Town of Cortlandt, NY
Westchester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Cortlandt 9-14-2004 by L.L. No. 6-2004.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 131.
Excavations and topsoil removal — See Ch. 157.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 175.
Recreational areas — See Ch. 228.
Steep slopes — See Ch. 259.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 265.
Diversion of watercourses — See Ch. 301.
Zoning — See Ch. 307.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also superseded former Ch. 179, Freshwater Wetlands, Water Bodies and Watercourses, adopted 6-10-2003 by L.L. No. 7-2003, as amended.

§ 179-1 Legislative intent.

A. 
These regulations are enacted with the intent of providing a reasonable balance between the rights of the individual property owner to the free use of his property and the rights of present and future generations. Therefore, this chapter recognizes the rights of owners of property in or near wetlands to use their property for reasonable purposes consistent with other regulations and controls, provided that such use, in the judgment of the appropriate agencies or officials of the Town of Cortlandt, does not result in a significant adverse impact to the wetland systems, both on- and off-site, or the functions which the wetlands have found to fulfill in the Town of Cortlandt. Therefore, the Town Board of the Town of Cortlandt finds and declares it to be the public policy of the Town to preserve, protect and conserve its wetlands, water bodies and watercourses and the benefits derived therefrom, to prevent the despoliation and destruction and to regulate the use and development thereof and to secure the natural benefits of wetlands, water bodies and watercourses consistent with the general welfare and beneficial economic and social development of the Town. In this connection, the Town Board finds as follows:
(1) 
Rapid population growth, attended by housing, road and other construction, and increasing demands upon natural resources are found to be encroaching upon, despoiling, polluting or eliminating many of the Town's wetlands, water bodies, watercourses and other natural resources and processes associated therewith.
(2) 
The preservation and maintenance of wetlands, water bodies and watercourses in an undisturbed and natural condition constitutes important physical, ecological, social, aesthetic, recreational and economic assets necessary to protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of present and future residents of the Town and of downstream drainage areas.
B. 
It is the intent of this chapter to promote the public purposes identified in this section by providing for the protection, preservation, proper maintenance and use of the Town's wetlands, water bodies and watercourses by preventing or minimizing erosion due to flooding and stormwater runoff, by maintaining the natural groundwater supplies, by preserving and protecting the purity, utility, water retention capability, ecological functions, recreational usefulness and natural beauty of all wetlands, water bodies, watercourses and other related features of the terrain and by providing and protecting appropriate habitats for natural wildlife.
C. 
It is the intent of this chapter to provide for the integrity of the biodiversity of the Town's wetlands, water bodies and watercourses, by providing and protecting appropriate habitats for its natural wildlife and plants, especially rare, endangered and threatened species.
D. 
It is the intent of this chapter to avoid, minimize or mitigate the loss or degradation of the Town's wetlands, water bodies and watercourses, including but not limited to the operation, repair and maintenance of dams, spillways, retaining walls, drainage structures, sluices, culverts, or other water-control structures or devices that insure the integrity of wetlands, watercourses and water bodies.
E. 
The Town shall encourage the use of conservation easements to protect wetlands, water bodies and watercourses.
F. 
It is the intent of this chapter to apply to wetlands, water bodies and watercourses, including those regulated pursuant to state or federal law, as the same may from time to time be amended.

