[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Waterford 3-1-1977 by L.L. No. 1-1977. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be cited and may be referred to as the "Town Conservation Commission Law."
The preservation and improvement of the quality of the natural and man-made environment within the Town of Waterford, 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 and require forthright action by the governing body of the Town of Waterford. 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 Commission is a necessary step in fostering unified action on environmental problems.
The Town Board of the Town of Waterford hereby creates a Commission, which shall be known as the "Town of Waterford Conservation Commission," hereinafter called the "Commission."
The Commission shall consist of nine members, of which seven shall be appointed by the Town Board, who shall serve at the pleasure of the Town Board, and the remainder shall be ex officio members as provided herein.
Persons residing within the Town of Waterford who are interested in the improvement and preservation of environmental quality shall be eligible for appointment as members of the Commission.
Vacancies on the Commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment, except that a vacancy occurring other than by the expiration of a term of office shall be filled only for the remainder of the unexpired term.
One member of the Town Board and the Chairman of the Planning Board may be hereafter designated by the Town Board and shall be ex officio members of the Commission.
The Town Board shall designate a member of the Commission to act as Chairman thereof.
At the first meeting of the Commission, its members shall elect from among themselves a Recording Secretary.
The Commission shall adopt rules and procedures for its meetings.
The powers and duties of the Commission shall be:
To advise the Town Board on matters affecting the preservation, development and use of the natural and man-made features and conditions of the town insofar as quality, biologic integrity, beauty and other environmental factors are concerned; in the case of man's activities and developments, to advise on any major threats posed to environmental quality so as to enhance the long-range value of the environment to the people of the town.
To develop and, after receiving general approval by resolution of the Town Board, conduct a program of public information in the community which shall be designed to foster increased understanding of the nature of environmental problems and issues and support for their solutions.
To conduct and maintain an inventory of the natural resources within the Town of Waterford.
To maintain an up-to-date index of all open spaces, as defined in § 239-y of the General Municipal Law, in public or private ownership within the municipality, including but not limited to natural landmarks, glacial and other geomorphic or physiographic features, streams and their floodplains, swamps, marshlands and other wetlands, unique biotic communities and scenic and other open areas of natural or ecological value. Such index shall include the ownership and present and proposed uses of such open areas so as to provide a base of information for recommendations by the Commission for their preservation and/or use.
To seek to coordinate, assist and unify the efforts of private groups, institutions and individuals within the Town of Waterford in accord with the purposes of this chapter.
To maintain liaison and communications with public and private agencies and organizations whose programs and activities have an impact on the quality of the environment or who can be of assistance to the Commission.
Working in cooperation with the Planning Board, to recommend, from time to time, to the Town Board features, plans and programs relating to environmental improvement for inclusion in the Master Plan of the Town of Waterford and, similarly, to recommend to the Town Board appropriate and desirable changes in existing local laws and ordinances relating to environmental and land-use controls or recommend new local laws and ordinances.
To prepare, print and distribute books, maps, charts and pamphlets in accord with the purposes of this chapter.
To obtain and maintain, in orderly fashion, maps, reports, books and other publications to support the necessary researches of the Commission into local environmental conditions.
To carry out such other duties as may be assigned from time to time by the Town Board.
When authorized by resolution of the Town Board of the Town of Waterford, the Commission may accept, by gift, grant, devise, bequest or otherwise, property, both real and personal, in the name of the Town of Waterford, as may be necessary to conserve and otherwise properly utilize open spaces and other land and water resources within the boundaries of the town. Such real property may be accepted in fee for land and water rights, or as any lesser interest, development right, easement, including conservation easement, covenant or other contractual right, including conveyance with limitations or reversions.
The Commission shall keep accurate records of its meetings and actions and shall submit an annual report to the Town Board not later than the 31st day of December of each year concerning the activities and work of the Commission. From time to time, the Commission shall submit such reports and recommendations as may be necessary to fulfill the purpose of this chapter.
The members of the Commission, including ex officio members, 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 Waterford 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.