Under New York State Law, certain local planning and zoning matters must be referred to the county planning board for review before the local government takes any final action. This referral/review activity (commonly called the “239 Review”) is required by Sections 239-l and 239-m of the General Municipal Law and is designed to assure that county concerns are taken into consideration in the local planning process. The county planning board review is advisory in nature and applies equally to towns and villages.
The failure of the local government to follow the procedural requirements of “239” is a jurisdictional defect which may invalidate any final municipal action. Therefore, it is very important that everyone involved in local planning and zoning, including the governing body, planning and zoning boards, municipal attorneys and enforcement officers, be aware of the state law requirements.
If localities disregard 239 Review requirements, localities’ planning and zoning decisions are open to reversal by the courts, simply because the proper procedure was not followed. The following summary of the 239 review procedure has been prepared by Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development to inform local officials about the 239 Review. This information is intended to help local officials understand these requirements, something that is especially important given the frequent turnover of local board members and the need for new members to become familiar with the process.
Planning and Zoning Boards are encouraged to utilize the Chautauqua County Design Principles Guidebook when conducting site plan approval and reviewing special use permits, use and area variances – available below: