27-a. Site plan review. 1. Definition of site plan. As used in this section the term "site plan" shall mean a rendering, drawing, or sketch prepared to specifications and containing necessary elements, as set forth in the applicable ordinance or local law, which shows the arrangement, layout and design of the proposed use of a single parcel of land as shown on said plan. Plats showing lots, blocks or sites which are subject to review pursuant to authority provided for the review of subdivisions under section thirty-two of this article shall continue to be subject to such review and shall not be subject to review as site plans under this section.
2. Approval of site plans. a. The legislative body of each city may, as part of a zoning ordinance or local law adopted pursuant to subdivisions twenty-four and twenty-five of section twenty of this chapter or by local law or ordinance adopted pursuant to other enabling law, authorize the planning board or such other administrative body that it shall so designate, to review and approve, approve with modifications or disapprove site plans, prepared to specifications set forth in the ordinance or local law and/or in regulations of such authorized board. Site plans shall show the arrangement, layout and design of the proposed use of the land on said plan. The ordinance or local law shall specify the land uses that require site plan approval and the elements to be included on plans submitted for approval. The required site plan elements which are included in the local law or ordinance may include, where appropriate, those related to parking, means of access, screening, signs, landscaping, architectural features, location and dimensions of buildings, adjacent land uses and physical features meant to protect adjacent land uses as well as any additional elements specified by the legislative body in such zoning ordinance or local law.
b. When an authorization to approve site plans is granted by the legislative body pursuant to this section, the terms thereof may condition the issuance of a building permit upon such approval.
3. Application for area variance. Notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, where a proposed site plan contains one or more features which do not comply with the zoning regulations, application may be made to the zoning board of appeals for an area variance pursuant to section eighty-one-b of article five-a of this chapter without the necessity of a decision or determination of an administration official charged with the enforcement of the zoning regulations.
4. Conditions attached to the approval of site plans. The authorized board shall have the authority to impose such reasonable conditions and restrictions as are directly related to and incidental to a proposed site plan. Upon its approval of said site plan, any such conditions must be met in connection with the issuance of permits by applicable enforcement agents or officers of the city.
5. Waiver of requirements. The legislative body may further empower the authorized board to, when reasonable, waive any requirements for the approval, approval with modifications or disapproval of site plans submitted for approval. Any such waiver, which shall be subject to appropriate conditions set forth in the local law adopted pursuant to this section, may be exercised in the event any such requirements are found not to be requisite in the interest of the public health, safety and general welfare or inappropriate to a particular site plan.
6. Reservation of parkland on site plans containing residential units. a. Before such authorized board may approve a site plan containing residential units, such site plan shall also show, when required by such board, a park or parks suitably located for playground or other recreational purposes.
b. Land for park, playground or other recreational purposes may not be required until the authorized board has made a finding that a proper case exists for requiring that a park or parks be suitably located for playgrounds or other recreational purposes within the city. Such findings shall include an evaluation of the present and anticipated future needs for park and recreational facilities in the city based on projected population growth to which the particular site plan will contribute.
c. In the event the authorized board makes a finding pursuant to paragraph b of this subdivision that the proposed site plan presents a proper case for requiring a park or parks suitably located for playgrounds or other recreational purposes, but that a suitable park or parks of adequate size to meet the requirement cannot be properly located on such site plan, the authorized board may require a sum of money in lieu thereof to be established by the legislative body. In making such determination of suitability, the board shall assess the size and suitability of lands shown on the site plan which could be possible locations for park or recreational facilities, as well as practical factors including whether there is a need for additional facilities in the immediate neighborhood. Any monies required by the authorized board in lieu of land for park, playground or other recreational purposes, pursuant to the provisions of this section, shall be deposited into a trust fund to be used by the city exclusively for park, playground or other recreational purposes, including the acquisition of property.
d. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subdivision, if the land included in a site plan under review is a portion of a subdivision plat which has been reviewed and approved pursuant to section thirty-two of this article, the authorized board shall credit the applicant for any land set aside or money donated in lieu thereof under such subdivision plat approval. In the event of resubdivision of such plat, nothing shall preclude the additional reservation of parkland or money donated in lieu thereof.
7. Performance bond or other security. As an alternative to the installation of required infrastructure and improvements, prior to approval by the authorized board, a performance bond or other security sufficient to cover the full cost of the same, as estimated by the authorized board or a city department designated by the authorized board to make such estimate, where such departmental estimate is deemed acceptable by the authorized board, shall be furnished to the city by the owner. Such security shall be provided to the city pursuant to the provisions of subdivision eight of section thirty-three of this article.
8. Public hearing and decision on site plans. In the event a public hearing is required by ordinance or local law adopted by the legislative body, the authorized board shall conduct a public hearing within sixty-two days from the day an application is received on any matter referred to it under this section. The authorized board shall mail notice of said hearing to the applicant at least ten days before said hearing and shall give public notice of said hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the city at least five days prior to the date thereof and shall make a decision on the application within sixty-two days after such hearing, or after the day the application is received if no hearing has been held. The time within which the authorized board must render its decision may be extended by mutual consent of the applicant and such board. The decision of the authorized board shall be filed in the office of the city clerk within five business days after such decision is rendered, and a copy thereof mailed to the applicant. Nothing herein shall preclude the holding of a public hearing on any matter on which a public hearing is not so required.
9. Notice to county planning board or agency or regional planning council. At least ten days before such hearing, the authorized board shall mail notices thereof to the county planning board or agency or regional planning council, as required by section two hundred thirty-nine-m of the general municipal law, which notice shall be accompanied by a full statement of such proposed action, as defined in subdivision one of section two hundred thirty-nine-m of the general municipal law. In the event a public hearing is not required, such proposed action shall be referred before final action is taken thereon.
10. Compliance with state environmental quality review act. The authorized board shall comply with the provisions of the state environmental quality review act under article eight of the environmental conservation law and its implementing regulations.
11. Court review. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the authorized board or any officer, department, board or bureau of the city may apply to the supreme court for review by a proceeding under article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules. Such proceedings shall be instituted within thirty days after the filing of a decision by such board in the office of the city clerk. The court may take evidence or appoint a referee to take such evidence as it may direct, and report the same, with findings of fact and conclusions of law, if it shall appear that testimony is necessary for the proper disposition of the matter. The court shall itself dispose of the matter on the merits, determining all questions which may be presented for determination.
12. Costs. Costs shall not be allowed against the authorized board unless it shall appear to the court that it acted with gross negligence, in bad faith, or with malice in making the decision appealed from.
13. Preference. All issues addressed by the court in any proceeding under this section shall have preference over all civil actions and proceedings.
14. Applicability. This section shall not apply to any city having a population of more than one million.
Last modified: February 3, 2019