§ 179-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
APPLICANT
The person filing an application pursuant to this chapter.
APPROVAL AUTHORITY
The Zoning Board, the Planning Board, the Town Board, the Director of Technical Services or the Deputy Director of Code Enforcement as specified in § 179-5 hereof.
BIODIVERSITY
The variety of living things (plants and animals), their interrelationships, their interdependence with the environment in which they live.
CONSERVATION ADVISORY COUNCIL (CAC)
The body established by the Town Board to address wetland and other environmental issues in connection with Planning Board applications.
CONSERVATION EASEMENT
Land set aside on the subject premises for preservation and protection and/or the right of use or enjoyment.
DEPOSIT
To fill, place, eject, discharge or dump any material, but not including stormwater.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF CODE ENFORCEMENT
The Deputy Director of Code Enforcement of the Department of Technical Services, Town of Cortlandt, New York.
DIRECTOR OF TECHNICAL SERVICES
The Director of Technical Services of the Town of Cortlandt, New York.
ENDANGERED AND THREATENED SPECIES
Those species, flora and fauna, including those on federal, state and county lists, that are present in such small numbers that they are in jeopardy of becoming extinct. Threatened species could become endangered if a critical factor in their environment were to be changed.
ENVIRONMENTAL MONITOR
The Environmental Monitor of the Department of Technical Services, Town of Cortlandt or an approved outside contractor who works on behalf of the Town of Cortlandt.
FILL
Any material used for the primary purpose of changing the topography. See also "deposit."
GROWING SEASON
The portion of the year when wetland vegetation is most apparent. The Town will not accept wetland delineations in the winter season, December 1 through April 1, due to the potential absence of vegetation that is readily identifiable.
HYDRIC SOIL
A soil that is saturated, flooded or ponded long enough during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper part, as set forth in the Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands, dated January 1989, prepared by the federal government and as updated from time to time as is on file with the Town Clerk.
HYDROPHYTIC VEGETATION
Those plants which are dependent upon seasonal or permanent flooding or sufficiently waterlogged soils to give them a competitive advantage over other species. These plants may belong to any of the following vegetative types: wetland trees, wetland shrubs, emergent vegetation, submergent and rooted floating-leaved vegetation, free-floating vegetation, wet meadow vegetation and bog mat vegetation. The following indicators of hydrophytic vegetation may be used in conjunction with hydric soils and/or wetland hydrology:
A. 
The presence of obligate wetland species, particularly as dominants, in a vegetation unit shall be considered diagnostic of wetlands. Facultative species may be present but obligate upland wetland species cannot be present on other than micro sites. Obligate and facultative vegetative species are listed in the National List of Plant Species That Occur in Wetlands: Northeast (Region 1) (Reed, 1988), prepared by USFWS in cooperation with the National and Regional Wetland Plant List Review Panels, as amended from time to time and as on file with the Town Clerk.
B. 
Plants with adaptation to inundation and/or saturated soil conditions shall be considered diagonotistic of wetlands. Such adaptations include, but are not limited to, pneumatophores, buttressed tree trunks, floating stems, floating leaves, multiple trunk, hypertrophied lenticels and stained leaves, stems or roots.
LOT COUNT FORMULA
A formula set forth in the Zoning Ordinance[1] which establishes the maximum permitted number of lots or dwelling units for a proposed major subdivision. Among other things, the lot count formula subtracts out wetlands, and 50% of the wetland buffer area, steep slopes areas, floodplains and 10% of the net parcel area for roads.
MATERIAL
Matter including, but not limited to, soil, silt, rock, stones, sand, gravel, clay, bog, peat, mud, debris and refuse or any other organic or inorganic substance, whether liquid, solid or gaseous, or any combination thereof.
MITIGATION PLAN
The plan prepared by an applicant to compensate for unavoidable wetland, watercourse and buffer area impacts pursuant to the standards and requirements of this chapter, upon determination that either losses or impacts to the wetland, watercourse or regulated buffer area are necessary and unavoidable and have been minimized to the extent practicable as determined by the approval authority.
PERSON
Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, organization or legal entity of any kind, including municipal corporations, governmental agencies or subdivisions thereof.
PLANNING BOARD
The Planning Board of the Town of Cortlandt, New York.
POLLUTION
The introduction into the environment of human-induced conditions or contaminants in quantities or characteristics which are or may be injurious to human, plant or wildlife or other animal life or to property.
REGULATED AREA
That area which consists of a wetland, water body or watercourse and its associated buffer area.
RESTORATION PLAN
The plan prepared by an applicant's professional to restore, mitigate and otherwise correct unauthorized activities or existing conditions as approved by the approval authority. A restoration plan will also include monitoring and financial performance security as approved by the approval authority.
SEQRA
The New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, a law pursuant to Article 8 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law providing for environmental quality review of actions which may have a significant adverse impact on the environment.
SOILS MAP
The Soils Map of the United States Department of Agriculture for Westchester County.
STATE MAP
The freshwater wetlands map prepared by the State of New York pursuant to Article 24 of the Environmental Conservation Law, as the same may from time to time be amended.
STRUCTURE
Anything constructed or built.
TOWN BOARD
The Town Board of the Town of Cortlandt, New York.
VERNAL POOL
Confined depressions, either natural or man-made, that hold water for at least two consecutive months out of the year, and are devoid of breeding fish populations. Vernal pools provide habitat to many species of amphibians, insects, reptiles, plants, and other wildlife. The absence of fish is the essence of these ecosystems.
WATER BODY
Any body of water which exists at least three months of the year.
WATERCOURSE
Any identifiable channel through which water flows continuously or intermittently.
WATERSHED
The geographic region within which water drains to a particular wetland, water body, or watercourse.
WETLANDS
Wetlands possess three essential characteristics: hydrophytic vegetation, hydric soils and wetland hydrology, all of which must be present in an area to be considered a wetland. Criteria shall be used to determine the presence of hydrophytic vegetation, hydric soils and hydrological indicators as set forth in the Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands, dated January, 1989.
WETLAND BUFFER AREA
The land area within 100 linear feet along the surface, away from, and around the perimeter of the outermost boundary of a wetland or watercourse or water body, which area serves to lessen the impact of human disturbances to, and is an integral component of, said wetland, water body or watercourse ecosystems.
WETLAND FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT
A procedure for detailing the ecological value of a wetland as detailed in Magee 1998 A Rapid Procedure for Assessing Wetland Functional Capacity or as required by the approving authority. A functional assessment may be required by the approval authority.
WETLAND HYDROLOGY
The dynamics of water movement and changes in water supply to areas that are inundated or saturated during the growing season long enough to support a dominance of hydrophytic vegetation. The following water bodies and watercourses are regulated under this chapter:
A. 
Ponds, lakes, reservoirs, marshes, swamps, bogs or other area of permanent water retention, regardless of origin.
B. 
All natural drainage systems, including rivers, streams and brooks which contain water at least three months of the year and the associated floodplains of such watercourses.
ZONING BOARD
The Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Cortlandt, New York.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 307, Zoning.

