Friday, October 24, 2014
Intermunicipal Review of Local Land Use Actions

Cayuga County GML 239-l, m & n Review Committee

Sections 239-l, 239-m, and 239-n of the General Municipal Law (GML) of New York State require that certain land use actions being reviewed under local zoning, site plan, and subdivision regulations be referred to a county planning agency for review and comment on aspects of the proposal that are of countywide or intermunicipal significance. In Cayuga County, the county planning agency that reviews these referrals is the Cayuga County GML 239-l, m & n Review Committee.

The Committee was established by Cayuga County Legislative Resolution 413-05 and consists of five County department heads or their designees: Director of Planning and Development, Director of Environmental Health, Superintendent of Highways, Environmental Engineer, and Director of Soil and Water Conservation District. The Committee meets monthly to review local actions for potential intermunicipal or countywide impacts.


Referral Criteria

When a Town, Village, or City receives an application for a land use approval or is considering adopting land use plans or regulations, it must determine whether the action needs to be referred to the Cayuga County GML 239-l, m & n Review Committee. The referral criteria are established by law in GML sections 239-m and 239-n.

Towns, Villages, and Cities must refer the following actions:

  • adoption or amendment of a comprehensive plan
  • adoption or amendment of a zoning ordinance or zoning law
  • issuance of a special permit
  • approval of a site plan
  • granting of a use or area variance
  • approval of a preliminary or final subdivision plat

when the action takes place within 500 feet of:

  • the boundary of any city, village, or town
  • the boundary of any existing or proposed county or state park or other recreation area
  • the right-of-way of any existing or proposed county or state parkway, thruway, expressway, road or highway
  • the existing or proposed right-of-way of any stream or drainage channel owned by the county or for which the county has established channel lines
  • the existing or proposed boundary of any county or state owned land on which a public building or institution is situated
  • the boundary of a farm operation located in an Agricultural District created under Article 25AA of NYS Agriculture and Markets Law



GML allows the County to enter into agreements with municipalities exempting certain proposed actions that are determined to be of local concern only. The purpose of these exemptions is to eliminate unnecessary reviews, streamline local reviews and paperwork, and remove delays at the Town, Village, and City level.

Standard Cayuga County Exemption Agreement

Twenty-two local municipalities so far have executed a standard exemption agreement with the County. These municipalities are:

  • City of Auburn
  • Town of Brutus
  • Town of Cato
  • Village of Cato
  • Village of Cayuga
  • Village of Fair Haven
  • Town of Fleming
  • Town of Genoa
  • Town of Ira
  • Town of Locke
  • Town of Mentz
  • Town of Montezuma
  • Village of Moravia
  • Town of Niles
  • Town of Owasco
  • Village of Port Byron
  • Town of Scipio
  • Town of Sennett
  • Town of Sterling
  • Village of Union Springs
  • Town of Victory
  • Village of Weedsport

Standard Exemptions

  1. Activities that, while within 500 feet of a state or county highway, are on a parcel that does not front on that state or county highway
  2. Activities that, while within 500 feet of a municipal boundary, would be permitted within the area of the adjoining municipality abutting the parcel where the activity is proposed
  3. Area variances
  4. Amendments to a local zoning law or ordinance that are intended to clarify, redefine, expand, or modify words and/or terms that do not alter the dimensional or use standards of the regulation
  5. Amendments to a local zoning law or ordinance that are intended to address procedural or administrative matters that do not alter the dimensional or use standards of the regulation
  6. Amendments to a local zoning law or ordinance that are intended to reduce the type or number of uses permitted within a particular zoning district
  7. Amendments to a local zoning law or ordinance that are intended to reduce the intensity and or density of development permitted within a particular zoning district
  8. Any activity subject to review by a local agency employing a municipal planner on a full time basis who will advise the referring agency concerning the referred matter
  9. Any subdivision of land not required to be submitted to the Cayuga County Health Department for review under the definition of a subdivision set forth in section 1115 of the Public Health Law of the State of New York.

Unique Exemption Agreements

Three local municipalities have executed exemption agreements with the County that differ from the standard agreement. For more information about the exemptions in these agreements, please contact the Town or Village office directly or contact the Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development. These municipalities are:

  • Village of Aurora
  • Town of Ledyard
  • Town of Springport

Municipalities without Exemption Agreements

The remaining municipalities in Cayuga County have not yet executed an exemption agreement with the County. Local land use actions in these municipalities must follow the referral criteria established by GML. These municipalities are:

  • Town of Aurelius
  • Town of Conquest
  • Village of Meridian
  • Town of Moravia
  • Town of Sempronius
  • Town of Summerhill
  • Town of Throop
  • Town of Venice


How to Submit a Referral

Referrals must be submitted by the Town, Village or City board that is reviewing the proposed action  or other representative of the referring board.

A complete referral contains:

  1. A completed Referral Form
  2. A complete copy of the application submitted to the local municipality including all supporting materials
  3. Part 1 of an Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) completed by the applicant, for State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR). Use a Short EAF or Full EAF as required by the action type. An EAF is not necessary if the action is classified as a Type II action for SEQR, but please note on the referral form if the referring board has determined that it is a Type II action. If the SEQR process for the action has already progressed past Part 1 of the EAF, please include as much documentation as has been completed, such EAF Parts 2 and 3, a determination of significance, or a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
  4. Any other supporting materials, such as meeting minutes when the action was discussed or substantive correspondence with the applicant.

Send complete referrals by mail, fax, or email to:

  • Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development
  • 160 Genesee Street, Auburn, NY 13021
  • Fax: (315) 253-1499

The deadline for the next meeting of the Cayuga County GML 239-l, m & n Review Committee is Tuesday, November 11, 2014. Complete referrals must be received by this date in order to be reviewed at the next Committee meeting.

Full Committee schedule


Current Reviews

Cayuga County GML 239-l, m & n Review Committee Meeting on Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Media Memo
  • Agenda

Town of 

Past Committee Minutes

Draft Minutes, not yet reviewed by the Committee   

Approved Minutes

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