City of Ithaca, NY
Tompkins County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Ithaca 8-5-1998 by Ord. No. 98-18. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Site plan review — See Ch. 276.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 290.
Zoning — See Ch. 325.
A. 
The Common Council may designate as natural areas of the City of Ithaca those areas which are wholly or substantially in a natural and/or undeveloped state, which have significance for ecological and/or recreational reasons, and which are best appreciated and maintained in a natural, relatively undisturbed state (rather than as an active use park).
B. 
The Six Mile Creek Natural Area consisting of the City-owned parcels in the vicinity of Six Mile Creek, upstream from Aurora Street, is a designated natural area of the City of Ithaca as of August 5, 1998.
[Amended 2-1-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-3]
(1) 
In addition to the Six Mile Creek Natural Area, the following natural areas are hereby designated as of February 1, 2006:
(a) 
The Ithaca Falls Natural Area, consisting of the City-owned parcels in the vicinity of Ithaca Falls; and
(b) 
The Fuertes Bird Sanctuary, consisting of the City-owned land directly south of the formal, maintained grounds of Stewart Park.
(2) 
The current boundaries of all of the above natural areas are shown on the map or maps dated February 2005, and August 2005, which shall be filed and maintained in the office of the City Clerk.
(3) 
Additional natural areas may be designated in the future, including but not limited to the Southwest Natural Area, consisting of the municipally owned parcels constituting and in the vicinity of the substitute parkland which replaces the original Southwest Park in the City of Ithaca.
C. 
The boundaries of any designated natural area shall be shown on a map approved and amended as necessary from time to time by Common Council, which map shall be filed and maintained in the office of the City Clerk. Notwithstanding any other provision herein, any additional parcels of land adjacent to any natural area shown on such a map, which are acquired by the City of Ithaca after the date of such map, shall, for the purposes of this chapter, be presumed to be part of the adjacent natural area, unless the City makes clear, in writing, a different intention. When such acquisition occurs, the Common Council shall approve the amended map.
[Amended 2-1-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-3]
D. 
Designation as a natural area is not intended to rescind, supersede or otherwise affect the preexisting or future status of an area (or any portion thereof) as public parkland, except as specified herein. Natural area status is intended as an overlay, such that the requirements associated with such status are added to any requirements or conditions associated with parkland status.
[Added 2-1-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-3]
The Common Council hereby affirms the City of Ithaca's commitment and intent to protect and maintain the natural areas of the City of Ithaca in a generally natural, undisturbed state. The addition of human-made elements shall be as minimal as possible, and shall be primarily in the form of hiking trails, educational aids and measures necessary for the public safety, and in the case of the Six Mile Creek Natural Area, measures necessary to maintain the water supply system.
[Amended 7-5-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-15]
The Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources Commission shall be the advisory body to the Board of Public Works (and Common Council, when appropriate) that shall coordinate City and public concerns about the natural areas.
A. 
City boards and staff involved in any plans for construction of new facilities or rehabilitation of existing facilities in a natural area shall give vigorous and thorough consideration to the commitment in § 114-2, above, and shall inform and work with the Natural Areas Commission in the development of such plans.
B. 
Except for necessary emergency repairs to the water supply system at Six Mile Creek and routine maintenance of existing facilities, no significant, permanent changes shall be made in the natural areas without prior approval from the Board of Public Works or the Common Council, acting after soliciting the advice of the Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources Commission. "Routine maintenance" refers to work carried out on a regular basis and according to standardized, general procedures set forth in the "ecologically informed guidelines" described in § 114-5 of this chapter.
[Amended 7-5-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-15]
C. 
In the event that physical change to or change in the use of any property adjacent to or within 100 feet of a designated natural area is proposed and requires nonministerial City approval of any type, the Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources Commission shall be notified, in writing, as soon as is practical, by the involved City board or department, and shall be notified, in advance, when action may be taken on the proposal or if the nature or substance of the proposal changes.
[Added 2-1-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-3; 7-5-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-15]
[Amended 7-5-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-15]
Ecologically informed general guidelines for Department of Public Works maintenance activities within the natural areas shall be promulgated and updated as necessary by the Department of Public Works, in consultation with the Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources Commission, and subject to the approval of the Board of Public Works.
[Amended 7-5-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-15]
Any significant disruption of a natural area by the City shall be restored to as natural or compatible a state as practical, on the basis of a restoration plan promulgated with the advice of the Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources Commission. If the Department of Public Works and the Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources Commission cannot agree on the plan, the Board of Public Works shall make a final determination.
The following activities are prohibited in all of the natural areas of the City of Ithaca, unless expressly permitted or carried out pursuant to a duly issued permit:
A. 
Camping.
B. 
Littering.
C. 
Amplified sound.
D. 
Wood cutting.
E. 
Trapping.
F. 
Rock and ice climbing and rappelling.
G. 
Hunting and shooting.
H. 
Motorized vehicle riding.
I. 
Bicycle riding.
J. 
Plant digging.
K. 
Flower picking.
L. 
Consumption of alcoholic beverages.
M. 
Fires of any kind.
[Amended 7-5-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-15]
The position of Natural Area Ranger is hereby established to advise users of regulations governing the natural areas and to demonstrate the City's intention to protect said areas and enforce the regulations. The Ranger(s) shall be provided with adequate equipment to communicate readily with law enforcement agencies. The Ranger(s) shall work under the direction of the Chief of Police and shall consult regularly with the Public Safety and Information Commission.
The city hereby directs the Department of Works to provide adequate and attractive signage to alert the public to the rules and regulation covering trails and hazards in the gorge.
The violation of any of the provisions in this chapter shall be punishable as prescribed in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article I, Penalties, of this Code.