Referral Process Basics: Why and What Actions Must be Referred

Items In This Section:
Actions Subject to Referral
Referral Review Considerations
Table 1: Review Considerations
Table 2: Summary of UCPB Land Use Review Authority
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Actions Subject to Referral

The establishment of the UCPB and its authority to review land use actions is found in the recently adopted County Charter, Ulster County Code (UCC) §C-51.

As of January 1, 2009, UCC §C-51 grants the UCPB authority to review land use actions as enumerated under Article 12-B of New York State General Municipal Law (GML). This authority now includes review of subdivisions, per GML 239-n, which were not previously subject to referral. In addition the UCC §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.” This extends the UCPB review authority beyond the 500-foot jurisdiction found in GML 239 -m and -n to all locations within Ulster County. In response, the UCPB has developed a two-tiered approach for referrals based on project location either within or outside the 500 foot jurisdiction.

The key sections of Article 12-B of New York State GML cited by the Ulster County Charter that pertain to the referral process are 239 -l, -m, & -n. These sections provide for actions and materials that must be submitted, time frames for review, and the consideration and response of the UCPB. Table 2 provides a summary of the actions subject to referral and the types of response that may be rendered by the UCPB.

Referral Review Considerations

General Municipal Law 239-l “…authorizes the County Planning Board to review proposed actions for inter-community or county-wide considerations...” These considerations are outlined in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Review Considerations
  • Compatibility of various land uses with one another.
  • Traffic generating characteristics of various land uses in relation to the effect of such traffic on other land uses and to the adequacy of existing and proposed thoroughfare facilities.
  • Impact of proposed land uses on existing and proposed county or state institutional or other uses.
  • Protection of community character as regards to predominant land uses, population density and relation between residential and non-residential areas.
  • Community appearance
  • Drainage
  • Community facilities
  • Official development policies, municipal and county, as may be expressed through their comprehensive plans, capital programs or regulatory measures.
  • Such other matters as may relate to the public convenience, to governmental efficiency and to the achieving and maintaining of a satisfactory community environment.
Table 2: Summary of UCPB Land Use Referral Authority
Subject to Referral
In accordance to NYS General Municipal
Law Sections 239-m and –n and In accordance
to Ulster County Charter
Section C-51 A.
In accordance to Ulster County
Section C-51 B.
Municipal Comprehensive Plans

Zoning Code or Map Enactment or Amendments

Site Plan Review


Special Permits

Area Variances

Use Variances

Other Special Authorizations
The UCPB has the authority to render the following recommendations:
  • No County Impact
  • Approve
  • Required Modifications
  • Disapprove
Within Five Hundred Feet of: Village, City, Town boundary*
Boundary of county or state park or other recreation area*

Right-of-Way of county or state road*

Right-of-Way of stream or drainage channel owned by the County or within established channel lines;

Boundary of county or state owned land on which public buildings or institutions reside*

Boundary of a farm operation located in an Agricultural District per Article 25-AA of Ag and Markets Law

*Existing or Proposed
The UCPB has the authority to render the following recommendations:

Advisory Opinions Only

Outside Five Hundred Feet of GML Designated Boundaries:

Same as for GML 239-m and –n

Next: Referral Exceptions and Referral Submittal Reference Matrix