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
7660 N. State Street
3rd Floor, Suite 324
Lowville, NY 13367
Planning and Community Development Department Staff
Kevin Brouillard , Community Development Specialist
Sue Kulzer , Senior Keyboard Specialist
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
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 with Conditions
- 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, Chairman
Michael W. Kaido
Jerry King, Legislative Committee Chairman
Larry Dolhof (Ex-Officio Non-Voting Member)
2021 County Planning Board Schedule
(click on the scheduled date for upcoming agendas & associated minutes)
|Meeting Dates||Referral Due Date|
|January 21, 2021||January 8, 2021|
February 18, 2021 |February 5, 2021|
|March 18, 2021||March 5, 2021|
|April 15, 2021||April 2, 2021|
|May 20, 2021||May 7, 2021|
|June 17, 2021||June 4, 2021|
|July 15, 2021||July 2, 2021|
|August 19, 2021||August 6, 2021|
|September 16, 2021||September 3, 2021|
|October 21, 2021||October 8, 2021|
|November 18, 2021||November 5, 2021|
|December 16, 2021||December 3, 2021|
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 Law Template
Tug Hill Commission White Paper - Planning for Offsite Solar
DANC Solar Law Model July 2019
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 https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AP/agservices/agricultural-districts.html
Lewis County Agricultural District Maps by Town
Croghan Ag District
Denmark 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"
2018 Lewis County Ag District 6 Map
2021 Lewis County Agricultural and Farmland Enhancement Plan
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 Water Studies
Southern Lewis County Regional Water Feasibility Study
Central Lewis County Water Study (In Process)