New York Consolidated Laws, Town Law - TWN § 276. Subdivision review;  approval of plats;  development of filed plats

1. Purpose.  For the purpose of providing for the future growth and development of the town and affording adequate facilities for the housing, transportation, distribution, comfort, convenience, safety, health and welfare of its population, the town board may, by resolution, authorize and empower the planning board to approve preliminary and final plats of subdivisions showing lots, blocks or sites, with or without streets or highways, within that part of the town outside the limits of any incorporated village.

2. Authorization for review of previously filed plats.  For the same purposes and under the same conditions, the town board may, by resolution, authorize and empower the planning board to approve the development of plats, entirely or partially undeveloped, which were filed in the office of the clerk of the county in which such plat is located prior to the appointment of such planning board and grant to the board the power to approve such plats.  The term “undeveloped” shall mean those plats where twenty percent or more of the lots within the plat are unimproved unless existing conditions, such as poor drainage, have prevented their development.

3. Filing of certificate.  The clerk of every town which has authorized its planning board to approve plats as set forth herein shall immediately file a certificate of that fact with the clerk or register of the county in which such town is located.

4. Definitions.  When used in this article the following terms shall have the respective meanings set forth herein except where the context shows otherwise:

(a) “Subdivision” means the division of any parcel of land into a number of lots, blocks or sites as specified in a local ordinance, law, rule or regulation, with or without streets or highways, for the purpose of sale, transfer of ownership, or development.  The term “subdivision” may include any alteration of lot lines or dimensions of any lots or sites shown on a plat previously approved and filed in the office of the county clerk or register of the county in which such plat is located.  Subdivisions may be defined and delineated by local regulation, as either “major” or “minor”, with the review procedures and criteria for each set forth in such local regulations.

(b) “Preliminary plat” means a drawing prepared in a manner prescribed by local regulation showing the layout of a proposed subdivision including, but not restricted to, road and lot layout and approximate dimensions, key plan, topography and drainage, all proposed facilities unsized, including preliminary plans and profiles, at suitable scale and in such detail as local regulation may require.

(c) “Preliminary plat approval” means the approval of the layout of a proposed subdivision as set forth in a preliminary plat but subject to the approval of the plat in final form in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(d) “Final plat” means a drawing prepared in a manner prescribed by local regulation, that shows a proposed subdivision, containing in such additional detail as shall be provided by local regulation all information required to be shown on a preliminary plat and the modifications, if any, required by the planning board at the time of approval of the preliminary plat if such preliminary plat has been so approved.

(e) “Conditional approval of a final plat” means approval by a planning board of a final plat subject to conditions set forth by the planning board in a resolution conditionally approving such plat.  Such conditional approval does not qualify a final plat for recording nor authorize issuance of any building permits prior to the signing of the plat by a duly authorized officer of the planning board and recording of the plat in the office of the county clerk or register as herein provided.

(f) “Final plat approval” means the signing of a plat in final form by a duly authorized officer of a planning board pursuant to a planning board resolution granting final approval to the plat or after conditions specified in a resolution granting conditional approval of the plat are completed.  Such final approval qualifies the plat for recording in the office of the county clerk or register in the county in which such plat is located.

5. Approval of preliminary plats.  (a) Submission of preliminary plats.  All plats shall be submitted to the planning board for approval in final form provided, however, that where the planning board has been authorized to approve preliminary plats, the owner may submit or the planning board may require that the owner submit a preliminary plat for consideration.  Such a preliminary plat shall be clearly marked “preliminary plat” and shall conform to the definition provided in this section.

(b) Coordination with the state environmental quality review act.  1  The planning board shall comply with the provisions of the state environmental quality review act under article eight of the environmental conservation law and its implementing regulations.

(c) Receipt of a complete preliminary plat.  A preliminary plat shall not be considered complete until a negative declaration has been filed or until a notice of completion of the draft environmental impact statement has been filed in accordance with the provisions of the state environmental quality review act.  The time periods for review of a preliminary plat shall begin upon filing of such negative declaration or such notice of completion.

(d) Planning board as lead agency under the state environmental quality review act;  public hearing;  notice;  decision.

