Land Use Referral Guide FAQ

Items In This Section:

General Referral Questions
Referral Exception Questions
Full Statement Requirement Questions
UCPB Meeting Questions
UCPB Recommendations and Local Final Action Reports Questions
UCPB Staff Questions
UCPB Administrative Questions

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If your question is not addressed below, please do not hesitate to contact us.

General Referral Questions

Why must land use actions be referred?
NYS General Municipal Law 239-l “..authorizes the County Planning Board to review proposed actions for inter-community or county-wide considerations..”.

The Ulster County Charter, §C-51 gives the UCPB “...the authority to review, with the right to render advisory reports only, other land use and land subdivision elsewhere in Ulster County in accordance with General Municipal Law Article 12-B”.

What types of actions are required to be referred?
Refer to table one on page two of this guide. If your municipality has signed the exception agreement, refer to Table 3.

What is an “Other Special Authorization”?
Any land use related action taken by a referring body including not otherwise specifically specified such as moratorium’s and local land use related laws created outside of the zoning statute itself.

Will the UCPB accept referral by fax or email?
All referrals must be submitted by mail or hand delivery and in paper format. Supplementary material may be submitted via fax or email with the prior authorization of the referral officer.

What happens if a community fails to refer an action?
The failure of a local government to follow the procedural requirements of “239” is a jurisdictional defect which may invalidate any final municipal action. This leaves planning and zoning decisions open to reversal by the courts, simply because the proper procedure was not followed (see Caruso vs. Town of Oyster Bay, 172 Misc.2nd 93).

What happens if changes are made to a project after it has been referred?
If a project/referral has been altered after it has been referred, then it should be re-referred with any new or additional information or be subject to the same conditions as if an action had not been referred at all.

Referral Exception Questions

Why are certain items required to be referred and others not?
The UCPB believes that the referral process should be a meaningful review that provides for inclusion of “county-wide” issues in local decisions. After review of our referral data base many local approvals were found as a class not to have county-wide impacts and these have been “excepted” from the referral process.

What happens if a community does not sign off on the exception agreement?
The community will be required by law to submit these actions and it is highly likely that the UCPB response will be that of “No County Impact”.

If a municipality already has an existing exception, agreement to not send certain applications to the UCPB does a new agreement need to be submitted to the UCPB?
No. Municipalities may utilize the existing agreements but the UCPB urges that communities utilize the new agreement as substantially more activities are exempted.

Full Statement Requirement Questions

What constitutes a full statement?
A municipalities’ statute is one determining factor for completeness. The other factor is the information needed by the municipality to determine whether the project will have a significant impact on the environment as required by SEQRA. A referring body should determine that the application is complete per their statute, and that it has all of the information it needs to make its determination of significance under SEQRA. If critical material is being sought by the referral board that may impact their decision or inclusion of mitigation measures in project approval, that material should be part of the referral to the UCPB.

Where can I find a list of items that should be referred?
A sample checklist of items that should be referred can be found here. We remind municipalities that the UCPB is entitled to all materials utilized by the referring body in the making of its SEQRA determination.

Can a referral be submitted with analysis such as a SWPPP or traffic impact analysis still in process of being completed by the applicant?
No. All materials required for making a determination of significance under SEQRA should be completed prior to referral.

UCPB Meeting Questions

Does a member of the public have the opportunity to address the UCPB?
Yes during the public comment period of the UCPB’s monthly meeting with a time limit set at the discretion of the UCPB chair.

May an applicant make a presentation of their to the UCPB?
Yes, time limits are at the discretion of the chairperson.

Can a member of the public make comment on an item on the referral agenda?<br/> Yes, every agenda provides for comment during the public comment period of the agenda. Time limits are at the discretion of the chairperson.

What is the effect on a referral if the UCPB fails to have a quorum or a majority vote?
The UCPB is unable to render a decision. Communities must wait 30 days from the submittal date prior to taking actions, The UCPB staff may issue advisory comments on the referral.

UCPB Recommendations and Local Final Action Reports Questions

What recommendations can the UCPB make on a referral?
They are: No County Impact, Approve, Required Modifications, Disapprove. The UCPB also issues advisory comments for technical purposes and as required for referrals located outside of the 500ft. requirements found in GML 239.

What are the effects of the recommendations of the UCPB?
Local boards may approve actions by a simple majority vote if they concur with UCPB’s recommendations to “approve”, “disapprove”, or “required modifications” . However, if the local board acts contrary to these recommendations a majority plus one vote is needed to approve the project.

All UCPB recommendation of “No County Impact” or “advisory comments” require only a simple majority vote of the referring body.

What if the UCPB fails to issue its report on a action within 30 days?
The referring body may take final action if the referral response is not received in thirty-day time frame except if the UCPB’s referral response is received two or more days before the final action is to take place.

What is a Final Action Report and what are the filing requirements?
Final action reports provide the UCPB with a record of the actions taken by the referring board. The UCPB provides a final action form with every referral response. Final Action Reports are required under GML 239 and must be filed with the UCPB within 30 days of the local board’s action. Local boards are required to file final action reports on all actions that have been referred to the UCPB.

What are the requirements for a complete Final Action Report?
Final action reports where a local board has acted contrary to a recommendation of the UCPB that requires a majority plus one vote must be accompanied by the resolution stating the reasons for such contrary action.

UCPB Staff Questions

What is the role of staff in the referral process?
The staff reviews each referral first for completeness and then for issues related to UCPB policies and adopted county plans. Staff interacts with the community, other approving agencies and the applicant in developing a report to the UCPB. Field visits are performed as needed. Staff reports are presented to the UCPB at the meeting an usually include specific recommendations for Board’s consideration. All referral recommendations require action by a majority of the full board membership. Once action is taken staff then issues the referral response for the Board.

Who is the “Referral Officer”?
The Principal Planner is the primary contact for referrals to the UCPB though other members of staff may and often refer applications.

UCPB Adminstrative Questions

Where can I get a copy of the referral submittal form?
A copy of the form available in PDF format on our website located here. This version of the PDF can be typed directly into it if you open it directly in your web browser program.