[Added 1-12-2000 by L.L. No. 1-2000]
The preservation and improvement of the quality of the natural and man-made environment within the Town of Rotterdam, in the face of population growth, urbanization, and technologic change with their accompanying demands on natural resources, are found to be of increasing and vital importance to the health, welfare and economic well-being of present and future inhabitants and require forthright action by the governing board of the Town of Rotterdam. It is recognized that the biologic integrity of the natural environment on which man is dependent for survival and the natural and functional beauty of our surroundings which condition the quality of our life experience cannot be protected without the full cooperation and participation of all the people of the Town of Rotterdam working in partnership with local and state officials and with various public and private industries, agencies and organizations, establishment of a Conservation Advisory Council is a necessary step in fostering unified action on environmental problems.
The Council shall consist of seven members, all of whom shall be appointed by the Town Board of the Town of Rotterdam and who shall serve at its pleasure. Persons residing within the Town of Rotterdam who are interested in the improvement and preservation of our environment shall be eligible for appointment as a member of the Council. Vacancies on the Council shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment, except that a vacancy occurring other than by the expiration of term of office shall be filled only for the remainder of the unexpired term. Three of the members appointed shall hold office for a term of one year; the second four members appointed shall hold office for a term of two years; the successors of all seven initial appointees shall be appointed for full terms of two years.
The Town Engineer, or anyone designated by the Town Engineer, shall be an ex officio, nonvoting member.
At the first meeting of the Council, its members shall elect from among themselves a Chairperson and a Recording Secretary. The Council shall adopt rules and procedures for its meetings. It shall keep accurate records of its meetings and activities and shall file an annual report as provided in § 270-210 of this article.
The powers and duties of the Council shall be to:
Advise the Town Board of the Town of Rotterdam on matters affecting the preservation, development and use of the natural and man-made features and conditions of the Town insofar as beauty, quality, biologic integrity and other environmental factors are concerned and in the case of man's activities and developments, with regard to any major threats posed to environmental quality, so as to enhance the long-range value of the environment to the people of the town.
Develop and, after receiving general approval by resolution of the Town Board, conduct a program of public information in the community which shall be designed to foster increased understanding of the nature of environmental problems and issues and support for their solutions.
Conduct studies, surveys and inventories of the natural and man-made features within the Town of Rotterdam and such other studies and surveys as may be necessary to carry out the general purposes of this article.
Maintain an up-to-date inventory or index of all open spaces in public or private ownership within the municipality, including but not limited to natural landmarks, glacial and other geomorphic or physiographic features; streams and their floodplains, swamps and marshlands; other wetlands; unique biotic communities; and scenic and other open areas of natural or ecological value, and of the ownership, present use and proposed use of such open areas, so as to provide a base of information for recommendations by the Council for their preservation and/or use.
Seek to coordinate, assist and unify the efforts of private groups and individuals within the Town of Rotterdam in accord with the purposes of this article.
Act as liaison and maintain communications with public and private agencies and organizations of local, state and national scope whose programs and activities have an impact on the quality of the environment or who can be of assistance to the Council. The Chairperson of the Rotterdam Conservation Advisory Council shall be the voting member of the Schenectady County Environmental Conservation Advisory Council.
Working in cooperation with the Planning Board, recommend from time to time to the Town Board features, plans and programs relating to environmental improvement for inclusion in the Master Plan of the Town of Rotterdam and, similarly, recommend to the Town Board appropriate and desirable changes in existing local laws and ordinances relating to environmental control or recommend new local laws and ordinances. The Council shall also interface with the Planning and Zoning Boards and make recommendations to them on environmental aspects of contemplated changes of zoning or land use.
Prepare, print and distribute books, maps, charts and pamphlets in accordance with the purposes of this article.
Obtain and maintain in orderly fashion maps, reports, books and other publications to support the necessary researches of the Council into local environmental conditions.
When authorized by resolution of the Town Board, the Council may accept, by gift, grant, devise, bequest or otherwise, property both real and personal in the name of the Town of Rotterdam, as may be necessary to conserve and otherwise property utilize open spaces and other land and water resources within the boundaries of the Town of Rotterdam.
Carry out such other duties as may be assigned from time to time by the Town Board and to carry out such tasks or responsibilities, consistent with the objectives of Article 12-F of the General Municipal Law, as may be assigned by resolution of the Town Board.
The Council shall submit an annual report to the Town Board, not later than the first day of April of each year, concerning the activities and work of the Council and from time to time shall submit such reports and recommendations as may be necessary to fulfill the purposes of this article.
[Amended 1-23-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
The members of the Council, excluding ex officio members, may receive compensation for their services as members thereof and may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties within the appropriations made available thereof. The Council may prepare and submit an annual budget request in writing to the Town Board to defray expenses for compensation, professional staff, consultants, clerical assistants and printing and distribution of publications.
This article shall be deemed an exercise of the powers of the Town of Rotterdam to preserve and improve the quality of the natural and man-made environment on behalf of the present and future inhabitants thereof. This article is not intended and shall not be deemed to impair the powers of any other public corporation.