Department personnel manage a number of planning programs that improve the quality of life in Erie County. These programs plan for or implement development projects that are consistent with the Framework for Regional Growth, the County’s adopted comprehensive plan.
The Department supports the County’s vibrant agricultural economy through agricultural programs including The County’s Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan and Agricultural District Program. Department personnel also provide administrative and policy support to the Erie County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board.
Arts & Culture
Department personnel coordinate financial support for and data collection on arts and cultural institutions in the County.
Capital Improvements Program
The Department plays a lead role in coordination and review of proposed capital projects. Department personnel review capital projects for consistency with the Framework for Regional Growth and manage the environmental review process for all capital projects.
The Department of Environment and Planning, Division of Planning is designated by the County Executive as the environmental review coordinator for Erie County actions (capital projects, physical construction, plan and policy making, laws ordinances, executive orders & regulations) undertaken, funded, or approved by the county, that may affect the environment by changing the use, appearance or condition of any natural resource or structure.
Assistance is provided in the preparation of environmental assessments, the lead agency solicitation process and subsequent determinations and findings (positive/negative declarations, EIS, FONSI) regarding the possible environmental impacts of proposed county actions.
The division also responds to environmental reviews of municipal government actions that involve county funding or approvals.
Erie County Park System Master Plan
The 2003 Park Master Plan has been a valuable tool for County decision makers since its adoption by the Erie County Legislature in 2003. New demands have been placed on the park system not present in 2003 indicating a need for an updated master plan for the system that can be used as a guide for the parks through the year 2030.
Erie & Niagara Counties have partnered to develop the Framework for Regional Growth, which establishes basic policies and principles to guide the future growth and development of the Region.
Fisheries Advisory Board
Erie County has a 12-member Fisheries Advisory Board that advises the Department on matters concerning protection, development, access to fisheries, and related issues. The Board is comprised of representatives from sports and recreational fishing, and various fields of marine and aquatic sciences. The Department monitors the activities of the Fisheries Advisory Board.
An update to the Erie and Niagara Counties fishing maps has been completed and now includes Chautauqua County. For more information about fishing in Erie County, please visit the Erie and Niagara County Fishing Guide.
Planning board and zoning board of appeals members are required by state statute to obtain four hours of training a year. For more information, please visit: NYS DOS Annual Training Requirement page
The New York State Department of State has numerous resources for municipal board members in search of training opportunities, including:
- Online Interactive Training: These interactive courses are available for free to local officials and anyone interested in learning from them. It is not necessary to register with the New York Department of State to complete these courses. If you opt to take the quiz at the end of the course, you will be offered a certificate of completion to print as proof of having completed the course.
- The dates of upcoming webinars and information about on-site training are available on the DOS Land Use Training Network Calendar.
The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning may host or forward by email additional training opportunities in the region. If you wish to be added to the contact list, please email Mariely.Ortiz@erie.gov with your name and the board and municipality you serve.
Local Planning Assistance
Department personnel provide technical assistance to municipal boards, such as planning and zoning boards, as well as to municipalities updating their master plans or zoning. If you need technical assistance, please contact Michael LoCurto, Deputy Commissioner, at 716-858-6716 or firstname.lastname@example.org in the Planning Division.
DEP has prepared the Fair Housing and Local Land Use Law Handbook to assist municipalities with implementing innovative zoning techniques for affordable housing.
New York State General Municipal Law Section 239 requires municipalities to refer certain development projects to Erie County for review. DEP reviews and makes a recommendation or provides comments on the project to the local board within 30 days. Click here to download the ZR1 Referral Form.
Initiatives for a Stronger Community
The Department leads the planning and construction of waterfront land use and access projects. Currently, DEP is working on the County’s Black Rock Canal Park, Evans Shoreline Trail - Phases 2 and 3, and the Sunset View section of the Shoreline Trail in the City of Lackawanna. The department is also assisting the City of Tonawanda with their Intermodal Hub project in the downtown area.