Land Use

The Land Use Division performs a variety of tasks, focusing on topics related to housing, environmental and natural issues, historic and cultural resources, recreation and open space, and infrastructure. The staff also study the environmental impacts of proposed projects under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the primary function of the Land Use Division staff?
A primary function of the division is the review of site plans, subdivisions, variances, zone changes, zoning code amendments, special permits and other land use, zoning or environmental actions under the State-mandated General Municipal Law (GML) application process. These GML reviews include land use and zoning recommendations to local Municipal Boards, Planning Boards, and Zoning Boards of Appeals. The Department's Land Use Planners also offer recommendations and guidance on local Master Plans and zoning ordinance updates.
What is the NYS General Municipal Law (GML)?
New York General Municipal Law (GML) requires that certain types of municipal planning, zoning and subdivision projects be referred to County Planning for review prior to local action being taken. The requirement seeks to promote coordination of land use decision-making and to enhance consideration of potential inter-municipal and county-wide impacts. This requirement is outlined in Article 12-B of the GML, §239 l, m and n. This process is commonly referred to across New York State as the "GML 239 referral", the "GML 239 review", or simply the "239 review" process. The responsibility for all Section 239 reviews has been given to the Rockland County Commissioner of Planning, pursuant to Article X, Section 5-82 of the Rockland County Charter.
Does the Department of Planning staff work with other agencies?
The staff in the Land Use Division work with other organizations that focus on issues related to planning, land use, and zoning. Some of the major goals of these organizations are to offer educational forums for Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals members, foster inter-municipal cooperation with regard to land use and planning initiatives, provide input on historic preservation issues, and advocate for creation of trails.
What are the major organizations/agencies/boards in which the Planning Department is liaison to, or staff?
The Planning Department works closely with the following entities: Rockland Municipal Planning Federation, Rockland Riverfront Communities Council, Rockland County Planning Board, Rockland County Historic Preservation Board, and the Hudson River Valley Greenway.