[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of New Paltz 9-25-2008 by L.L. No. 4-2008. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Agriculture and open space preservation and acquisition — See Ch. 44.
Tree conservation — See Ch. 130.
Wetlands and watercourses — See Ch. 139.
This local law also repealed former Ch. 12, Environmental Conservation Commission, adopted 6-14-1972 by L.L. No. 4-1972.
The preservation and improvement of the quality of the natural and man-made environment within the Town of New Paltz, 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 of the Town of New Paltz. 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 working in partnership with local and state officials and with various public and private institutions, agencies and organizations. Establishment of a Conservation Board is a necessary step in fostering unified action on environmental problems.
The Town of New Paltz Environmental Conservation Commission is hereby redesignated as the Town of New Paltz Environmental Conservation Board (hereinafter referred to as the "Board" or "ECB") to assist the Town of New Paltz in the development of sound open space planning and to assure the preservation and protection of natural and scenic resources.
This chapter shall be considered a resolution of the Town Board for purposes of the redesignation of the Environmental Conservation Commission to an Environmental Conservation Board pursuant to General Municipal Law § 239-y. To the extent that any provision of the General Municipal Law § 239-x or 239-y is inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter, the terms of this chapter are intended, pursuant to Municipal Home Rule Law § 10 and other provisions of law, to supersede those provisions insofar as they pertain to the Environmental Conservation Board for the Town of New Paltz.
The Environmental Conservation Board shall consist of no fewer than five and no more than nine members, appointed by the Town Board, who shall serve for terms of two years. Persons residing within the Town of New Paltz who are interested in the improvement and preservation of environmental quality shall be eligible for appointment as members of the Environmental Conservation Board. Vacancies on the Environmental Conservation Board shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
Each member shall be entitled to one vote.
Four of the initial nine appointments to the ECB shall be made for a term of one year only, so as to create staggered terms such that approximately 1/2 of the Board shall be considered for appointment each year. Terms of office shall commence January 1 and expire December 31. Appointments made other than on January 1 shall be for the remaining unexpired term of the member being replaced.
The Environmental Conservation Board shall designate a member of its group, upon approval of the Town Board, to act as Chairman thereof. At the first meeting of the ECB, its members shall also designate from among themselves a Recording Secretary.
The Board shall have the following powers and duties:
Those powers and duties set forth in General Municipal Law § 239-y except as modified below.
The Board shall review applications (such as, for example, applications for rezoning, subdivision approval, site plan approval, special approval, fill permits or variances) received by the Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, or other administrative body, which seek approval for the use or development of any open area identified in the index and which application involves property or a project that is:
A Type I action under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (see Environmental Conservation Law § 8-0101 et seq.) and related regulations; or
Within or contiguous to a critical environmental area or unique natural area designated by the appropriate governmental entity; or
Within an Environmental Protection Overlay District and requires a special approval from the Town Planning Board or a variance from the Town Board of Appeals; or
Involves five or more acres of land; or
Would create five or more building lots; or
Would be reasonably anticipated (based on recognized traffic generation guides) to create 50 or more vehicle trips per peak hour.
The Board shall exercise any of the functions and responsibilities heretofore granted to the Environmental Conservation Commission in the Town Board resolution that established said Commission.
The Board shall perform any duties assigned to it by resolution of the Town Board.
The Board may request the assistance of the Department of Environmental Conservation in the preparation of any report.
The Board shall notify the Department of Environmental Conservation of its establishment within 30 days of the adoption of this chapter.
The Chair of the Board shall be notified of all subdivision proposals, and applications for rezonings, whether or not review is required pursuant to the provisions above, within five days of receipt of same by the Town of New Paltz Planning Department. In addition, the Chair of the Board shall be notified of any other application (special approvals, site plan approvals, variances, fill permits, etc.) for which review of the Board is required by this chapter within five days of receipt of same by the Planning Department or other appropriate Town official.
The Board, at its option, may decline to perform a formal review on a specific project.
The Board shall have at least 45 working days to complete its review and shall submit a written report to the referring board or entity at least five working days before a project is to be considered by the applicable entity so that Board recommendations can be included in the referral entity's mailing.
Such report shall evaluate the proposed use or development of the open area in the context of the open space index and the land use planning objectives of the Town. The report may make recommendations as to the most appropriate use or development of the open area and may include preferable alternative use proposals consistent with open areas conservation.
A copy of every report shall be filed with the referring board or entity and made available for public inspection at Town Hall.
Adequate staff time will be allocated to the Board to assist with the review. Such time will be determined by the Chair of the referring entity with input from the Chair of the Board.
Accurate summary records or minutes of the Board's meetings and activities shall be kept and reported to the Town Board as requested. Such records shall be made available to the public in accordance with the New York State Freedom of Information Law (see Public Officers Law § 84 et seq.) and any related local laws and procedures.
The Environmental Conservation Board shall submit an annual report to the Town Board concerning the activities and work of the ECB 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 Environmental Conservation Board 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 New Paltz 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.