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NYS General City Law (ZBA Empowering Legislation)

 § 81. Zoning board of appeals. 1. Appointment of members. The mayor or   in  a  city having a city manager, the city manager of any city to which subdivisions twenty-four and  twenty-five  of  section  twenty  of  this chapter  are  applicable, shall appoint a board of appeals consisting of three or five members as shall be determined by local law  or  ordinance and  shall  designate  the  chairperson  thereof.  In the absence of the chairperson the board of appeals may designate  a  member  to  serve  as acting chairperson. The legislative body may provide for compensation to
  be  paid  to  experts, clerks and a secretary and provide for such other expenses as may be necessary and proper, not exceeding the appropriation made for such purpose.
    2. Legislative body members ineligible. No person who is a  member  of the  legislative  body  of  the city shall be eligible for membership on such board of appeals.
    3. Terms of members first appointed. In the creation of a new board of appeals, or the reestablishment of  terms  of  an  existing  board,  the appointment of members to the board shall be for terms so fixed that one member's term shall expire at the end of the official year in which such members  were initially appointed. The remaining members' terms shall be so fixed that one member's term shall expire at the end of each official year  thereafter.  At  the  expiration   of   each   original   member's appointment,  the replacement member shall be appointed for a term which shall be equal in years to the number of members of the board.
    4. Terms of members now in office.  Members  now  holding  office  for terms  which  do  not expire at the end of the official year shall, upon the expiration of their term, hold office until the end of the  official year  and their successors shall then be appointed for terms which shall be equal in years to the number of members of the board.
    5. Increasing membership. The legislative body may, by  local  law  or ordinance,  increase  a  three  member board of appeals to five members.  Additional members shall be first appointed for single  terms  in  order that  the terms of members shall expire in each of five successive years and their successors shall thereafter be appointed  for  full  terms  of five   years.   No  such  additional  member  shall  take  part  in  the consideration of any matter for which an application was  on  file  with the board of appeals at the time of his or her appointment.
    6.  Decreasing  membership. A legislative body which has increased the number of members of the board of appeals to five may, by local  law  or ordinance,  decrease  the  number  of members of the board of appeals to three to take effect upon the next two expirations of terms.  Any  board of  appeals  which,  upon  the  effective date of this section has seven members, may continue to act as  a  duly  constituted  zoning  board  of appeals  until  the legislative body, by local law or ordinance, reduces such membership to three or five. However, no incumbent shall be removed from office except upon the expiration of his or her term.
    7. Vacancy in office. If a  vacancy  shall  occur  otherwise  than  by expiration  of  term,  the mayor or in a city having a city manager, the city manager shall appoint the new member for the unexpired term.
    7-a. Training and attendance requirements.  (a)  Each  member  of  the board  of  appeals  in a city, except a city having a population of more than one million, shall complete, at a minimum, four hours  of  training each  year designed to enable such members to more effectively carry out their duties. Training received by a member in excess of four  hours  in any  one year may be carried over by the member into succeeding years in order to meet the requirements of this subdivision. Such training  shall be  approved by the legislative body and may include, but not be limited to, training provided by a municipality,  regional  or  county  planning office   or   commission,  county  planning  federation,  state agency, statewide  municipal  association,  college  or  other  similar  entity.  Training  may  be  provided  in  a variety of formats, including but not limited to, electronic media, video, distance learning  and  traditional classroom training.
    (b)  To be eligible for reappointment to such board, such member shall have completed the training  promoted  by  the  city  pursuant  to  this subdivision.
    (c)  The  training  required  by  this  subdivision  may  be waived or modified by resolution of the legislative body of the city when, in  the judgement  of  such  legislative body, it is in the best interest of the city to do so.
    (d) No decision of a board of appeals  shall  be  voided  or  declared invalid because of a failure to comply with this subdivision.
    8.  Removal  of members. The mayor or in a city having a city manager, the city manager shall have the power to remove, after  public  hearing, any member of the zoning board of appeals for cause. Any zoning board of appeals member  may  be  removed  for  non-compliance  with any minimum requirements relating to meeting attendance and training as  established by the legislative body by local law or ordinance.
    9.  Compatibility  of offices. The municipal officials or employees on such board shall not, by reason of  membership  thereon,  forfeit  their right  to  exercise  the  powers,  perform  the  duties  or  receive the compensation of the municipal office or position  held  by  them  during such  membership. No municipal officer or employee shall be appointed to the zoning board of appeals in the event such officer or employee cannot carry out the duties of his or her position without a  conflict  in  the performance  of  his  or  her  duties as a member of the zoning board of appeals.
    10. Chairperson duties. All meetings of the board of appeals shall  be held  at  the  call  of  the chairperson and at such other times as such board may determine. Such chairperson, or in his  or  her  absence,  the acting  chairperson,  may  administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses.
    11. Alternate members. (a) The legislative body of each city except  a city  having  a population of more than one million may, by local law or ordinance, or as part of the local law or ordinance creating the  zoning board  of  appeals,  establish  alternate zoning board of appeals member positions for purposes of substituting for a member in  the  event  such member  is  unable  to  participate  because  of a conflict of interest.  Alternate members of the zoning board of appeals shall be  appointed  by the  mayor  or  other  duly  authorized  appointing authority, for terms established by the legislative body of the city.
    (b) The chairperson of the zoning board of appeals  may  designate  an alternate  member  to substitute for a member when such member is unable to participate because of a conflict of interest on  an  application  or matter  before the board. When so designated, the alternate member shall possess all the powers and responsibilities of such member of the board.  Such designation shall be entered into the minutes of the initial zoning board of appeals meeting at which the substitution is made.
    (c) All provisions of this section relating to zoning board of appeals member  training  and  continuing  education,  attendance,  conflict  of interest,   compensation,   eligibility,  vacancy  in  office,  removal, compatibility of office and service on other boards, shall also apply to alternate members.