[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Tonawanda 6-17-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to § 271 of the Town Law, authorizing the creation of a Planning Board and bylaws, the Town hereby establishes a Planning Board, which was originally created in 1950 by Town Board resolution. The membership of the Planning Board shall consist of seven members and any alternate members as provided for in § 215-109.1. The present members shall continue to serve until the expiration of their terms. None of the Planning Board members shall hold any other public office in the Town or be members of the Town Board. The Town Board shall appoint one member as Chairperson. Efforts will be made to ensure that qualified members of the Planning Board represent a variety of ethnic, professional and civic groups in the Town.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- A representative of the Building Inspections Department of the Town of Tonawanda.
- PLANNING BOARD
- The duly appointed Planning Board of the Town of Tonawanda.
- The Town of Tonawanda.
The Planning Board of the Town of Tonawanda shall be governed by the provisions of all applicable state statutes, local laws, ordinances, including § 271 of the Town Law, and these rules.
Members of the Planning Board shall adhere to the training requirements of § 267-7(a) of the Town Code, Town Board resolution requirements or requirements of the State of New York.
The Planning Board shall become familiar with all of the duly enacted ordinances and laws of the Town under which it may be expected to act, as well as all applicable state statutes.
The Planning Board shall become familiar with the community goals, desires and policies as expressed in the Town's Comprehensive Plan, and in rendering approvals, recommendations and reports, shall be guided by such plan.
Members of the Planning Board shall attend all regular meetings of the Planning Board unless excused by the Chairperson and shall be compensated as the Town Board determines by resolution.
The officers of the Planning Board shall consist of a Chairperson, Acting Chairperson, and Recording Secretary.
Chairperson. The Chairperson shall be designated by the Town Board from the Planning Board members. The Chairperson shall perform all the duties required by law, ordinance and these rules. The Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Planning Board and shall decide on all points of order and procedure, subject to these rules. The Chairperson shall appoint any committees found necessary to carry out the business of the Planning Board and may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses as necessary to carry out the business of the Planning Board. The Chairperson's signature shall be the official signature of the Planning Board and shall appear on all decisions as directed by the Planning Board.
Acting Chairperson. An Acting Chairperson shall be designated by the Planning Board to serve in the absence of the Chairperson and shall have all the powers of the Chairperson during his/her absence, disability or disqualification.
Recording Secretary. A Recording Secretary shall be designated by the Planning Board. The Recording Secretary shall keep minutes of all Planning Board proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon every question, or if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact, and shall also keep records of all Planning Board official actions. The Recording Secretary shall file a copy of the minutes with the Town Clerk. The Recording Secretary shall be responsible for calling special meetings of the Planning Board upon receiving a request from the Chairperson or by written request from any four members of the Planning Board.
Vacancies. Should any vacancy on the Planning Board occur for any reason, the Recording Secretary shall give immediate notice thereof to the Town Clerk for the Town Board to appoint to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term.
Regular meetings. The regular meetings of the Planning Board shall be held on the first Wednesday of each month in the Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Avenue, Kenmore, New York, or at such other date and time as may be determined by the Chairperson of the Planning Board.
Annual meeting. The annual organizational meeting of the Planning Board shall be the first regular meeting of the year.
Special meetings. Special meetings of the Planning Board may be called by the Chairperson. At least 72 hours' written notice of the time, place and business of the meeting shall be given each member of the Planning Board and the news media. The Chairperson shall call a special meeting within 10 days of receipt of a request from any four members of the Planning Board, which request shall specify the matters to be considered at such special meeting.
Cancellation of meetings. Whenever there is no business to be conducted at a regular meeting, the Chairperson may dispense with such meeting by electronic notice to all members not less than 48 hours prior to the time set for such meeting.
The order of business at regular meetings shall be as follows:
Approval of minutes of preceding meeting;
New business. No new matter will be considered unless the completed appropriate application for said matter is received by the enforcement officer on behalf of the Planning Board on the form provided for that purpose at least 15 days prior to the Planning Board meeting. The Chairperson, for good cause shown, may waive this requirement.
