[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Bethlehem 8-25-1976. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Planning Board of the Town of Bethlehem shall be the responsible Town agency for the implementation, administration and enforcement of this chapter and shall also exercise those powers, functions, duties and responsibilities devolved upon the Town by Article 24 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law, excepting therefrom those functions, powers, duties and responsibilities limited to the Town Board or other Town agency or official by law.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- BOUNDARIES OF FRESHWATER WETLANDS
- Outer limit of vegetation as specified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of Subdivision 1 of § 24-0107 of the Environmental Conservation Law and of the waters specified in paragraph (c) of such subdivision.
- ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION LAW
- The Environmental Conservation Law of the State of New York, being Chapter 614 of the Laws of the State of New York of 1975, as amended.
- FRESHWATER WETLANDS MAPS
- A map on which is indicated the boundaries of any freshwater wetland and which has been duly filed with the Town Clerk and the Planning Board by the State Department of Environmental Conservation.
- Any person, state, applicant, agency, firm, partnership, corporation, association, trust, estate, public authority or public benefit corporation, and any unit of government or an agency or subdivision thereof.
- Presence in the environment of human-induced conditions or contaminants in quantities which are or may be injurious to humans, plants, animals or property.
- All areas defined as "freshwater wetlands" in § 24-0107 of the Environmental Conservation Law and so designated on the Freshwater Wetlands Maps prepared pursuant to § 24-0301 of the Environmental Conservation Law when filed with the Clerk of the Town of Bethlehem.
Within an officially designated wetland, any person proposing to conduct or cause to be conducted any of the activities specified below in Subsections A through E shall be required to file an application for a permit with the Town Clerk. These activities are subject to regulation whether or not they occur upon the wetland itself, if they impinge upon or otherwise affect the wetlands; provided, however, that no regulation shall apply to any area situated more than 100 feet from the boundary of such wetland or any such greater or lesser distance therefrom as determined by the Planning Board. Activities requiring such a permit are as follows:
Erecting any structures, roads, the driving of pilings or placing of any other obstructions whether or not changing the ebband flow of the water.
Any form of pollution, including but not limited to installing a septic tank, running a sewer outfall, discharging sewage treatment effluent or other liquid wastes into or so as to drain into a freshwater wetland.
Any form of draining, dredging, excavation or removal of soil, mud, sand, shells, gravel or other aggregate.
Any form of dumping, filing or depositing of any soil, stones, sand, gravel, mud, rubbish or fill of any kind, either directly or indirectly.
Any other activity which impairs any of the several functions served by freshwater wetlands or the benefits derived therefrom which are set forth in § 24-0105 of the Environmental Conservation Law.
No permit under this chapter shall be required for the following activities:
The deposition or removal of the natural products of freshwater wetlands and adjacent areas by recreational or commercial fishing, agriculture, hunting or trapping, where otherwise legally permitted and regulated.
The activities of farmers and other landowners in grazing and watering livestock, making reasonable use of water resources, harvesting natural products of wetlands or adjacent areas or engaging in the use of wetlands for growing agricultural products. Each farmer or landowner who intends to conduct an activity described in Subsection A(1) or A(2) which would otherwise be regulated shall notify the Planning Board in writing of such an intention. Elements to be included are as follows:
Public health activities and those conducted pursuant to lawful orders and regulations of a state or local public health department or agency.
Authorization pursuant to any other law, rule or regulation to conduct activities which are subject to regulation under this chapter shall not exempt such activities from the requirements hereof.
No person shall conduct a regulated activity upon a freshwater wetland without first obtaining a valid permit pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
Application for permits will be filed with the Town Clerk, who shall cause a copy of any such application to be filed with the Planning Board. Such application shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable fee of $25 and shall be accompanied by completed plans and specifications for the proposed project.
No sooner than 30 days and not later that 60 days following the receipt by the Town Clerk of such application and after notice of such application has been published in two newspapers having a general circulation in the Town, the Planning Board shall hold a public hearing on such application. Notice of such hearing shall be published not less than five days nor more than 10 days prior to the date set for such hearing. Within 30 days following said hearing or any adjourned date thereof, the Planning Board shall render a decision to approve, deny or approve with conditions.
All owners of record of the adjacent land and known claimants to water rights shall be notified by certified mail of any hearing to be held pursuant hereto not less than 15 days prior to the date set for such hearing.
Involved agencies shall have the right to inspect the location of the proposed activity and collect any further information and/or data it may consider pertinent or necessary to properly review the application.
If no notice of objection has been filed with the Town Clerk or if the Planning Board finds the activity to be of such a minor nature as not to substantially affect or endanger the balance of systems within the wetlands, the Planning Board, in any such case, may dispense with such hearing. When the Planning Board finds that a hearing is not necessary, it shall publish its decision, setting forth its reasons therefor, which shall be a matter of public record.
In granting a permit, the Planning Board may limit it or impose conditions or limitations designed to carry out the public policy set forth in Article 24 of the Environmental Conservation Law. The Planning Board may require a bond, in an amount and with surety and conditions satisfactory to the Planning Board, securing to the Town compliance with the conditions and limitations set forth in said permit. The Planning Board may suspend or revoke a permit if it finds that the permittee has not complied with a condition or limitation set forth in the permit or has exceeded the scope of the permitted activity.
A duly filed notice in writing that the state or any agency or subdivision thereof is in the process of acquiring any freshwater wetlands by purchase, gift, appropriation or condemnation shall be a sufficient basis for the denial of an application for a permit affecting such freshwater wetlands.
The provisions of Title 1, Title 3 and Title 5 of Article 71 of the Environmental Conservation Law, except as herein modified, shall be applicable to the enforcement of this chapter. In addition, any person who violates, disobeys or disregards any provision of this chapter or of any permit issued hereunder shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $3,000 for each such violation and an additional penalty of not more than $500 for each day during which such violation continues, and, in addition thereto, such person may be enjoined from continuing such violation. Penalties and injunctive relief provided herein shall be recoverable in an action brought by the Attorney General at the request of the Planning Board or the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation of the State of New York. Such action may be brought in the name of the Planning Board or in the name of such Commissioner.
Any determination of the Planning Board under this chapter may be reviewed in accordance with the provisions of Subdivision 5 of § 24-0705 and Title 11 of Article 24 of the Environmental Conservation Law, and the provisions of such sections shall be applicable to any such review.