[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Upper Deerfield 2-5-2004 by Ord. No. 540 (Ch. 11 of the 1977 Township Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Effective January 1, 2004, there is hereby created within the Township of Upper Deerfield an Environmental Commission, the purpose and function of which shall be to evaluate environmental conditions and resources within the Township of Upper Deerfield and to advise and make recommendations to the Township Committee, Planning Board and other Township organizations and bodies for the protection, development and use of environmental resources within the Township.
The Commission shall consist of seven members, all of whom shall be residents of the Township of Upper Deerfield. Members shall serve without compensation. The Mayor of the Township of Upper Deerfield shall designate one of the members of the Environmental Commission to serve as Chairman and presiding officer of the Commission. The terms of office of the first Commissioners shall be as follows: three members shall be appointed for one year; two members shall be appointed for two years; and two members shall be appointed for three years, and each term of office shall commence at the beginning of the calendar year and shall end at the end of a calendar year. Members shall continue to serve until their successors shall have been appointed and qualified. Successors shall be appointed for terms of three years and serve until the appointment and qualification of their successors.
Two alternate members of the Environmental Commission shall also be appointed for terms of two years each, except that alternate number one shall initially be appointed for a period of two years commencing on January 1 of the year of appointment or any unexpired portion thereof and alternate number two shall be appointed for one year or any unexpired portion thereof. Thereafter, appointments of alternates shall be for a term of two years each. The appointments shall be made by the Mayor with the approval of the Township Committee. A vacancy occurring otherwise than by expiration of a term shall be filled only for the unexpired term. An alternate member shall not be permitted to act on any matter in which he or she, directly or indirectly, has any personal interest. An alternate member may, after public hearing, if requested, be removed by the governing body for cause. An alternate member may participate in discussions of the proceedings but may not vote except in the absence or disqualification of a regular member. A vote shall not be delayed in order that a regular member may vote instead of an alternate member if a regular member is otherwise absent. In the event that a choice must be made as to which alternate member shall vote, alternate number one shall vote first.
[Added 11-15-2007 by Ord. No. 601]
Any member of the Environmental Commission may be removed for cause on written charges served upon the member and after a hearing at which the member shall be entitled to be heard in person or by counsel.
Any vacancy that shall occur in the Environmental Commission other than by an expiration of a term of office shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as any original appointment. In the absence of or unavailability of the Mayor to act in accordance with this chapter, then in such event the Deputy Mayor may act in his stead.
Among other things, the Environmental Commission shall have the power to conduct research into the use and possible use of open lands in the municipality and it shall have authority to advertise, prepare, print and distribute books, maps, charts, pamphlets which in its judgment are necessary for its purposes. It shall keep an index of open areas, publicly or privately owned, including marshlands, swamps, wetlands and other areas, in order to obtain information on the proper use of such areas, and it may make such recommendations to the Planning Board and to the governing body of the municipality with respect to plans and/or programs for inclusion in the Township Master Plan concerning the development and use of such areas.
The Environmental Commission shall have the power to study and make recommendations concerning open space preservations, water resources management, air pollution control, solid waste management, noise control, soil and landscape protection, and environmental appearance, marine resources and protection of flora and fauna.
Subject to the approval of the governing body, the Environmental Commission may be permitted to acquire property, both real and personal, in the name of the municipality, by gift, purchase, grant, bequest, devise or lease, and shall administer such gifts subject to the terms of the conveyance or gift. Such acquisitions may include but are not limited to the acquisition of fee simple title or any lesser interest, development rights, easement, including conservation easement, covenant or other contractual right as may be necessary to acquire, maintain, improve, protect, or limit the future use of or conservation of property and to properly utilize open spaces and other land and water areas within the municipality.
The governing body may appropriate funds for expenses incurred by the Environmental Commission, and the Commission may appoint such employees as it may from time to time require and as shall be within the limits of funding appropriated to it.