Town of Poughkeepsie, NY
Dutchess County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Poughkeepsie 5-21-2003 by L.L. No. 5-2003.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
Building construction — See Ch. 68.
Environmental quality review — See Ch. 94.
Erosion and sediment control — See Ch. 97.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 113.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 177.
Waterfront consistency review — See Ch. 205.
Zoning — See Ch. 210.
Editor's Note: This local law superseded former Ch. 88, Freshwater Wetlands, adopted 8-25-1976 by L.L. No. 7-1976.

§ 116-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the "Aquatic Resource Protection Law" of the Town of Poughkeepsie.

§ 116-2 Legislative intent.

It is the intent of the Town of Poughkeepsie to protect aquatic resources.
It is the intent of this chapter to exercise concurrent jurisdiction with NYSDEC and USACOE over all aquatic resources within the Town.
It is the intent of this chapter to incorporate the protection of aquatic resources, into the land use, development approval and construction inspection procedures of the Town.

§ 116-3 Findings.

The Town of Poughkeepsie has determined that the public interest, health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of the Town will best be served by providing for the protection, preservation, proper maintenance, and use of the Town's aquatic resources from encroachment, spoiling, polluting, or elimination resulting from activities such as recreational or commercial development, housing, road construction, utility placement, and/or disregard for natural resources.
The Town desires to prevent acts inconsistent with the protection of aquatic resources.
Aquatic resources in the Town are valuable natural resources that benefit the entire Town and the surrounding region by performing one or more of the following functions:
Providing common linkages between aquatic systems (aquifers, floodplains, wetlands, lakes, rivers, etc.).
Avoiding watershed diversion of ground or subsurface water.
Aid in controlling stormwater discharge.
Providing drainage and flood control through hydrologic absorption, natural storage, and flood conveyance.
Protecting subsurface water resources, watersheds, and groundwater recharge systems.
Providing critical living, breeding, nesting, and feeding environments for many forms of wildlife, including, but not limited to, mammals, wildfowl, shorebirds, rare species, especially endangered and threatened species, and other dependent plants and animals.
Reducing pollution through natural biological degradation and chemical oxidation.
Controlling erosion by serving as sedimentation areas and filter basins, capturing silt and organic matter.
Providing sources of nutrients in freshwater food cycles.
Serving as nursery grounds and sanctuaries for freshwater fish.
Providing recreation.
Serving as educational and research resources.
Preserving open space and aesthetic resources.
Areas adjacent to aquatic resources provide essential protection by reducing impacts from activities taking place on surrounding lands. For the purpose of this chapter, these adjacent areas are defined as buffers. In addition to those benefits listed above, buffers adjacent to aquatic resources perform one or more of the following functions:
Removing pollutants delivered from urban stormwater and infiltrating stormwater runoff.
Reducing erosion and sediment entering the aquatic resource.
Stabilizing stream banks.
Maintaining base flow of streams.
Providing tree canopy for shade to promote desirable aquatic life.
The protection of aquatic resources and buffers is a matter of concern to the entire Town. The establishment of regulatory and conservation practices for aquatic resources, and buffers serves to protect the Town by ensuring review and regulation of activity that might adversely affect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the Town.
Aquatic resources in the Town and other areas form an ecosystem that is not confined to any one property or neighborhood. Experience has demonstrated that effective protection requires consistency of approach in preservation and conservation efforts throughout the Town.
The State of New York has enacted legislation entitled the "Freshwater Wetlands Act" found in Article 24 of New York State Environmental Conservation Law, which authorizes local governments to establish their own procedures for the protection and regulation of aquatic resources lying within their jurisdiction (6 NYCRR Part 665).
The Federal government, through the USACOE, in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Fish and Wildlife Service, regulates certain activities affecting aquatic resources in the Town as part of its nationwide jurisdiction over such aquatic resources. It is the intent of this chapter to provide for local protection of these aquatic resources without replacing, limiting, or conflicting with this federal jurisdiction.

§ 116-4 Definitions.

