1. Definitions. As used in this
(a) "Use variance" shall mean the authorization by the zoning board of
appeals for the use of land for a purpose which is otherwise not allowed
or is prohibited by the applicable zoning regulations.
(b) "Area variance" shall mean the authorization by the zoning board
of appeals for the use of land in a manner which is not allowed by the
dimensional or physical requirements of the applicable zoning
2. Appointment of members. Each town board which adopts a local law or
ordinance and any amendments thereto pursuant to the powers granted by
this article shall appoint a board of appeals consisting of three or
five members as shall be determined by such local law or ordinance and
shall designate the chairperson thereof. In the absence of a chairperson
the board of appeals may designate a member to serve as acting
chairperson. The town board 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 by the
town board for such purpose.
3. Town board members ineligible. No person who is a member of the
town board shall be eligible for membership on such board of appeals.
4. 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 calendar 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 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.
5. Terms of members now in office. Members now holding office for
terms which do not expire at the end of a year shall, upon the
expiration of their term, hold office until the end of the year and
their successors shall then be appointed for terms which shall be equal
in years to the number of members of the board.
6. Increasing membership. Any town board 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 as provided
by resolution 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.
7. Decreasing membership. A town board 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 town board, 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-a. Training and attendance requirements. (a) Each member of the
board of appeals 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 town board 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
(b) To be eligible for reappointment to such board, such member shall
have completed the training promoted by the town pursuant to this
(c) The training required by this subdivision may be waived or
modified by resolution of the town board when, in the judgment of the
town board, it is in the best interest of the town to do so.
(d) No decision of a zoning board of appeals shall be voided or
declared invalid because of a failure to comply with this subdivision.
8. Vacancy in office. If a vacancy shall occur otherwise than by
expiration of term, the town board shall appoint the new member for the
9. Removal of members. The town board 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 minimum requirements relating to meeting attendance
and training as established by the town board by local law or ordinance.
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
11. Alternate members. (a) A town board may, by local law or
ordinance, or as a 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
resolution of the town board, for terms established by the town board.
(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, and
service on other boards, shall also apply to alternate members.