Planning

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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
Email: 
casandrabuell@lewiscounty.ny.gov

Planning and Community Development Department Staff

Kevin Brouillard , Community Development Specialist
Phone: 315.376.5423
Email: kevinbrouillard@lewiscounty.ny.gov

Sue Kulzer , Senior Keyboard Specialist
Phone: 315.376.5422
Email: suekulzer@lewiscounty.ny.gov


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, Chairman
Michael W. Kaido
Eric Virkler
John Lehman
Tim Hunt

Donald Cook
Jerry King, Legislative Committee Chairman

Larry Dolhof (Ex-Officio Non-Voting Member)

2020 County Planning Board Schedule
(click on the scheduled date for upcoming agendas & associated minutes)
January 16, 2020
February 20, 2020 
March 19, 2020(cancelled)
April 16, 2020
May 21, 2020
June 18, 2020
July 16, 2020
August 20, 2020
September 17, 2020
October 15, 2020

November 19, 2020
December 17, 2020

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


Resources:
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 - Planning for Offsite Solar Energy Projects

DANC Solar Law Model July 2019


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

Resources:
Article 25AA - Agricultural Districts - including §301-7 definition of "Viable Agricultural Land"

2018 Lewis County Ag District 6 Map

Lewis County Ag Enhancement Plan - 2004

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 Site Plan Review 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 Rural Development Law
Town of Watson Zoning Law
Town of Watson Campground Regulations
Town of West Turin Zoning Law
Village of Castorland Site Plan Review Law
Village of Constableville Mobile Home and Travel Trailer Park 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

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 Plan
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

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


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.

Resources:
Appendices - 10-6-09
Appendices Cover - 10-6-09
Back Cover - 10-6-09
Chapter 1 - Cover 10-6-09
Chapter 1 - Intro and Process 10-6-09
Chapter 2 - Ag and Forestry - 10-6-09
Chapter 2 - Community Resources - 10-6-09
Chapter 2 - County Profile - 10-6-09
Chapter 2 - Cover - 10-6-09
Chapter 2 - Demographics and Stats - 10-6-09
Chapter 2 - Environmental Features -10-6-09
Chapter 2 - Infrastructure - 10-6-09
Chapter 2 - Land Use - 10-6-09
Chapter 3 - Cover - 10-6-09
Chapter 3 - Intro 10-6-09
Chapter 3 - Policy Area 1 Tourism and Recreation - 10-6-09
Chapter 3 - Policy Area 2 Economic Development - 10-6-09
Chapter 3 - Policy Area 3 Infrastructure and Transportation - 10-6-09
Chapter 3 - Policy Area 4 Community Resources and Housing - 10-6-09
Chapter 3 - Policy Area 5 Agriculture and Forestry - 10-6-09
Chapter 3 - Policy Area 6 Natural Resources and the Environment - 10-6-09
Chapter 3 - Policy Area 7 Regional Coordination - 10-6-09
Chapter 4 - County Character Area Plan - Overview and Map - 10-6-09
Chapter 4 - Cover 10-6-09
Chapter 4 - Farmland Character Area - 10-6-09
Chapter 4 - Forest Character Area - 10-6-09
Chapter 4 - Hamlets and Crossroads Character Area - 10-6-09
Chapter 4 - Industry Character Area - 10-6-09
Chapter 4 - Lakefront Living Character Area - 10-6-09
Chapter 4 - Riparian Buffers Character Area - 10-6-09
Chapter 4 - Rural Living Character Area 10-6-09
Chapter 4 - Village Center Character Area - 10-6-09
Chapter 4 - Village Living Character Area - 10-6-09
Chapter 4 - Village Transition Character Area - 10-6-09
Chapter 5 - Cover 10-6-09
Chapter 5 - Overview and Conclusion - 10-6-09
Front Cover - 10-6-09
High Priority Guidebook to the Comprehensive Plan - 10-6-09
Map 1 - Existing Land Use - 10-6-09
Map 2 - Land Cover - 10-6-09
Map 3 - Agriculture and Forestry Areas - 10-6-09
Map 4 - Agricultural District - 10-6-9
Map 5 - Prime Farmland and Hydric Soils - 10-6-09
Map 6 - Topographic Relief - 10-6-09
Map 7 - Elevation & Steep Slopes - 10-6-09
Map 8 - Waterbodies - 10-6-09
Map 9 - Watersheds - 10-6-09
Map 10 - Power and Utilities - 10-6-09
Map 11 - Transportation Network - 10-6-09
Map 12 - Recreation 10-6-09
Map 13 - County Character Area Map - 10-6-09
Table of Contents - 10-6-09


Lewis County Tourism

For information on Lewis County tourism, please check out Adirondackstughill.com

Resources
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)