(i) Public hearing on preliminary plats.  The time within which the planning board shall hold a public hearing on the preliminary plat shall be coordinated with any hearings the planning board may schedule pursuant to the state environmental quality review act, as follows:

(1) If such board determines that the preparation of an environmental impact statement on the preliminary plat is not required, the public hearing on such plat shall be held within sixty-two days after the receipt of a complete preliminary plat by the clerk of the planning board;  or

(2) If such board determines that an environmental impact statement is required, and a public hearing on the draft environmental impact statement is held, the public hearing on the preliminary plat and the draft environmental impact statement shall be held jointly within sixty-two days after the filing of the notice of completion of such draft environmental impact statement in accordance with the provisions of the state environmental quality review act.  If no public hearing is held on the draft environmental impact statement, the public hearing on the preliminary plat shall be held within sixty-two days of filing the notice of completion.

(ii) Public hearing;  notice, length.  The hearing on the preliminary plat shall be advertised at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the town at least five days before such hearing if no hearing is held on the draft environmental impact statement, or fourteen days before a hearing held jointly therewith.  The planning board may provide that the hearing be further advertised in such manner as it deems most appropriate for full public consideration of such preliminary plat.  The hearing on the preliminary plat shall be closed upon motion of the planning board within one hundred twenty days after it has been opened.

(iii) Decision.  The planning board shall approve, with or without modification, or disapprove such preliminary plat as follows:

(1) If the planning board determines that the preparation of an environmental impact statement on the preliminary plat is not required such board shall make its decision within sixty-two days after the close of the public hearing;  or

(2) If the planning board determines that an environmental impact statement is required, and a public hearing is held on the draft environmental impact statement, the final environmental impact statement shall be filed within forty-five days following the close of such public hearing in accordance with the provisions of the state environmental quality review act.  If no public hearing is held on the draft environmental impact statement, the final environmental impact statement shall be filed within forty-five days following the close of the public hearing on the preliminary plat.  Within thirty days of the filing of such final environmental impact statement, the planning board shall issue findings on the final environmental impact statement and make its decision on the preliminary plat.

(iv) Grounds for decision.  The grounds for a modification, if any, or the grounds for disapproval shall be stated upon the records of the planning board.  When so approving a preliminary plat, the planning board shall state in writing any modifications it deems necessary for submission of the plat in final form.

(e) Planning board not as lead agency under the state environmental quality review act;  public hearing;  notice;  decision.

(i) Public hearing on preliminary plats.  The planning board shall, with the agreement of the lead agency, hold the public hearing on the preliminary plat jointly with the lead agency's hearing on the draft environmental impact statement.  Failing such agreement or if no public hearing is held on the draft environmental impact statement, the planning board shall hold the public hearing on the preliminary plat within sixty-two days after the receipt of a complete preliminary plat by the clerk of the planning board.

(ii) Public hearing;  notice, length.  The hearing on the preliminary plat shall be advertised at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the town at least five days before such hearing if held independently of the hearing on the draft environmental impact statement, or fourteen days before a hearing held jointly therewith.  The planning board may provide that the hearing be further advertised in such manner as it deems most appropriate for full public consideration of such preliminary plat.  The hearing on the preliminary plat shall be closed upon motion of the planning board within one hundred twenty days after it has been opened.

(iii) Decision.  The planning board shall by resolution approve with or without modification or disapprove the preliminary plat as follows:

(1) If the preparation of an environmental impact statement on the preliminary plat is not required, the planning board shall make its decision within sixty-two days after the close of the public hearing on the preliminary plat.

(2) If an environmental impact statement is required, the planning board shall make its own findings and its decision on the preliminary plat within sixty-two days after the close of the public hearing on such preliminary plat or within thirty days of the adoption of findings by the lead agency, whichever period is longer.

(iv) Grounds for decision.  The grounds for a modification, if any, or the grounds for disapproval shall be stated upon the records of the planning board.  When so approving a preliminary plat, the planning board shall state in writing any modifications it deems necessary for submission of the plat in final form.

(f) Certification and filing of preliminary plat.  Within five business days of the adoption of the resolution granting approval of such preliminary plat, such plat shall be certified by the clerk of the planning board as having been granted preliminary approval and a copy of the plat and resolution shall be filed in such clerk's office. A copy of the resolution shall be mailed to the owner.

(g) Filing of decision on preliminary plat.  Within five business days from the date of the adoption of the resolution stating the decision of the board on the preliminary plat, the chairman or other duly authorized member of the planning board shall cause a copy of such resolution to be filed in the office of the town clerk.

(h) Revocation of approval of preliminary plat.  Within six months of the approval of the preliminary plat the owner must submit the plat in final form.  If the final plat is not submitted within six months, approval of the preliminary plat may be revoked by the planning board.

6. Approval of final plats.  (a) Submission of final plats.  Final plats shall conform to the definition provided by this section.

