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The mission of the Lewis County Planning Department, at the direction of the Lewis County Board of Legislators, is to provide services to our municipalities and citizens to ensure that carefully planned and successful development occurs within the County in accord with the Lewis County Comprehensive Plan.

In support of this mission, the Department will provide assistance and resources to Lewis County municipalities for community development, project planning, zoning, and grant writing and administration.

Director of Planning and Community Development

Casandra Buell 
7660 N. State Street
3rd Floor, Suite 324
Lowville, NY 13367

Phone: 315.376.5919
Fax: 315.377.3137

Planning and Community Development Department Staff  

Samantha Brown, Community Development Program Specialist
Phone: 315.377.2024

Megan Krokowski, Community Development Specialist
Phone: 315.376.5423

Sue Kulzer, Senior Keyboard Specialist 
Phone: 315.376.5422

Lauryn Tabolt, Community Development Specialist
Phone: 315.376.5780

Office Hours 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
        Monday - Friday excluding holidays 

County Planning Board  

The Lewis County Planning Board holds a regular meeting on the third Thursday of every month.  Municipalities with projects that require County Planning Board review, must submit their referral to the Lewis County Planning Department at least 12 days prior to the regularly scheduled monthly meeting in order for the project to appear on the agenda and be reviewed. Once the recommendations are made, the referrals are sent back to the municipalities and they make the final determination. Our Planning Board does not review subdivisions. The County Planning Board plays an advisory role, not a regulatory role. 

New York State General Municipal Law Article B, Sections 239-m requires municipal boards to refer certain planning actions to the County Planning Board for review before taking final action. These laws encourage local decision-makers to consider the countywide and inter-municipal impacts of their local land use decisions. Neglecting to refer a land use action pursuant to General Municipal Law could constitute a "procedural or jurisdictional error" that could legally invalidate the municipality's land use decision. 

Municipal officials, clerks, zoning enforcement officers, members of local planning & zoning boards should be aware of 239-m requirements. The following municipal actions may be subject to County Planning Board review:

  • Adoption or amendment of a comprehensive plan
  • Adoption or amendment of a zoning ordinance or local law
  • Issuance of special use permits
  • Approval of site plans
  • Granting of use or area variances
  • Moratoria

The following planning actions are subject to County Planning Board review if the real property is located within 250 feet of the following:

  • The boundary of any city, village or town
  • The boundary of any existing or proposed county or state park or any other recreation area
  • The right-of-way of any existing or proposed county or state parkway, thruway, expressway, road, or highway
  • The existing or proposed right-of-way of any stream or drainage channel owned by the county or for which the county has established channel lines
  • The existing or proposed boundary of any county or state owned land in which a public building or institution is situated
  • The boundary of a farm operation located in an agricultural district, as defined by Article 25-AA of Agriculture & Markets Law

Referrals submitted to the County Planning Board will be reviewed by Planning Department Staff to determine completeness. If the referral and associated materials (full statement) are deemed incomplete, staff will notify the referring body. Within 30 days of receiving the full statement of the proposed action, the County Planning Board will respond with a recommendation. If the County Planning Board does not respond within 30 days of receiving the full statement, then the municipality may proceed with the final action. 

Please note that referrals are not accepted directly from project sponsors or applicants; they must be submitted by the local municipality. The required "full statement" materials are as follows:

  • General Municipal Referral Form
  • State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) and associated materials used by the referring body to make a determination of significance pursuant to the SEQR. Part 1 is required by the County Planning Board to review the action. 
  • Copy of the application submitted by the applicant or project sponsor to the referring body
  • Copies of all maps and plans submitted to the referring body
  • If applicable, a copy of the full text of the ordinance or local law being proposed, adopted or amended

Planning Department Staff provides technical assistance to the County Planning Board so that they can determine if there will be any countywide or inter-community impacts as a result of the proposed action. Their review may consider the following:

