[HISTORY: Adopted by the Clarkson Town Board 7-13-1976 by L.L. No. 2-1976. Section 79-6A(1) amended and § 79-9B(3) added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I). Other amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town of Clarkson finds that freshwater wetlands are invaluable resources for flood protection, wildlife habitat, open space, water resources and recreation and other benefits associated therewith which, if preserved and maintained in an undisturbed natural condition, constitute important assets to existing and future residents of the Town.
It is the intent of the Town Board to protect the citizens of the Town of Clarkson by preserving, protecting and conserving freshwater wetlands and the benefits derived therefrom, to prevent the despoliation and destruction of freshwater wetlands and to regulate the use and development of such wetlands consistent with the general welfare and beneficial economic, social and agricultural development of the Town.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Freshwater Wetlands Law of the Town of Clarkson (Local Law No. 2-1976)."
The following terms, phrases, words and their derivatives shall have the meanings given herein:
- ADJACENT AREA
- All lands within 100 feet, horizontally, of the vegetative boundary of any freshwater wetland.
- Any form of draining, dredging, excavation, removal soil, mud, sand, shells, gravel or other aggregate; or any form of dumping, filling or depositing of any soil, stones, sand, gravel, mud, rubbish or fill of any kind, either directly or indirectly; erecting any structures, roads, the driving of pilings or the placing of any other obstructions, whether or not changing the ebb and flow of the water; any form of pollution; and any other activity which substantially impairs any of the several functions served by freshwater wetlands or the benefits derived therefrom.
- Any person who files an application for any permit issued by the Town pursuant to this chapter, including the agent of the owner or a contract vendee.
- FRESHWATER WETLANDS
- Lands and water of the Town as shown on the Freshwater Wetlands Map, prepared for the State of New York and filed with the County Clerk and Town Clerk, which contain any or all of the following:
- A. Lands and submerged lands commonly called "marshes," "swamps," "sloughs," "bogs" and "flats," supporting aquatic or semiaquatic vegetation of the following vegetative types:
- (1) Wetland trees which depend upon seasonal or permanent flooding or sufficiently waterlogged soils to give them a competitive advantage over other trees.
- (2) Wetlands shrubs which depend upon seasonal or permanent flooding or sufficiently waterlogged soils to give them a competitive advantage over other shrubs.
- (3) Emergent vegetation, including, among others, cattails.
- (4) Rooted, floating-leaved vegetation, including, among others, water lilies.
- (5) Free-floating vegetation.
- (6) Wet meadow vegetation which depends upon seasonal or permanent flooding or sufficiently waterlogged soils to give them a competitive advantage over other open land vegetation.
- (7) Bog mat vegetation, including, among others, sphagnum mosses.
- (8) Submergent vegetation, including, among others, pondweeds.
- B. Lands and submerged lands containing remnants of any vegetation that is not aquatic or semiaquatic that has died because of wet conditions over a sufficiently long period, provided that such wet conditions do not exceed a maximum seasonal water depth of six feet, and provided, further, that such conditions can be expected to persist indefinitely, barring human intervention.
- PARTY IN INTEREST
- Any person who files an application pursuant to this chapter or is permitted to intervene pursuant to this chapter or any official within whose area is located the freshwater wetland or adjacent area which is the subject of an application for a freshwater wetlands permit.
- That form of Town approval required by this chapter for the carrying on of a regulated activity.
- Any corporation, firm, partnership, association, trust, estate, one or more individuals and any unit of government or agency or subdivision thereof.
- The presence in the environment of man-induced conditions or contaminants in quantities or characteristics which are injurious to humans, vegetation, wildlife or property.
- Any action resulting in direct or indirect physical impact on a freshwater wetland, including but not limited to any regulated activity.
- REGULATED ACTIVITY
- Any activity within a freshwater wetland or on the adjacent area which, directly or indirectly, may substantially alter or impair the natural condition of any freshwater wetland, including any form of pollution, including but not limited to installing a septic tank, running a sewer outfall, discharging sewage treatment effluent or other liquid wastes into or so as to drain into a freshwater wetland and any other activity which substantially impairs any of the several functions served by freshwater wetlands or the benefits derived therefrom.