Except where specifically defined herein, all words used in this chapter shall carry their customary meanings. Words used in the present tense include the future and the plural includes the singular. The word "shall" is intended to be mandatory. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
Any act, action, deed, operation, or procedure by any individual or individuals, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, organization, or other legal entity of any kind, including municipal corporations, governmental agencies, or subdivisions.
All activities, as defined in the NYS Agriculture and Markets Law, directly related to the grazing, growing or raising of crops or livestock, including, but not limited to, horticulture and fruit production, on any property receiving Agricultural Value Assessment. Timber harvesting, clear-cutting, draining and permanent alteration of aquatic resources are not included in agricultural activities.
To change, move, or disturb any vegetation, soil, drainageway, or other natural material or system within an aquatic resource, as defined by this chapter.
Any individual or individuals, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, organization, or other legal entity of any kind, including municipal corporations, governmental agencies, or subdivisions thereof, who has a request for a permit to conduct a regulated activity before the approval authority.
The administrative board, public official, or public employee empowered to grant or deny permits under this chapter, to require the posting of bonds as necessary, and to revoke or suspend a permit where lack of compliance is established. The approval authority shall be the Planning Board or the Building Inspector for the Town or as the Town Board may appoint.
Any wetland, watercourse, or water body and associated buffers.
Protective areas or upland areas surrounding or adjacent to any wetland, watercourse or water body that are subject to regulation. The size and extent of the buffers shall be as follows:
For aquatic resources of at least one acre but less than five acres, the buffer shall be 25 feet. For aquatic resources of at least five acres but less than nine acres, the buffer shall be 50 feet. For aquatic resources of at least nine acres but less than 12 acres, the buffer shall be 75 feet. For aquatic resources of 12 acres or greater, the buffer shall be 100 feet. The buffers cited above may be greater where designated by the approval authority. The buffers shall be measured horizontally and in a direction perpendicular to the aquatic resources boundary, thus the buffer boundary shall parallel the aquatic resources boundary.
The buffer for the Wappingers Creek shall be 50 feet beyond the streambank.
The buffer for all streams other than the Wappingers Creek shall be 25 feet from the streambank.
Any cutting of more than 30% of trees four inches or more in diameter breast height (4.5 feet), including cutting of trees which results in the total removal of one or more naturally occurring species, whether or not the cutting meets or exceeds the 30% threshold, over any ten-year cutting cycle as determined on the basis of wetland/buffer area per lot or group of lots under single ownership.
The individual(s) designated by the Town Board and charged with the enforcement of the Town's building, fire, and zoning codes.
Barriers used to obstruct the flow of water to raise, lower, or maintain the water level in aquatic resources.
Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District.
To fill, place, discharge, or dump any material.
The release of any water, substance, or material into an aquatic resource whether or not such substance causes pollution. The release of stormwater into an aquatic resource is excluded from the definition of "discharge."
To deplete or empty of water by drawing off by degrees or in increments; or to modify the hydrology so as to reduce the amount of water within an aquatic resource.
To excavate or remove sediment, soil, mud, sand, shells, gravel, or other aggregate or artificial fill.
Activities conducted in existing aquatic resources which increase one or more aquatic functions.
To dig out and remove any material.
A land use which, prior to the effective date of this chapter, is either:
A completed project; or
Ongoing, as in the case of agriculture; or
Has received final approval which has not expired; or
Under construction with appropriate permit(s).
The depositing of material in an area to change the grade.
To alter the natural elevation of the land greater than two feet, or the addition/removal of greater than 50 cubic yards of material from the project site.
Liquid, solid, or gaseous substances, including, but not limited to, soil, silt, gravel, rock, sand, clay, peat, mud, debris, and refuse; any organic or inorganic compound, chemical agent, or matter, including sewage, sewage sludge, or effluent; and agricultural, industrial, or municipal solid waste.
The restoration, creation, and/or enhancement of an aquatic resource area for the purpose of compensating for unavoidable adverse impacts that remain after all appropriate and practicable avoidance and minimization has been achieved.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
That form of written Town approval required by this chapter for the conduct of a regulated activity.
The duly appointed Planning Board of the Town.
The presence in the environment of human-induced conditions or contaminants in quantities or characteristics which are or may be injurious to human, plant, or animal life or to property.
Any activity resulting in direct or indirect physical or chemical impact on an aquatic resource, including, but not limited to, any regulated activity. For the purpose of this chapter, a project is considered the total action proposed or accomplished by one owner/developer or partnership or other association of owners/developers.
To dig, dredge, suck, bulldoze, dragline, blast, mine, or otherwise excavate or regrade, or the act thereof.
Reestablishment of the aquatic resource characteristics and function(s) at a site where they have ceased to exist or exist in a substantially degraded state.
The law pursuant to Article 8 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law providing for environmental quality review of actions which may have a significant effect on the environment.
Any watercourse which appears as a solid blue line on the 2003 Aquatic Resources Map of the Town.
The outermost edge of a stream channel.
The area of a stream that transports bankfull flow. Bankfull flow is the point at which flooding may just begin to escape the channel and enter the floodplain. On average, bankfull discharge will occur once every 1.5 years.
Anything constructed or erected, the use of which requires location on or in the ground or attachment to something having location on the ground. The term includes, but is not limited to, buildings, tennis courts and swimming pools.
Any activity which may alter the physical characteristics of any forested land, including, but not limited to, any activity involving or associated with the cutting of trees, except that the following activities shall not be considered to be timber harvesting:
The routine maintenance of roads, easements, and rights-of-way and the clearing of farm fence lines; and
The clearing of approved subdivision roads, site plans, and public utility easements.
Town of Poughkeepsie.
The duly elected Town Board of the Town of Poughkeepsie.
The duly elected Town Clerk of the Town of Poughkeepsie.
Any person or firm employed by the Town of Poughkeepsie as the Town Engineer.
United States Army Corp of Engineers.
Any natural or artificial, permanent, ephemeral, or intermittent, public or private pond, lake, reservoir, or other area which usually or intermittently contains water and which has a discernible shoreline of a water body.
Any natural or artificial, permanent or intermittent, public or private water body or water segment, such as rivers, streams, brooks, waterways or natural drainage swales that is contained within, flows through, or borders the Town of Poughkeepsie.
The limit of the stream channel.
All areas of 1/10 acre or greater in area that comprise hydric soils or soils that possess characteristics associated with reducing soil conditions, and/or are saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of hydrophytic vegetation as defined by The Federal Interagency Committee for Wetlands Delineation, 1987, in the Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands, Washington, D.C., and adopted by the USACOE, United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or as amended and updated. Hydric soils referenced above shall include Canandaigua(Ca), Carlisle(Cc), Fluvaquents(Ff), Halsey(Ha), Hydraquents(Hy), Livingston(Lv), Medisaprists(Hy), Palms(Pc), Sun(Su), Wayland(Wy), and potential hydric soils Kingsbury and Rhinebeck(Kn), Linlithgo(Ln), Massena A(MnA), Massena B(MnB), Punsit(Pz), Udorthents(Ue), Fredon(Fr), and Raynham Silt Loam(Ra), as listed in the revised Dutchess County Soil Survey Series or such revised, updated and adjusted soil surveys as may be completed.
The outer limits of the environmental characteristics of a wetland, as defined under "wetland" in this section and as properly delineated, as defined under "wetland delineation" in this section.
The process of determining wetlands and their boundaries. The boundaries of a wetland shall ordinarily be determined by field investigation, flagging and survey by qualified professionals such as Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District. A wetland delineation by the NYSDEC or USACOE shall constitute delineation for purposes of this chapter.
Common name given to the 1987 manual produced by the USACOE referenced in the definition of "wetland" above, which presents approaches and methods for identifying and delineating wetlands for purposes of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. It is designed to assist users in making wetland determinations using a multiparameter (soil, hydrology, and vegetation) approach.
The duly appointed Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town.

