[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of North Salem 5-12-1987. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town Board will consider and act on applications for dedication of conservation easements and will give notice of hearings and decisions as summarized below.
Any person wishing to deed a conservation easement to the Town of North Salem may apply directly to the Town Board in such form as the Town Board may prescribe. The application shall contain the following:
The Planning Board may refer applications to the Town Board for its acceptance as a condition of site plan approval, subdivision approval or as part of a wetland permit referral.
All applications and submissions received at least 10 days prior to a scheduled meeting of the Town Board will be placed on the next available agenda.
Any application that is not part of a subdivision, site plan or wetlands permit before the Planning Board shall be referred to the Planning Board for its recommendation. The Planning Board will submit its recommendation to the Town Board within 90 days except when, by mutual consent of the Planning Board and applicant, the time is extended for a period not to exceed an additional 180 days.
The Planning Board may require additional information to review an application, including but not limited to the following:
A map of the area, drawn to scale, showing all existing man-made improvements, e.g., roads, buildings and fences, vegetation and identification of flora and fauna, including, e.g., rare species locations and animal breeding areas; land use history, including present uses and recent past disturbances; and distinct natural features, e.g., those items covered in § A263-2A(3).
An aerial photograph of the property taken at an appropriate scale as close as possible to the date the donation is made (large parcels).
On-site photographs taken at appropriate locations on the property.
Every identified element, restriction and reserved right in the easement, which must be addressed by the baseline data.
Referral. The Planning Board shall refer all applications to the following, and their reports are due within 30 days of receipt of the referral:
The Planning Board shall draft the terms and conditions of the conservation easement and, when mutual agreement is reached with the applicant, shall refer such draft to the Town Board as part of its submission.
The terms and conditions of the easement shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
The dedication of conservation easement in perpetuity.
The metes and bounds of the easement.
The permitted activities within the easement.
A restriction on further subdivision.
The extent and purpose of the conservation easement, i.e., preservation of natural resources, habitat and scenic views.
The following time limits and notices are applicable:
The Town Board shall hold a public hearing within 45 days of receipt of the recommendation from the Planning Board.
Waiver. If the Planning Board conducted a public hearing as part of a subdivision or site plan approval or wetlands permit application wherein the proposed conservation easement was a subject of such hearing, then the Town Board may waive the required hearing.
Notice to applicant. If a hearing is required, the Town Board shall mail a notice of pending hearing to the applicant at least 13 days in advance of the hearing.
Hearing notice. Notice of public hearing shall be advertised in the newspaper of general circulation in the Town designated by the Town Board as the official newspaper for such notifications at least five days before the scheduled date of such hearing.
Filing. A copy of the plat with the proposed conservation easement and any accompanying documents shall be on file in the Town House Annex for public inspection during the notice period.
Within 30 days after public hearing or waiver of the same, the Town Board will, by resolution, accept or refuse the dedication of land/conservation easement.
As a condition of a resolution of acceptance, the Town Board shall appoint either the Zoning Enforcement Officer or, upon recommendation of the Planning Board, the Wetlands Inspector to inspect the lands of the conservation easement at least once annually.
As part of the inspection, the Zoning Enforcement Officer or Wetlands Inspector, as the case may be, shall inspect the site to verify the nature, condition and character of the habitat, vegetation, natural features and resources of the conservation easement as well as any man-made improvements or incursions, such as roads, structures, fences, etc. When appropriate (if the applicant has reserved certain rights), the appointed inspector shall record such conditions with photographs, maps, drawings and all necessary notations to establish for the record the natural condition of the site at the time of the annual inspection.
The inspector shall notify the donor at least 10 days in advance of each scheduled inspection and invite the donor to attend the inspection.
Failure to inspect the property shall not constitute abandonment or a waiver of the donee's rights to enforce any provision of the deed in the future.
In the event that the donor violates any condition of the conservation easement, it is the intent of the Town Board to first seek restoration of the disturbed area, if at all possible, and to pursue all other legal remedies.
The Town Board may, by resolution, with the mutual consent of the donor modify that portion of the conservation easement pertaining to permitted/restricted horticultural, agricultural or recreational uses. Modifications of the easement shall be in conformance with § 49-0305 of the Environmental Conservation Law.