Town of Pleasant Valley, NY
Dutchess County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Pleasant Valley 5-14-2003 by L.L. No. 1-2003.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 53, Freshwater Wetlands, adopted 8-26-1976 by L.L. No. 2-1976.

§ 53-1 Declaration of policy.

A. 
It is declared to be the public policy of the Town of Pleasant Valley to preserve, protect and conserve freshwater wetlands, watercourses and water bodies and to regulate development in such wetlands and protect such watercourses and water bodies in order to secure the natural benefits derived therefrom consistent with the general welfare and the beneficial economic, social and agricultural development of the Town. A Wetlands Administrator, appointed by the Town Board, shall be responsible for enforcing the policies established by this chapter.
B. 
It is declared to be the policy of the Town of Pleasant Valley to exercise authority to regulate wetlands, watercourses and water bodies which may also be regulated by the Department of Environmental Conservation under the provisions of Article 24 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law, and/or by the Federal Army Corps of Engineers, where respective jurisdictions overlap. Pursuant to this chapter, the Town of Pleasant Valley establishes the right to impose restrictions on areas of regulation, as defined herein, which may be in addition to or more restrictive than any restrictions imposed by any state or federal regulatory agency with concurrent jurisdiction. As it is not the purpose of this legislation to multiply efforts, studies or expenditures by real property owners attempting to make reasonable and environmentally sound use of their assets, the local approval authority established under this chapter shall, whenever possible, utilize any previous determination made by the Federal Army Corps of Engineers or the State Department of Environmental Conservation with respect to the identification of, and the delineation of the size and boundaries of, wetland areas.
[Amended 9-14-2011 by L.L. No. 4-2011]

§ 53-2 Areas of regulation.

Areas of regulation are:
A. 
All wetlands identified on the map entitled "Town of Pleasant Valley, Dutchess County, N.Y." prepared by the Dutchess County Environmental Management Council, GIS Lab, and dated March 2001, as amended, and any other wetlands as yet unmapped exceeding 1/2 acre in area that will meet the definition provided in § 24-0107(1) of the New York State Freshwater Wetlands Act as amended and updated.
B. 
All water bodies, natural or created, having an area of a 1/2 acre or more.
C. 
All lands lying within:
(1) 
Twenty-five feet of wetlands and water bodies of 1/2 acre to one acre in size;
(2) 
Fifty feet of wetlands and water bodies of one acre to two acres in size;
(3) 
Seventy-five feet of wetlands and water bodies of two acres to three acres in size; and
(4) 
One-hundred feet of wetlands and water bodies of three acres or more in size.
D. 
All lands lying within 100 feet of the normal stream bank of the Wappingers Creek, Little Wappingers Creek, Great Spring Creek, and any other perennial watercourse or tributary to these named streams. A twenty-five-foot-wide natural buffer shall be maintained from the normal stream bank for all activities except for those dependent upon the passive recreational use of the stream or as a source of water for emergency purposes or agriculture in accordance with Agricultural Best Management Practices.
E. 
[1]Wetlands located on property that is the subject of a subdivision application pursuant to Chapter 82 shall also be subject to the provisions of § 82-18 and to any requirements that may be imposed by the Planning Board in the application process.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection E, regarding buffer requirements for wetlands that are regulated by outside agencies, was repealed 9-14-2011 by L.L. No. 4-2011. This local law also provided for the renumbering of former Subsection F as Subsection E.

§ 53-3 Permitted activities.

Permitted activities are:
A. 
The depositing or removal of naturally occurring products of freshwater wetlands, water bodies or watercourses by fishing, hunting, trapping or aqua culture without any significant disturbance of the existing ecosystem.
B. 
Activities of farmers and other landowners in grazing and watering livestock, making reasonable use of water resources, such as for irrigation, harvesting natural products of the wetlands, and otherwise using the wetlands for growing agricultural products.
C. 
Activities of landowners to conduct timber harvesting and tree farming using the New York State Best Management Practices.
D. 
Normal ground maintenance, in effect as of the date of this chapter, such as mowing and pruning, repair of existing decorative plantings, walkways, walls and drives and operation of existing dams and water control devices.
E. 
Farming activity as defined by § 24-0701(4) of the Environmental Conservation Law and Section 663.2(c) of the DEC regulations.

§ 53-4 Regulated activities.

Regulated activities are:
A. 
Any form of draining, dredging, excavation or removal of soil, mud, sand, gravel or other aggregate from the wetland, watercourse or water body or buffer area.
B. 
Any form of dumping, filling or depositing of any soil, stones, sand, gravel, mud, rubbish or fill of any kind in any wetland, water body or watercourse, either directly or indirectly.
C. 
Erecting of any structure, construction of roads, driving of pilings or placing of any other obstructions, whether or not changing the ebb and flow of the water, except as permitted in § 53-3E.
D. 
Erection of any new decorative plantings, walkways, walls and drives or any mowing and pruning within the required buffer initiated after the passage of this chapter.
E. 
Installation of septic tanks, running a sewage outfall or discharging sewage treatment effluent or any other wastes directly into or so as to drain into a wetland, watercourse or water body.
F. 
Installation of any pipes, conduits, service lines or wells.

§ 53-5 Prohibited activities.

Prohibited activities are:
A. 
Placement or deposit of any chemical waste, hazardous waste, or storage of any materials that could result in the contamination of any wetland, water body or watercourse.
B. 
Introduction of fluids or other materials with sufficiently high temperature to cause injurious or other harmful ecological effects in any wetland, water body, watercourse or buffer area.
C. 
Such activities which may cause substantial damage or destruction to wetlands.

§ 53-6 Procedure for permits for regulated activities.

A. 
Anyone proposing to undertake a regulated activity within a freshwater wetland, watercourse or water body, or its buffer, shall apply for and receive a permit from the Town before commencing such regulated activity. Fees for such permits shall be set by the Town Board.
B. 
Applications for permits for regulated activities shall be made on forms supplied by the Town and submitted to the Wetlands Administrator.
C. 
The Wetlands Administrator may determine that the proposed activity is not one of significant environmental impact and issue the required permit. If, however, the Wetlands Administrator determines that the proposed activity constitutes a significant environmental impact, the application shall be referred to the Planning Board for approval or denial. The determination of the Wetlands Administrator may be appealed pursuant to the procedure established by the Zoning Law for appealing a decision of the Zoning Administrator.
D. 
The Planning Board shall approve or deny permit applications for regulated activities in wetlands, water bodies, watercourses and buffer areas that require its approval(s) under Chapter 82, Subdivision of Land, of the Code of the Town of Pleasant Valley, as well as any other regulated activities determined to be of substantial environmental significance.
E. 
The cost of any professional evaluation will be at the expense of the applicant.
F. 
Any permit issued by the Town of Pleasant Valley is exclusive of any other required permits.

§ 53-7 Properties affected.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to proposed uses or redesignation of allowable uses, subdivisions, or site development of lands which were the subject of a pending application to the relevant Town agency authorized to review and to approve such action(s) as of the effective date of this chapter. Also, this shall not apply to properties in connection with regulated activities which were reviewed and approved by a relevant agency prior to the effective date of this chapter.

§ 53-8 Penalties for offenses.

Any person or entity found to be in violation of this chapter shall be ordered and required to cease and desist the violating activity. There shall be no fine associated with the first occurrence if the activity is immediately ceased. Failure to comply with the order or further activity in violation of this chapter will result in a fine of $500 and an additional $500 per day for each violation or failure to comply with the order to cease and desist.

§ 53-9 Application fees; consultant fees.

[Added 3-11-2009 by L.L. No. 3-2009]
A. 
Every application for a permit or approval described in Subsection B below shall be accompanied by such fees as set forth on the Fee Schedule adopted, and amended from time to time, by the Town Board.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The Fee Schedule is on file in the Town offices.
B. 
Every applicant, and landowner, if different, shall be jointly and severally responsible for payment of all reasonable and necessary costs of consultant services (defined hereafter), where the Wetlands Administrator, Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Zoning Administrator and/or any other Town of Pleasant Valley agency or department uses the services of private engineers, attorneys or other consultants (collectively, "consultant services"):
(1) 
For purposes of engineering, scientific land use planning, environmental or legal reviews of the adequacy or substantive details of applications, or issues raised during the course of review of such applications, for wetland permits or any other activity regulated by this chapter; and/or
(2) 
To assist in assuring or enforcing an applicant's compliance with the terms and conditions of any administrative and legislative permits or approvals subject to this chapter. In no event shall that responsibility be greater than the actual cost to the Town of such consultant services.
C. 
The Wetlands Administrator, Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and/or Zoning Administrator may require advance periodic monetary deposits ("escrow deposits"), to be held on account of the applicant or landowner (the "escrow account"), by the Town of Pleasant Valley to secure the reimbursement of the Town's consultant service expenses. Escrow deposits shall be made and maintained according to the Schedule of Escrow Funds periodically adopted and updated by the Town Board.[2] The Town may make payments from the deposited funds, for consultant services, after audit and approval by the Town Board of itemized vouchers for such services. Upon request, the Town shall supply copies of such vouchers to the applicant, appropriately redacted where necessary to shield legally privileged communications between Town officers or employees and the Town's consultants. When the escrow account is depleted as set forth on the Schedule of Escrow Funds, the Town shall cause the applicant or landowner to deposit additional sums into the escrow account, pursuant to the Schedule of Escrow Funds, to meet such expenses. Notwithstanding the foregoing, when it appears to the Town that pending or anticipated vouchers will deplete the escrow account below the minimum permitted levels set forth on the Schedule of Escrow Funds, the Town shall cause the applicant or landowner to deposit additional monies into the escrow account, in the same manner as if the actual balance in the escrow account had fallen below minimum permitted levels set forth on the Schedule of Escrow Funds.
[2]
Editor's Note: The Schedule of Escrow Funds is on file in the Town offices.
D. 
The Town Board shall review and audit all vouchers and shall approve payment only of such engineering, legal and other consultant services expenses as are necessarily incurred by the Town in connection with the review and consideration of any application, as set forth in Subsection B above, or for the monitoring, inspection or enforcement of any permits or approvals or the conditions attached thereto.
E. 
The owner(s) of the subject real property, if different from the applicant, shall be jointly and severally responsible for reimbursing the Town of Pleasant Valley for funds expended to compensate for services rendered to the Town under this section by private engineers, attorneys or other consultant services. In order for an application to be complete, the applicant shall provide the written consent of all owners of the subject real property, both authorizing the applicant to file and pursue such application and acknowledging potential landowner responsibility, under this section, for consultant services fees incurred by the Town (collectively, "consultant services fees"). In the event of failure to reimburse the Town for such fees, the following shall apply:
(1) 
The Town may seek recovery of unreimbursed consultant services fees by action brought in a court of appropriate jurisdiction, and the defendant(s) shall be responsible for the reasonable and necessary attorneys' fees expended by the Town in prosecuting such action.
(2) 
Alternatively, and at the sole discretion of the Town, a default in reimbursement of such consultant services fees expended by the Town shall be remedied by charging such sums against the real property which is the subject of the land development application, by adding that charge to, and making it a part of, the next annual real property tax assessment roll of the Town. Such charges shall be levied and collected at the same time and in the same manner as Town-assessed taxes and shall be paid to the Town Comptroller, to be applied in reimbursing the fund from which the costs were defrayed for the consultant services fees. Prior to charging such assessments, the owners of the real property shall be provided written notice, to their last known address of record, by certified mail, return receipt requested, of an opportunity to be heard and object before the Town Board to the proposed real property assessment, at a date to be designated in the notice, which shall be no less than 30 days after its mailing.
F. 
Upon submission of an application for any permit or approval covered under this § 53-9, and prior to being placed on any agenda, the applicant and/or owner shall deposit such funds as required pursuant to the Schedule of Escrow Funds, together with any applicable fees as set forth on the Town of Pleasant Valley Schedule of Fees, each as may be periodically adopted and updated by the Town Board. If any escrow deposit is depleted below the minimum permitted amount, the application shall be removed from the agenda of the reviewing board and review of such application shall cease and shall not recommence until such time as the escrow deposit has been replenished as required.
G. 
Every applicant, and landowner, if different, shall, upon submission of an application subject to the provisions of this § 53-9, execute and deliver an escrow agreement, acceptable in form and content to the Attorney to the Town, acknowledging the obligations set forth herein.