[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Newtown 5-22-1973 STM (Ord. No. 38); amended by the Legislative Council 9-17-2003; 4-5-2006. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The wetlands and watercourses of the Town are an indispensable and irreplaceable but fragile natural resource with which the citizens of the Town have been endowed. The wetlands and watercourses are an interrelated web of nature essential to an adequate supply of surface water and underground water; to hydrological stability and control of flooding and erosion; to the recharging and purification of groundwater and to the existence of many forms of animal, aquatic and plant life.
Many wetlands and watercourses have been destroyed or are in danger of destruction because of unregulated use by reason of the deposition, filling or removal of material, the diversion or obstruction of water flow, the erection of structures and other uses, all of which have despoiled, polluted and eliminated wetlands and watercourses. Such unregulated activity has had, and will continue to have, a significant, adverse impact on the environment and ecology of the Town and has and will continue to imperil the quality of the environment, thus adversely affecting the ecological, scenic, historic and recreational values and benefits of the Town for its citizens now and forever more.
The preservation and protection of the wetlands and watercourses from random, unnecessary, undesirable and unregulated uses, disturbance or destruction is in the public interest and is essential to the health, welfare and safety of the citizens of the Town.
It is, therefore, the purpose of this chapter to protect the citizens of the Town by making provisions for the protection, preservation, maintenance and use of the wetlands and watercourses by minimizing their disturbance and pollution; maintaining and improving water quality in accordance with the highest standards set by federal, state or local authority; preventing damage from erosion, turbidity or siltation; preventing loss of fish and other beneficial aquatic organisms, wildlife and vegetation and the destruction of the natural habitats thereof; deterring and inhibiting the dangers of flood and pollution; protecting the quality of wetlands and watercourses for their conservation, economic, aesthetic, recreational and other public and private uses and values; and protecting the Town's potable fresh water supplies from the dangers of drought, overdraft, pollution, misuse and mismanagement by providing an orderly process to balance the need for the economic growth of the Town and the use of its land with the need to protect its environment and ecology in order to forever guarantee to the people of the Town the safety of such natural resources for their benefit and enjoyment and for the benefit and enjoyment of generations yet unborn.
The Inland Wetlands Commission shall be the Inland Wetlands Agency pursuant to Section 22a-42 of the Connecticut General Statutes to carry out and effectuate the purposes and policies of Sections 22a-36 to 22a-45a, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes; the Forest Practices Agency, pursuant to Chapter 140, Forests; and the Aquifer Protection Agency pursuant to Chapter 5, Aquifer Protection Agency and pursuant to Public Act 89-305 as codified and amended, and such other state laws and regulations as may from time to time be passed affecting inland wetlands and watercourses.
The Commission shall consist of seven members who shall be appointed by the First Selectman with the approval of the Board of Selectmen.
The initial members shall be appointed for the following terms: three members to serve until January 7, 2007; two members until January 7, 2008; and two members until January 7, 2009; thereafter, the successive terms of members shall be for a period of four years.
All of the applicable provisions of Chapter 4 of the Newtown Town Charter with regard to appointive boards shall apply.
The Inland Wetlands Commission is authorized to administer the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Regulations of the Town of Newtown, adopted February 13, 1991, as amended from time to time, and to promulgate such regulations, in conformity with regulations promulgated by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, as are necessary to protect the wetlands and watercourses, as defined by said Public Act 155, as amended, and Sections 22a-36 through 22a-45a of the Connecticut General Statutes as from time to time amended, within the territorial limits of the Town. Prior to the adoption or amendment of such regulations, the Inland Wetlands Commission shall file, in the office of the Town Clerk, a copy of its proposed regulations, together with any maps representing areas affected thereby, and shall, no earlier than 35 days thereafter, hold at least one public hearing thereon, notice of the time and place of which shall be published in a newspaper having general circulation in the Town at least seven days prior to the date of such hearing. Such notice shall make reference to the filing of such proposed regulations in the office of the Town Clerk. Upon adoption by the Inland Wetlands Commission, such regulations shall be forwarded to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection for approval. The regulations thus approved, together with any maps delineating wetlands and watercourses made a part thereof, shall be filed in the office of the Town Clerk and shall become effective upon such filing or upon a later effective date specified in such regulation or amendment and notice thereof shall be published in a newspaper having general circulation in the Town.
In exercising the authority granted herein, the Inland Wetlands Commission shall:
Develop comprehensive programs in furtherance of the purposes of this chapter;
Advise, consult and cooperate with agencies of the Town, state, the federal government, other states and with persons and municipalities in furtherance of the purposes of this chapter; to this end, all applications for building permits, subdivision plans or other permits which involve or may involve a regulated activity made to any other Town board or commission shall be subject to review by the Commission at its request;
Encourage, participate in or conduct studies, investigations, research and demonstrations, and collect and disseminate information relating to the purposes of this chapter;
Retain and employ consultants and assistants on a contract or other basis for rendering legal, financial, technical or other assistance and advice in furtherance of any of its purposes, specifically including, but not limited to, soil scientists of the United States Soil Conservation Service for the purpose of making on-site interpretations, evaluations and findings as to soil types, and/or utilize the services of such other Town officials and employees as it may deem appropriate;
Promulgate such regulations as are necessary to protect the wetlands and watercourses or any of them individually or collectively;
Inventory or index the wetlands and watercourses in such form, including pictorial representations, and list plant species, as the Commission deems best suited to effectuate the purposes of this chapter; and
Exercise all incidental powers necessary to enforce regulations and to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Town, acting through the Inland Wetlands Commission, shall have the right of appeal provided by Public Act 155 of 1972, as amended and codified.
Editor's Note: See C.G.S. § 22a-43, Appeals.