LGt Training Course Listing

Local Government Training Municipal officials seeking basic information about local government powers and duties can look to the Department of State for such information. Basic and slightly more advanced land use courses can benefit members of planning boards and zoning boards of appeals, elected officials, zoning enforcement officers and municipal employees. The course content is intended to familiarize local officials with procedure, applicable State statutes, general design concepts and the context in which local decision making occurs.


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Courses Eligible for Continuing Legal Education Credit »    Courses Eligible for Continuing Education for Code Enforcement Officials »

Adopting and Amending Zoning
1½ Hours

An examination of the origins of zoning and the purposes for adopting regulations; the role of the municipal comprehensive plan; specific steps a municipality must take to prepare their first set of zoning regulations; procedures for the adoption and amendment of zoning laws and ordinances, including referral to the county planning board, public hearings, and filing requirements.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Aging in Place
1 Hour

Is your community ready for its aging Baby Boomers? With our growing population of older residents, are local steps being taken to ensure that they can live independently for as long as possible?  What makes a community livable for older citizens benefits people of all ages and physical abilities?  This presentation provides land use planning and regulatory tools to help people in your community to age in place. Topics include a variety of housing choices, accessory dwelling units, Golden Zones, and senior friendly sidewalk and street designs.

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Case Law Update for Planning and Zoning
1 Hour

Recent cases that pertain to land use will be summarized and the implications of them on land use regulation at the local level explored. Opinions by the New York State Attorney General, Office of State Comptroller, and Committee on Open Government that pertain to land use and local governance will also be reviewed.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1 hour of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Community Design Tools
1½ Hours

Municipal officials have a variety of tools available to them to help shape the appearance of their community. At this session tools ranging from simple design guidelines to landscape ordinances and architectural review boards are discussed. We'll look at some practical approaches that can be applied to both public and private development, and explain some basic design concepts.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Comprehensive Planning
1½ Hours

This session will include a discussion of the practical and legal benefits of adopting a comprehensive plan. Included are the importance of involving the public in the development of the plan—early on; strategies for compiling essential data to set the direction of the plan; plan contents; and steps leading to the adoption of a comprehensive plan. There will be a review of the comprehensive plan statutes as well.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1 hour of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

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Downtown Revitalization
1½ Hours

Nearly every vibrant downtown owes some of its success to people living in or very close to the central business district. Recent changes in New York State's Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code made it easier to rehabilitate upper floors of buildings downtown for residential use, which is good news for New York's downtowns. But challenges remain. This course touches on some of the building code changes and provides information local officials can utilize to encourage and support downtown retail through land use regulation and other resources.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.

Enforcement of Zoning and Other Local Laws
1½ Hours

Municipalities have various regulations that are an extension of their police power that aren’t necessarily enforced by the police—zoning, property maintenance, and noise regulations, for example. This session reviews how these regulations are enforced, with discussion of the relationship between the enforcement officer and the review boards, the effect of an appeal of an enforcement action to the zoning board of appeals, and judicial enforcement of violations.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Ethical Standards for Planning and Zoning Boards —Available Online Only
1 Hour

The public interest requires that municipal officers be of good moral character and integrity.  Municipal officers should be protected from unwarranted assault on their integrity.  This presentation will help members of planning boards and zoning boards of appeals determine if a conflict of interest exists in certain municipal transactions.  Discussion topics will include Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and its disclosure requirements, common law conflicts and the legal repercussions that follow.

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Farmland Protection and Agricultural Viability
2 Hours

Farming communities face many challenges that threaten both the rural landscape and New York’s rich agricultural heritage. Development pressures to convert farmland and changes in the agricultural industry have resulted in a staggering loss of family farms and farmland, as well as agricultural support businesses.  This course offers a two-tiered approach to farmland preservation: first, an overview of land use tools that can help protect farmland and preserve rural landscapes; second, a look at strategies that support the local agricultural economy.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 2 hours of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 2 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Financial Analysis of Shared Services and Intermunicipal Cooperation
1 Hour

Working cooperatively with neighboring communities can help local governments implement shared solutions to common problems and generate new service delivery capacities. Cooperation enables local governments to reduce the cost of services without compromising the quality of service delivery. This course will examine the benefits of cooperation through case studies and analysis of the financial implications of actual cooperative projects funded by the New York State Department of State’s Local Government Efficiency Program.

