[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Amenia 7-11-1985 by L.L No. 3-1985. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The preservation and improvement of the quality of the natural and man-made environment within the Town of Amenia in the face of population growth, urbanization and technological 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 Amenia. 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. The establishment of a conservation commission is a necessary step in fostering unified action on environmental problems.
The Town Board of the Town of Amenia hereby creates a commission which shall be known as the "Town of Amenia Conservation Advisory Council," hereinafter called the "Council."
The Council shall consist of nine members, of which seven shall be appointed by the Town Board and 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 Amenia who are interested in the improvement and preservation of environmental quality shall be eligible for appointment as members of the Council. Vacancies on the Council shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments, 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 or more members of the governing body, the Chairman of the Planning Board, the Superintendent of Highways, the Chairman of the Recreation Commission, the Town Attorney or attorney to the town and other officials that may hereafter be designated by the Town Board shall be ex officio members of the Council.
The Town Board shall designate a member of the Council to act as Chairman thereof. The Council shall adopt rules and procedures for its meetings. It shall keep accurate records of its meetings and activities and shall file an annual report as provided in § 9-6 of this chapter.
The powers and duties of the Council 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; and in the cases 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.
Develop and, after receiving general approval by resolution of the Town Board, conduct a program of public information in the community which shall be designated to foster increased understanding of the nature of environmental problems and issues and support for their solutions.
Conduct and maintain an inventory of the natural resources within the Town of Amenia.
Maintain, as reasonably as possible, 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 geomorphic or physiographic features; streams and their floodplains; swamps, marshlands and other wetlands; unique biotic communities; and scenic and other open areas of natural ecological value. Such index shall include the ownership and the present and proposed uses of such open areas so as to provide a base of information for recommendations by the Council for their preservation and/or use.
Seek to coordinate, assist and unify the efforts of private groups, institutions and individuals within the Town of Amenia in accordance with the purposes of this chapter.
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 Council.
Working in cooperation with the Planning Board, 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 Amenia and, similarly, 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.
Prepare, print and distribute books, maps, charts and pamphlets in accordance with the purposes of this chapter.
Obtain and maintain, as reasonably as possible, in orderly fashion maps, reports, books and other publications to support the necessary researches of the commission into local environmental conditions.
When authorized by resolution of the Town Board of the Town of Amenia, the Council may accept, by gift, grant, devise, bequest, or otherwise, property, both real and personal, in the name of the Town of Amenia as may be necessary to conserve and otherwise properly utilize open spaces and other land and water resources within the boundaries of the Town of Amenia. Such real property may be accepted in fee for land and water rights or as any lesser interest, development right or easement, including conservation easement, covenant or other contractual right, including conveyance with limitations or reversions.
Carry out such other duties as may be assigned from time to time by the Town Board.
The Council 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 Council. From time to time, the Council shall submit such reports and recommendations as may be necessary to fulfill the purpose of this chapter.
The members of the Council, including ex officio members, shall upon resolution of the Town Board, receive compensation for their services as members thereof. They 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 Amenia 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.