Planning and Development



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.



Office of Agriculture

The Office of Agriculture is a Division of the Department dedicated to supporting the County’s vibrant agricultural economy. The Office oversees the Agricultural District Program, implements the County's Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan, provides administrative support to the Erie County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, and offers financial support for rural municipalities as they prepare their own Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plans. 

Agribusiness Park Feasibility Study

The Office of Economic Development is currently undertaking an Agribusiness Park Feasibility Study. The County retained Clark Patterson Lee Design Professionals as the consultant on the project. The purpose of the Study is to define sub sectors within the food processing sector to focus economic development attraction efforts.  As part of the study, industrial sites throughout the County will be assessed for the attributes (utilities, transportation, workforce, etc.) necessary to attract new companies within the designated industry sectors. This effort carries out initiative 3.41 “Agribusiness Park”  included in the County Executive’s Initiatives for a Smart Economy. The Study was completed in 2016.  Click here for the main body of the report.  Click here for the Appendix of the report.

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Arts & Culture

Department personnel coordinate financial support for and data collection on arts and cultural institutions in the County.

Check out our Presenting page for arts & culture things to do in Erie County!  

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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. 

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Environmental Reviews

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. 

The reviews are carried out in conformance with State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations.

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. 

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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. 

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Erie-Niagara Regional Framework

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.


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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. 

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Local Government Training

Planning board and zoning board of appeals members are required by state statute to obtain four hours of training a year. 

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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 Dan Castle, Deputy Commissioner, at 716-858-6043 or in the Planning Division.


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Land Development & Economic Development Planning Studies 

Buffalo Niagara Convention Center


Funded through the use of Erie County General Obligation Bonds.

This project is the first step of the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center study process and is intended to provide information on programming, the role of the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, size and needs of a new or expanded center, concept designs and locational analysis. 
The study found that the Buffalo-Niagara region is not fulfilling its potential in the convention industry and that due to its physical constraints, the BNCC is “functionally obsolete” and does not have the capacity to attract most state, regional, and national convention events that would otherwise rotate to Buffalo. 

BNCC_Arch and Engineering Report - Cover

The Study assessed potential sites for a new Convention Center in Buffalo and evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of each, identifying a site on Delaware Avenue directly across from the historic Statler Hotel on West Mohawk Street as the preferred site for a new Convention Center. The Delaware Avenue site gives our community the most value for the lowest investment. 

Public comment on the study is open until March 14, 2020.

Visit to review the reports

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Business Park Report


Industrial Park Inventory Summary
Industrial Park Location Total Acres Available Acres

Shovel Ready Acres

Largest Single Parcel Available
Airborne Business Park Cheektowaga 61.5 40 40 35 +/-
Albright Court Lackawanna 8 4.8 4.8 4+/-
Amodori Site Lackawanna 11 6 6 5 +/-
Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park Buffalo 205 89 89 22 +/-
Camp Road Center Hamburg 75 75 75 75 +/-
Colvin Woods Business  Park Tonawanda 42 14 14 14 +/-
Commerce Green Industrial Park East Aurora 47 24 24 15 +/-
Crosspoint Business Park Amherst 200 44 44 10 +/-
Crossroads Industrial Park Hamburg 34.5 30 0 20 +/-
Eastport Commerce Center Lancaster 128 121 121 76 +/-
Eden Industrial Park Eden 40 33 10 33 +/-
Evans Industrial Park Evans 158 152 0 152 +/-
Grand Island Gateway Center Grand Island 144 144 0 144 +/-
Lake Erie Commerce Center Hamburg 136 68 17 68 +/-
Lakewinds (Bethlehem) Lackawanna 400 325 0 200 +/-
Lancaster Industrial Commerce Center Lancaster 68 11 11 11 +/-
Muir Woods Amherst 324 0 0 0 +/-
North America Center West Seneca 475 204.5 89 60 +/-
North Youngman Commerce Center Tonawanda 108.5 28.6 15 10 +/-
Quaker Center Orchard Park 177 29 29 16 +/-
Ravenwood Park North Hamburg 116 39 39 20 +/-
Riverbend Commerce Park Buffalo 241 80 0 80 +/-
Riverview Solar Technology Park Tonawanda 212 176 120 61 +/-
Spaulding Business Park City of Tonawanda 54 46 35 41 +/-
Sterling Park Orchard Park 98 20 20 11.5 +/-
Tri-County Industrial Park Sardinia 220 220 10 78 +/-
Walden Commerce Exchange Cheektowaga 55 38 29 33 +/-
Whiting Industrial Park Newstead 46 25 25 25 +/-
Youngs Road Site Amherst 48 48 0 48 +/-
  Total = 3,933 2,135 867 1,368



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Brownfield & Urban Redevelopment

The urban center and first ring suburbs are now victims of their earlier success in attracting industry and commerce to the Western New York area. Often these lands are dotted with urban blight or are considered brownfields, which means they may have some level of contamination. Brownfield sites range from abandoned gas stations to rail yards and former heavy industrial manufacturing plants. The OED brownfield services offers technical assistance and financing tools to encourage redevelopment of these sites. The OED will provide facilitation services among environmental agencies and the project's redevelopment team.

