Town of Southampton, NY
Suffolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Southampton 9-8-2020 by L.L. No. 8-2020. Amendments noted where applicable.]
A. 
As noted in the Town's Comprehensive Plan Update, the historic and cultural past of Southampton is integral to its sense of place and community, and in order for these resources to be adequately protected, this historic identity must be recognized, preserved, and interwoven into the fabric of the Town. Much of that fabric includes the Shinnecock Nation, a Native American tribe that has occupied Southampton for more than four hundred generations.
B. 
Given this rich history, there may be numerous, ancient Native American graves and funerary objects in Southampton that are unmarked, but which carry with them great spiritual, cultural, and historical significance. With nothing to protect them, such sites are vulnerable to unintentional disturbance in the course of construction and other related activities, as well as, regrettably, intentional and deliberate destruction, vandalism, and looting.
C. 
The Town Board of the Town of Southampton recognizes that the sanctity of human burial sites is an intrinsic and paramount value among all cultural and religious traditions which practice the custom of burying the dead. Indeed, the Town Board recognizes that there are numerous unmarked burial sites throughout the Town - including, but not limited to, the Sugar Loaf Hill Shinnecock Indian Burial Ground and the Shinnecock Indian Contact Period Village Fort regions - which are of great cultural and historical significance to the people of the Town, particularly to members of the cultural and religious groups affiliated with them. That said, the Town Board also recognizes that the existing laws are inadequate to protect these unmarked burial sites from disturbance, and that New York is one of very few states which has no express statutory protection for unmarked burial sites.
D. 
Thus, the purpose of this moratorium is to review the current laws and land use tools available to the Town to address this issue, with the goal of adopting local legislation to ensure that human remains and associated funerary artifacts remain undisturbed to the maximum extent practicable, and are treated with the utmost respect consistent with the wishes of lineal descendants and culturally affiliated groups.
A. 
The moratorium area shall be defined as those parcels located north of Montauk Highway, which includes the Shinnecock Indian Contact Period Village Fort region ("Moratorium Area A"), and those parcels located south of Montauk Highway, which includes the Sugar Loaf Hill Shinnecock Indian Burial Ground region ("Moratorium Area B"), within the hamlet of Shinnecock Hills.
B. 
Moratorium Area A shall encompass those parcels bounded on the north by the Long Island Rail Road, on the east by Ridge Road, on the south by Montauk Highway, and on the west by Peconic Road, within the hamlet of Shinnecock Hills.
C. 
Moratorium Area B shall encompass those parcels bounded on the north by Montauk Highway, on the east by Southway Drive, on the south by Shinnecock Bay East, and on the west by Peconic Road, within the hamlet of Shinnecock Hills.
A. 
Except as otherwise provided herein, for a period of six months from the effective date of this chapter, no agency of the Town of Southampton shall accept, process, or approve any application for a building permit or demolition permit which involves the excavation, digging, grading, or regrading of:
(1) 
Any unimproved lot within Moratorium Area A, as defined above;
(2) 
Any improved or unimproved lot within Moratorium Area B, as defined above.
B. 
For the purposes of this chapter, grading shall be defined as the subsurface disturbance of at least one foot in depth or more, on average, and at least 10 square feet in surface area or more, of a parcel of land.
A. 
Applications and actions not expressly listed in § 323-3 of this chapter shall be excluded from the moratorium.
B. 
Any application or action listed in § 323-3 of this chapter that has received a building or demolition permit prior to the effective date of this chapter shall be excluded from the moratorium.
C. 
Any applicant that has demonstrated, and submitted proof thereof, that a field study was done of the area proposed to be excavated, dug, or graded using subsurface ground-penetrating radar at a depth of at least eight feet, showing no buried artifacts, graves, or grave objects, shall be excluded from the moratorium.
D. 
Any applicant that has demonstrated, and submitted proof thereof, that a Phase IA and Phase IB Archeological Survey was completed of the area proposed to be excavated, dug, or graded, showing no buried artifacts, graves, or grave objects, shall be excluded from the moratorium.
A. 
Notwithstanding any provision herein to the contrary, the Town Board may, during the term of this chapter, approve or deny by resolution an exemption from the provisions of this moratorium following a public hearing. Upon such application, the Town Board shall consider:
(1) 
The size of the subject parcel;
(2) 
The extent of the proposed development and/or disturbance of the subject parcel;
(3) 
The location of the subject parcel and its proximity to critical environmental areas within the Town;
(4) 
Public testimony offered during the public hearing process.
B. 
In making a determination under this section, the Town Board may obtain and consider written reports from the Department of Land Management, the Southampton Town and Shinnecock Indian Nation Joint Cultural Heritage Protection and Stewardship Committee, qualified experts, and members of the public, as required by the judgment of the Town Board, and consistent with the purpose of this chapter.
C. 
No exemption shall be granted hereunder unless the Town Board shall specifically find and determine, and shall set forth in its resolution granting such exemption, that:
(1) 
Failure to grant an exemption to the owner will cause the owner undue hardship, which hardship is substantially greater than any harm to the general public welfare resulting from the grant of the exemption; and
(2) 
The grant of the exemption will clearly have no adverse effect upon any of the Town's goals or objectives in adopting this chapter; and
(3) 
The application for which the owner seeks an exemption will be in harmony with the existing character and critical environmental areas in which the affected land is located, and will be consistent with any interim data, recommendations, or conclusions which may be drawn from any planning work or local legislation then in progress or under review.
D. 
Any exemption shall also include a detailed finding that the grant of an exemption will be in harmony with and will not be unduly disruptive to the goals and purposes of the grave site protection strategies developed pursuant to this chapter, and not set a future precedent for other potential project applications.
Pursuant to 6 NYCRR § 617.5(c)(30), a local law to implement a moratorium is a Type II action under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act ("SEQRA"), which has been determined not to have a significant impact on the environment and is otherwise precluded from environmental review under Environmental Conservation Law Article 8 and thus not subject to review.
This chapter is adopted pursuant to, and shall supersede, amend, and take precedence over any inconsistent provisions of New York State Town Law under the Town's municipal home rule powers pursuant to Municipal Home Rule Law §§ 10(1)(ii)(a)(11), (12), and (14), 10(1)(ii)(d)(3), and 22. In particular, this chapter shall supersede: (i) any inconsistent provisions set forth in New York State Town Law § 130, New York State Town Law Article 16, including, but not limited to, Town Law §§ 264, 265, 267-a, 267-b, 274-a, 276, 277, 278, and 279, (ii) any inconsistent provisions set forth in the Southampton Town Code, including, but not limited to, Chapter(s) 123, 247, 292, and 330, and (iii) any inconsistent provisions set forth in any and all other local laws of the Town of Southampton.