  • Compatibility of adjacent land uses
  • Impact of any additional traffic
  • Compatibility with existing municipal comprehensive plans
  • Effects on community character and appearance
  • Impacts on community facilities

Once the full statement is received and reviewed, the County Planning Board will choose from the following actions:

  • Approve
  • Approve with Conditions
  • Disapprove
  • Matter of Local Concern

A municipality can only act after the County Planning Board's decision has been issued. No conditioned approvals based on County Planning Board approvals should occur. The referring body can only act without a County Planning Board decision if they have not received notice from the County after 30 days from their acceptance of the full statement. Once a County Planning Board decision has been received by the referring body, they can act as follows:

  • County Planning Board Approval: Referring body may approve, approve with any conditions or disapprove with a majority vote.
  • County Planning Board Approval with Conditions: Referring body may approve with the exact County conditions or disapprove with a majority vote. The referring body may add further conditions to its approval  but can only override any County conditions with a super majority vote (majority plus one; includes absent or vacant positions). The board must then adopt a resolution citing the reasons for its decision.
  • County Planning Board Disapproval: Referring body may disapprove with a majority vote or approve with or without conditions with a supermajority vote and resolution.
  • County Planning Board Matter of Local Concern: Referring body may proceed to take final action.

If you have any questions regarding projects, the referral process, or the County Planning Board, please call our office at: (315) 376-5422.

County Planning Board Members

Tim Petersen, Chair

John Lehman, Vice-Chair

Donald Cook

Sarah Metott

Eric Virkler

Tim Hunt

Thomas Osborne, Legislative Committee Chair 

Larry Dolhof (Ex-Officio Non-Voting Member)

2023 County Planning Board Schedule

The Lewis County Planning Board is scheduled  to meet the third Thursday of every month, referrals and all supplemental documentation is due 10 work days prior.
(click on the scheduled date for upcoming agendas & associated minutes as they become available)

Meeting Dates
Referral Due Date

1/19/2023 ( No Referrals Received)

3/16/2023 (No Referrals Received)3/3/2023

239 L-M Referral Manual
General Municipal Referral Form
Short Environmental Assessment Form Part 1 (Updated January 2019)
Short Environmental Assessment Form Parts 2&3 (Updated January 2019)
Full Environmental Assessment Form Part 1 (Updated January 2019)
Full Environmental Assessment Form Part 2 (Updated January 2019)
Full Environmental Assessment Form Part 3 (Updated January 2019)
ENB SEQR Notice Publication Form
State Environmental Quality Review Act - Adopted Amendments 2018
Municipal Solar Template- Updated Sept 2021
Tug Hill Commission White Paper - Planning for Offsite Solar

DANC Solar Law Model Sept 2021
NYSERDA Solar Guidebook

Lewis County Agricultural Districts  

Article 25-AA of the Agriculture and Markets Law authorizes the creation of local agricultural districts pursuant to landowner initiative, preliminary county review, state certification, and county adoption. As of April 2002, 341 agricultural districts existed statewide, containing approximately 21,500 farms and 8.6 million acres (about 30 percent of the State's total land area).The purpose of agricultural districting is to encourage the continued use of farmland for agricultural production.

Agricultural District #1 was created in Lewis County in 1975; it encompassed 20,304 acres of land and was located within the towns of Lewis, West Turin, Leyden, and Lyonsdale.  Agricultural District's #2, 3, 4 and 5 were designated over the next three years and encompassed almost, if not all of the active agricultural land within the county.  By law, each of the five districts in Lewis County must undergo a recertification process every eight years.  This recertification process verifies that the majority of the land within the district is active agricultural land.       

In 2008, a county request was approved by NYS Ag and Markets to complete a review of all five Agricultural Districts and consolidation into one new district.  Currently, there is one active agricultural district in Lewis County, Agricultural District #6.  Agricultural District #6 contains 246,141.57 acres, and the anniversary date for recertification of this district is February 15, 2025.

