[Adopted 7-21-2010 by L.L. No. 1-2010]
This article is adopted pursuant to § 491 of the Real Property Tax Law.
In this article, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
- NATURAL RESOURCES
- Shall include, but not be limited to, agricultural lands defined as open lands actually used in bona fide agricultural production.
- OPEN SPACE or OPEN AREA
- Any space or area characterized by natural scenic beauty whose existing openness, natural condition, or present state of use, if retained, would enhance the present or potential value of abutting or surrounding urban development or would maintain or enhance conservation of natural or scenic resources.
Any owner of land may submit a proposal to the Town Board of the Town of Orchard Park for the granting of interest or rights in real property for the preservation of open space or area. Such proposal shall be submitted in such a manner and form as may be prescribed by the Conservation Board of the Town of Orchard Park.
Upon receipt of such proposal, the Town Board shall convey the proposal to the Conservation Board of the Town of Orchard Park. The Conservation Board shall investigate the area to determine if the proposal would be of benefit to the people of the Town and may negotiate the terms and conditions of the offer. If the Conservation Board determines that it is in the public interest to accept such proposal, it shall recommend to the Town Board that it hold a public hearing for the purpose of determining whether or not the Town should accept such proposal.
The Town Board shall, within 30 days of receipt of such advisory opinion, hold a public hearing concerning such proposal at a place within the Town. At least 10 days' notice of the time and place of the hearing must be published in a paper of general circulation in the Town, and a written notice of such proposal shall be given to all adjacent property owners and to any municipality whose boundaries are within 500 feet of the boundaries of said proposed area, and to the school district in which it is located.
The Town Board after receiving the reports of the Conservation Board, and after such public hearing, may adopt the proposal or any modification thereof it deems appropriate. It may reject it in its entirety.
If such proposal is adopted by the Town Board, it shall be executed by the owner or owners in written form and in a form suitable for recording in the Erie County Clerk's Office.
Such agreement may not be canceled by either party. However, the owner or owners thereof may petition the Town Board for cancellation upon good cause shown, and such cancellation be granted only upon payment of the penalties provided in this article.
Conservation easements have been granted by this Town Board under the prior local law adopted by this Town Board. Those Conservation Easements shall remain in effect. The owners of property which are encumbered by such easements shall be entitled to exemptions upon compliance with § 124-32 of this article.
An exemption granted pursuant to this section shall commence on the effective date of the conservation easement agreement, and shall terminate upon the expiration or termination of such conservation easement agreement.
The following table shall illustrate computation of the exemption:
Such exemption shall be granted only upon application by the owner or owners of such real property on a form prescribed by the State Board. Such application shall be filed with the Assessor of the Town on or before the taxable status date of such Town.
If satisfied that the applicant is entitled to an exemption pursuant to this section, the assessor shall approve the application and such real property shall thereafter be exempt from taxation and special ad valorem levies as provided in this section commencing with the assessment roll prepared on the basis of the taxable status date. The assessed value of any exemption granted pursuant to this section shall be entered by the Assessor on the assessment roll with the taxable property, with the amount of the exemption shown in a separate column.
Whenever a conservation easement encumbers only a portion of a parcel, the Assessor shall henceforth enter that portion of the parcel encumbered by such easement as a separate parcel on all subsequent assessment rolls.
If there is a violation of the terms and conditions of the conservation easement agreement or if such conservation easement agreement is canceled by the Town Board upon petition, then the owner or owners of such property must pay to the Town the following amounts:
All taxes abated pursuant to the conservation easement agreement, as limited by the remainder of this section, including, if applicable, those taxes imposed by the county, Town, school districts and special improvement districts and all other taxing units to which the property is subject. Repayment of the aforementioned abated taxes shall be equal to five times the taxes saved in the last year in which the land benefited from a conservation easement agreement exemption, plus interest of 6% per year compounded annually for each year in which an exemption was granted, not exceeding five years.
Payments shall be added by or on behalf of each taxing jurisdiction to the taxes levied on the assessment roll prepared on the basis of the first taxable status date after there is a violation of the terms and conditions of the conservation easement or such conservation easement if cancelled.