ZONING BOARD’S FAILURE TO REFER THE AREA VARIANCE APPLICATION TO THE PLANNING BOARD AS REQUIRED BY THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW WAS A JURISDICTIONAL DEFECT, DETERMINATION GRANTING THE VARIANCE VACATED (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department, modifying Supreme Court, determined the town respondents violated General Municipal Law 239-m by not referring an application for an area variance by respondent mining operation  to the planning board. The violation was a jurisdictional defect that did not trigger the 30-day statute of limitations:

“General Municipal Law § 239-m requires that a municipal agency, before taking final action on an application for [land use] approval, refer that application to a county or regional planning board for its recommendation”… . It is undisputed that the ZBA (zoning board of appeals) did not refer the initial application for an area variance to the Cayuga County Planning Board (County Planning Board) before taking final action on that application. Contrary to the contention of the Town respondents, area variances are proposed actions for which referral is required under the statute … . “The alleged failure to comply with the referral provisions of the statute is not a mere procedural irregularity but is rather a jurisdictional defect involving the validity of a legislative act” … . Thus, the ZBA’s failure to refer the initial application for an area variance to the County Planning Board renders the subsequent approval by the ZBA “null and void” … . Matter of Fichera v New York State Dept. of Envtl. Conservation, 2018 NY Slip Op 01843, Fourth Dept 3-16-18

ZONING (VARIANCES, ZONING BOARD’S FAILURE TO REFER THE AREA VARIANCE APPLICATION TO THE PLANNING BOARD AS REQUIRED BY THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW WAS A JURISDICTIONAL DEFECT, DETERMINATION GRANTING THE VARIANCE VACATED (FOURTH DEPT))/VARIANCES (ZONING BOARD’S FAILURE TO REFER THE AREA VARIANCE APPLICATION TO THE PLANNING BOARD AS REQUIRED BY THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW WAS A JURISDICTIONAL DEFECT, DETERMINATION GRANTING THE VARIANCE VACATED (FOURTH DEPT))/GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW (ZONING, VARIANCES, ZONING BOARD’S FAILURE TO REFER THE AREA VARIANCE APPLICATION TO THE PLANNING BOARD AS REQUIRED BY THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW WAS A JURISDICTIONAL DEFECT, DETERMINATION GRANTING THE VARIANCE VACATED (FOURTH DEPT))/CIVIL PROCEDURE (STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS, ZONING, ZONING BOARD’S FAILURE TO REFER THE AREA VARIANCE APPLICATION TO THE PLANNING BOARD AS REQUIRED BY THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW WAS A JURISDICTIONAL DEFECT, DETERMINATION GRANTING THE VARIANCE VACATED (FOURTH DEPT))

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