Grants towns and villages site plan review over railroad stations and other rail facilities of the metropolitan transportation authority in order that changes and improvements to such stations and facilities may be properly integrated into the landscape of such towns and villages in which they are located; provides that the governmental nature of the metropolitan transportation authority shall not exempt its rail stations and railroad facilities from site plan review by towns and villages.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public authorities law, in relation to granting the power of site plan review to towns and villages over railroad facilities of the metropolitan transportation authority
PURPOSE: To give towns and villages site plan review over railroad stations and other rail facilities of the MTA, so that such facilities are properly integrated into the landscape of the community.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 Makes legislative findings.
Section 2 Provides that the governmental nature of the MTA's activities shall not exempt railroad facilities from site plan review by towns and villages.
Section 3 Grants site plan power to towns and Villages over railroad facilities of the MTA.
Section 4 Severability clause.
Section 5 Effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Currently, the MTA is exempt from the authority of local government, local laws, ordinances, resolutions, and rules and regulations, including zoning and land use laws. This means that the MTA, which has proven itself to be unaccountable to the public and local government, can construct or change local railroad stations without regard to community character, historic preservation, or other quality of life concerns.
Specifically, with regard to the Long Island Railroad, the MTA recently released a plan to modify stations in its diesel territory which could adversely alter these stations and the communities in which they are located.
Of particular importance is the face that such railroad facilities are frequently centrally located in communities and are a hub where many people often congregate. In short, railroad facilities are an important element in the character of a community.
Therefore, it is imperative that local government have a say in how a community resource, such as a railroad station is constructed or modified.
The granting of site plan review over MTA rail facilities is the best way of insuring that community character is maintained without placing an undue burden on the MTA to perform its responsibilities or providing mass transit services.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 1995-96: S.7438 1997-98: S.1398/A.2177 1999-00: S.392 2001-02: S.2464 2003-04: S.3267/A.7094 2005-06: S.29/A.3847 2007-08: S.1335/A.2764 2009-10: S.2548/A.5937
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal to the MTA.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ S. 1451 A. 1404 2011-2012 Regular Sessions S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y January 7, 2011 ___________IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sen. LAVALLE -- read twice and ordered print- ed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transporta- tion IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. THIELE -- read once and referred to the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions AN ACT to amend the public authorities law, in relation to granting the power of site plan review to towns and villages over railroad facili- ties of the metropolitan transportation authority THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative findings. The legislature hereby finds that pursuant to title 11 of article 5 of the public authorities law, the metropolitan transportation authority operates railroad facilities with- in the state of New York, including stations, terminals, platforms and other buildings, structures, and improvements. Historically, the legis- lature has exempted the metropolitan transportation authority from the local laws, ordinances, resolutions, and rules and regulations of poli- tical subdivisions, including but not limited to zoning and land use regulations. The legislature hereby finds that it is necessary and desirable to now subject the metropolitan transportation authority to limited municipal authority with regard to site plan review of railroad facilities. Specifically, railroad facilities established by the metropolitan trans- portation authority, including stations, terminals, platforms, and other buildings, structures, and improvements are located in communities throughout the metropolitan transportation authority service area. Many of these railroad facilities are centrally located in these communities and are an integral part of the character and history of these communi- ties.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03790-01-1 S. 1451 2 A. 1404
Any changes to such railroad facilities could have significant adverse impacts for the quality of life, aesthetics, environment, and character of the communities where they are located. The metropolitan transporta- tion authority does not possess the expertise on local land use issues to adequately protect these important aesthetic and land use concerns. Local government is best equipped to ensure that railroad facilities are properly integrated into the community where they are to be located. It is the purpose of this legislation to give towns and villages site plan review over such facilities. S 2. Section 1264 of the public authorities law is amended by adding a new subdivision 3 to read as follows: 3. NOTHING PROVIDED IN THIS SECTION RELATING TO THE PURPOSES OF THE AUTHORITY SHALL BE DEEMED AS LIMITING THE JURISDICTION OF TOWNS AND VILLAGES TO EXERCISE THE POWER OF SITE PLAN REVIEW OVER RAILROAD FACILI- TIES. S 3. Section 1266 of the public authorities law is amended by adding a new subdivision 19 to read as follows: 19. NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISIONS EIGHT AND ELEVEN OF THIS SECTION, OR ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, TOWNS, PURSUANT TO SECTION TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY-FOUR-A OF THE TOWN LAW, AND VILLAGES, PURSUANT TO SECTION 7-725-A OF THE VILLAGE LAW, SHALL HAVE THE POWER TO EXERCISE SITE PLAN REVIEW OVER THE RAILROAD FACILITIES OF THE AUTHORITY. THE LOCAL LAW OR ZONING ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING SITE PLAN REVIEW SHALL SPECIFY THAT RAILROAD FACILITIES, AS DEFINED IN SECTION TWELVE HUNDRED SIXTY-ONE OF THIS TITLE, ARE SUBJECT TO SITE PLAN REVIEW. WHERE A TOWN OR VILLAGE HAS ESTABLISHED SUCH JURISDICTION, NO RAILROAD FACILITY SHALL BE CONSTRUCTED, MODIFIED, ALTERED, ADDED TO, OR OTHERWISE CHANGED, WITHOUT FIRST RECEIVING SITE PLAN APPROVAL FROM THE APPROPRIATE TOWN OR VILLAGE. S 4. Severability. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this act shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this act directly involved in the controversy in which the judgment shall have been rendered. S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.