Commission staff continue to field many questions from towns and villages related to COVID-19. Please see our new Frequently Asked Questions document to help answer those questions, at tughill.org/covid-19/. Have more questions? Send us an email or give us a call!
Commission planning director Matt Johnson will deliver a training session entitled “Evaluating and Amending Your Zoning Law” on Tuesday, September 29 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Lowville Town Hall, 5535 Botswick Street, Lowville 13367. This presentation will explore reasons you may want or need to update your zoning law and cover the statutory process for doing so. Is your law lacking standards for newer land uses? Is it out of sync with your comprehensive plan? Are parts of it ‘un-enforceable’? We will discuss these and other issues. We will also detail the proper procedure for adoption in regard to public hearings, SEQR compliance, and county planning review. Register at us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iZnAZ4fQSsaWyzLnP2bE4A.
Attorneys Jim Burrows and Dave Geurtsen from Conboy Law Firm will be presenting “ZBA Basics” on Thursday, October 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the West Carthage Community Room, 61 High Street, West Carthage, NY 13619. The course will increase understanding of the powers and duties of the zoning board of appeals, basic zoning concepts and functions, and statutory requirements that zoning boards of appeals must consider before granting use and area variances. Register at us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_E-w57N3JTCe5olrMcQDmBA.
In-person attendance for both sessions will be limited to the first 23 registrants, and all attendees will be required to socially distance, wear a mask, and answer questions about health and travel. Hand sanitizer will be available, and no walk-ins will be allowed. The training session will also be viewable live via Zoom. When registering, please pay special attention to the question regarding how you plan to attend.
Justice Court Solutions for Small Towns and Villages Webinar Thursday, June 18, 2020 10:30 am to Noon
Register in advance: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_BHgunBP3RAqC5M4x6kpvhQ
There are multiple options available to municipalities for shared services in the justice courts, some of which require home rule legislation and action by the State Legislature and some which require no home rule legislation and local action only. This session will provide details on these options and share several real-life Tug Hill examples. The commission’s issue paper on the topic is good background material, available at www.tughill.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Justice-Court-Consolidation-Solutions-Final.pdf.
SPEAKER: Angie Kimball, Cooperative Tug Hill Council Circuit Rider, NYS Tug Hill Commission.
Angie has served as a commission circuit rider since 2012. Prior to her work at the commission, Angie served as a town justice for Redfield for several years. She has presented on the topic at the NYS Department of State Local Government Innovation Conference and at the Rockefeller Institute for Government’s annual local government forum.
The Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefits Act (Act) was finalized in the 2020-21 state budget adopted last week. The Act became effective immediately and sunsets December 31, 2030. Below are bullet points with some highlights of the Act. The full text of the new law is here: NYS 2020-21 Budget PART JJJ.
- Amends Public Service Law to exclude renewable energy from Article 10
- Projects in Article 10 (even at draft Public Involvement Program stage) can shift to new process if they are greater than 20 MW
- Creates the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (Office) in the Department of State to oversee new process
- Renewable energy projects greater than 25 MW and co-located storage can go through
- Uniform standards and conditions for siting design, construction and operation must be set within one year. Four public hearing will be held to gather public input.
- Applications submitted to Office must show proof of consultation with municipality. Office has 60 days to review and deem complete. If no determination in 60 days, application is deemed complete.
- Within 60 days after application is complete, Office meets with other State agencies and publishes draft permit conditions for 60-day public comment with notification to municipality and public notice.
- Projects must adhere to all local laws unless the law is found to be unreasonably burdensome. Office can override local law if unreasonably burdensome in light of Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals & environmental benefits
- $1000/KW for intervenor fees for local governments and community intervenors
- Amends Article 8 of Public Authorities Law to add a new Title 9-B: Clean Energy Resources and Development Program and establishes the program at NYSERDA
- New program includes identifying sites, establishing protocols (including for notification to local government), undertaking work to acquire land control and permits, running a competitive program to transfer projects to private developers, providing community incentives, etc.
- Requires Department of Public Service to complete a power grid study within nine months.
- Authorizes New York Power Authority to build identified bulk power projects identified in the DPS study that are needed to expeditiously achieve CLCPA targets.
- Public Service Commission will commence a proceeding to determine utility bill discounts or other benefits for residents of clean energy project host communities.