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Municipal Referrals

New York State General Municipal Law Section 239 requires municipalities to refer certain projects and/or actions to Erie County for review. DEP reviews and makes a recommendation or provides comments on the project to the local board within 30 days. Please review sections 239-m and 239-n for more information on what should be forward for review.

  • Click here to view the Erie County 239 Referral Process
    • Section 239-m(1)(c): The term "full statement of such proposed action" shall mean all materials required by and submitted to the referring body as an application on a proposed action, including a completed environmental assessment form and all other materials required by such referring body in order to make its determination of significance pursuant to the state environmental quality review act under article eight of the environmental conservation law and its implementing regulations. When the proposed action referred is the adoption or amendment of a zoning ordinance or local law, "full statement of such proposed action" shall also include the complete text of the proposed ordinance or local law as well as all existing provisions to be affected thereby, if any, if not already in the possession of the county planning agency or regional planning council. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this paragraph, any referring body may agree with the county planning agency or regional planning council as to what shall constitute a "full statement" for any or all of those proposed actions which said referring body is authorized to act upon.
  • Digital ZR1 form (recommended): Click here to download the ZR1 Referral Form 



NOTE: Only municipal representatives (such as municipal clerks, code enforcement officers, planners, attorneys, supervisors, engineers, etc.) may use these forms. Developers, residents, and any other applicant/proponent and/or their representative MUST contact the municipality directly for guidance.

The submission forms asks you to identify your municipality, enter contact information, and upload the relevant IR documents (inlcuding the ZR1 form - we recommend using the fillable PDF available for download HERE). Files must be PDF formats. 

  • NEW - Confirm whether the project is subject to referral to DEP with the Municipal Referral Map
  • Provides 500' buffers from County and State Roads, Municipal Boundaries, County and State parcels, and agricultural districts
  • Find the relevant location by entering the address in the search bar, or use the drop pin (first button on the left under the search bar) to search by owner or SBL
Select the correct Form according to your municipality:
  • FORM A - Amherst, Buffalo, Kenmore, Lackawanna, Tonawanda (City), Tonawanda (Town), Williamsville
  • FORM B - Blasdell, Cheektowaga, Depew, Hamburg (Town), Hamburg (Village), Lancaster (Town), Lancaster (Village), Orchard Park (Town), Orchard Park (Village), Sloan, West Seneca
  • FORM C - Angola, Aurora, Brant, Clarence, East Aurora, Eden, Elma, Evans, Farnham
  • FORM D - Akron, Alden (Town), Alden (Village), Boston, Colden, Collins, Concord, Grand Island, Gowanda, Holland, Marilla, Newstead, North Collins (Town), North Collins (Village), Sardinia, Springville, Wales 
  • Tips for submitting your IR online:
    • Finish filling out the ZR1 and gathering attachments before you begin to enter your information online.
    • All attachments must be submitted in PDF file formats only. If you attempt to attach an excel, or any other file type, the website will reject your submission
      • This website - can assist you in converting file types and/or reducing file sizes. 
      • Printing to PDF (try to print the file, but instead of selecting a printer, choose Adobe PDF/equivalent feature); this will "flatten" the file, making it simpler/smaller.Use a faster computer and/or faster internet, if possible.
    • Avoid website time out:
      • Refresh the site right before you begin entering information into the submission form.
      • Reduce the size of your files following the tips above
    • As a last resort, save all documents to the first directory that opens when uploading (when you hit "Choose File"), so you may submit the application before the website times out.
    • If you have attempted the steps above and are still unable to submit, please contact Mariely Ortiz at with a screenshot of the error so we may direct you to an alternative. Please include your municipality's name in the email subject. 
  • Agricultural Districts: According to New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, when an applicant applies for a rezoning, special use permit, site plan approval, use variance, or subdivision of parcels within 500 feet of a farm operation in an agricultural district, the applicant is required to fill out an Agricultural Data Statement

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Other Reports

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Waterfront Planning

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. 

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Last updated: January 10, 2022 1:44pm