Online Interactive Training Course

An Online Training Course
"Making a Good Record"
  Length: 1 hour

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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. This course will address why records are of value to enforcement personnel, applicants, municipal attorneys, and current and future boards, and examine the components of the record: minutes, findings, and the decision document.

NOTE: Online courses are not available for in-service credit for code enforcement officers, continuing legal education credit for attorneys, or certification maintenance credit for members of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Some courses will produce a certificate at the end, and others will only produce your quiz results. The quiz results page should be used as proof of your training.

Resources Provided by the Department of State:

Online Glossary »     Downloadable Glossary » (pdf)

Record Keeping Tips for Zoning Administration (pdf)
Tips on managing zoning-related paperwork. Model review procedure forms are provided.

Role of Findings in Local Government Decisions »
This legal memorandum explains the importance of findings in memorializing the process by which local boards make decisions.  Detailed, carefully written findings are important for a board to successfully defend its decisions against challenges.

Guide to Planning and Zoning Laws of New York State » (pdf)
An essential publication for municipal officials, attorneys, and planning boards, containing the complete text of relevant laws, including statutory changes through the date indicated in the preface.

Sample Planning Board Decision Document »(pdf)

Committee on Open Government »

Your Right to Know »
This publication provides information about the Freedom of Information Law and the Open Meetings Law.

Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) Advisory Opinion Index »
Search this database for advisory opinions regarding access to government records. For example, choose “M” for “Minutes, Contents of” to learn more about the required elements for minutes of all public bodies; choose “I” to learn more about access to “Inter-Agency and Intra-Agency” communications, or parts thereof.

Open Meetings Law (OML) Advisory Opinion Index »
Search this database for advisory opinions regarding public meetings. For example, choose “P” to learn more about “Public Participation” at a meeting; choose “E” to learn more about conducting “Executive Sessions.”

Links to Other Resources:

NYS Archives - Managing Records »

Attorney's General's Informal Opinion No. 2005-17 (Secretary) » (pdf)

Westchester County's The Municipal Planning Primer: The Planning and Zoning Clerk » (pdf)

Additional Training Opportunities:

Land Use Training Network Calendar »