The Suffolk County Planning Commission has the responsibility to:
- Review local zoning actions and site plans meeting certain jurisdictional requirements
- Prepare a Comprehensive Plan for Suffolk County;
- Conduct studies and render reports as are needed in the performance of its functions;
- Report annually to the legislature on the status of the County;
In addition, the Planning Commission may, on request of any town or village in Suffolk County, furnish a town or village with requested planning services.
Each town and village in Suffolk County that has the jurisdiction to adopt or amend zoning regulations, issue special permits and variances, or approve subdivision plats and condominiums must refer to the Suffolk County Planning Commission any municipal zoning or subdivision action within the Commission’s jurisdiction.
Under Suffolk County law, the Suffolk County Planning Commission is comprised of 15 members who are each nominated by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Legislature. Each of the ten Suffolk County towns is represented by one commission member. In addition, one commission member represents incorporated villages with populations under 5,000, one member represents villages with populations over 5,000, and there are three at-large members. County law also requires that the commission members collectively reflect a variety of backgrounds including law, business, real estate, labor, environmental action, and transportation.
The current members of the Suffolk County Planning Commission are:
|Jennifer Casey, Chair
||Town of Huntington
|Adrienne Esposito, Vice-Chair
||Villages over 5,000 Population
|Samuel Chu, 2nd Vice-Chair
||Town of Babylon
||Town of Brookhaven
||Town of East Hampton
||Town of Islip
||Town of Riverhead
|Nicholas Gould Morehead
||Town of Shelter Island
||Town of Smithtown
||Town of Southampton
|Thomas J. McCarthy
||Town of Southold
||Villages under 5,000 Population
|Kevin G. Gershowitz
Meetings of the Suffolk County Planning Commission are held on the first Wednesday of every month at 2:00 PM, unless otherwise noted.
The jurisdiction of the Suffolk County Planning Commission is any real property lying within one mile of an airport or within 500 feet from:
- The boundary of any village or town;
- The boundary of any existing or proposed county, state or federal park or other recreation area;
- The right-of-way of any existing or proposed county or state parkway, thruway, expressway, road or highway;
- Existing or proposed right-of-way of any stream or drainage channel owned by the county or for which the county has established channel lines;
- The existing or proposed boundary of any other county, state, or federally owned land held or to be held for governmental use; or
- The Atlantic Ocean, Long Island Sound, any bay in Suffolk County or estuary of any of the foregoing bodies of water; or which would change the district classification of or the regulations applying to real property lying wholly or partially within the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Zone as described in the Charter.
The Suffolk County Planning Commission must act upon the referral of a municipal action within 45 days of the receipt of a full statement of the proposed action. In conducting its review, the Suffolk County Planning Commission's primary interest is to protect the public interest and investment. The Commission also provides local officials with the planning expertise of the County Planning staff and the experience of the County Planning Commission on inter-municipal and area-wide impacts of proposed municipal actions.
By resolution, the Planning Commission may: approve the proposed action without change, approve the action with modifications, approve the action subject to conditions, or disapprove the proposed action. All decisions by the Commission (except approvals) must be accompanied by a report which explicitly states the reasons for the Commission's decisions to help the municipality evaluate the proposed action. If the Planning Commission does not act upon a proposed municipal zoning action within the 45 day period, the action shall be deemed to have been approved.
When the Planning Commission approves a proposed zoning or subdivision action, the municipality may adopt the action in the ordinary course of municipal business. When the Planning Commission disapproves the action or approves the action with changes or conditions, then the municipality may amend the proposed action in accordance with the Planning Commission's recommendations and adopt it in the ordinary course of municipal business. But if the municipality declines to adopt one or all of the Commission's recommendations, it can adopt the original proposal in a resolution that explicitly sets forth its reasons for not adopting the Planning Commission's recommendations. A decision of disapproval from the Suffolk County Planning Commission can be overridden upon an affirmative vote of a majority-plus-one of the entire membership of the referring body.
The following key map shows the jurisdiction of the Suffolk County Planning Commission. Click on a section of the map to see a PDF of the Jurisdictional Map for that area:
The Suffolk County Administrative Code, Section A14-26 requires the Suffolk County Planning Commission to collect a fee for each zoning or subdivision action referred to the Planning Commission, with the exception of comprehensive plans.
The Suffolk County Administrative Code, Section A14-6 requires the Suffolk County Planning Commission to prepare and release an Annual Report for the County Executive and County Legislature. The annual report chronicles the activities of the Commission and includes a “survey of conditions in the county.” The Suffolk County Planning Commission’s Annual Reports and other reports authored by the County Planning staff can be found at the publications page of the Suffolk County Division of Planning and Environment.
The Suffolk County Planning Commission has adopted the Suffolk County Planning Commission Guidebook as its rules and regulations relating to referral procedures, policies, and standards that the Commission applies to proposals in reaching its decisions. The most recent update to the guidebook was released in 2012.
The Suffolk County Planning Commission occasionally authors other reports or model codes on various topics, to help inform municipalities and the public: