Bill S4358-2011

Authorizes municipal legislative bodies to enact local laws and ordinances providing for mediation of land use decisions

Authorizes certain municipal legislative bodies, including towns and villages, to enact local laws and ordinances providing for non-binding mediation of land use decisions.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 24, 2012: referred to judiciary
  • Jan 24, 2012: DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • Jan 24, 2012: PASSED SENATE
  • Jan 23, 2012: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • Jan 19, 2012: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • Jan 18, 2012: 1ST REPORT CAL.77
  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO CITIES
  • Jan 4, 2012: returned to senate
  • Jan 4, 2012: died in assembly
  • Jun 6, 2011: referred to judiciary
  • Jun 6, 2011: DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • Jun 6, 2011: PASSED SENATE
  • May 16, 2011: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • May 11, 2011: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • May 10, 2011: 1ST REPORT CAL.613
  • Mar 31, 2011: REFERRED TO CITIES

Meetings

Calendars

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Cities - May 10, 2011
Ayes (5): Lanza, DeFrancisco, Grisanti, Robach, Avella
Excused (1): Oppenheimer
VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Cities - Jan 18, 2012
Ayes (6): Lanza, DeFrancisco, Grisanti, Robach, Avella, Oppenheimer

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4358

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general city law, the town law, and the village law, in relation to authorizing the use of mediation in land use decisions

PURPOSE: To authorize municipalities to utilize mediation as an alternative procedure in reaching certain land use regulation decisions.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The bill would amend the General City Law by adding a new subdivision 39 to section 20, amending subdivision 3 of section 81-a and paragraph b of subdivision 14 of section 27 to authorize city governments, including the zoning board of appeals and planning board to establish procedures (by local law or ordinance) to use mediation for reaching land use decisions. The bill would also make the same authorizations in the Town Law by amending subdivision 26 of section 64, subdivision 3 of section 267-a, and paragraph b of subdivision 14 of section 271, and the -Village Law by amending subdivision 3 of section 4-412, subdivision 3 of section 7-712 and paragraph b of subdivision 14 of section 7-718. The proposed language emphasizes that mediation is voluntary and non-binding and allows for mutually agreed to extensions of existing time limits for proposals submitted to boards while mediation takes place. If extensions are granted an end date for such extensions must be specified at the time mediation is approved.

JUSTIFICATION: Interested parties to a land use decision by local governments can often end up in protracted legal disputes, As legal fees continue to soar and court dockets become increasingly congested, local governments may turn to mediation as an alternate resolution method.

The New York State Community Dispute Resolution Centers Program within the Office of Court Administration was established in 1981. Through its 62 county-based centers, mediation has been used to resolve disputes in education, affordable housing and other areas. As envisioned in the proposed legislation, mediation would be employed to promote timely and effective land use decisions by working to resolve conflicts in such areas as: review and approval of comprehensive plans, rezonings, subdivision plans, site plans and special use permits.

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy has conducted a survey of participants in mediated land disputes and found that 85% had a positive view of the experience and in case that were settled, 92% of the parties believed their own interests were served by the settlement. About two dozen other states currently authorize land use mediation. Mediation of land disputes currently takes place in NYS through the USDA agricultural mediation program, and the Adirondack Park Agency is using mediation to attempt to resolve differences over a proposed development project in Tupper Lake.

Mediation can be an effective vehicle for municipalities in sorting out complex, often controversial, land use issues. With the help of a trained mediator, local officials and interested parties may be better able to explore alternatives and weigh options that enhance the traditional municipal planning and zoning review process.