- Public Service Commission must complete Article 7 (transmission) reviews within 12 months of complete application.
- Amends Environmental Conservation Law to authorize DEC to use funds to implement and Endangered and Threatened Species Mitigation Plan.
- Removes the requirement that municipalities consult with NYSERDA on PILOTs made in the initial proposal
Given the most recent guidance from NYS and the CDC regarding the coronavirus, the Tug Hill Commission has made the difficult decision to cancel the annual Tug Hill Local Government Conference scheduled for Thursday, March 26. Registered attendees, exhibitors and speakers should have already received email messages from someone at the commission with information.
We are working with our speakers to gather their presentations or recordings of their presentations. While not ideal, we know many of you depend on the LGC training to meet your four-hour planning and zoning board training requirement. This year’s schedule was exceptional with many hot topics being addressed, and we want you to have this information in hand sooner rather than later. Please watch your email for more information over the next week, as well as our 2020 LGC Page and Facebook page. We will upload the presentation materials as we receive them from our speakers. Please keep in mind that presenters may not have the capability or availability to provide us their sessions, as they too may be facing a great deal of uncertainty in their work flows.
We hope you, your families, and your communities stay healthy and that this situation resolves quickly. We will miss seeing you on March 26, but know that we are only a phone call or email away. Please reach out to us at (315) 785-2380 if you have any questions.
New to local government in the Tug Hill region? Not sure exactly how staff at the Tug Hill Commission can assist? Please take a look at our updated Local Government Services brochure here!
The Northern Oneida County Council of Governments (NOCCOG) in cooperation with the NYS Tug Hill Commission seeks applicants for the position of NOCCOG Municipal Management Consultant. NOCCOG is a cooperative of 17-member local governments in the Tug Hill region providing day-to-day technical assistance through this position to its member communities. Answering to an executive committee and working as a state employee of the commission the person filling this post is expected, in addition to managing associates, to establish and maintain regular contact with member communities and to serve as the program manager. The ability to work independently and be self-motivated is critical to this position. Submit letter of interest and resume to Jean Waterbury, NYS Tug Hill Commission, 317 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601, firstname.lastname@example.org by February 21, 2020.
Read the full job description here: NOCCOG Municipal Management Consultant.
LAND USE PLANNING WORKSHOP TO BE HELD ON APRIL 22, 2019 AT JCC FROM 6:30-8:30PM
THE JULES CENTER AMPHITHEATER, ROOM 6-002
COSPONSORED BY JEFFERSON COUNTY PLANNING AND TUG HILL COMMISSION
From the applicant’s first sketch on the back of a napkin to the final approved project, the complete land development review process including SEQR will be explained in detail.
Helpful checklists, forms, and outlines will be provided. Planning boards, zoning boards of appeal, code enforcement officers, and all those interested in learning more about the review of proposals for development are invited to attend in order to better understand the project review process.
The workshop speaker will be Phil Street, Planning Director for the Tug Hill Commission. Phil has been with the commission for over 40 years and Planning Director for over 20. He works with many of the Tug Hill region’s towns and villages on land use laws and comprehensive plans.
The latest issue of Headwaters is now available on the Tug Hill Commission’s website, https://tughill.org/publications/headwaters/.
This year’s annual report highlights the commission’s 45th anniversary and new book, the local leaders survey, complete streets, Super COG, the passing of Arnie Talgo, training opportunities, and updates from all five councils of governments.
This new book by Norah Machia provides a comprehensive description of the Tug Hill Commission and its efforts to help local governments with a variety of issues, including natural resource conservation and economic development. It offers the reader a glimpse into the work done by the commission’s leaders, staff and volunteers to build strong relationships with the people of the Tug Hill region, resulting in a successful partnership that has spanned decades.
The author also brings to life the stories of Tug Hill residents who have worked diligently to protect and develop their lands, allowing others to enjoy the richness and diversity of this 2,100-square-mile rural region in Northern New York.
Numerous back roads were traveled to seek out the people that make this part of New York State so unique, including farmers, maple syrup producers, and loggers. The author also shares the stories of life-long residents who have, among many other things, survived years of harsh winters on the Tug Hill plateau, home to the heaviest snowfall in the eastern United States.
The book is available for purchase from Amazon, Kinney Drugs, and the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust’s website.