Annual Inclusion Period  

Property can only be removed from the Agricultural District during the eight year recertification process.  However, active agricultural land that is not already in the Agricultural District can be added to the district during the annual inclusion period. This period has been designated in Lewis County to occur every year from November 15 to December 15.

For more information about Agricultural Districts in New York State, go to          

Lewis County Agricultural District Maps by Town  
Croghan Ag District
Denmark Ag District
Diana Ag District 
Greig Ag District
Harrisburg Ag District
Lewis Ag District
Leyden Ag District
Lowville Ag District
Lyonsdale Ag District
Martinsburg Ag District
Montague Ag District
New Bremen Ag District
Osceola Ag District
Pinckney Ag District
Turin Ag District
Watson Ag District
West Turin Ag District

Article 25AA - Agricultural Districts - including §301-7 definition of "Viable Agricultural Land"  
2022 Lewis County Ag District Map
2021 Lewis County Agricultural and Farmland Enhancement Plan

Municipal Land Use Regulations
To the best of our knowledge, the below are the most up-to-date zoning laws provided to the Planning Department by the municipalities.    

Land Use & Zoning Law 
Town of Croghan Zoning Law
Town of Croghan Mobile Home and Travel Trailer Law

Town of Denmark Zoning Law 
Town of Diana Zoning Law
Town of Greig Zoning Law
Town of Harrisburg Zoning Law
Town of Lewis Land Use Law
Town of Leyden Zoning Law
Town of Lowville Alternative Energy Law
Town of Lowville Zoning Law
Town of Lyonsdale Site Plan Review
Town of Martinsburg Development Law
Town of Montague Land Use Law
Town of New Bremen Site Plan Review Zoning Law  
Town of New Bremen Solar Law

Town of Osceola Zoning Law

Town of Osceola Recreational Camping Vehicle Law
Town of Pinckney Zoning Law
Town of Pinckney Solar Energy Law
Town of Turin Development Law
Town of Watson Zoning Law
Town of Watson Campground Regulations
Town of West Turin Zoning Law
Town of West Turin Local Law #2-2020 Installation of Driveways
Village of Castorland Site Plan Review Law
Village of Constableville Mobile Home and Travel Trailer Park Law

Village of Constableville Solar Law
Village of Copenhagen Site Plan Review Law
Village of Harrisville Zoning Law Dissolution Effect
Village of Lowville Zoning Law
Village of Lowville Rooftop Signs Moratorium
Village of Lowville Code Book
Village of Lyons Falls House Trailer and Tourist Camp Law
Village of Lyons Falls Zoning Law
Village of Port Leyden Mobile Home Law
Village of Turin Rural Development Code 

Zoning Maps  
Town of Denmark Zoning Map
Town of Greig Zoning Map
Town of Harrisburg Zoning Map
Town of Lewis Zoning Map
Town of Lowville Zoning Map
Town of Martinsburg Zoning Map
Town of Montague Zoning Map
Town of Osceola Zoning Map
Town of Pinckney Zoning Map
Town of Turin Zoning Map 2011
Town of Watson Zoning Map
Town of West Turin Zoning Map
Village of Harrisville Zoning Law Dissolution Effect
Village of Lowville Zoning Map
Village of Turin Zoning Map

Subdivision Laws 
Town of Denmark Subdivision Law
Town of Greig Subdivision Law
Town of Harrisburg Subdivision Law
Town of Lewis Subdivision Law
Town of Lowville Subdivision Law
Town of Martinsburg Subdivision Law
Town of Montague Subdivision Law
Town of Osceola Subdivision Law
Town of Pinckney Subdivision Law
Town of Turin Subdivision Law
Town of Watson Subdivision Law
Town of West Turin Subdivision Law
Village of Castorland Subdivision Law
Village of Copenhagen Subdivision Law
Village of Lowville Subdivision Law 