§ 179-3 Regulated activities.

Except as provided in § 179-4 hereof, it shall be unlawful to conduct, directly or indirectly, any of the following activities upon any wetland, water body or watercourse or within the regulated area unless a permit is obtained pursuant to § 179-5 hereof.
A. 
Any form of draining, dredging, grading, excavation or removal of material, including but not limited to peat or other organic soil deposits, except removal of debris or refuse.
B. 
Any form of depositing, dumping, filling or storing of any material.
C. 
Erecting or enlarging any building or structure of any kind, roads, the driving of pilings, digging of wells or placing of any other obstructions, whether or not they change the ebb and flow of the water.
D. 
Any form of activity which might tend to pollute, including but not limited to installing a septic tank or septic field, running a sewer outfall, discharging sewage treatment effluent or other liquid waste into or so as to drain into any wetland, water body or watercourse.
E. 
Any other activity which disturbs any of the several functions served by wetlands, water bodies and watercourses or the benefits derived therefrom as set forth in § 179-1 hereof.
F. 
Any cuffing of trees and brush.
G. 
The use of off-road vehicles of any kind is prohibited.
H. 
The introduction or destruction of plant life which would alter the existing pattern of vegetation.
I. 
Any form of activity which could destroy or damage nesting or breeding areas.
J. 
The use of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers in regulated areas.
K. 
Any soil testing or other testing activity or access thereto that disturbs existing wetlands, water bodies or watercourses or takes place within the regulated area. As part of an application for a wetland permit, the applicant shall prove to the satisfaction of the Director of Technical Services that there are no alternative means of access to the subject location. Any permitted disturbance to wetland, water body and watercourse regulated areas shall be kept to a minimum by the applicant, and all disturbances shall be restored to original condition as approved by the Director of Technical Services.
L. 
Repair, rebuilding and/or replacing of dams, spillways, retaining walls, drainage structures, sluices, culverts, or other water-control structures or devices that insure the integrity of wetlands, watercourses and water bodies.
M. 
The placement of sewage disposal tanks, septic fields and sewage treatment plants are not encouraged within a wetland and/or wetland buffer area, and may only be considered when all other potential feasible alternatives have been thoroughly explored and determined to be infeasible as represented in writing by the applicant's engineer. Such facilities shall be assessed and designed consistent with the requirements of the Westchester County Health Department.

§ 179-4 Activities permitted by right.

