[Adopted 8-4-1998 by L.L. No. 26-1998]
This chapter of the East Hampton Town Code shall be known and may be cited as the "Community Preservation Fund Law."
This chapter is adopted for the purpose of protecting and preserving open and undeveloped lands in the Town of East Hampton, including wetlands, woodlands, agricultural lands, shorelands and the other natural resources of the town; for the purpose of protecting historic places and properties within the town; and for the purpose of providing the town's visitors and residents with outdoor recreational opportunities, all in accordance with the provisions of § 64-e of the New York Town Law and as more fully set forth therein.
As used in this chapter, the following words and terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ADVISORY BOARD
- The East Hampton Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board established and created by this chapter.
- COMMUNITY PRESERVATION
- Includes all of the following:
- A. Establishment of parks, nature preserves or recreational areas.
- B. Preservation of open space, including agricultural lands.
- C. Preservation of lands of exceptional scenic value.
- D. Preservation of freshwater and saltwater marshes or other wetlands.
- E. Preservation of aquifer recharge areas.
- F. Preservation of undeveloped beach lands or shorelands.
- G. Establishment of wildlife refuges for the purpose of maintaining native animal species diversity, including the protection of habitat essential to the recovery of rare, threatened or endangered species.
- H. Preservation of pine barrens consisting of such biota as pitch pine and scrub oak.
- I. Preservation of unique or threatened ecological areas.
- J. Preservation of brooks or streams and riverine areas in natural, free-flowing condition.
- K. Preservation of forested lands.
- L. Preservation of public access to lands for public use, including stream rights and waterways.
- M. Preservation of historic places and properties listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and/or protected under a local historic preservation ordinance or local law.
- N. Undertaking any of the aforementioned in furtherance of the establishment of a greenbelt.
- COMMUNITY PRESERVATION PROJECT PLAN
- The East Hampton Community Preservation Project Plan adopted by the East Hampton Town Board pursuant to Town Law § 64-e, Subdivision 6.
- The East Hampton Community Preservation Fund established and created by this chapter.
The East Hampton Community Preservation Fund is hereby established as authorized by § 64-e of the New York Town Law.
Deposits into the fund may include revenues of the Town from whatever source and shall include the revenues from a real estate transfer tax imposed by the Town pursuant to Article 31-D of the New York Tax Law.
The fund shall also be authorized to accept gifts of any such interests in land or funds. Interest accrued by moneys deposited in the fund shall be credited to the fund.
In no event shall moneys deposited in the fund be transferred into any other account.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the financing in whole or in part, pursuant to the New York Local Finance Law, of any acquisition authorized pursuant to this chapter. Moneys from the fund may be utilized to repay any indebtedness or obligations incurred pursuant to the Local Finance Law, consistent with effectuating the purposes of this chapter.
The purposes of the fund shall be exclusively:
To implement a plan for the preservation of community character as required by § 64-e, Subdivision 6, of the Town Law.
To acquire interests or rights in real property for the preservation of community character within the town, including the portion of any village therein, in accordance with said plan.
To establish a bank pursuant to a transfer of development rights program consistent with § 261-a of the Town Law, at the sole discretion of the Town Board.
To provide a management and stewardship program for such rights and interests acquired by the fund, consistent with the provisions of this chapter and in accordance with said plan.
The acquisition of interests and rights in real property under the fund shall be in cooperation with willing sellers.
Not more than 10% of the fund shall be utilized for the management and stewardship program provided for in Subsection A(4) of this section.
Upon the full implementation of the Community Preservation Project Plan, and funds being no longer required for the purposes set forth in Subsection A above, any remaining moneys in the fund shall be applied to reduce any bonded indebtedness or obligations incurred to effectuate the purposes of Subsection A.
The East Hampton Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board is hereby established to review and make recommendations on proposed acquisitions of interests in real property using moneys from the fund and to act in an advisory capacity to the Town Board with respect to the administration of the fund.
Such board shall consist of seven members who shall be residents of the Town and who shall serve without compensation. No member of the Town Board shall serve on the Advisory Board.
A majority of the members appointed shall have demonstrated experience with conservation or land preservation activities. In addition, at least one member of the Advisory Board shall be an active farmer.
No interest or right in real property shall be acquired by the fund until a public hearing is held as required by § 247 of the New York General Municipal Law. However, nothing herein shall prevent the Town Board from entering into a conditional purchase agreement before a public hearing is held.
Any resolution of the Town Board approving an acquisition of land pursuant to this chapter shall include a finding that acquisition was the best alternative for the protection of community character of all reasonable alternatives available to the town.
Lands acquired pursuant to this chapter shall be administered and managed in accordance with the following requirements:
Public use and enjoyment of the lands shall be allowed in a manner which is compatible with the natural, scenic, historic and open space character of such lands.
The native biological diversity of such lands shall be preserved.
With regard to lands acquired as open space (as opposed to lands acquired for active recreation use or public water access or improved lands acquired for historic preservation reasons), improvements shall be limited to those designed to enhance access for passive use of such open-space lands, such as nature trails, boardwalks, bicycle paths and peripheral parking areas, provided that such improvements do not degrade the ecological value of the land or threaten essential wildlife habitat.
With regard to historic properties, historic and cultural resources shall be managed and maintained in a manner which is consistent with accepted standards for historic preservation.
The Town may enter into agreements with corporations organized under the New York Not-for-Profit Corporation Law and which engage in land trust activities, in order to provide for the management and supervision of lands acquired by the fund, including less than fee interests in land. Any such agreements shall, however, provide that such corporations shall keep the lands under management accessible to the public unless such corporations shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Town Board that public access would be detrimental to the lands or to any natural features associated therewith.
Rights or interests in real property which are acquired with moneys from the fund shall not be sold, leased, exchanged, donated or otherwise disposed of or used for other than the purposes permitted by this chapter without the express authority of an act of the State Legislature, which is required to provide for the substitution of other lands having equal environmental and fair market value and reasonably equivalent usefulness and location to those to be discontinued, sold or disposed of, and which may impose other requirements as well.
In addition to an act of the State Legislature, real property acquired with moneys from the fund shall not be sold, leased, exchanged, donated or otherwise disposed of or used for other than the purposes permitted by this chapter, except after compliance with the disposal and divestiture procedures which are set forth in Chapter 182 ("Nature Preserve") of this Code, specifically § 182-14B thereof.
This section shall not apply to the sale of development rights by the Town acquired pursuant to this chapter, where said sale is made by a central bank created by the Town and pursuant to a transfer of development rights program established by the Town pursuant to § 261-a of the Town Law. However, said development rights program shall provide:
That the lands from which development rights are acquired shall remain preserved in perpetuity via a permanent conservation easement or other instrument that similarly preserves community character as defined in this article.
That the proceeds from any such sale shall be deposited in the fund.