[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Warwick 11-9-1977 by L.L. No. 2-1977 (Ch. 106 of the 1973 Municipal Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The preservation and improvement of the quality of the natural and man-made environment within the Town of Warwick, in the face of population growth, urbanization and technologic change with their accompanying demands on natural resources, are found to be of increasing and vital importance to the health, welfare and economic well-being of present and future inhabitants and require forthright action by the governing body of the Town of Warwick. It is recognized that the biologic integrity of the natural environment on which man is dependent for survival and the natural and functional beauty of our surroundings which condition the quality of our life experience cannot be protected without the full cooperation and participation of all the people of the Town working in partnership with local and state officials and with various public and private institutions, agencies and organizations. Establishment of a Conservation Board is a necessary step in fostering unified action on environmental problems.
The Town Board hereby creates a board which shall be known as the "Town of Warwick Conservation Board," hereinafter called the "Conservation Board."
The Conservation Board shall consist of nine members who shall be appointed by the Town Board. Of the members first appointed to the Conservation Board, three shall hold office for the term of one year, three for the term of two years and three for the term of three years. Their successors shall be appointed for a term of three years from and after the expiration of the terms of their predecessors in office. Persons residing within the Town of Warwick who are interested in the improvement and preservation of environmental quality shall be eligible for appointment as members of the Conservation Board. Vacancies on the Conservation Board shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
The Conservation Board shall designate a member of its group, upon approval of the Town Board, to act as Chairman thereof. At the first meeting of the Conservation Board, its members shall also designate from among themselves a Recording Secretary. The Conservation Board shall adopt rules and procedures for its meetings. It shall keep accurate records of its meetings and activities and shall file an annual report as provided in § 10-7 of this chapter.
[Amended 6-23-1988 by L.L. No. 1-1988]
The powers and duties of the Conservation Board shall be to:
Advise the Town Board on matters affecting the preservation, development and use of the natural and man-made features and conditions of the Town insofar as beauty, quality, biologic integrity and other environmental factors are concerned and, in the case of man's activities and developments, with regard to any major threats posed to environmental quality, so as to enhance the long-range value of the environment to the people of the Town.
Develop and, after receiving general approval by resolution of the Town Board, may conduct a program of public information in the community which shall be designed to foster increased understanding of the nature of environmental problems and issues and support for their solutions.
Conduct studies, surveys and inventories of the natural and man-made features within the Town of Warwick and such other studies and surveys as may be necessary to carry out the general purpose of this chapter.
Maintain an up-to-date inventory or index of all open spaces in public or private ownership within the municipality, including but not limited to natural landmarks, glacial and other geomorphic or physiographic features; streams and their floodplains, swamps, marshlands and other wetlands; unique biotic communities; scenic and other open areas of natural or ecological value; and of the ownership, present use and proposed use of such open areas, so as to provide a base of information for recommendations by the Conservation Board for their preservation and/or use.
Seek to coordinate, assist and unify the efforts of private groups, institutions and individuals with the Town of Warwick in accord with the purpose of this chapter.
Maintain liaison and communications with public and private agencies and organizations of local, state and national scope whose programs and activities have an impact on the quality of the environment or who can be of assistance to the Conservation Board.
Obtain and maintain in orderly fashion maps, reports, books and other publications to support the necessary researches of the Conservation Board into local environmental conditions.
Further assist the Town in the development of sound open-area planning and assure preservation of natural and scenic resources on the local level pursuant to General Municipal Law § 239-y as follows:
Review each application received by the Town Board or by the Building Department, Zoning Board, Planning Board, Board of Appeals or other administrative body which seeks approval for the use or development of any open area listed in the open space index.
Submit a written report to the referral body within 45 days of receipt of such application. Such report shall evaluate the proposed use or development of the open area in terms of the open-area planning objectives of the municipality and shall include the effect of such use or development on the open space index. The report shall make recommendations as to the most appropriate use or development of the open area and may include preferable alternative use proposals consistent with open areas conservation. A copy of every report shall be filed with the Town Board.
Make available for public inspection at the office of the Conservation Board copies of all such reports of the Conservation Board.
Perform any duties assigned to it by resolution of the Town Board.
Exercise any of the functions and responsibilities heretofore granted to the Conservation Advisory Council as hereinabove stated.
Working in cooperation with the Planning Board, a designated member of the Conservation Board shall attend said Planning Board meetings and recommend to the Planning Board the Conservation Board's views representing features, plans and programs relating to environmental improvement for inclusion in the Master Plan of the Town of Warwick, also reviewing industrial, commercial, institutional and subdivision proposals for their environmental impact, and similarly recommend to the Town Board appropriate and desirable changes in existing local laws and ordinances relating to environmental control or recommend new local laws and ordinances.
When authorized by resolution of the Town Board, the Conservation Board may accept, by gift, grant, devise, bequest or otherwise, property both real and personal in the name of the Town of Warwick as may be necessary to conserve and otherwise properly utilize open spaces and other land and water resources within the boundaries of the Town of Warwick. Such real property may be accepted in fee for land and water rights or as any lesser interest, development right, easement, including conservation easement, covenant or other contractual right, including conveyance with limitations or reversions.
Automatic referral of proposals for development or permits in areas on the open space index shall be made by the Building Inspector to the Conservation Board.
An environmental review questionnaire shall be completed by the developer when he presents his application to the Building Inspector. Unresolved questions may require subsequent appearance by a developer's representative at a regular Conservation Board meeting.
Conservation Board review and recommendations shall be furnished to the referring body for its hearing on the matter, timing to be coordinated to fall within the forty-five-day legislative time allotment where possible. A copy shall also be furnished to the Town Clerk.
The Conservation Board shall submit an annual report to the Town Board concerning the activities and work of the Conservation Board and from time to time shall submit such reports and recommendations as may be necessary to fulfill the purposes of this chapter.
The members of the Conservation Board shall receive no compensation for their services as members thereof, but may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties within the appropriations made available therefor.
This chapter shall be deemed an exercise of the powers of the Town of Warwick to preserve and improve the quality of the natural and man-made environment on behalf of the present and future in habitants thereof. This chapter is not intended and shall not be deemed to impair the powers of any other public corporation.