Form-Based Zoning
1.5 Hours

This course is an overview of an alternative approach to zoning that considers design over use. It is based on many of the principles of Smart Growth and New Urbanism. Form-based zoning is helping to establish mixed use, neighborhood structure, and walkability as the new standard for development. The advantages of form-based zoning, how it differs from conventional zoning from development to administration, and some of the challenges local officials might encounter in implementing form-based zoning will be discussed.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Freedom of Information Law/Open Meetings Law
2 Hours

A representative of the Committee on Open Government will provide an overview and answer questions about the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), which governs the rights of access to government records. They will also provide an explanation of the Open Meetings Law, which concerns the conduct of meetings of public bodies and the right to attend those meetings. A discussion of the principles underlying the FOIL and the Open Meetings Law would put both laws in context.
Attorneys may receive 2 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Historic Preservation
1½ Hours
Historic buildings define the character of cities, villages, and towns in New York and many other places. This course attempts to explain why, details what it means to preserve a place’s older and historic buildings, and distinguishes the difference between listing a property on the National Register of Historic Places and local landmark and historic district regulation. Other perspectives that most people don’t consider when they think “historic preservation” will also be discussed, such as the environmental and economic benefits of historic preservation.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Intermunicipal Agreements
1 Hour

Municipalities can achieve many benefits by entering into intermunicipal agreements. This presentation looks at the participants, opportunities, benefits, types, and contents of intermunicipal agreements. We will also discuss civil service considerations, liability, adoption procedures, and strategies for success.

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Intermunicipal Cooperation: Building Code Enforcement
1 Hour

Municipalities are required to enforce the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and the Energy Conservation Construction Code.  By working together, neighboring municipalities may easily provide effective Building Code Enforcement while controlling costs.  The program provides an overview of what is required for Intermunicipal Building Code Enforcement is provided; including County enforcement and multiple municipal enforcement. 
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit

Intermunicipal Planning
1 Hour

Sharing the cost of a planning project with a neighboring community that shares common problems or goals can ensure a high quality planning project that is useful for all involved communities at a lower cost to taxpayers. Intermunicipal planning projects bring together different stakeholders with unique perspectives, leading to more comprehensive solutions and often a unifying vision. This program provides an overview of the statutory abilities of local communities, case studies from across New York and an opportunity to exchange ideas for planning at an intermunicipal level.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.

Land Use Moratoria
1 Hour

A moratorium is a local enactment that suspends a landowner’s right to obtain development approvals while the local government considers changes to its regulations. Before enacting a moratorium, local officials should be aware of the circumstances in which a moratorium is the most appropriate action for a local government to take. This course looks at, among other things, the court cases that shaped the “rules” for adopting moratoria and the procedures local officials should follow in adopting moratorium laws.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1 hour of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

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Local Regulations: Enactment Procedure
1½ Hours

This session addresses the process a municipality must go through in order to adopt a resolution, ordinance or local law, as well as the merits of using each procedure. Topics will include notice provisions and posting; aging of legislation prior to action; required hearings; required referrals; SEQRA compliance; post-adoption publication; certification; filing requirements and effective dates. Compliance with SEQRA and post-adoption procedures will round out the discussion.
Attorneys may receive 1 hour of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Locally Unwanted Land Use Regulation
1½ Hours

A quick survey of land uses not everyone wants next door to their homes and the extent to which local governments may regulate them. Mining, home businesses, big box retail, adult uses, religious uses, telecommunications facilities, and billboards are among the uses discussed.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Open Space Planning
1½ Hours

“They aren’t creating more land,” as the old saying goes. Open spaces—in the form of parks and preserves and farms and other rural landscapes—provide a wide variety of environmental, economic, and quality of life social and cultural benefits to communities that extend beyond the obvious aesthetic beauty of undeveloped land. This session addresses the importance and benefits of preserving open space and the tools to maintain rural character or conserve important parcels of land, depending on the needs of the municipality. Strategies for how communities might prioritize what open spaces to protect are also discussed.

