Zoning Referral Process

View or download a County Planning Board Referral Form. 

Applications That Should Be Referred

 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
  • Approval of site plans
  • Granting of use or area variances
  • Issuance of special use permits
  • Moratoria
  • Other authorizations which a referring body may issue under the provisions of any zoning ordinance or local law
  • Subdivisions

Mandatory Applications

 By law, the application or amendment must be referred to the County Planning Board if it applies to real property within 500 feet of: 

  • A municipal boundary
  • The right-of-way of any state or county road
  • A state or county park or recreation area (existing or proposed)
  • State or county land on which a public building or institution is located.
  • A farm operation within an agricultural district as defined by Article 25-AA of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law
  • Existing or proposed right-of-way of any county stream or drainage channel

 The municipal board which has jurisdiction over the application is responsible for referring it to the County Planning Board. This may be the Planning Board, the town or village board, or the Zoning Board of Appeals, depending on the type of application.  

Maps Showing 500-foot Referral Triggers

 See local maps of the parcels that are located within 500 feet of County Planning Board referral triggers. 

When Referrals can be Exempted from Review

In accordance with the General Municipal Law, Livingston County is authorized to enter into agreement with each municipality in the county to except County Planning Board referral and review of certain local zoning and subdivision actions. The purpose of such agreements is to eliminate the need for local referral and county review of certain local zoning and subdivision actions that do not have inter-community or county-wide impacts.

Municipalities with agreements in place

  • Town of Avon
  • Village of Avon
  • Town of Caledonia
  • Village of Caledonia
  • Village of Geneseo
  • Town of Leicester
  • Town of Lima
  • Village of Lima
  • Town of Livonia
  • Village of Livonia
  • Town of Mount Morris
  • Village of Mount Morris
  • Town of North Dansville
  • Village of Dansville
  • Town of Nunda
  • Village of Nunda
  • Town of Sparta
  • Town of West Sparta
  • Town of York

 Contact the Planning Department or the local municipality to learn more about exemption agreements with the county. 

Referral Procedures

If the application is subject to county review, the municipal board sends a copy of the application and a County Planning Board Zoning Referral Form to the County Planning Board. 

Full Statement / Complete Application

 A full statement includes the following information: 

  • County Planning Board Zoning Referral Form
  • All application materials required by local zoning regulations (digital preferred)
  • Agricultural Data Statement (if applicable)
  • Completed Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) as well as all other materials used by the referring body to make a determination of significance under SEQR.
  • Complete text of zoning regulation proposal/amendment (where applicable)
  • Report from local planning board on new land use regulations, zoning amendments, and comprehensive plans (where applicable)
  • Municipal board meeting nimutes on the proposed action (digital preferred) 


For each referral, the board considers:  

  • Compatibility with neighboring land uses
  • Effects of additional traffic
  • Impacts on state or county institutions
  • Compatibility with the official development plans of the county and the municipality
  • Protection of community character and appearance 

 After review, the County Planning Board sends its recommendation with supporting comments back to the municipal board. 

Possible Recommendations

The board's recommendation may be an approval, approval with modifications, disapproval, or no significant county-wide or inter-community impact. A recommendation of "no significant countywide or inter-community impact" should not be construed as a judgment on a particular project. 


Effects on Local Decision-Making

The municipal board can make its final decision on the application after it receives the County Planning Board's recommendation. The municipal board is not obligated to follow the County Planning Board's recommendation. However, if the County Planning Board recommends disapproval or approval with modifications, the municipal board's vote to approve the application must be supported by a supermajority (majority plus one), rather than a simple majority. In addition, the municipal board must adopt a resolution listing the reasons for its decision.  

Time Schedule for Referrals

The County Planning Board and Planning Department make every effort to respond to referrals promptly and to accommodate the locally required time limits. The deadline for submitting referrals for County Planning Board review is the Monday of the week prior to the County Planning Board's regular monthly meeting. If the board receives a complete referral after the referral deadline, review will be delayed until the following month. See  List of 2024 Referral Submission Deadlines 

Response Time

If the county does not respond within 30 days of receipt of the full statement / complete application, the local board may proceed. However, if the 30-day county response period has lapsed, and the county sends a recommendation of disapproval or approval with modification to the local board at least two days prior to the local board's vote, the local board can only override the county's recommendation with a supermajority vote.

Legal Consequences of Neglecting Referrals

Neglecting a "239" zoning referral to the County Planning Board may constitute a "procedural error," which could legally invalidate a local land use decision. If challenged in court, a local decision on an application may be overturned if the municipality failed to make the proper zoning referral to the County Planning Board. As on all legal matters, to clarify these legal implications, the municipal board should contact its town or village attorney. 

Notification of Final Action

The Planning Board will send a "Notification of Final Action"  to the municipality along with its recommendation. To comply with state law, the municipal board should report on its final action within one week of making its final decision on the application by completing and sending the "Notice of Final Action" to the County Planning Board via email at Livingston County Planning Board.