(b) Final plats which are in substantial agreement with approved preliminary plats.  When a final plat is submitted which the planning board deems to be in substantial agreement with a preliminary plat approved pursuant to this section, the planning board shall by resolution conditionally approve with or without modification, disapprove, or grant final approval and authorize the signing of such plat, within sixty-two days of its receipt by the clerk of the planning board.

(c) Final plats when no preliminary plat is required to be submitted;  receipt of complete final plat.  When no preliminary plat is required to be submitted, a final plat shall not be considered complete until a negative declaration has been filed or until a notice of completion of the draft environmental impact statement has been filed in accordance with the provisions of the state environmental quality review act.  The time periods for review of such plat shall begin upon filing of such negative declaration or such notice of completion.

(d) Final plats;  not in substantial agreement with approved preliminary plats, or when no preliminary plat is required to be submitted.  When a final plat is submitted which the planning board deems not to be in substantial agreement with a preliminary plat approved pursuant to this section, or when no preliminary plat is required to be submitted and a final plat clearly marked “final plat” is submitted conforming to the definition provided by this section the following shall apply:

(i) Planning board as lead agency;  public hearing;  notice;  decision.

(1) Public hearing on final plats.  The time within which the planning board shall hold a public hearing on such final plat shall be coordinated with any hearings the planning board may schedule pursuant to the state environmental quality review act, as follows:

(a) if such board determines that the preparation of an environmental impact statement is not required, the public hearing on a final plat not in substantial agreement with a preliminary plat, or on a final plat when no preliminary plat is required to be submitted, shall be held within sixty-two days after the receipt of a complete final plat by the clerk of the planning board;  or

(b) if such board determines that an environmental impact statement is required, and a public hearing on the draft environmental impact statement is held, the public hearing on the final plat and the draft environmental impact statement shall be held jointly within sixty-two days after the filing of the notice of completion of such draft environmental impact statement in accordance with the provisions of the state environmental quality review act.  If no public hearing is held on the draft environmental impact statement, the public hearing on the final plat shall be held within sixty-two days following filing of the notice of completion.

(2) Public hearing;  notice, length.  The hearing on the final plat shall be advertised at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the town at least five days before such hearing if no hearing is held on the draft environmental impact statement, or fourteen days before a hearing held jointly therewith.  The planning board may provide that the hearing be further advertised in such manner as it deems most appropriate for full public consideration of such final plat.  The hearing on the final plat shall be closed upon motion of the planning board within one hundred twenty days after it has been opened.

(3) Decision.  The planning board shall make its decision on the final plat as follows:

(a) if such board determines that the preparation of an environmental impact statement on the final plat is not required, the planning board shall by resolution conditionally approve, with or without modification, disapprove, or grant final approval and authorize the signing of such plat, within sixty-two days after the date of the public hearing;  or

(b) if such board determines that an environmental impact statement is required, and a public hearing is held on the draft environmental impact statement, the final environmental impact statement shall be filed within forty-five days following the close of such public hearing in accordance with the provisions of the state environmental quality review act.  If no public hearing is held on the draft environmental impact statement, the final environmental impact statement shall be filed within forty-five days following the close of the public hearing on the final plat.  Within thirty days of the filing of the final environmental impact statement, the planning board shall issue findings on such final environmental impact statement and shall by resolution conditionally approve, with or without modification, disapprove, or grant final approval and authorize the signing of such plat.

(4) Grounds for decision.  The grounds for a modification, if any, or the grounds for disapproval shall be stated upon the records of the planning board.

(ii) Planning board not as lead agency;  public hearing;  notice;  decision.

(1) Public hearing.  The planning board shall, with the agreement of the lead agency, hold the public hearing on the final plat jointly with the lead agency's hearing on the draft environmental impact statement.  Failing such agreement or if no public hearing is held on the draft environmental impact statement, the planning board shall hold the public hearing on the final plat within sixty-two days after the receipt of a complete final plat by the clerk of the planning board.

(2) Public hearing;  notice, length.  The hearing on the final plat shall be advertised at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the town at least five days before such hearing if held independently of the hearing on the draft environmental impact statement, or fourteen days before a hearing held jointly therewith.  The planning board may provide that the hearing be further advertised in such manner as it deems most appropriate for full public consideration of such final plat.  The hearing on the final plat shall be closed upon motion of the planning board within one hundred twenty days after it has been opened.