Meeting agenda. The Enforcement Officer shall be responsible, at the direction of the Planning Board, for providing any applicant with the proper forms and for instructing the interested parties on the proper procedures for completing and filing said forms. All information required thereon shall be complete before an application is considered filed. The Chairperson, or his/her designee on the Planning Board, shall review all applications received by the enforcement officer for completeness. If said application is incomplete, the applicant shall be notified within five days with instructions to remedy the same. The agenda shall be prepared by the Chairman, or the Recording Secretary, if directed by the Chairman, and distributed to all members of the Planning Board at least five calendar days prior to the meeting. Notice shall be sent to the applicant and the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, if required.
Code Enforcement Officer. At each meeting of the Planning Board, the Code Enforcement Officer shall, if the Chairperson deems necessary, provide the Planning Board with a written summary of the comments received on an application.
Any member of the Planning Board shall be allowed to cast an "Aye" or "Nay" vote. Any member of the Planning Board who believes he/she has a conflict of interest on any matter on the Planning Board agenda shall voluntarily recuse himself/herself from discussion and voting on the matter.
All communications to the Planning Board or its officers shall be filed with the Recording Secretary.
Quorum. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the members of the Planning Board.
No meeting of the Planning Board shall be held, nor any action taken, in the absence of a quorum.
Voting. All matters shall be decided by roll call vote. Decisions on any matter before the Planning Board shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of the Planning Board unless otherwise specified herein.
No member of the Planning Board shall vote on any matter in which he is personally or financially interested. Said member shall not be counted in establishing the quorum for such matter.
All matters requiring referral as specified by an ordinance or local law shall be so referred to the Planning Board for its recommendation. Within a reasonable time after receipt of a full statement of such referred matter, the Planning Board shall report its recommendations. If the Planning Board fails to respond within the prescribed time, the referring board or agency may act without such report.
Prior to taking action on any matter which would cause change in the regulations or use of land or buildings on real property as specified in § 239-n of the General Municipal Law, the Planning Board shall make referrals to the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, having jurisdiction in accordance with §§ 239-l, 239-m and 239-n of the General Municipal Law. Within 30 days after receipt of a full statement of such referred matter, the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning shall report its recommendations thereon to the Planning Board, accompanied by a full statement of the reasons for such recommendations. If such planning agency disapproves the proposal, or recommends modification thereof, the Planning Board shall not act contrary to such disapproval or recommendation except by a vote of a majority plus one of all the members thereof and after adoption of a resolution fully setting forth the reasons for such contrary action. The Chairperson shall read the report of the county planning agency on the matter under review. If such planning agency fails to report within such period of 30 days or such longer period as may have been agreed upon by it and the referring agency, the Planning Board may act without such report. However, if the Planning Board receives the report of the county planning agency after 30 days, but prior to final action by the Planning Board, then the Planning Board shall not act contrary to the recommendation by the county planning agency, except by a vote of a majority plus one of all of the members thereof.