Planned Unit Developments
1½ Hours

A Planned Unit Development (PUD) is a flexible zoning tool that can allow for a variety of housing types, retail, office, and recreation options in a new development. This course outlines what shapes planned unit developments can take, how to review a PUD, and some of the benefits of the planned unit development tool, as well as some of the potential challenges they can present for planning boards and local governing boards.

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Planning and Zoning: An Introduction
2 Hours

The most elementary of the Training Unit’s course offerings, Planning and Zoning: An Introduction is designed for new members of both planning boards and zoning boards of appeals. The course provides a basic overview of the functions of planning boards and zoning boards of appeals and the land use tools they work with, the role of the comprehensive plan, procedures for holding meetings and hearings, and the enforcement of the boards’ decisions.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 2 hours of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Planning Board Overview
2 Hours

This basic course addresses the powers and duties of town, village, and city planning boards and commissions. The administrative and regulatory roles of the planning board, including its review of site plans, special use permits, and subdivision plats are discussed, along with the planning board’s role in the municipal comprehensive plan. The importance of board procedures, referral to the county planning agency, and making findings are also covered.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 2 hours of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 2 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.
Course is also available online. There is currently no CEO and CLE credit for the online course.

Public Meetings and Hearings
1 Hour

This session addresses the goals and requirements associated with holding meetings, in contrast to the purposes and legal requirements surrounding a public hearing. It explores the role of the chairperson in conducting effective meetings and hearings, and includes a discussion of how to manage the public and the media in the context of a hearing or meeting. Also addressed are aspects of the Open Meetings Law, including executive sessions, quorums, minutes, and public notices.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1 hour of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.
Course is also available online. There is currently no CEO and CLE credit for the online course.

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Public Officers: Powers and Duties
1 Hour

Supervisors, Mayors, and members of city councils, town boards and village boards of trustees have an assortment of powers and responsibilities. At this session the legislative powers will be discussed (including the home rule power), as well as the administrative duties of elected officials, including the supervision of departments, issuance of permits, and preparation and adoption of budgets. Also discussed will be the appointment powers of municipal governing boards and officials; procedures to follow when conducting meetings and hearings; and a discussion of ethics and conflicts of interest.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1 hour of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Record Keeping
1½ Hours

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, "History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon." The same is true of minutes, findings, and the decisions that are issued by planning boards and zoning boards of appeals. Department of State presenters will discuss why board members and support staff should strive to make records that are of value to enforcement personnel, applicants, municipal attorneys, and current and future boards. The course then turns its focus to the components of the record: minutes, findings, and the decision document.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.
Course is also available online. There is currently no CEO and CLE credit for the online course.

Revising Zoning
1½ Hours

This course asks when it is appropriate to update a municipality’s zoning regulations, and what you should be looking at when you review ithem; the importance of the comprehensive plan; and procedures for the amendment of zoning laws and ordinances, including referral to the county planning board, public hearings, and filing requirements.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

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Rural Planning
2 Hours

Rural communities face challenges—both in the form of development and lack of it—that threaten the natural and cultural resources that define their character. This course offers an overview of how comprehensive planning and a variety of land use tools can help preserve rural landscapes and revitalize established village and hamlet centers. Local officials are encouraged to take a proactive approach to meeting such challenges with easy-to-understand and administer zoning regulations, conservation subdivision regulations, the use of conservation easements, and more.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 2 hours of In-Service Credit.