§ 116-5 Regulated and permitted acts.

Regulated activities are not prohibited by this chapter, but no regulated activity shall be conducted in an aquatic resource without a written permit from the approval authority and full compliance with the terms of this chapter.
Permitted activities. The following activities are permitted without a permit within aquatic resources, provided they do not create a pollution or erosion hazard, interfere with proper drainage, adversely affect reasonable water use by others, and do not require grading, filling, draining or dredging for which a permit may be required. Such acts must conform to the Town Zoning Ordinance, Building Code, and any and all other applicable laws and statutes:
Normal ground maintenance, including, but not limited to, mowing, trimming of vegetation, and removal of dead or diseased vegetation around a residence.
Repair of existing walkways, walls, and driveways.
Maintenance and repair of preexisting structures.
Operation and maintenance of existing dams and water control devices.
Public health activities, in emergencies only, of the New York State or Dutchess County Departments of Health.
Agricultural activities as defined in § 116-4.
Activities which qualify as Type II actions under the provisions of 6 NYCRR § 617.5(c) as the same may be amended from time to time.
Regulated activities which require an aquatic resource permit. Except as otherwise provided in § 116-5B of this chapter, a written permit from the approval authority is required for any of the following activities in an aquatic resource, if the activity impacts a portion greater than or equal to 1/10 acre:
Place or construct any structure.
Conduct any form of draining, dredging, excavation, or removal of material, either directly or indirectly.
Conduct any form of filling or depositing any sort of material, either directly or indirectly.
Install any service lines or cable conduits.
Introduce any form of pollution, including, but not limited to, the installing of a septic tank, the running of a sewer outfall, or the discharging of sewage treatment effluent or other liquid wastes into, or so as to drain into, an aquatic resource.
Alter or grade natural and/or existing man-made features and contours, alter drainage conditions, or divert any flow of an aquatic resource.
Construct docks, bridges, pilings, dams, impoundments, or other water control devices (including swales) whether or not they change the ebb and flow of the water.
Install any pipes or wells.
Construct a driveway or road.
Strip any area of vegetation, including clear-cutting.
Conduct any other activity that impairs or may impair any of the functions that aquatic resources perform as described in § 116-3B of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any individual or entity to place or deposit chemical wastes or to introduce influents of sufficiently high thermal content as to cause deleterious ecological effects in any aquatic resource.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any existing land use as defined in § 116-4.

