referring body prior to referral. All materials requested, used, or developed by the referring body to make its determination under SEQRA are required to be submitted and an environmental assessment form (EAF) must be submitted. Where a DEIS is required referrals should include it.

Deadlines for Submittal

In accordance with General Municipal Law 239-m,1(d) the UCPB will require receipt (date of delivery) of referral materials 12 calendar days prior to its monthly meeting in order for a referral to be placed on its agenda. The Board is also requesting that it be permitted additional time to review certain actions. (See Table 4).

These deadlines represent the minimum submittal requirements. NYS law also sets deadlines for submittals that may differ from these minimums that are dependent on local actions, i.e., site plans and special permits must be submitted to a county planning board 10 days prior to any public hearing on the application.

Requests for waivers from the deadlines may be made, but are at the discretion of the referral officer.

UCPB Response Timeframe

Once a referral has been received and deemed to constitute a “full statement” by the referral officer, the UCPB has thirty (30)calendar days to issue its recommendations. Should the UCPB not respond within 30 days, the referring body may take final action. A UCPB response received 2 days or more prior to the referring board taking its final action is considered to have met 30 day requirement under GML. Local approvals should only be taken after 30 days of submittal if no response has been received from the UCPB. Actions taken in advance of 30 days have been deemed by the courts to be null and void. Furthermore, failing to consider the recommendation of the UCPB in the decision by the referring body may also render a decision null and void.

Table 4: Referral Deadlines by Type
Days Receipt Before UCPB Meeting Type of Action
12 Calendar Days
  • All Variances
  • Site Plan Review
  • Special Permits
  • Subdivisions
30 Calendar Days
  • Comprehensive Plans
  • Zoning Statute and Map Amendments

Final Action Reports

The referring body has 30 days to issue a final action report to UCPB. Actions contrary to a county planning board’s recommendation for required modification or disapproval shall state the reasons for such contrary action. Such contrary final actions require a majority plus one vote of all members of a local board.

The Referral Submittal Form

The referral submittal form must be used for all submittals. A PDF version of this form that allows you to type in information directly is available here!

UCPB Recommendations and Local Approving Board Requirements