Comprehensive Plans  
Town of Diana Comprehensive Plan
Town and Village of Lowville Comprehensive Plan
Town of Leyden Comprehensive Plan
Town of Martinsburg Comprehensive Plan
Town of New Bremen Comprehensive Plan

Town of Turin Comprehensive Plan
Town of Watson Comprehensive Plan

Flood Damage Prevention Laws
Town of Croghan Flood Damage Law
Town of Leyden Flood Damage Law
Town of Lowville Flood Damage Law

Town of Lyonsdale Flood Damage Law

Ag Enhancement Plan- Town Maps

These maps make it easier for municipalities to identify farmland that they may want to preserve from development and to aid in creating zoning regulations relative to Solar.
New Bremen
West Turin

2009 Lewis County Comprehensive Plan  

Lewis County recognizes the need for a comprehensive and strategic approach to the complex issues we face in the 21st Century. As a region, we need to be able to effectively leverage our assets and overcome challenges in order to continuously improve the quality of life for our citizens. On October 6, 2009, the Lewis County Board of Legislators adopted the County-wide Comprehensive Plan to foster a regional and collaborative approach to addressing these challenges. The County Comprehensive Plan is our vision and is a framework of policies, goals, and objectives for County government. This framework will set the foundation for County-level decision making over the next 10-15 years. The Plan will also serve as a tool for local municipalities by encouraging a unified vision and purpose. 

Topics addressed in the Plan include land use, tourism and economic development, rural and farmland preservation, environmental conservation, recreation, public infrastructure and community resources. Several towns and villages in Lewis County have completed plans and studies in past years. Some have basic zoning or land use plans, while others have adopted full Comprehensive Plans. Beyond the policies and objectives developed for County-level decisions, the County Comprehensive Plan has built upon the previous planning efforts of local municipalities. The County Plan does not supersede local plans and regulations, but rather will serve as an optional tool for localities to implement as they deem appropriate. As New York is a "home rule" state, County Comprehensive Plan components related to town or village issues are simply recommendations for consideration and are not regulatory in nature.

In rural counties, there is often limited staff and resources available to address the complex issues facing the region. Therefore, the Plan seeks to provide guidance and identify tools for implementation, while promoting knowledge sharing and inter-municipal collaboration.

Lewis County Comprehensive Plan

Lewis County Tourism  

For information on Lewis County tourism, please check out

12th Annual Lewis County Survey of the Community - March 2019
Tourism Destination Area Nomination Workbook

    Lewis County Water Studies

Southern Lewis County Regional Water Feasibility Study
Central Lewis County Water Study (In Process)

Lewis County Shared Services Plan

2020 Lewis County Shared Services Plan

       Broadband Initiative

2020 Lewis County Hazard Mitigation Plan

 Lyons Falls Brownfield Opportunity Area

Lyons Falls BOA Implementation Strategy

Lyons Falls BOA Black River Canal Analysis

Lyons Falls BOA Market Analysis

Lyons Falls BOA Marketing Analysis

Lyons Falls BOA Transportation and Infrastructure Analysis Report

Lyons Falls BOA Tourism Asset Study

Lyons Falls BOA Financial Feasibility

Currently, the local hydro's (Lyons Falls, Beaver Falls, Beaver River, Carthage, Lyonsdale, and various sites on the Black River) are going through FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) relicensing which gives the local communities opportunities to negotiate agreements for future community development.

For more information on this process please click here or reach out to Megan Krokowski.

Community Choice Aggregation

CCA Press Release

CCA Kickoff Meeting Recording- 10/28/2021

Lewis County CCA Slide Show

Lewis County Local Law Template

Lewis County CCA Administrator Agreement Template

Lewis County Joule Program Offerings

  • If you would like to know more, have a personal meeting with Joule or ask Joule questions; please contact Megan Krokowski and she will get you in touch with the Joule CCA associate.