New York Subdivision Law Amended to Allow Planning Boards Greater Flexibility in Granting Extensions

Due to the current economic climate and project financing difficulties, Section 276(7)(c) of the New York Town Law was recently amended to allow planning boards greater flexibility in extending subdivision approval beyond the two ninety (90) day extensions previously allowed.

Town Law 276(7)(c) provides that a conditional final subdivision plat expires 180 days following the date of the resolution of approval unless all conditions are satisfied. It further authorizes planning boards to grant two extensions, having a duration of ninety (90) days each, after expiration of the original 180-day timeframe for satisfaction of conditions of approval. The costs of satisfying conditions of approval can be significant. If the conditions are not satisfied by the end of the second extension, the subdivision approval becomes null and void, and the applicant would then be required to commence the approval process all over again at significant time and expense.

The amended law now permits planning boards discretion to extend conditional final plat approval for additional ninety (90) day periods, with no limitation on the number of extensions available, “if, in a planning board’s opinion, such extension is warranted by the particular circumstances.” The bill, S07241, had a relatively quick turn-around time by the legislature after being sponsored by Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins from the 35th Congressional District in March of this year. The bill received Senate approval in April, Assembly approval in June and was signed into law by Governor Paterson on September 17, 2010 as 2010 N.Y. Laws 522.

The justification behind the legislation indicates that the current economic climate, coupled with the difficulty in obtaining project financing in many cases, argued for giving planning boards the discretion to extend conditional approval of the final plat. As further noted, “there are already significant hurdles and expenses generated in residential development which should not be compounded because of a time limitation that would effectively terminate a project.” The text of the bill is available at the New York State Assembly’s website which can be accessed by clicking here.

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