The following activities permitted by right within wetlands and wetland buffer areas, which might otherwise be construed as being encompassed by § 179-3 hereof, are excluded therefrom:
A. 
The depositing or removal of the natural products of the wetlands, water bodies or watercourses by recreational or commercial fishing, shellfishing, aquaculture, hunting or trapping where otherwise legally permitted.
B. 
Outdoor recreation activity that does not materially alter the natural state of the land or require construction, including use of field trails for nature study, hiking or horseback riding, swimming, skin diving and boating, where otherwise legally permitted.
C. 
Operation and maintenance of such dams, retaining walls, terraces, sluices, culverts, or other water-control structures or devices as legally existed on the effective date of this chapter.
D. 
The implementation of emergency actions of the Town of Cortlandt, as determined by the Town Supervisor, in order to protect public health or safety.
E. 
The cutting of brush and trees if there results therefrom no adverse effect upon a wetland, water body or watercourse and except as otherwise regulated in this chapter.
F. 
Public health activities as expressed by orders and regulations of the Department of Health.
G. 
Any actual and ongoing emergency activity which is immediately necessary for the protection and preservation of life or property or the protection or preservation of natural resource values.
H. 
Normal maintenance of existing lawns and gardens, tree trimming, pruning and bracing and the ordinary repair and maintenance of stone walls and retaining walls, but excluding the use of pesticides and herbicides.
I. 
The normal maintenance and installation of public drainage facilities and other public utility improvements by the Town.

§ 179-5 Determination of boundaries; compliance required; permit application and procedures.

A. 
Determination and delineation of wetlands.
(1) 
The boundaries of a wetland/watercourse shall be determined by field inspection and delineation by a qualified environmental professional, subject to approval by the approval authority and subsequent survey and mapping by a New York State licensed land surveyor unless such is waived by the approving authority.
(2) 
The approving authority may require the applicant to fund other studies which may involve information from biologists, hydrologists, soil scientists, or other experts as necessary, to assist the Town in making a determination as to the acceptability of a proposed activity.
(3) 
As a policy, the determination and delineation of wetlands will only be conducted during the growing season which is usually April 2 to November 30. Wetland delineations must be re-evaluated every 24 months (or two years) to the satisfaction of the approving authority.
B. 
Any person, applicant or property owner found to be conducting or maintaining a regulated activity or use without the proper prior clearance, authorization or permit approval, or violating any provision of this chapter, shall be subject to the enforcement proceedings and penalties and any other applicable remedies as provided by law.
C. 
Any person proposing to conduct or cause to be conducted a regulated activity specified in § 179-3 hereof upon any wetland, water body or watercourse or within the regulated area shall file an application for a permit with the approval authority as hereinafter provided. Such application shall include the following information:
(1) 
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant and the applicant's agent, if any, and whether the applicant is the owner, lessee, licensee, etc. If the applicant is not the owner, the written consent of the owner must be attached.
(2) 
The street address and Tax Map designation of the subject property.
(3) 
A detailed description of the specific purpose, nature and scope of the activity proposed.
(4) 
A map showing the area of wetland(s), watercourse(s) and water body(ies) involved and areas proposed to be disturbed.
(5) 
The boundaries of the buffer area shall be flagged on the property and shown on the site development plan.
(6) 
Any topographical and perimeter surveys, hydrological computations, engineering studies and other factual or scientific data and reports as deemed necessary by the approval authority to permit it to arrive at a proper determination.
(7) 
In the case of applications affecting water retention capability, water flow or other drainage characteristics of any wetland, water body or watercourse, the approval authority may require the inclusion of a statement of the area of upstream and downstream watersheds, impact analysis and information as to rainfall intensity in the vicinity for not less than a ten-year return frequency, together with approximate runoff coefficients to determine the capacity and size of any channel sections, pipes or waterway openings, together with plans for necessary bridges, culverts, stormwater or pipe drains that, in the opinion of the approval authority, are needed to arrive at a proper determination on the application, consistent with the purposes of this chapter.
(8) 
A list of the names of the owners of record of all abutting property owners, including those across any street or right-of-way abutting the involved property.
(9) 
An enumeration of all applicable county, state and federal permits required for the proposed activity, and copies of the same when requested.
D. 
One copy of any such application shall be filed with the Town Clerk of the Town of Cortlandt and two copies with the approval authority.
E. 
The approval authority, with respect to applications hereunder, shall be as follows:
(1) 
The Zoning Board shall be the approval authority with respect to any application which requires the issuance of any other permit or approval by it pursuant to the local laws and ordinances of the Town of Cortlandt.
(2) 
The Planning Board shall be the approval authority with respect to any application which requires the issuance of any other permit or approval by it pursuant to the local laws and ordinances of the Town of Cortlandt, including any application which also requires the issuance of any permit or approval by the Zoning Board.
(3) 
The Town Board shall be the approval authority with respect to any application which requires the issuance of any other permit or approval by it pursuant to the local laws and ordinances of the Town of Cortlandt, including any application which also requires the issuance of any permit or approval by the Planning Board or Zoning Board.
(4) 
The Director of Technical Services or the Deputy Director of Code Enforcement shall be the approval authority with respect to all other regulated activities, and no public hearing shall be required.
F. 
The approval authority shall refer any application submitted to it pursuant to this chapter to the Environmental Monitor for single lot or other applications as needed and refer to the Conservation Advisory Council Planning Board applications for review and report. The Conservation Advisory Council or the Environmental Monitor shall report back to the approval authority within 30 days of the date of referral or within such greater period as determined by the approval authority.
G. 
Public notification.
(1) 
For application involving the Planning Board, Zoning Board or Town Board, a public hearing shall be held by the approval authority on the application made hereunder at such times, under such circumstances and upon such notice as may be required for the granting of the other permit or approval required of such approval authority pursuant to the local laws and ordinances of the Town of Cortlandt.
(2) 
For single lot applications or applications which do not involve the Planning Board, upon receipt of a completed application under this chapter, the approval authority shall cause notice of receipt of the same to property owners and those across any street or right-of-way abutting the involved property. Such property owners shall have 20 days from the day of notice to submit written comment to the approval authority with regard to said application. The approval authority may waive this notice procedure if responses for all of the above property owners have been received prior to the action.
H. 
Approval or disapproval of permit.
(1) 
On application for which no public hearing was required, a determination shall be made to approve, approve with modifications or disapprove the issuance of such permit within 60 days following the close of the comment period, unless an extension is agreed to between the Town and property owner.
(2) 
On applications for which a public hearing was required, a determination shall be made to approve, approve with modifications or disapprove the issuance of such permit simultaneous with the determination by the approval authority of the other permit or approval for which application was made.

§ 179-6 Issuance or denial of permits.

A. 
The applicant shall have the burden of demonstrating that the proposed activity will be in accord with the policies and provisions of this chapter and will satisfy the considerations expressed in Subsection B hereof.
B. 
Criteria for approval, disapproval, or approving with modifications. In approving, disapproving or approving with modifications, the approval authority, based on evaluations/consultations from the Environmental Monitor and/or the CAC, and/or other Town-designated consultants involved with the project, will issue findings which shall address the following:
(1) 
The environmental impact of the proposed action.
(2) 
The alternatives to the proposed action.
(3) 
Irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources that would be involved in the proposed activity.
(4) 
The character and degree of injury to or interference with safety, health or the reasonable use of property that is caused or threatened.
(5) 
The suitability or unsuitability of such activity to the area for which it is proposed.
(6) 
The effect of the proposed activity with reference to the protection or enhancement of several functions of wetlands, water bodies and watercourses.
(7) 
The availability of preferable alternative locations of the subject parcel or proposed action.
(8) 
The availability of mitigation measures that could feasibly be added to the plan or action.
(9) 
The extent to which the exercise of property rights and the public benefit derived from such use may outweigh or justify the possible degradation of the wetland, water body or watercourse, the interference with the exercise of other property rights and the impairment or endangerment of the public health, safety or welfare.
(10) 
The functional assessment, if required by the approval authority.
C. 
Permits will be issued by the approving authority pursuant to this chapter only if the approval authority shall adopt findings warranting the grant of such permit on the basis of the considerations set forth in Subsection B and that such permit is consistent with the policies and provisions of this chapter.
D. 
Permits will be issued by the approval authority pursuant to this chapter only if the approval authority shall find that:
(1) 
The proposed regulated activity is consistent with the policy of this chapter.
(2) 
The proposed regulated activity is consistent with the land use ordinances and regulations governing wetlands, water bodies and watercourses applicable in the Town of Cortlandt.
(3) 
The proposed regulated activity is compatible with the public health and welfare of the Town.
(4) 
The applicant has demonstrated that there is no practicable alternative for the proposed regulated activity.
(5) 
The proposed regulated activity minimizes the degradation to or loss of any part of the wetland, water body or watercourse or its regulated areas and minimizes any adverse impacts on the functions and benefits that said wetland, water body and watercourse provide.
(6) 
The proposed activities must also be in compliance with the standards set forth in the federal regulations and in the New York State Freshwater Wetland Regulations, Sections 665.7(e) and 665.7(g).
E. 
The Zoning Board, the Planning Board and Town Board, when acting as approval authorities hereunder on applications for which no public hearing would otherwise be required, may waive their power of review and approval in cases where they determine that the proposed nature or scope of activity is such that the application should be handled administratively by the Director of Technical Services or the Deputy Director of Code Enforcement. In such cases, the Board shall direct the Director of Technical Services or the Deputy Director of Code Enforcement to decide the matter in accordance with the procedures for applications set forth in § 179-5 of this chapter.
F. 
Notwithstanding any other provisions herein, duly filed notice, in writing, that the State of New York or any agency or governmental subdivision thereof is in the process of acquiring any wetlands by negotiation or condemnation shall be sufficient basis for denial of any permit.

§ 179-7 Permit limitations; certificate of completion.

A. 
In granting a permit, the approval authority may limit the same or impose conditions or limitations designed to carry out the public policy set forth in this chapter. The approval authority shall require a bond or other financial security, in an amount and with surety and conditions satisfactory to it, securing to the Town of Cortlandt compliance with the conditions and limitations set forth in the permit. The approval authority or its designated agent shall inspect the premises in question from time to time. The boundaries of a wetland, water body or watercourse and its associated buffer area having been delineated by flagging [§ 179-5C(5)]; these markings should be maintained throughout the construction period so that said markings are clear to any observer on the property. The approval authority shall suspend or revoke a permit if it finds, on 10 days' written notice to the applicant and such further notice as may have been required for the public hearing held under § 175-5G hereof, that the applicant has not complied with one or more of the conditions or limitations set forth in the permit or has exceeded the scope of the permitted activity. An immediate stop-work order may, however, be issued by the Director of Technical Services or the Deputy Director of Code Enforcement pending such hearing where, in this official's reasonable judgment, additional damage may be done to the wetland, water body, watercourse or regulated area pending a determination on such hearing.
B. 
Within 10 days after completion of all work allowed under a permit granted in accordance with this chapter, the applicant shall notify the approval authority of such completion. Within 30 days of such notification, the Director of Technical Services or the Deputy Director of Code Enforcement shall have the work inspected for compliance with all conditions of the permit.
C. 
When all work allowed under a permit is deemed acceptable, the Director of Technical Services or the Deputy Director of Code Enforcement shall issue a certificate of completion, which shall be accompanied by cancellation or return of any bond or other financial security collected for that permit.
D. 
If the activity authorized by a permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall not be completed within two years from the date of issuance of the permit, such permit will lapse. Application for extension for an additional year may be made to the approval authority.
E. 
A copy of the permit issued under this chapter shall, prior to the exercise of any rights granted under said permit, be posted in a conspicuous location on the parcel to which said permit is applicable in a manner such that the permit shall be visible from the roadway directly accessing said parcel.

§ 179-8 Applicability; more protective standards to prevail.

A. 
This chapter shall not apply to any complete application heretofore made to the Zoning Board, the Planning Board, the Town Board, the Director of Technical Services or the Deputy Director of Code Enforcement for any permit or approval for which a permit would also be required hereunder. The term "complete application" shall include but not be limited to the issuance of either a negative declaration under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) or the acceptance as complete of a draft environmental impact statement under SEQRA.
B. 
Where this chapter is less or more protective of the environment than the regulatory program of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Conservation Law of the State of New York, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, or any law or ordinance of the County of Westchester or the Town of Cortlandt, the law or ordinance that is more protective of the environment shall prevail.
C. 
Grandfathered projects. The revisions to this chapter (adopted on September 14, 2004) shall not apply to any land use, improvement or development physically completed prior to the effective date of this chapter.
D. 
Current projects. Any regulated activity which has received an approval, a SEQRA negative declaration or which has been the subject of a findings statement prior to the effective date of this chapter, but which is not in conformity with the provisions of this chapter may be continued subject to the following:
(1) 
All such activities shall continue to be governed by the laws of the Town of Cortlandt in effect at the time of approval, SEQRA negative declaration or findings statement.
(2) 
No such activity shall be expanded, changed, enlarged in any way which increases its size or impact without compliance with this chapter.
(3) 
If any such activity is discontinued for 12 consecutive months, any resumption of the activity shall conform to this chapter.