§ 116-6 Permit issuance.

The approval authority of permits for regulated activities under this chapter shall be:
The Planning Board for any project where site plan approval, subdivision approval, major land contour permit, or floodplain development permit is required; or
The Building Inspector for any project where a building permit is required, other than in § 116-6A above, or any nonexempt project as required in § 116-5C; or
The Zoning Department for minor land contour permits.

§ 116-7 Permit applications, general procedures.

No individual or entity shall undertake a regulated activity within an aquatic resource without first obtaining a written permit as provided for in this chapter.
Any applicant proposing to conduct or causing to be conducted a regulated activity requiring a permit under this chapter shall file an application, in such form and with such information as the approval authority shall prescribe as provided for in § 116-6.
For those applications not involving a site plan or subdivision, the following information shall be included, at a minimum:
The name, address and telephone number of the owner;
The street address and tax map designation of the property;
A sketch plan including boundaries of the property parcel with the boundaries of any aquatic resources indicated on the sketch;
A description of the proposed work and purpose, and a statement describing why the activity cannot be located outside the aquatic resource; and
Those items set forth in § 116-8A.
For those applications that include a site plan or subdivision, the following information shall be included, in addition to that required in § 116-8A:
A statement of the impacts of the project on upstream and downstream areas where water retention capacity, water flow, or other drainage characteristics of any aquatic resource is affected; and
A full environmental assessment form under SEQRA.
Additional information may be required by the approval authority in order to make a determination on the application.
Single application required.
Where an application has been made to the approval authority for an activity that is subsequently determined to require a permit pursuant to this chapter, a copy of said application may be considered as the permit application.
Where a proposed activity is found to require a NYSDEC and/or USACOE permit, that permit shall serve as the application and permit, provided that such permit meets the requirements of this chapter. In any instance where the state or federal permit fails to include the buffer requirements as set forth in this chapter, then the approval authority may choose to add separate conditions to such permit in order to meet the requirements set forth in this chapter.
All permits issued pursuant to this chapter shall be affixed as conditions to the final approval issued by the Planning Board or affixed to the building permit as conditions to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.
A public hearing shall be held on the completed application with notice being given by publication in the Town's official newspaper at least 10 days prior to the date of the hearing.
Waiver of requirements. Should the approval authority determine, after review of a completed application, that an activity proposed for a regulated area is insignificant, the approval authority shall have the power to:
Waive any information requirements contained in § 116-7B.
Waive any public hearing.
Waive referrals to outside agencies.
Waive any requirements for a performance bond.
Suspend the permitting process for the action and authorize the immediate issuance of the permit, as in the case of a renewal in § 116-9A.
Where the approval authority finds that any waivers are appropriate, such waivers shall be set forth in a written decision filed with the application.
A filing fee, as provided in Chapter 105, Fees, shall be provided at the time the application is submitted. The fee shall be deemed a reasonable sum to cover the cost of administration and shall in no part be returnable to the applicant(s). In the event that an application requires the Town to incur additional expenses for technical assistance in the review of an application, the applicant shall pay the reasonable expenses incurred by the Town. The applicant shall be notified of the expenses and shall deposit the funds with the Town Comptroller prior to the cost being incurred.

§ 116-8 Information required and standards for permit decisions.