Power and authority. The Planning Board shall have full power and authority to make such investigations, maps, reports and recommendations relating to the planning and development of the Town or other matters, as it deems desirable, or report back to the Town Board on other matters referred to it as provided by Town Law § 271.14b or this Code. The Planning Board shall have the power to act on any matter on which the Planning Board is required or authorized to act by the provisions of the Town Code or any actions of the Town Board, including:
Site plan review and approval. Pursuant to Town Law Article 16, § 274-a, and the provisions of Chapter 215 of the Town Code (Zoning), the Planning Board shall review all requests for site plan approval and approve the same. No building permit shall be issued by the Building Department unless and until the Planning Board has approved the site plan. The Building Department shall assist the Planning Board in its review of the site plan application and make recommendations as to modification and approval. It shall consider aesthetics and architectural design in its approval process, including the following:
To encourage good qualities of exterior design and appearance and to relate such design and appearance to the site and its surroundings, to encourage building design and appearance which are appropriate to the site and its surroundings, and to prevent such designs and appearance as are unnecessarily offensive to visual sensibilities, the Planning Board has the authority to recommend changes to the architectural design of buildings, the type of exterior building materials to be incorporated, the percentage of glass within wall faces, the color of buildings and other architectural features of individual buildings or building groups to promote interesting building designs within the Town and create places with character. Such recommendations can include changes to "franchise architecture" or architecture which is prototypical of a corporation or business. In acting on any recommendation to a proposed project with respect to architectural review, the Planning Board shall take into consideration the following:
The natural features of the site and its surroundings, exterior design and the appearance of existing structures and the character of the district and its peculiar suitability for particular purposes, with a view to conserving the values of property and encouraging the most appropriate use of land;
The building, if erected or altered, would be in harmony with the purpose of this chapter; would not be visually offensive or inappropriate by reason of poor quality of exterior design, excessive similarity or striking visual discord in relation to the site surroundings; would not impair the use, enjoyment and desirability or reduce the values of properties in the area; would not be detrimental to the character of the neighborhood; would not prevent the most appropriate development and utilization of the site or of adjacent lands; and would not adversely affect the functioning, economic stability, prosperity, health, safety and general welfare of the community;
Excessive similarity or striking dissimilarity to another structure or structures located or proposed to be located on the same street or within 150 feet of the site which would, if erected, provoke one or more of the following effects:
Substantially identical or striking dissimilarity of facade (disregarding color);
Substantially identical or striking dissimilarity of size and arrangement of either doors, windows, porticoes, porches or other opening breaks or extensions in the facade, including reverse arrangements;
Visual offensiveness or other poor qualities of exterior design with respect to signs, harmony or discord of colors, or incompatibility of the proper structure with the terrain on which it is to be located, such as divergences of the height or levels of any part of the structure from the finished grade level.
In recommending approval of any architectural design, the Planning Board may recommend appropriate conditions and safeguards.
Pursuant to this section, the Planning Board may assign certain of its members to an architectural review subcommittee, which shall be responsible for reviewing the architectural design of buildings and to report back to the whole Planning Board as to its recommendations.
Rezoning and special use permits. Pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 215 of the Town Code (Zoning), the Planning Board shall review all requests for rezonings and special use permits and shall make recommendations to the Town Board on the same.
Recommendations. The Planning Board shall act upon any application in a timely manner and report its recommendations to the Town Board within a reasonable period of time, but no longer than 90 days without good cause shown.
Determinations on site plan review:
Time of determinations. Determinations by the Planning Board shall be made within the time permitted by the applicable ordinance, law or regulation giving jurisdiction to the Planning Board on the matter, but not later than 62 days from the date of receipt of the completed application, unless such time shall be further extended by the applicant.
Form of determination. The final determination on any matter before the Planning Board shall be made by written order signed by the Chairperson.
Basis for determination. The Planning Board, in reaching said determination, shall be guided by standards specified in the applicable ordinance, law or regulation, as well as by community goals and policies as specified in the Town's Comprehensive Plan.
Findings. The findings of the Planning Board may be based on evidence submitted or the personal knowledge of the Planning Board to show that:
It has made an intelligent review of the question.
It has considered all of the information or evidence.
It has heard all parties in question.
Any intimate knowledge it has of the subject under question has been taken into account.
It has made a personal inspection of the parcel in question and from this examination certain findings were ascertained.
Compliance with State Environmental Quality Review Act. The Planning Board shall comply with the provisions of the State Environmental Quality Review Act under Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law and its implementing regulations as codified in 6 NYCRR 617.
Conflicts with other laws or regulations. In reviewing any application on any matter, the standards in any applicable local law or ordinance or state statute shall take precedence over the standards of these rules whenever a conflict occurs. In all other instances, the more restrictive rule shall apply.
Filing of determinations. Determinations of the Planning Board shall be immediately filed in the office of the Town Clerk and shall be a public record.