Except as hereinafter provided, it shall be unlawful for any person, without obtaining a written permit therefor issued by the Town of Clarkson, to alter any freshwater wetland.
The deposition or removal of the natural products of freshwater wetlands by recreational or commercial fishing, shellfishing, aquaculture and hunting or trapping shall be exempt from the regulated activities.
Each farmer or landowner who intends to conduct a regulated activity that includes grazing and watering livestock, making reasonable use of water resources, harvesting natural products of the wetlands for growing agricultural products and otherwise engaging in the use of wetlands or other land for growing agricultural products shall be excluded from regulated activities and shall not require a permit.
Public health activities, orders and regulations of the Department of Health shall be excluded from regulated activities.
Any person proposing to conduct a regulated activity upon any freshwater wetland shall file an application for a permit with the Building Inspector. Determination of the application shall be made by the Building Inspector in accordance with applicable law. Such application shall include a detailed description of the proposed activity and a map showing the area of freshwater wetland directly affected, with the location of the proposed activity thereon.
A permit approved by the Town does not relieve the applicant of the necessity to obtain authorization from other agencies which have jurisdiction over the project proposal.
Preparation for public hearing.
Not sooner than 30 days nor later than 60 days after the receipt of such application, the Town Zoning Board of Appeals shall authorize a public hearing on such application. The Town shall cause notice of such hearing to be published at least once in a newspaper having general circulation in the Town. The notice of hearing shall be published not less than 10 days prior to the date set for the hearing. All owners of record of adjacent land shall be notified of the hearing by certified mail not less than 15 days prior to the date set for such hearing.
The Zoning Board of Appeals may dispense with a public hearing if it finds that the proposed activity is of such a minor nature as not to affect or endanger the balance of systems within the freshwater wetland. If the Zoning Board of Appeals finds that a hearing is not necessary, it shall enter its decision, setting forth its reasons therefor, in the minutes of a regularly scheduled meeting.
In granting, denying or limiting any permit, the Town Zoning Board of Appeals shall consider the effect of the proposed activity with reference to the public health and welfare, flood, hurricane and storm dangers and the protection or enhancement of other freshwater wetlands and the benefits derived therefrom. In no case shall a permit be issued which does not meet the standards set forth in land use regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter.
Operations conducted under a permit shall be open to inspection at any time by the Building Inspector.
The permit applicant, upon approval of the permit, shall file with the Building Inspector a performance bond, if required, in an amount and with sureties and in a form approved by the Town Attorney.
The applicant may be required to certify that he has public liability insurance against liability which might result from proposed operations or use covering any and all damage which might occur within three years of completion of such operations and may be required to submit to the Building Inspector an affidavit which indemnifies and saves harmless the Town or agency or agent thereof from any claims arising out of or connected with operations under the permit and from all acts, omissions, commissions or negligence on the part of the applicant, his agents or employees.
The Town Zoning Board of Appeals shall reserve the right to require a permit or license fee for any operation or uses permitted pursuant to this chapter.
Any person, firm, corporation or entity found violating any provision of this chapter or conditions imposed by the Town Zoning Board of Appeals upon an approved permit shall be served with a written notice at the direction of the Town Zoning Board of Appeals stating the nature of the violations and providing a specified time within which the violations shall cease and satisfactory corrective action shall be taken by the violator.
Any person who violates, disobeys or disregards any provision of this chapter shall be liable to the people of the Town for a civil penalty not to exceed $3,000 for every such violation, to be assessed after a hearing or opportunity to be heard upon due notice and with the rights to specification of the charges and representatives by counsel at such hearing.
The Town Zoning Board of Appeals shall have the power, following a hearing, to direct the violator to cease his violation of the act and satisfactorily restore the affected freshwater wetland to its condition prior to the violation.
Any person who violates any order of the Town Zoning Board of Appeals regulating freshwater wetlands shall, in addition, for the first offense, be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000.
For a second and each subsequent offense, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,000, or a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 days nor more than six months, or both.
The punishments set forth in Subsection B(1) and (2) above may be replaced by a court order requiring the restoration of the affected freshwater wetlands to their condition prior to the offense, insofar as possible, a within a reasonable time.