(3) Decision.  The planning board shall by resolution conditionally approve, with or without modification, disapprove, or grant final approval and authorize the signing of such plat as follows:

(a) If the preparation of an environmental impact statement on the final plat is not required, the planning board shall make its decision within sixty-two days after the close of the public hearing on the final plat.

(b) If an environmental impact statement is required, the planning board shall make its own findings and its decision on the final plat within sixty-two days after the close of the public hearing on such final plat or within thirty days of the adoption of findings by the lead agency, whichever period is longer.  The grounds for a modification, if any, or the grounds for disapproval shall be stated upon the records of the planning board.

7. Approval and certification of final plats.  (a) Certification of plat.  Within five business days of the adoption of the resolution granting conditional or final approval of the final plat, such plat shall be certified by the clerk of the planning board as having been granted conditional or final approval and a copy of such resolution and plat shall be filed in such clerk's office.  A copy of the resolution shall be mailed to the owner.  In the case of a conditionally approved plat, such resolution shall include a statement of the requirements which when completed will authorize the signing thereof.  Upon completion of such requirements the plat shall be signed by said duly authorized officer of the planning board and a copy of such signed plat shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the planning board or filed with the town clerk as determined by the town board.

(b) Approval of plat in sections.  In granting conditional or final approval of a plat in final form, the planning board may permit the plat to be subdivided and developed in two or more sections and may in its resolution granting conditional or final approval state that such requirements as it deems necessary to insure the orderly development of the plat be completed before said sections may be signed by the duly authorized officer of the planning board.  Conditional or final approval of the sections of a final plat may be granted concurrently with conditional or final approval of the entire plat, subject to any requirements imposed by the planning board.

(c) Duration of conditional approval of final plat.  Conditional approval of the final plat shall expire within one hundred eighty days after the resolution granting such approval unless all requirements stated in such resolution have been certified as completed.  The planning board may extend for periods of ninety days each, the time in which a conditionally approved plat must be submitted for signature if, in the planning board's opinion, such extension is warranted by the particular circumstances.

8. Default approval of preliminary or final plat.  The time periods prescribed herein within which a planning board must take action on a preliminary plat or a final plat are specifically intended to provide the planning board and the public adequate time for review and to minimize delays in the processing of subdivision applications.  Such periods may be extended only by mutual consent of the owner and the planning board.  In the event a planning board fails to take action on a preliminary plat or a final plat within the time prescribed therefor after completion of all requirements under the state environmental quality review act, or within such extended period as may have been established by the mutual consent of the owner and the planning board, such preliminary or final plat shall be deemed granted approval.  The certificate of the town clerk as to the date of submission of the preliminary or final plat and the failure of the planning board to take action within the prescribed time shall be issued on demand and shall be sufficient in lieu of written endorsement or other evidence of approval herein required.

9. Filing of decision on final plat.  Within five business days from the date of the adoption of the resolution stating the decision of the board on the final plat, the chairman or other duly authorized member of the planning board shall cause a copy of such resolution to be filed in the office of the town clerk.

10. Notice to county planning board or agency or regional planning council.  When a county planning board or agency or a regional planning council has been authorized to review subdivision plats pursuant to section two hundred thirty-nine-n of the general municipal law , the clerk of the planning board shall refer all applicable preliminary and final plats to such county planning board or agency or regional planning council as provided in that section.

11. Filing of final plat;  expiration of approval.  The owner shall file in the office of the county clerk or register such approved final plat or a section of such plat within sixty-two days from the date of final approval or such approval shall expire.  The following shall constitute final approval:  the signature of the duly authorized officer of the planning board constituting final approval by the planning board of a plat as herein provided;  or the approval by such board of the development of a plat or plats already filed in the office of the county clerk or register of the county in which such plat or plats are located if such plats are entirely or partially undeveloped;  or the certificate of the town clerk as to the date of the submission of the final plat and the failure of the planning board to take action within the time herein provided.  In the event the owner shall file only a section of such approved plat in the office of the county clerk or register, the entire approved plat shall be filed within thirty days of the filing of such section with the town clerk in each town in which any portion of the land described in the plat is situated.  Such section shall encompass at least ten percent of the total number of lots contained in the approved plat and the approval of the remaining sections of the approved plat shall expire unless said sections are filed before the expiration of the exemption period to which such plat is entitled under the provisions of subdivision two of section two hundred sixty-five-a of this article.

12. Subdivision abandonment.  The owner of an approved subdivision may abandon such subdivision pursuant to the provisions of section five hundred sixty of the real property tax law .

13. Repealed.

1 ECL 8-0101 et seq.

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