The approval authority shall consider the following information in reaching its determination to approve, approve with conditions, or deny an application for a permit under this chapter:
A description of the existing conditions of the site on which the aquatic resource or resources is or are located.
A description of the aquatic resource or resources in which the activity is proposed to take place.
A description and analysis of the functions of the aquatic resource or resources for groundwater recharge, groundwater discharge, stormwater management, flood flow alteration, sediment stabilization, nutrient removal, habitat for flora, habitat for fauna, and recreational uses.
A description and analysis of the impact or impacts that the proposed activity will have on the aquatic resource or resources, including the magnitude of the impact or impacts, the duration of the impact or impacts, including but not limited to a statement as to whether the duration is temporary, short-term, long-term or permanent, whether the impact or impacts are adverse to the functioning of the aquatic resource or resources or neutral or positive.
A description and analysis of mitigation available to remedy negative impacts to the extent that such negative impacts are identified.
Such other information as may be submitted to the approval authority by the applicant, the public, or other governmental agencies, to the extent that such information is relevant to the approval standards contained in this chapter.
Standards for permit decisions. The approval authority may grant, grant with conditions, or deny a permit. The approval authority shall grant the permit under this chapter upon making the following findings:
The proposed activity will not have a significant adverse impact on the functioning of the aquatic resource or resources within which the activity is proposed to take place.
In the event of negative impact or impacts, the mitigation proposed will mitigate adverse impact or impacts identified in a manner that will allow the aquatic resource or resources to function in a manner substantially equivalent to the functioning of such resource or resources prior to the proposed activity.
Compensatory mitigation. In the event that significant adverse impacts on the functioning of the aquatic resource or resources are identified, the applicant or the approval authority, in the form of conditions, may propose mitigation. "Mitigation" means a way to avoid, minimize or compensate adverse impacts. Without limiting the generality of the term, mitigation may include relocation of aquatic resources, in whole or in part, substitution of alternative aquatic resources, in whole or in part, or replacement of aquatic resources, in whole or in part, whether on the same parcel or another parcel within the Town.

§ 116-9 Expiration of permit; time extensions.

All permits issued pursuant to this chapter by the Building Inspector shall expire two years from the date of issue, unless the activity has been completed or substantial construction has taken place and is continuing. The Building Inspector may extend the expiration of said permit for an additional period of one year if the Building Inspector deems such extension is warranted by the particular circumstances of the project. No original permit issued by the Building Inspector shall be valid for a period of more than three years from the original date of issuance. Requests for extensions must be made, in writing, 30 days prior to the expiration date of the permit.
All permits issued pursuant to this chapter by the Planning Board shall follow all expiration periods as proscribed by the Planning Board and/or all applicable Town ordinances.
No extensions shall be granted to any permit issued pursuant to this chapter, if such permitted activity is in violation of any condition of said permit or any provision of this chapter, until such time that the violations have been corrected to the satisfaction of the Code Enforcement Officer, notwithstanding § 116-13 below.
The Town reserves the right to suspend or revoke any permit issued pursuant to this chapter for any permitted activity found to be in violation of any condition of said permit or any provision of this chapter.

§ 116-10 Penalties for offenses.

[Amended 6-3-2009 by L.L. No. 22-2009]
Any observed violation by the Code Enforcement Officer shall subject the project to a stop-work order. Additionally, any person convicted of having violated any provision of this chapter or any condition attached by the approval authority in a permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall, for the first offense, be punishable by a fine of not less than $500 but not more than $1,000. For each subsequent offense, such person shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $1,000 but not more than $10,000. Each consecutive day of violation may be considered a separate offense. Payment of such penalty shall not preclude corrective action and/or the removal of conditions found to be in violation of this chapter.

§ 116-11 Enforcement.

This chapter shall be enforced by the Building Inspector or any other Town official as designated by the Town Board.
The Town is specifically empowered to seek injunctive relief restraining any violation, threatened violation or breach of any permit condition under the provisions of this chapter and/or to compel the restoration of the affected aquatic resource to its condition prior to the violation or breach of any permit condition. If the Town is successful in obtaining preliminary and/or injunctive relief, it shall be entitled to an award by the court of its reasonable attorney's fees.
In addition to any other remedies set forth herein authorizing the Town to enforce the provisions of this chapter, establishing penalties, and setting forth additional remedies, the person charged with the responsibility to enforce the provisions of this chapter may impose a civil fine or agree to a civil fine not to exceed $1,000 per day for each day of the violation. If said civil fine is imposed, then the alleged violator may appeal to the Town Board of the Town of Poughkeepsie.
[Added 6-3-2009 by L.L. No. 22-2009]

§ 116-12 Exceptions and appeals.

Where practical difficulties, unnecessary hardships and results inconsistent with the general purpose of the chapter or certain provisions thereof are encountered, the applicant may appeal to the Town Board for relief from any provision set forth herein.

§ 116-13 Performance bond.

The approval authority may require the posting of a performance bond or other collateral as a condition of approval. The amount of the performance bond or other collateral shall be computed by the Town Engineer, but no more than one performance bond for any one project need be posted, and the Town Engineer may include amounts necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter in any security given pursuant to the subdivision, site plan or other permitting regulations of the Town.

§ 116-14 Conflicting provisions.

Where this chapter imposes greater restrictions than are imposed by the provision of any law, ordinance, or regulation, this chapter shall control. Where greater restrictions are imposed by any law, ordinance, or regulation than are imposed by this chapter, such greater restriction shall control.

§ 116-15 Severability.

If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this regulation shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered or as determined by such judgment.