§ 179-9 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
Any person who violates, disobeys or disregards any provision of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 or up to 15 days in jail or by a civil penalty not to exceed $3,000 for every such violation. Each week's continuation of a condition violating this chapter shall be deemed a separate violation.
B. 
In addition to the above penalties, the Town Board or the Director of Technical Services, with advice and consent of the Town Attorney, shall have the right to seek equitable relief to restrain and/or remedy any violation of any provisions of this chapter.
C. 
The Director of the Department of Technical Services or the Deputy Director of Code Enforcement shall have the power to direct a violator to cease violation of this chapter and, with the consultation of the Conservation Advisory Council or the Environmental Monitor, satisfactorily restore the affected wetland, water body or watercourse to its condition prior to the violation, insofar as that is possible, within a reasonable time. The exercise of such power may be with or without the imposition of a fine under Subsection A hereof.

§ 179-10 Mitigation policy; plan requirements.

A. 
After it has been determined by the approval authority that impacts to wetland and/or watercourse buffer areas are necessary and unavoidable and have been minimized to the maximum extent practicable, the applicant must develop a proposed mitigation plan which shall specify proposed mitigation measures that provide for replacement wetland that recreates as nearly as possible the original wetland in terms of type, vegetative composition, functions, geographic location and setting and that is larger by a ratio acceptable to the approving authority.
B. 
All mitigation plans shall be based on the following:
(1) 
Minimization of impacts and disturbance to wetlands, watercourse and adjacent buffer areas, in that order.
(2) 
Preservation of remaining wetlands, watercourses, and adjacent buffer areas through the dedication and establishment of perpetual conservation easements, development restriction areas or equivalent.
(3) 
Rectification by repairing or restoring existing damaged wetlands, watercourses or adjacent buffer areas, including enhancement thereto.
C. 
Mitigation may take the following forms, either singularly or in combination, for disturbances in wetland/watercourse, and adjacent buffer areas:
(1) 
For disturbance in a wetland/watercourse or buffer:
(a) 
Implementation of preventative practices to protect the natural condition and functions of the wetland and/or watercourse.
(b) 
Restoration or enhancement (e.g., improving the density and diversity of native woody plant species) of remaining or other upland buffer to offset the impacts to the original buffer.
(2) 
For disturbance in a wetland.
(a) 
Restoration of areas of significantly disturbed or degraded wetlands at a replacement ratio acceptable to the approving authority to reclaim significantly disturbed or degraded wetland to bring back one or more of the functions that have been partially or completely lost by such actions as draining and filling, provided the area of proposed mitigations occurs in a confirmed disturbed or degraded wetland having significantly lesser functional values as a result of disturbance or degradation; and/or
(b) 
The in-kind replacement of impacted wetland by the construction of new wetland, usually by flooding or excavating lands that were not previously occupied by a wetland, that recreates as nearly as possible the original wetland in terms of type, functions, geographic location and setting and that is larger than the original wetland by a ratio acceptable to the approval authority.
D. 
Monitoring.
(1) 
The approval authority shall inspect and monitor or shall cause to have inspected and monitored projects according to the specifications set forth in the permit to determine whether the elements of the mitigation and permit conditions have been satisfied and whether the restored or created wetland function(s) and acreage mitigate the impacted function(s) and acreage. To this end, the approval authority may contract with an academic institution, an independent research group, or other qualified professional at the expense of the applicant. An annual or more frequent monitoring report prepared by the appropriate monitor shall be submitted to the approval authority. Mitigation projects shall be monitored for an appropriate period of time, as determined by the approval authority, on a case-by-case basis. Long-term monitoring is generally needed to assure the continued viability of mitigation wetlands. In general the monitoring period shall be from three to five years.
(2) 
The requirements for monitoring shall be specified in the mitigation plan and shall include, but not be limited to the following:
(a) 
The time period over which compliance monitoring shall occur;
(b) 
Field measurements to verify the size and location of impacted wetland area and mitigation (restored or replacement) wetland area;
(c) 
The date of completion of the restoration and/or replacement; and
(d) 
Field verification of the vegetative, hydrologic, and soils criteria as specified in the mitigation plan and permit.
E. 
If the approval authority requires a mitigation plan, the following shall apply:
(1) 
All mitigation measures shall demonstrate the benefits of regaining new wetland area(s) with the loss to upland (nonwetland) areas caused by wetland creation.
(2) 
The mitigation plan developed to compensate for the loss of wetland or wetland/watercourse buffer shall include base line data as needed to adequately review the effectiveness of this plan.
(3) 
Any mitigation plan prepared pursuant to this section and accepted by the approval authority shall become part of the permit for the application to conduct a regulated activity.
F. 
All mitigation plans shall include:
(1) 
A map with sufficient detail and at a scale to be able to determine where the wetland is located detailing its size, boundaries and topographic features;
(2) 
A narrative which describes goals and specific objectives for the mitigation wetland or wetland/watercourse buffer, including the functions and benefits to be provided and clear performance standards and criteria for assessing project success.
(3) 
A description of the physical, hydrological, and ecological characteristics of the impacted wetland and/or wetland/watercourse buffer and proposed restored and/or created wetland and/or buffer in sufficient detail to enable the approving authority to determine whether wetland and/or buffer impacts will be permanently mitigated;
(4) 
Details on construction, including:
(a) 
Diking, excavation, or other means by which the wetland will be restored or created, including existing and proposed topographic contours.
(b) 
Construction schedule.
(c) 
Measures to control erosion and sedimentation during construction.
(d) 
Plantings, source of stock, procedures for transplanting/seeding the stock, area(s) to be planted, and planting schedule. If vegetation from the wild is to be used, identify the source and measures to prevent introduction of undesirable exotics.
(e) 
Chemicals. If applicable, explain why chemicals will be used and precautions to be taken to minimize their application and protect the wetland and/or watercourse from excessive chemicals.
(5) 
Details on management of the mitigation site, including:
(a) 
Measures to assure persistence of the wetland (e.g., protection against predation by birds and other animals).
(b) 
Vegetative management.
(c) 
Sediment and erosion control.
(d) 
Plans for monitoring site during and after construction, Including methods and a schedule for data collection and provisions for midcourse corrections.
(e) 
Provisions for long-term protection of the site (e.g., permanent conservation easement).
(f) 
Provision for bonding or other financial guarantees.
(6) 
A description of the periodic reporting, including at the end of the construction, during the monitoring period and at the end of the monitoring period; and
(7) 
The name, qualifications and experience of the person(s) implementing the mitigation plan (i.e., contractor who will restore or construct the wetland).
G. 
Mitigation measures and permit conditions shall be set forth in a covenant to be recorded in the County Clerk's office, to run with the land and bind subsequent owners. The approval authority will require the applicant to provide an easement or covenant to enable the Town to inspect any mitigation measures or approval. If mitigation measures are removed or not properly maintained, the Town, upon notice to cure the property owner may undertake corrective action, charge the property owner for such expense, and, if unpaid, place the costs on the real property tax bill.

