Suffolk County, New York is a vibrant area with a variety of cities and towns that have the authority to adopt or modify zoning regulations. Before any decisions are made, these municipalities must consult with the Suffolk County Planning Commission. This commission is responsible for providing advice to the Council on Environmental Quality and the Suffolk County Planning Commission on the impacts of municipal and private actions on the county as a whole. Additionally, they oversee open space programs, farmland development rights purchase programs, and agricultural district programs within the county. Article XXXV of the Suffolk County Statutes outlines the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning.
The public can view notices of meetings, agendas, staff reports, summaries, and resolutions from the Suffolk County Planning Commission on their website. The commission is also required to publish an annual report for the County Executive and Legislature. The Suffolk County Planning Commission is made up of 15 members who are nominated by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Legislature. The commission has adopted a guide that outlines referral procedures, policies, and standards that are applied when making decisions. They are also responsible for improving water quality by overseeing, managing, and implementing water quality protection and restoration programs.
In addition, they coordinate activities between the Department of Public Works and the County Parks Department. The annual reports of the Suffolk County Planning Commission and other reports written by County Planning staff can be found on their website. All towns and villages in Suffolk County that have jurisdiction to adopt or modify zoning regulations must refer any municipal zoning or subdivision action to the Suffolk County Planning Commission. This includes issuing special permits and modifications or approving subdivision parcels and condominiums. Under Suffolk County law, a fee must be collected for each zoning or subdivision action referred to the Planning Commission with the exception of comprehensive plans. The Suffolk County Planning and Environmental Division manages programs, develops policies, and provides information to promote sound planning and environmental protection in the county. The Suffolk County Planning Commission must act upon any referral within 45 days of receiving a full statement of the proposed action.