[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Southampton 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 43-1992. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Master Plan envisions a recreational system which would incorporate the essential natural and scenic resources that have attracted people to the community over the years into a system of largely interconnected parks and open spaces. These resources, such as our morainal and pine barren woodlands, farmlands, ponds, bays and ocean and points of interest, as well as our scenic hamlets, would provide the setting or backdrop for specific recreational facilities and historic sites, or focal points, within the overall system. These focal points would be the active, high-traffic, recreation areas and would be lineally connected to the less active, natural, environmental parks by way of greenbelt corridors and trails.
The Master Plan notes that "as the overall park and open space system takes form, it will be important to recognize that new opportunities will exist to accommodate the social, economic, recreational and environmental programs that these new lands would accommodate."
The Master Plan also states "the lineal layout (of a system of trails) would be ideally suited to such activities." It further states that "relative to the acquisition of greenbelt linkage parks and other open spaces, much can be expected through the use of planned residential development... ."
A partial description of the benefits associated with trails include the following:
Trails provide a multitude of opportunities related to outdoor recreation: hiking, strolling, cross-country skiing, photography, nature study, bird-watching, environmental education, horseback riding and bicycling. In addition, trails provide valuable public access corridors to ponds and woodland areas for hunters and fishermen.
Trails are land links that function as a planning tool. They can be utilized to join parklands and a growing inventory of lands that have become dedicated into open space as a result of the subdivision review process.
Trails can provide adjacent residential communities with corridors of open space that help to preserve natural vistas; they help to maintain sense-of-place distinctions between communities and provide casually passive transportation routes between neighborhoods.
Trails provide the critical habitat passages necessary for the natural movement of wildlife. There is a strong correlation linking access to natural areas and the ability of various wildlife to maintain sustainable populations.
Within residential communities, trail greenway areas can function as refuges for certain wildlife species and help to protect food sources for migratory birds.
Certain existing trails throughout the Town represent ancient pathways. The protection of such trails can help to preserve an important and often overlooked value associated with the Town's inventory of natural resources. Trails can function as historical corridors, tracing the course of colonial and native American use over hundreds of years.
Trails are a natural access to environmentally sensitive areas and serve to enhance an appreciation of the beauty and diversity of habitats that need to be preserved.
The Town Board of the Town of Southampton finds and declares it to be the public policy of the Town to identify and protect existing trails, as well as to develop and maintain new linking trails to secure various social, economic, aesthetic and environmental benefits necessary to the health, safety and general welfare of present and future residents of Southampton.
In order to implement these policies, a variety of local laws, regulations and policies have already been adopted. Chapter 247, Open Space, of the Town Code sets guidelines for open space preservation in planned residential developments (cluster subdivisions), and Chapter 292, Subdivision of Land, § 292-6.1, requires the identification and preservation of trails within proposed subdivisions and directs the Planning Board to encourage landowners to grant rights to the public to utilize trails.
In order to further implement the Town's interest in trail development, the Trails Advisory Board was established by Town Board resolution dated February 25, 1992, to advise Town agencies on the many issues relative to the development and management of a comprehensive, Town-wide trail network.
It is the intent of this chapter to affirm the establishment of the Trails Advisory Board; to express the general policy of the Town with respect to the protection of existing trails and the development of new trails; and to outline the duties and responsibilities of the Trails Advisory Board with respect to implementing these policies.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- NATURAL RESOURCES DIRECTOR
- The duly appointed Director of the Office of Natural Resources pursuant to Chapter 229 of the Town Code.
- PLANNING BOARD
- The Planning Board of the Town of Southampton.
- TOWN BOARD
- The Town Board of the Town of Southampton.
- A path, walk or way which may be used for hiking, walking, horseback riding or similar recreational pursuit, but excluding motorized vehicles. This shall include existing trails as well as newly created trails.
- TRAILS ADVISORY BOARD
- The advisory body to the Town Board and Planning Board in relation to the acquisition, establishment and management of trails created by resolution dated February 25, 1992, and affirmed by this chapter.
Pursuant to Town Board resolution dated February 25, 1992, there is hereby established in and for the Town of Southampton a Trails Advisory Board consisting of seven members to serve without compensation and to be appointed annually by the Town Board in a manner that reflects an effort to balance geographical representation of the Town and encourages participation from a diverse group of resident trail users.
The Trails Advisory Board shall have a Chairman, who shall be appointed by the Town Board annually. An Acting Chairman may be designated by the Trails Advisory Board.
The Natural Resources Director shall serve as an ex officio member of the Board.
The Trails Advisory Board shall advise and assist the Town Board and other Town agencies in the following tasks:
Identify existing and potential trails.
Conduct advisory reviews of subdivision proposals and make certain planning recommendations regarding trails.
Assist the Planning and Natural Resources Director(s) with the inventory and analysis required for the development of a Trails Overlay Map.
Provide policy recommendations for the types of trails being preserved, developed or maintained, including recommendations regarding limitations on acceptable uses for specific trails or trail segments.
Monitor the concerns and interests of residents of the Town regarding the preservation, development, maintenance and use of trails.
Assist the Town with the development of "good neighbor" policies regarding trails, including those related to stewardship, illegal dumping, trails education and trail easements.
Interact with other municipalities and agencies regarding the regional aspects of trail networks.
Promote the use of trails throughout the development of a Trail Guide for Southampton Town.
The Trails Advisory Board shall meet on a monthly basis and shall maintain records of the topics discussed, the applications reviewed, investigations, discussions or advisory opinions rendered. Notice of the meetings of the Trails Advisory Board shall be posted on the Town Clerk's sign board at least five days in advance of such meeting day, and such meeting shall be open to the public.
An annual report of the activities of the Trails Advisory Board shall be made available to the Town Board at the end of each calendar year.