[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Hampton by Ord. No. 1-73; amended in its entirety at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Land use development has resulted in the need for continued efforts to preserve for the present and the future relatively undisturbed woodland, agricultural and wetland areas whose beauty and tranquility and habitat are extremely beneficial. The natural benefits associated with conservation programs are essential to preserve Hampton's most valuable environmental resource, the groundwater for the municipal and private wells.
There is hereby created an Environmental Commission for the conservation and protection of the natural resources located within the territorial limits of the Borough pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 245 of the Laws of New Jersey, 1968. (NOTE: "Conservation" includes the sustainable use of a resource vs. "preservation" which infers complete nonuse of resources.)
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 40:56A-1 et seq.
The Mayor, in his discretion, shall appoint the members of the Environmental Commission, which shall consist of seven persons, citizens and residents of the Borough, one of whom shall also be a liaison and member of the Borough Planning Board, and one of whom shall also be a liaison and member of the Borough Council. The Commissioners first appointed shall hold office for terms as follows: two members for one year, two members for two years and three members for three years, respectively, from the date in the year in which the appointments are made and until their successors are duly appointed and have qualified. Thereafter, all appointments shall be for terms of three years, and vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired term only, in the same manner as an original appointment. The members shall receive no compensation for their services. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary, the powers of appointment and removal hereby accorded to the Mayor shall be vested in the elected official so designated or, where there is a vacancy in the office of Mayor, in the duly designated Acting Mayor.
The Commission shall have the following powers:
The promotion of the conservation (including sustainable use) of the natural resources of the Borough.
The planning of, implementing and informing the public about local conservation programs.
To compile and keep an index of all open areas, publicly or privately owned, including open forests, farmland, marshlands, swamps and other wetlands.
To conduct research into the possible use of the open areas of the Borough.
To recommend actions to the Planning Board (if none, to the Mayor and Borough Council) after evaluation of plans and programs for inclusion in a Municipal Master Plan and the for development and use of such areas.
To advertise, prepare, print and distribute books, maps, charts, plans and pamphlets which, in its judgment, it deems necessary for its purposes.
To act as the coordinating agency of the community on conservation matters and a liaison between local conservation needs and regional, state and federal agencies ministering to those needs, especially the Hunterdon County Agricultural Development Board (HCADB), the Musconetcong River Management Council (MRMC) and the Highlands Council (HC).
To submit proposals, with the approval of the Borough Council, for the outside funding of projects relevant to the conservation of natural resources.
The Commission shall keep records of its meetings and activities and shall make an annual report on or before December 1 and submit the same to the Borough Council, which report shall be comprehensive and detailed, covering operations, receipts, disbursements and expenditures for the full year.
The Mayor shall designate one of the members to serve as Chairman and presiding officer of the Commission, called the "Environmental Commissioner." The Commission is authorized to adopt bylaws governing its procedural operation.
The Mayor or Borough Council may remove any member of the Commission for cause, on written charges served upon the member and after a hearing thereon, at which the member shall be entitled to be heard in person or by counsel.
The Borough Council shall annually fix, determine and appropriate a sum sufficient for the care, custody, policing and maintenance of such lands acquired for the uses and purposes therein stated and for the expenses of the Commission, which shall be levied by taxation in the same manner as other taxes.
The Commission may appoint a Secretary or Clerk and such number of custodians, supervisors and assistants for the lands acquired, for the uses and purposes herein mentioned, as it shall think necessary, but the salaries of all such clerks, custodians, supervisors and assistants shall be fixed and determined by the Borough Council, and in addition thereto, the total salaries of all such persons shall be within the limits of funds appropriated to the Commission.