[Adopted 5-22-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-8]
There is hereby established the Town of Johnston Land Trust, hereinafter called the "Trust."
The Trust shall have the authority to acquire, hold and manage real property and interest therein including development rights situated in the Town consisting of open, residential, agricultural, recreational, historical or littoral property, including existing and future well fields and aquifer recharge areas; freshwater and saltwater marshes; and adjoining uplands, barrier beaches, wildlife habitats, land and buildings providing access to or views of the ocean, harbors, and ponds; land or bicycling and hiking paths for future public recreational use; and land for agricultural use or airspace thereof.
With the exception of property acquired for public historical preservation or recreational purposes, the Trust shall hold all property or development rights solely as open space, for agricultural uses, for water purposes, for public access or to prevent the accelerated residential or commercial development thereof, as the Trustees may determine.
Any real properly held and used by the Trust, an organization meeting the definition of "charitable trust" as set forth in R.I.G.L. § 18-9-4 (as amended), and exclusively used for the purpose of conserving open space as that term is defined in Title 45, Chapter 36, of the Rhode Island General Laws (as amended), shall be exempt from taxation by the Town of Johnston, except that taxes assessed as of the December 31 next preceding the date of acquisition by the Town of Johnston Land Trust shall be paid through the date of acquisition.
The Trust shall be administered by seven Trustees, five of whom shall be appointed by the Town Council. The Trustees who are first appointed shall be designated to serve for terms of one, two, three, four, and five years, respectively. Thereafter, Trustees shall be appointed as aforesaid for a term of office of five years, except that all vacancies occurring during a term shall be filled for the unexpired term. In addition to the five Trustees appointed by the Town Council annually, the Zoning Board and the Planning Board shall each select a designee from its respective board. Ex officio, nonvoting members shall be the Town Planner and Chairperson of the Recreation Department.
[Amended 6-11-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-6]
Trustees must be resident electors of the Town, and their terms shall be deemed expired at the end of the appointed period, or if they cease to be residents of the Town. No elected officer of the Town or the state, and no person who has been employed by the Town, may be appointed as a Trustee for at least one year after serving in elected office, or one year after leaving Town employment.
The Trustees, after appointment, and each year thereafter, shall appoint a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Recording Secretary, and Treasurer from among the five members appointed by the Town Council.
All meetings shall be held in compliance with the Open Meeting Law, being R.I.G.L. § 42-46-1 et seq.
Meeting minutes shall be submitted to the Town Council and other interested persons.
The Trustees shall adopt reasonable rules and regulations governing the conduct of Trust affairs, including the acquisition and management of its holdings, not inconsistent with the provisions of this article. All rules and regulations of the Trust are subject to the approval of the Town Council. Decisions of the Trustees shall be by a majority of those present and voting, excepting indecisions on the acquisition of land, easements, rights-of-way, and other uses referred to in § 31-4, which must be by a majority vote of all Trustees.
The Trustees shall prepare a budget that must be sent to the Mayor for review and, after his review, be reviewed by the Town Council and then be presented to the Financial Town Meeting for final approval. The funds authorized in this budget will be paid by the Town Finance Director in accordance with the accepted accounting procedures that are in place in the Town at that time.
The Trust shall have the power to:
Purchase, receive by gift, or otherwise acquire fee simple or lesser interests in real property, including development rights as defined in R.I.G.L. § 42-82-2, or any interest in real property consistent with purposes of this article, including other development rights of any kind whatsoever; provided, however, that in cases involving the expenditure of Town funds, such acquisitions shall be in general conformance with the comprehensive community plan;
Accept gifts, grants or loans of funds or services from any source, public or private, and comply, subject to the provisions of this article, with any terms and conditions thereof;
Accept, from state and/or federal agencies, loans or grants for use in carrying out the Trust's purposes and enter into agreements with such agencies respecting such loans or grants;
Employ counsel, auditors, engineers, appraisers, private consultants, advisors, secretaries or other personnel needed to perform its duties;
Administer and manage land and interests in land held by it in a manner which allows public use and enjoyment consistent with the natural and scenic resources thereof, including conveyance of any such land or interests in land to, and contracts with, nonprofit organizations, provided such land shall continue to be used in a manner consistent with the purposes of this article and with the terms of any grant or devise by which such land was acquired by the Trust;
Incur debt, only after authorization in each instance by vote of the municipal budget or special appropriation process used by the Town;
Dispose by sale or otherwise of all or any portion of its real property or interests therein held by it, whenever in the opinion of the Trustees such lands or properties have become unsuitable or have ceased to be used for the purposes set forth in this article or unless the best interests of the Trust shall be served by such sale or other disposition; such disposition or sale shall be made only by a vote of the Trustees in which at least four members vote in favor of such a disposition or sale and further only after having been approved by the Town Council; and
Otherwise do all things necessary for the performance of its duties, the fulfillment of its obligations and the conduct of its business.
All funds received by the Trust as voluntary contributions, grants or loans, funds appropriated to the Trust by vote of the annual municipal or special appropriation process used by the Town, or proceeds from disposal of real property or interests shall be deposited into a fund to be set up as a revolving or sinking account by the Finance Director of the Town.
All expenses lawfully incurred by the Trust in carrying out the provisions of this article shall be evidenced by proper vouchers and shall be paid by the Treasurer of the Town only upon submission of warrants duly approved by the Trust. The Finance Director of the Town shall prudently invest available assets of the funds, and all income thereon shall accrue to the fund.
Upon termination or dissolution of the Trust, the title of all funds and other properties owned by the Trust which remain after payment or making provision for payment of all bonds, notes and other obligations of the Trust shall vest in the Town.