[Adopted 6-5-1974 as Ch. 4, Art. II of the 1974 Code]
A Conservation Commission is hereby established for the Town for the development and conservation of natural resources, including water resources, in the Town.
[Amended 4-22-1998; 2-17-2016]
The Conservation Commission shall consist of nine members, who are electors of the Town, to be appointed by the chief executive officer of the Town. The Conservation Commission shall have two alternate members to be appointed in the same manner as regular members. Such alternate members shall, when seated as provided herein, have all powers and duties of regular members as set forth in the General Statutes, Ridgefield Town Charter and Town Ordinances. When not seated, alternate members may discuss items of business. However, after a motion is made, or after the close of a public hearing, discussion on the motion or on the subject application shall be limited to voting members. Alternate members are encouraged to attend all meetings and executive sessions, and they shall have the right to be members of subcommittees. If a regular member of the Commission is absent, disqualified, or otherwise unable to act at any meeting, the Chairman of the Commission shall designate an alternate to act in place of such regular member, choosing alternates in alphabetical rotation so that they act as nearly equal a number of times as possible, and such assigned alternate shall act for the entire meeting. If any alternate is not available in accordance with such rotation or is disqualified from acting on a specific item of business, such fact shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting and the next alternate in rotation will be seated.
The members of the Conservation Commission shall elect one member to serve as Chairman.
Each member of the Conservation Commission shall be appointed for a term of three years, and terms shall be staggered so that at least two members are appointed each year.
The members of the Conservation Commission shall serve without salary.
The chief executive officer of the Town may remove any member of the Conservation Commission for cause and fill any vacancy or an unexpired term.
The Conservation Commission shall:
Conduct researches into the utilization and possible utilization of land areas of the municipality, and may coordinate the activities of unofficial bodies organized for similar purposes, and may advertise, prepare and distribute books, maps, charts, plans and pamphlets as necessary for its purposes;
Keep an index of all open areas, publicly or privately owned, including open marshlands, swamps and other wetlands, for the purpose of obtaining information on the proper use of such areas, and may from time to time recommend to the chief executive officer, the legislative body or the Planning and Zoning Commission plans and programs for the development and use of such area, which may include the acquisition of conservation easements;
Keep records of its meetings and activities and make an annual report to the municipality in the manner required of other agencies; and
Have all the rights and powers conferred upon it pursuant to the General Statutes of Connecticut.
The Conservation Commission may acquire land in the name of the municipality for any of its purposes and may receive gifts in the name of the municipality for any of its purposes and shall administer the same for such purposes, subject to the terms of the gift and to the approval of the legislative body of the municipality.
The Conservation Commission is hereby designated as agent for the Town in making applications for state aid under C.G.S. §§ 7-131d through 7-131k, inclusive, and federal aid under any federal open space program, provided that the acquisition of such land set forth in such applications shall be completed with funds exclusively within the control of the Conservation Commission.