[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Beacon 5-19-1986 by L.L. No. 4-1986; amended in its entirety 5-19-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The preservation and the improvement of the quality of the natural and man-made environment within the City of Beacon, 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 City of Beacon. 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 and quality of our life experience cannot be protected without the full cooperation and participation of all people of the City working in partnership with local and state officials and with various public and private institutions, agencies and organizations. Establishment of a Conservation Committee is a necessary step in fostering unified action on environmental problems.
The City Council of the City of Beacon hereby creates a committee which shall be known as the "City of Beacon Conservation Advisory Committee," hereinafter called "the Committee."
The Committee shall consist of nine members who shall be appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the City Council. All appointees shall serve two-year terms. Persons residing within the City of Beacon who are interested in the improvement and preservation of the environmental quality shall be eligible for appointment as members of the Committee. The Mayor may appoint not more than two persons between the ages of 16 and 21 years to the Committee. Vacancies on the Committee shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment, except that a vacancy occurring other than by the expiration of a member's term of office shall be filled only for the remainder of the unexpired term.
The Mayor shall designate a member of the Committee to act as Chairman thereof. At the first meeting of the Committee, its members shall elect from among themselves a Recording Secretary. The Committee 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 § 17-6 of this chapter.
The Conservation Advisory Committee shall:
Advise the City Council on matters affecting the preservation, development and use of the natural and man-made features and conditions of the City insofar as quality, biologic integrity, beauty and other environmental factors are concerned. In the case of man's activities and developments, the Conservation Advisory Committee shall 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 City.
Develop and, after receiving general approval by resolution of the City Council, 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.
Conduct and maintain an inventory of the natural resources within the City of Beacon.
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 geometric or physiographic features; streams and their floodplains, swamps, marshlands and other wetlands; unique biotic communities; and scenic and 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 of recommendations by the Committee for their preservation and/or use.
Seek to coordinate, assess and unify the efforts of private groups, institutions and individuals within the City of Beacon, 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 Committee.
Work in cooperation with the Planning Board, recommend from time to time to the City Council features, plans and programs relating to environmental improvement for inclusion in the Master Plan of the City of Beacon, and similarly, recommend to the City Council 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 accord with the purposes of this chapter.
Obtain and maintain in an orderly fashion maps, reports, books and other publications to support the necessary researches of the Committee into local environmental conditions.
When authorized by resolution of the City Council of the City of Beacon, accept by gift, grant, devise, bequest or otherwise property, both real and personal, in the name of the City of Beacon, as may be necessary to conserve and otherwise properly utilize open spaces and other land and water resources within the boundaries of the City of Beacon. 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.
Encourage and promote the preservation, conservation and development of the historic, recreational and natural resources of the riverfront area of the City of Beacon and the full development of the recreational, commercial and other resources which are vital to the continued progress of the City of Beacon.
Make recommendations to the City Council regarding the consistency of land development and use in the areas governed by the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.
Carry out such other duties as may be assigned from time to time by the City Council.
The Committee shall keep accurate records of its meetings and actions and shall submit an annual report to the City Council not later than the 31st day of December of each year, concerning the activities and work of the Committee. From time to time, the Committee shall submit such reports and recommendations as may be necessary to fulfill the purpose of this chapter.
The members of the Committee shall not receive any 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 City of Beacon 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.
The Chairman of the Committee may submit a written request to the City Council requesting that it remove any member of the Committee. The City Council shall remove the Committee member, following a public hearing, upon a finding that such removal is for cause. Such public hearing shall be held on not less than 20 days' written notice to the Committee and the affected Committee member. At the public hearing, the City Council shall hear all members of the Committee and the public wishing to be heard on the reasons why the affected Committee member should or should not be removed.