This bill is not a mandate, rather it provides authorization for local governments to establish mediation as an alternative land use conflict resolution method, while assuring that the rights of individual parties are protected and established planning and zoning review processes are preserved. The bill provides that mediation would be used to supplement, not replace, existing municipal review procedures and decision making by a local government.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2009-10: S.5484 Senate Rules Committee; A.8259 Assembly Judiciary Committee. 2007-08: S.3232, Passed Senate; A5482 Assembly Local Governments Committee. 2005-06: S.2749 Passed Senate; A.5631, Assembly Local Governments Committee. 2004-05: S.6184 Passed Senate; A.9782, Assembly Local Governments Committee. 2003-02: S.3560 Passed Senate; A.7146, Assembly Local Government Committee.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the State.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: It is anticipated that legal expenses and court costs for municipalities and applicants may be reduced or avoided through the use of this alternate resolution technique, resulting in reduced expenses for local governments, applicants and taxpayers.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first day of July next succeeding the year in which it shall have become a law, and shall not affect any local laws or ordinances providing for the mediation of zoning and planning decisions enacted prior to this effective date.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4358 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 31, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. YOUNG -- (at request of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Cities AN ACT to amend the general city law, the town law, and the village law, in relation to authorizing the use of mediation in land use decisions THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 20 of the general city law is amended by adding a new subdivision 39 to read as follows: 39. TO PROVIDE BY LOCAL LAW FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING MEDIATION PURSUANT TO GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR SUCH OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY ITS LEGISLATIVE BODY. WHEN UTILIZING SUCH MEDIATION, THE APPLICANT AND THE LEGISLATIVE BODY MAY MUTUALLY AGREE, IN WRITING, TO STAY OR EXTEND THE STATUTORY TIME PERIODS FOR REVIEW OF SUCH APPLICATION, AND SAID AGREEMENT SHALL SPECIFY THE DATE ON WHICH THE STAY OR EXTENSION WILL END. THE LEGISLATIVE BODY SHALL MAKE SUCH WRITTEN AGREEMENT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC BY FILING A COPY THEREOF IN THE CITY CLERK'S OFFICE. S 2. Subdivision 3 of section 81-a of the general city law, as added by chapter 208 of the laws of 1993, is amended to read as follows: 3. Assistance to the board of appeals. (A) Such board shall have the authority to call upon any department, agency or employee of the city for such assistance as shall be deemed necessary and as shall be author- ized by the legislative body. Such department, agency or employee may be reimbursed for any expenses incurred as a result of such assistance. (B) THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE LEGISLATIVE BODY TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING MEDIATION AS AN AID IN FOSTERING LAND USE DECISIONS, PURSUANT TO THE GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR SUCH OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY THE LEGIS- LATIVE BODY.
S 3. Paragraph b of subdivision 14 of section 27 of the general city law, as amended by chapter 418 of the laws of 1995, is amended to read as follows: b. The planning board may review and make recommendations on a proposed city comprehensive plan or amendment thereto. In addition, the planning board shall have the full power and authority to make investi- gations, maps, reports, and recommendations in connection therewith relating to the planning and development of the city as it deems desira- ble, providing the total expenditures of said board shall not exceed the appropriation provided therefor. THE PLANNING BOARD MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE LEGISLATIVE BODY TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBIND- ING MEDIATION AS AN AID IN FOSTERING LAND USE DECISIONS, PURSUANT TO THE GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR SUCH OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETER- MINED BY THE LEGISLATIVE BODY. S 4. Section 64 of the town law is amended by adding a new subdivision 26 to read as follows: 26. MEDIATION. IS AUTHORIZED TO PROVIDE BY LOCAL LAW FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING MEDIATION PURSUANT TO THE GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY THE BOARD. WHEN UTILIZING SUCH MEDIATION, THE APPLICANT AND THE TOWN BOARD MAY MUTUALLY AGREE, IN WRITING, TO STAY OR EXTEND THE STATUTORY TIME PERIODS FOR REVIEW OF SUCH APPLICATION, AND SAID AGREEMENT SHALL SPECIFY THE DATE ON WHICH THE STAY OR EXTENSION WILL END. THE TOWN BOARD SHALL MAKE SUCH WRITTEN AGREEMENT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC BY FILING A COPY THEREOF IN THE TOWN CLERK'S OFFICE. S 5. Subdivision 3 of section 267-a of the town law, as amended by chapter 248 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows: 3. Assistance to board of appeals. (A) Such board shall have the authority to call upon any department, agency or employee of the town for such assistance as shall be deemed necessary and as shall be author- ized by the town board. Such department, agency or employee may be reim- bursed for any expenses incurred as a result of such assistance. (B) THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE TOWN BOARD TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING MEDIATION AS AN AID IN FOSTERING LAND USE DECISIONS, PURSUANT TO THE GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR OTHER SUCH PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY THE BOARD. S 6. Paragraph b of subdivision 14 of section 271 of the town law, as amended by chapter 418 of the laws of 1995, is amended to read as follows: b. The planning board may review and make recommendations on a proposed town comprehensive plan or amendment thereto. In addition, the planning board shall have full power and authority to make investi- gations, maps, reports and recommendations in connection therewith relating to the planning and development of the town as it seems desira- ble, providing the total expenditures of said board shall not exceed the appropriation provided therefor. THE PLANNING BOARD MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE TOWN BOARD TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING MEDIATION AS AN AID IN FOSTERING LAND USE DECISIONS, PURSUANT TO THE GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY THE BOARD. S 7. Subdivision 3 of section 4-412 of the village law is amended by adding a new paragraph 14 to read as follows: (14) MEDIATION. MAY PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING MEDIATION PURSUANT TO THE GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR SUCH OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES. WHEN UTILIZING SUCH MEDIATION, THE APPLICANT AND THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES MAY MUTUALLY
AGREE, IN WRITING, TO STAY OR EXTEND THE STATUTORY TIME PERIODS FOR REVIEW OF SUCH APPLICATION, AND SAID AGREEMENT SHALL SPECIFY THE DATE ON WHICH THE STAY OR EXTENSION WILL END. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES SHALL MAKE SUCH WRITTEN AGREEMENT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC BY FILING A COPY THEREOF IN THE VILLAGE CLERK'S OFFICE. S 8. Subdivision 3 of section 7-712-a of the village law, as amended by chapter 248 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows: 3. Assistance to board of appeals. (A) Such board shall have the authority to call upon any department, agency or employee of the village for such assistance as shall be deemed necessary and as shall be author- ized by the village board of trustees. Such department, agency or employee may be reimbursed for any expenses incurred as a result of such assistance. (B) THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING MEDIATION AS AN AID IN FOSTERING LAND USE DECISIONS, PURSUANT TO THE GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR SUCH OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES. S 9. Paragraph b of subdivision 14 of section 7-718 of the village law, as amended by chapter 418 of the laws of 1995, is amended to read as follows: b. The planning board may review and make recommendations on a proposed village comprehensive plan or amendment thereto. In addition, the planning board shall have the full power and authority to make investigations, maps, reports, and recommendations in connection there- with relating to the planning and development of the village as it seems desirable, providing the total expenditures of said board shall not exceed the appropriation provided therefor. THE PLANNING BOARD MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTARY AND NONBINDING MEDIATION AS AN AID IN FOSTERING LAND USE DECISIONS, PURSUANT TO THE GUIDELINES OF THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OR SUCH OTHER PROCEDURE AS DETERMINED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES. S 10. This act shall take effect on the first of July in the calendar year next succeeding the calendar year in which it shall have become a law, and shall not affect any local laws or ordinances providing for the mediation of zoning and planning decisions which were enacted prior to such effective date.

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