Local Planning Assistance Training

Planning board and zoning board of appeals members make decisions of major importance to their communities and to all New Yorkers. These decisions can affect the function and appearance of communities for decades to come while impacting property interests important to individual New Yorkers. For this reason the State of New York requires all Planning Board members and members of the local Board of Zoning Appeals to undergo four hours of training each year.

The Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development provides several opportunities throughout the year to help those on local planning boards and ZBAs to meet this training requirement. In addition, there are many training opportunities available in neighboring counties and on-line.


Cayuga County Planning Board Training Series

Pre-registration for training sessions in the Cayuga County Planning Board Training Series is required by 1pm the day of the training. To sign up, please use the links below or contact the Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development by phone at (315) 253-1276 or by e-mail at

All sessions in the Cayuga County Planning Board Training Series are free of charge and designed for members of locally elected and appointed boards.

Materials from past training sessions are available HERE.


Upcoming Sessions in the Cayuga County Planning Board Training Series


March 13, 2019, 7:00 PM

SEQR, Recording Findings, & Ethics

Conducting a rigorous, comprehensive Environmental Assessment review can be daunting. Presenters will review the SEQR process, including DEC's updates for 2019, as well as best practices for documenting findings. The presentation will conclude with a discussion about ethics, potential legal ramifications, and relevant case law.

Cost: FREE, 2 hours credit.

Presenter: Cayuga County Planning.


April 10, 2019, 6:00 PM

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About FOIL and Open Meetings ... But Were Afraid to Ask

The Committee on Open Government is responsible for overseeing and advising with regard to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), the Open Meetings Law, and the Personal Privacy Protection Law. Bob Freeman has worked for the Committee since its creation in 1974 and was appointed director in 1976. Mr. Freeman has spoken on open government laws and concepts throughout the United States, as well as Canada, the far east, Latin America, and eastern Europe, and has taught the only course in an American law school on public access to government information.

Cost: FREE, 2 hours credit.

Presenter: New York State Committee on Open Government.


August 14, 2019, 7:00 PM

Special Use Permits vs. Planned Development Districts

When it comes to granting zoning approvals, not all review processes are created equal. Presenters will compare the benefits and drawbacks of two common reviews, Special Use Permits (SUP) and Plannded Development Districts (PDD), and provide examples of when and when not to deploy them.

Cost: FREE, 2 hours credit.

Presenter: Cayuga County Planning.


November 13, 2019, 7:00 PM

Implementing Your Plans: Funding Opportunities in New York State

Presenters will highlight grants available through the Consolidated Funding Application including: the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP), Water Quality Improvement Projects Program, the Climate Smart Communities Program, parks and trails programs, and the Canalway Grants Program. A breakdown of the application process and a review of recent grants awarded in Cayuga County will also be provided.

Cost: FREE, 2 hours credit.

Presenter: Cayuga County Planning.


Have an idea for a training topic that you want to learn about? Call the Planning Department at (315) 253-1276 or send us an e-mail at



Below are some of the nearby training opportunities. Look for announcements of other local and regional training opportunities on the NYS Land Use Training Network Calendar.

Previous Trainings

Jump to Year:   2011   |   2012   |   2013   |   2014 |   2015 |   2016 |   2017

August 2018

Site Plan Review

Presenters will discuss the fundamentals of Site Plan Review, including what to look for to ensure a safe, functioning plan is approved.  Attendees will leave with a basic understanding of how to read and interpret scaled site plans.

Power Point Presentation

April 2018

Hot Button Land Use Issues

Local governments are not able to regulate all uses the same way: some uses have special statutory protection or rules established through case law and require special consideration, such as religious uses, mining, and telecommunications facilities. Other uses might be new to the local officials attempting to regulate them, such as solar energy facilities, barn weddings, and short-term rentals. This course is an overview of some of the land uses that many local officials find challenging, along with the statutory rules and case law associated with them and options for regulating them

Power Point Presentation

March 2018

Planning Issues for Waterfront Communities

This course discussses the issues centered around communities with waterfront properties.  Topics such as the regulation of short term rentals, waterfront revitalization projects, and environmental land use regulation are discussed.

Power Point Presentation

November  2017

Building the Community You Want

A discussion of various zoning tools, such as Overlay Zones, Performance Regulations, and Planned Development
Districts, and how they may applied to achieve a community's planning goals.

Power Point Presentation

September 2017

Leasing Your Land For Renewable Energy Development

Many Landowners isn Cayuga County have been approached with offers to lease their land for the development of solar or wind energy projects. The Cayuga County Planning Department is hosting this informational meeting for rural landowners to learn about the pros and cons of leasing their land for renewable energy development.

Scott Kurkoski, ESQ. is the invited speaker. Mr. Kurkoski is a partner in the Binghamton, New York law firm of Levene Gouldin & Thompson, LLP. He received his B.A. degree from Ithaca College (1985) and his J.D. degree from Temple University Law School (1989). Mr. Kurkoski concentrates his practice in the areas of energy, commercial litigation and business and real estate transactions. He is Chair of the Levene Gouldin & Thompson Energy Practice Group and Chair of the Broome County Bar Association Energy Committee.

Power Point Presentation

August 2017

Natural Resource Protection

Power Point Presentation

March 2017

Introduction to Planning Boards and Zoning Boards of Appeal

Power Point Presentation

Resource Materials

November 2016

Planning For Solar

Power Point Presentation

July 2016

Stormwater Management

Power Point Presentation

Resource Materials

Municipal Regulation of Solar

March 2016

Introduction to the Zoning Board of Appeals

Power Point Presentation

Resource Materials

July 2015

The Basics of Site Plan Review

Power Point Presentation

Resource Materials

Example Plans

April 2015

Rural Planning- NYS DOS Presentation

Power Point Presentation

Revising Zoning- NYS DOS Presentation

Power Point Presentation

Resource Materials

March 2015

Nonconforming Uses: How to Regulate and Enforce Legally Nonconforming Uses

Power Point Presentation

Resource Materials

Introduction to Subdivision Review and Making Better Decisions

Hazard Mitigation and You: What You Need to Know

May 2014

Complete Streets Walking Workshop

April 2014

Stormwater Regulation for Local Review Boards

Intermunicipal Planning

March 2014

Farm Stands, Tasting Rooms, and Agritourism: Where Agricultural and Commercial Uses Intersect

September 2013

Balance on a Steep Slope: How to Protect Sensitive Natural Features without Stifling Development

July 2013

Updates to State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR)

Some of the outside links have changed since this presentation was given. The links below are the current effective links, but some of the documents may contain older links.The new Environmental Assessment Forms (EAF) are now required for all newly submitted projects.

May 2013

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Regulatory 101

April 2013

Locally Unwanted Land Uses

Record Keeping

March 2013


February 2013

Introduction to Zoning Board of Appeals

November 2012

Introduction to Zoning Board of Appeals

July 2012

Smart Growth and Visualizing Density

April 2012

Planning & Zoning Case Law Update


November 2011


September 2011

Planning for Renewable Energy

Introduction to Zoning Board of Appeals


Sample Applications for Appeals to the Zoning Board of Appeals

Sample Decisions

Decision Support Worksheets

July 2011

Introduction to Planning Board

April 2011

Planned Development Districts

How to Conduct Effective Meetings