§ 179-11 Retention of wetlands consultants; administrative procedures.

The Town Board authorizes the following amended administrative procedures with respect to application pursuant to Chapter 265 (Subdivision of Land), Chapter 307, Article XII (Site Development Plan Approval) and Chapter 179 (Freshwater Wetlands, Water Bodies and Watercourses).
A. 
After conferring with the CAC, the Director of Technical Services, shall periodically prepare for the consideration of the Town Board a list of qualified wetlands consultants to be retained by the Town to provide wetland services (identification, evaluation and periodic inspections during construction) to assist the Planning Board, Zoning Board, Town Board, the Director of Technical Services or the Deputy Director of Code Enforcement in subdivision and/or site development plan review and other agencies and offices of the Town in the implementation of subdivisions and/or site development plans.
B. 
The Director of Technical Services shall assign on an equitable basis the wetland consultants retained by the Town Board subdivision and/or site development plan applications. Minor subdivisions and small projects may be exempted from this procedure when deemed appropriate by the Director of Technical Services.
C. 
The Town of Cortlandt requires all applicants to utilize the services of a Town-approved wetland consultant. Please see § 179-10A. An applicant shall provide funds to be held in escrow for these services. If an applicant has already delineated wetlands, said delineation must be confirmed by the Town-approved wetland consultant and paid for by the applicant.
D. 
The Town shall require the applicant to fund the cost of monitoring improvements during and for a designated period after construction.