The Planning Board upholds and implements the community's development policies through the review and approval of, among other things, subdivision plats, site plans and special permit applications. The board also reports on all matters referred to it by the local legislative body, including amendments to the zoning ordinance and the adoption of official maps.
In carrying out their charge, planning boards make decisions that change neighborhoods and landscapes. Each choice can add to or detract from the character of a village, town or city, and some decisions even have effects beyond municipal boundaries. Decisions the Board makes also sets precedents for future actions.
These decisions should involve determining what is best for the community as a whole, rather than reacting to each proposal as if it were an isolated action. Planning boards utilize tools, including comprehensive or master plans, zoning laws, and subdivision regulations to ensure that changes made are for the better.