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. 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. The staff also study the environmental impacts of proposed projects under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.
In addition, 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. The major organizations in which the Planning Department is liaison to, or staff for are listed below.
The Federation is comprised of Town or Village Board Members, Planning Board Members, and Zoning Board of Appeals Members from each municipality in Rockland County; the Rockland County Planning Board, and the Rockland County Department of Planning. Municipal members include any member of the staff of a town and/or village designated by the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, or legislative body of the town, or village.
The Council enhances and utilize assets of the Hudson River and nearby parks through inter-municipal cooperation between riverfront communities and other appropriate agencies in Rockland County. In furtherance of this mission, the Council encourages and promotes the preservation of natural, scenic, historic and cultural resources; environmental education; sustain economic development and public access to the river, where possible.
The Board is comprised of a diverse group of county residents. It includes engineers, architects, real estate developers, contractors, utility company employees, and retirees. The Planning Board members serve in an advisory capacity to the Commissioner of Planning with regard to the reviews undertaken by the Department of Planning as required under New York State General Municipal Law (GML).
The Greenway created a process for voluntary regional cooperation among 264 communities within 13 counties that border the Hudson River. The Greenway Act created two organizations, within the executive department, to facilitate the Greenway process: the Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council and the Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley, Inc. The Greenway works with communities on a voluntary basis to assist in the development of local land use plans and programs related to the Greenway criteria.
The Board acts as an advisory to the County Executive, County Legislature, Commissioner of Planning, other county agencies, and towns and villages. The board also provides advice and guidance to property owners and government agencies concerning historic preservation issues; recommends designation of properties and historically sensitive areas as worthy of preservation; and participates in and supports the nomination of worthy properties to the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
The board was created by Local Law #1 of 2002, which enabled the County of Rockland to become a Certified Local Government under the state and federal historic preservation programs. The board generally meets on a monthly basis to discuss properties of concern, provide advice to the Commissioner of Planning regarding land development proposals that will affect historical resources, and support the municipal and private preservation activities within the county. Pursuant to the requirements of the New York State Certified Local Government Procedures, the board sponsored a review of all County-owned properties to determine if any were appropriate for nomination to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Images and information about some interesting sites have been provided on our page of Historic Places in Rockland County.