Sign Regulation
1½ Hours

The regulation of signs isn’t just a zoning issue— when regulating signage, municipalities must be careful not to violate free speech. This course reveals what municipalities may and may not regulate in commercial or non-commercial signage and explores how signage can be regulated for community aesthetics. The session also addresses the drafting of a sign control law; the content of local sign control regulations; regulating billboards and other off-premises signs; and eliminating nonconforming or undesirable signs.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Site Plan Review
1 Hour

This course is an overview of the statutory authority local governments have to review site plans. It will address the scope and content of a site plan and the role of the site plan in municipal review of development projects. A discussion of design and the reasons some approaches might be preferable to others is included in the course.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1 hour of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

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Smart Growth
1½ Hours

This course defines Smart Growth and illustrates its key principles. Examples of county efforts that encourage intermunicipal cooperation and regional planning are also profiled, along with the provisions of the Smart Growth Infrastructure Policy Act. A review of several innovative local land use tools should enable local officials to consider both regulatory and incentive options to implementing Smart Growth strategies: performance and incentive zoning, cluster and conservation subdivision, sliding-scale zoning, form-based zoning, and transfer of development rights are among those approaches discussed.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.

Special Use Permits
1 Hour

Some uses require additional review and should be granted permission only if the application meets certain conditions. These special uses include gas stations, dog kennels, and uses with drive-through windows. The special use permit is also used for development in environmentally sensitive zones with overlays such as for wetlands, steep slopes, and along scenic ridgelines. Scenarios in which the special use permit tool is most helpful will be discussed, along with rules local boards must follow for reviewing and approving applications for special use permits
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 1 hour of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 1 hour of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) Basics
2 Hours

This introduction to the State Environmental Quality Review Act includes an overview of the environmental assessment form (EAF), Type I, Type II, and Unlisted actions and the sequence of making a positive or negative declaration on a project’s potential to have an adverse impact on the environment. The relationship between the administration of local regulations and SEQR will also be discussed.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 2 hours of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 2 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice

Stormwater Regulation for Local Review Boards
2 Hours

Nearly every project that comes before a board for review has stormwater impacts to consider. This course examines the relationship between different types of development and the potential for environmental damage from increased runoff, on-site best management practices, and the specific role of project review boards to mitigate stormwater impacts from new development with local, state, and federal regulations.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 2 hours of In-Service Credit.

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Subdivision Review
2 Hours

An overview of the statutory authority for municipalities to review subdivisions. Discussion will focus on the elements of a subdivision plat—layout of lots and infrastructure—along with concepts such as deep lot development and clustering. Review procedures are also addressed, including State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR), county referral, public hearings, decision-making, and the possibility of default approvals.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 2 hours of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 2 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.

Transit-Oriented Development
1½ Hours

This course introduces the municipal official to the concept of transit-oriented development.  Transit-oriented development (or design) uses smart growth principles built on the availability of a variety of transportation choices to promote aesthetically-pleasing, vibrant communities. Examples transit-oriented development are profiled and suggestions for solutions to overcome challenges to planning and implementation will be discussed.

Walkable Communities
1 Hour

Increasing the availability and attractiveness of pedestrian facilities can help revitalize downtowns, provide an alternative means of transportation, and encourage a healthier lifestyle. This session provides an overview of several common municipal land use tools (zoning, site plan review, subdivision regulations, and special use permit). The program then explores how these tools can be tailored to improve pedestrian conditions by the requirement of sidewalks, pathways and other pedestrian facilities, as well as through the encouragement of better site design.

White Elephants
1 Hour

Are you herding white elephants in your community? What’s to be done with those vacant or underused architectural gems like churches, armories, and depots? This course examines the socio-economic reasons for their vacancies, and land use tools that can help restore their rightful places as revitalizing neighborhood anchors. Before you issue that demolition permit, take note of these creative examples of adaptive re-uses.

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Wind Energy Regulation
1½ Hours

This session addresses the adoption of local laws to regulate wind energy systems—from modest residential and agricultural systems to large-scale commercial wind farms. Environmental, aesthetic, and other issues of interest to local governments are also discussed, along with applicable state and federal regulations relating to wind energy systems.

Zoning Board of Appeals Overview
2 Hours

This introductory course to the zoning board of appeals focuses on the statutory tests boards must follow to grant use and area variances and proper handling of zoning interpretations. Meeting procedures and notice requirements will also be discussed, along with the ZBA’s relationship with enforcement officials and the planning board, and the importance of making good findings.
Code Enforcement Officers may receive 2 hours of In-Service Credit.
Attorneys may receive 2 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the area of Professional Practice.
Course is also available online. There is currently no CEO and CLE credit for the online course.

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