Planning Board May Require Recreation Fee at Time of Final Subdivision Approval

A Planning Board is not required to make a determination regarding a fee in lieu of parkland at the time of preliminary subdivision approval but may wait until it grants final subdivision approval. In the Matter of Davies Farms LLC v. Planning Board of the Town of Clarkstown, the Appellate Division Second Department found that Town Law sections 276 and 277 do not preclude a determination at the time of final subdivision approval that such a fee should be paid, even though there was no determination of recreational need at the time of preliminary subdivision approval.

Planning Boards are authorized to make a determination, under appropriate circumstances, that developers should dedicate parkland for recreational purposes or that the developer should pay a fee in lieu of dedicating parkland. The court found that the practice of the particular planning board to make such determination at the time of final approval, rather than preliminary approval, is not arbitrary and capricious. The decision was also influenced by the fact that the applicant was told prior to preliminary approval that a fee would be fixed and that the same procedure was followed for a nearby development by the same applicant.