[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Cortlandt 10-17-2000 by L.L. No. 2-2000. Amendments noted where applicable.]
With the development of the town having reached the level that it has, it has become critical to establish methods by which open space, environmentally sensitive areas and steep slopes can be preserved. In order to achieve this, it is necessary for public funds to be utilized together with private funds to acquire parcels of land to satisfy these purposes and goals and to keep those properties in public title, and preserve them as open space areas for the passive use of the residents of the town. It is with this in mind that this Board adopts this chapter.
The Town Board does hereby declare that it is in the interest of all the residents of the Town of Cortlandt that open space, wetlands and other critical environmental areas be acquired and held in public title and preserved for the future generations of the town.
To this end, the Town Board shall establish a list of those properties that the Town Board deems appropriate to attempt to acquire in the public interest to fulfill the intent of this chapter. Said list shall initially be compiled by staff members of the town in conjunction with a Citizens Advisory Committee to be appointed by the town for this purpose.
Once the Advisory Committee's list is presented to the Town Board, the Town Board shall then conduct a public hearing on said list. Following the close of the public hearing, the Town Board shall prioritize said list and adopt the final list. The final list shall then become the list of targeted properties for future acquisition and shall be updated from time to time as deemed necessary by the Town Board, utilizing the same procedure as set forth herein.
There is hereby established, pursuant to the provisions of the Local Finance Law, a capital reserve fund. Said capital reserve fund shall be used solely for the purpose of acquiring real property for the purpose of the preservation of open space, wetlands or other environmentally critical properties. The Town Board shall, in February of each year, deposit into said reserve fund a sum equal to at least 10% of the surplus remaining from the prior fiscal year in the general fund as determined by the Town Comptroller in conjunction with the town's independent auditors. Once deposited into said reserve fund, said funds shall be utilized only for the direct acquisition of property or for the payment of financing of any indebtedness incurred by the town for the purpose of acquiring a parcel of open space.
Following the success of the town in acquiring the Hillpoint Property as a partner with the state, other municipal entities and private organizations, it is the desire of the Town Board to seek out other such partnerships and to utilize them in acquiring property to fulfill the purposes set forth in this chapter.