Referral Procedures

On Friday, April 21, 2017 the Washington County Board of Supervisors created the Washington County Planning Agency. This new body is now responsible for the review of certain local planning and zoning actions pursuant to General Municipal Law Section §239 [GML §239-(l)M]. The result of these changes is that local Planning and Zoning referrals, as required under GML §239, previously handled by the Washington County Planning Board are handled by the Washington County Planning Agency.  

As of January 2022 the Planning Agency has adjusted its policy for the receipt of GML §239-m referrals to the Washington County Planning Agency. The Planning Agency was established in 2017 primarily to maximize convenience and minimize expense to both applicants and the referring municipality. One advantage of the Planning Agency is its flexibility to respond to referrals as they are submitted. This ability to meet on an as needed basis continues when local municipal time constraints require immediate Agency review. 
While the flexible option is still in place, the Planning Agency has determined it more efficient to hold regularly scheduled meetings, which will typically be the last Tuesday of the month
As such, local Planning and Zoning referrals, as required under GML§239-m, are to be submitted no later than ten (10) business days prior to the regularly scheduled Planning Agency meeting. 

  1. Referral submission forms must be completed and accompanied by a “full statement of such proposed action” as required by §239-M. 
  2. Local Planning and Zoning Boards will submit one (1) paper copy of all submitted materials OR an electronic version of the complete full statement. For electronic submissions please e-mail the submission to 
    Washington County Planning Department : [email protected]

Applicants are not permitted to submit referrals directly to the Agency; referrals must be submitted by the referring body. 
 Applicants are no longer requested to attend referral review meetings, though meetings are open to attend. If the Planning Agency has questions about a referral, they will first reach out to the referring municipality. The Planning Agency will only contact the applicant if absolutely necessary.

Document Checklist

The following items are to be completed and are provided as a checklist to ensure the proper documents are complied by the referring body ensuring a “full statement of such proposed action”

  • Signed GML §239-M Referral Form 
  • Signed "draft" Environmental Assessment Forms (EAF) and all other materials used by the referring body to make a determination of significance pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA)
  • Copy of the full text of ordinance or local law being proposed or amended (if applicable)                                             [Provide details of any requirements of the municipalities codes or regulations that were waived]
  • Copy of the application submitted to the referring body
  • Maps & Plans: Provide four (4) copies of maps and plans that exceed letter or legal size (larger than 11"x17")
  • Aerial photograph(s) showing the context of the site location
  • One (1) printed copy of the full statement with the stated inclusions OR an electronic copy of the full statement:       [An electronic copy my be submitted by email. Email to Washington County Planning Department : [email protected]]
  • Copy of the requirements of the Municipal Code or Regulations pertaining to or waived for the referred project
  • Agricultural Data Form - This form must be completed for applications requiring municipal review for
     Special Use Permit, Site Plan Approval, or Use Variance proposed to occur on property within 500 feet (500’) of
     a farm operation located in an Agricultural District (Section 283-a of Town Law or 7-739 of Village Law).

All materials for referral must be delivered by hand, email or by postal mail to the Washington County Planning Department office by 9 a.m.10 days prior to the meeting date on which it wishes to be reviewed.

Physical and Mailing Address: Washington County Planning  383 Broadway Fort Edward, NY 12828

Report of Final Action
As per GML §239-m(6) of the General Municipal Law of the State of New York, within 30 days of taking final action on a GML §239-m referral, the local referring board is to file a report with Washington County Planning Agency of the final action that was taken. 

Report of Final Action Form

GML §239-m(6): 

6. Report of final action. Within thirty days after final action, the referring body shall file a report of the final action it has taken with the county planning agency or regional planning council. A referring body which acts contrary to a recommendation of modification or disapproval of a proposed action shall set forth the reasons for the contrary action in such report.

Any questions regarding procedure for GML §239 referrals and the Washington County Planning Agency please contact the Washington County Planning Office at (518)746-2290