[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wallkill 9-6-1972 by L.L. No. 2-1972; amended in its entirety 6-24-2004 by L.L. No. 4-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The preservation and improvement of the quality of the natural and man-made environment within the Town of Wallkill, in the face of population growth, urbanization and technological 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 body of the Town of Wallkill. It is recognized that the biological 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 Wallkill working in partnership with local and state officials and with various public and private institutions, agencies and organizations. Establishment of a commission for the environment is a necessary step in fostering unified action on environmental problems.
[Amended 10-7-2004 by L.L. No. 12-2004]
The Town Board of the Town of Wallkill hereby creates a commission which shall be known as the "Town of Wallkill Commission for Conservation of the Environment," hereinafter called the "Commission."
Editor's Note: This local law provided for all instances of "committee" in this chapter to be amended to read "commission."
[Amended 3-24-2016 by L.L. No. 6-2016]
The Commission shall consist of seven members who shall be appointed by the Town Board and who shall serve at the pleasure of the Town Board. Persons residing within the Town of Wallkill who are interested in the improvement and preservation of environmental quality shall be eligible for appointment as members of the Commission. At all times, at least one member of the Commission shall have substantial work experience in agricultural activities. As used in this section, the term "agricultural activities" includes, but is not limited to, the growing of crops, the raising of livestock and production of livestock products, the production of other farm-related products, the production of timber and other woodland products, and the sale of any of the above. Vacancies on the Commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment, except that a vacancy occurring other than by expiration of term of office shall be filled only for the remainder of the unexpired term. The terms of the appointed members of the Commission shall be staggered. The first four members appointed shall hold office for terms of one year, the second three for terms of two years. The successors of all seven initial appointees shall be appointed for full terms of two years.
The Town Board shall designate a member of the Commission to act as Chairman thereof. At the first meeting of the Commission, its members shall elect from among themselves a Recording Secretary. The Commission 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 § 12-6 of this chapter.
The powers and duties of the Commission shall be to:
Advise the Town Board and Town Planning Board on matters affecting the preservation, development and use of the natural and man-made features and conditions of the Town insofar as beauty, quality, biological 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 Wallkill and such other studies and surveys as may be necessary to carry out the general purposes of this chapter.
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 flood patterns (plains), swamps, marshlands and other wetlands; unique biotic communities; scenic and other open areas of natural or ecological value; and of the ownership, present use and proposed use of the land, so as to provide a base of information for recommendations by the Commission for their preservation and/or use.
Maintain liaison and 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 Commission.
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 Wallkill 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.
Obtain and maintain in an orderly fashion maps, reports, books and other publications to support necessary researches of the Commission into local environmental conditions.
Carry out such other duties as may be assigned from time to time by the Town Board.
The Commission may participate at public hearings held by the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.
The Commission 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 Commission and, from time to time, shall submit such reports and recommendations as may be necessary to fulfill the purposes of this chapter.
The members of the Commission shall receive no compensation for their services as members thereof, but may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties within the appropriations made available therefor.
This chapter shall be deemed an exercise of the powers of the Town of Wallkill to preserve and improve the quality of the natural and man-made environment on behalf of the present and future inhabitants thereof. This chapter is not intended and shall not be deemed to impair the powers of any other public corporation.