[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Southampton 8-28-2012 by L.L. No. 12-2012. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Protection of natural resources — See Ch. 229.
The Town of Southampton has long recognized the importance of, and the value in, protecting its coastal and inland freshwater and saltwater bodies. Indeed, there can be little doubt that the continued viability of the Town's waterways serves as the engine which drives much of the Town's economy, and which defines and marks the Town as a marine heritage community. Related to this effort is the Town's goal of protecting groundwater and surface water resources from pollutants and activities that threaten the Town's water quality as recognized in the GEIS for the Town's Critical Wildlands and Groundwater Protection Plan. A stated goal and recommendation of said study was to establish performance standards and monitoring practices to protect groundwater and surface waters from potential sources of pollution. Measures should be taken to prevent or reduce the degrading of our marine environment and freshwater ponds which can occur as a result of land-based activities. In that regard, it is the Town's desire to increase the availability of funding for financing, among other things, the continued preservation and mitigation of our water bodies, including testing and sampling; the restoration of wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation, e.g., eelgrass beds, as well as shellfisheries; and the providing of incentives to Town of Southampton residents to inspect and/or update their current septic systems which provide further de-nitrification. Thus, in an effort to safeguard the Town's important natural resources, protect its marine heritage, and improve the quality of its water bodies Town-wide, the Town Board herein creates this fund to further these purposes. Importantly, whether through land use approvals or other vehicles through which funding is received, this fund, and any contribution thereto, shall not be used as a means of satisfying any requirement of on-site mitigation, whether such on-site mitigation is necessitated by required approval(s), the SEQRA process, and/or remediation of a violation. Additionally, should monies be derived from any land use approval, monies so collected shall be separated relative to the critical watershed management area from which they came for purposes of a rebate program. A priority shall be given to rebate applications then pending within that same management area for purposes of disseminating funds. All other funding requests shall be derived from the aggregate of money equally. All dissemination of funds shall be subject to a Town Board resolution.
The Water Quality Protection Fund shall be funded by the following sources, which shall not be exclusive:
The Town Comptroller is hereby directed to deposit, invest, and secure the monies in said fund pursuant to General Municipal Law §§ 10 and 11. Any interest earned or capital gains realized on the monies so deposited shall accrue to and become part of this fund. No expenditure shall be made from said fund except pursuant to a duly adopted Town Board resolution. Additionally, the Town Comptroller shall provide a biannual report to the Town Board at a work session to inform on the balance of funds and total disbursements.
Monies from said fund shall be used, at the discretion of the Town Board and in consultation with the Town's Chief Environmental Analyst, in conformance with priority recommendations of applicable Town studies and plans, for purposes including but not limited to the following:
In connection with a septic system rebate program adopted by the Town Board, which may allow for rebates associated with the inspections, and/or upgrade or replacement of existing septic systems which shall result in the further de-nitrification of groundwater. Should there be monies which are applied in connection with a land use approval, such monies shall be earmarked to be used first on rebate applications from the critical watershed management area associated with such land use approval then pending. Should there be no such rebate application then pending, then in that event the monies may be used on a Town-wide basis;
Purchasing, for the purpose of extinguishing development rights and/or Pine Barrens credits. Any development rights or Pine Barrens credits so redeemed shall be inclusive of such parcel's associated sewage flow. This shall be achieved by a duly recorded covenant and restriction approved as to form and content by the office of the Town Attorney;
The securing of conservation easements for the protection of water bodies;
Contributing to or fully funding a program(s) approved and/or administered by the Town Trustees to address and mitigate the deleterious effects of phosphorus and/or nitrogen on shellfish and bay bottoms, including restoration of any aquatic life after such reduction;
PILOT programs to test new technology;
Water quality sampling and testing; and
Any other bona fide water mitigation purposes deemed appropriate via Town Board resolution.