[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Southampton 12-10-1985 by L.L. No 10-1985. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Beaches and waterways — See Ch. 111.
Coastal erosion hazard areas — See Ch. 138.
Environmental quality review — See Ch. 157.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 169.
Mined land reclamation — See Ch. 223.
Nature preserve — See Ch. 231.
Park preserve — See Ch. 232.
Open space — See Ch. 247.
Shellfish — See Ch. 278.
Protection of vegetation — See Ch. 308.
Wetlands — See Ch. 325.
Management of Town waters — See Ch. A340.
This chapter shall be known as the "Town of Southampton Natural Resources Law."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- All of the duly enacted ordinances, local laws and regulations of the Town.
- NATURAL RESOURCES
- All water bodies, drainage courses, wetlands, marshes, dunes, bluffs, beaches, escarpments, woodlands, flood hazard areas, surface waters, groundwater and agricultural soils.
- Any individual, firm, partnership, corporation or other entity.
- The area of the Town of Southampton, exclusive of any incorporated village therein, to which the lawful regulatory authority of the Town may extend.
It is hereby declared to be the public policy of the Town of Southampton and the purpose of this chapter to preserve, protect and conserve the natural resources of the Town.
There is hereby established the Office of Natural Resources. The Office of Natural Resources shall be administered by a Director who shall be appointed by the Town Board. The Director shall be qualified by suitable environmental training and experience to perform his/her duties.
The Office shall have responsibility for the preservation, protection and conservation of the Town's natural resources, as provided in this chapter.
Among the duties of the Director shall be to:
Identify the significant natural resources and systems of the Town and the actions which threaten those resources and systems.
Review actions which have caused or are likely to cause impairment, damage or destruction to such natural resources and systems, utilizing the facilities of existing governmental agencies where appropriate.
Report his/her findings to any and all local, county, state or federal agencies with jurisdiction or other interest in the actions reviewed.
Enforce any provisions of the Code relating to the policy and purpose of this chapter.
Propose to the Town Board amendments to the Code to carry out the policy and purpose of this chapter.
Conduct educational meetings and make available to the public information on measures needed to carry out the policy and purpose of this chapter.
Keep permanent records of his/her activities and submit a written yearly report to the Town Board.
Provide the technical and administrative assistance necessary under Chapter 325, Wetlands, of the Town Code. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Director may delegate his or her duties hereunder to another Town employee of suitable environmental training and experience.
[Amended 9-28-1993 by L.L. No. 32-1993]
Enforce the rights of the Town regarding any property interest held by the Town for open space purposes pursuant to § 247 of the General Municipal Law of the State of New York utilizing the procedure outlined in § 229-8 of this chapter. The Director may periodically inspect such properties to ensure Town property rights are not being violated.
Provide professional assistance, where requested, to all Town boards, departments, offices and agencies, including the Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of Southampton.
It shall be unlawful under this chapter for any person to violate any provision of the Code, including this chapter, which violation causes impairment, damage or destruction to a natural resource.
Upon receiving a complaint or upon his/her own initiative, the Director may commence the following procedure:
Investigation. Where the Director has cause to believe, whether upon complaint or upon his/her own information, that any person may be in violation of this chapter or of any other provision of the Code, which violation may have caused or may be likely to cause impairment, damage or destruction to natural resources, he shall investigate the matter.
Notice of violation. If, after investigation, the Director finds evidence that there has been a violation, he/she shall issue and serve upon the alleged violator a written notice of violation specifying the Code provision allegedly violated, the nature of the alleged violation and the remedial action proposed. The notice of violation shall require the alleged violator to appear at a public hearing before a hearing officer scheduled not sooner than 15 days after service of the notice. The Town Board shall have exclusive jurisdiction to appoint hearing officers, as needed, to conduct public hearings under this section. The notice of violation may be served upon the owner either personally or by posting the same conspicuously upon the subject premises and by sending a copy by certified mail.
Stop order. If the Director's investigation shows evidence of imminent danger or irreparable damage to a natural resource, he/she shall issue, in addition to the notice of violation, a stop order. Said order shall be issued to the owner of the property or the owner's agent or the person allegedly performing the action described in the order, and any such person shall forthwith stop the action and shall receive an expedited public hearing and determination. The stop order shall be limited to the specific action allegedly in violation of this chapter and shall be served upon a person to whom it is issued in the same manner as the notice of violation.
Hearing. Upon notification by the Director that a hearing has been scheduled pursuant to this section, the Town Board shall appoint a qualified hearing officer. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the State Administrative Procedure Act. At the hearing, the Director shall present evidence with respect to the alleged violation and the remedial action proposed, and he/she may call upon qualified experts or persons with actual knowledge of the alleged violation. The hearing officer shall accept written or oral statements from parties or from any member of the public having knowledge of the alleged violation or of the consequences thereof.
Consent agreement. In lieu of a hearing or at any time prior to the filing of a final determination by the hearing officer, an alleged violator may enter into a written consent agreement with the Director regarding the alleged violation and the remedial action. The consent agreement shall have the force and effect of a final determination, and the hearing officer shall be notified. The consent agreement shall be filed with the Town Clerk.
Final determination. The hearing officer, upon the record of the hearing and if no consent agreement has been entered into and filed, shall issue a final determination setting forth whether there has been a violation and, if so, the remedial action required. The final determination may require cessation of the violation, restoration, repair or mitigation of any damage or other appropriate remedy. The final determination shall be filed with the Town Clerk and delivered to the owner by certified mail. Any failure to carry out the requirements of a stop order, consent agreement or final determination shall be subject to the penalties provided in § 229-9.
Judicial review. Any stop order of final determination shall be subject to judicial review as provided in Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
Noncompliance or nonconformance with any provision of this chapter or of any stop order, consent agreement or final determination issued pursuant to § 229-8 shall be punishable, upon conviction, by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or by imprisonment not exceeding 15 days, or both.
[Amended 7-10-1990 by L.L. No. 19-1990]
Each and every week within which a violation occurs or continues shall be deemed a separate and distinct violation.
It is the purpose of this chapter to provide additional and cumulative remedies to preserve, protect and conserve the natural resources of the Town. Nothing in this chapter nor anything done by virtue of it shall abridge, repeal or alter private or civil rights of action and remedies nor reduce, transfer or abolish the powers or duties of the Town's elected and appointed officers, boards or agencies.