New York’s Zoning enabling statutes (the
state statutes which give cities, towns and villages the power to enact local zoning
laws) require that zoning laws be adopted in accordance with a comprehensive plan.
The comprehensive plan should provide the backbone for the local zoning law.
To understand the power to zone, one
must understand the comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan is the
culmination of a planning process that establishes the official land use policy of a community and presents
goals and a vision for the future that guides official decision making. The
comprehensive plan invariably includes a thorough
analysis of current data showing land development trends and issues,
community resources, and public needs for transportation, recreation, and
housing. Zoning is merely one method albeit an important one for implementing the goals of the plan. Having a
comprehensive or well considered plan ensures that forethought and planning
precede zoning and zoning amendments.