[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Colchester 6-5-2003. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to the provisions of Connecticut General Statutes § 7-148(c)(2)(K), the Town of Colchester (the Town) does hereby create a special fund, which fund shall be known as the "Open Space Preservation Fund" (the fund), and which fund shall not lapse at the end of the municipal fiscal year. The fund's purposes shall be the preservation of open space or the acquisition of land or interests in land for open space or for recreational or agricultural purposes (the "open space purposes").
In addition to such sums as may be appropriated by the Town annually for deposit into the fund, the Town is authorized to and may deposit into the fund all monies received by it, from whatever source, as monetary gifts, grants or loans for open space purposes.
Fees to the Town collected in lieu of any requirement to provide open space, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §§ 8-25 and 8-25b, and as authorized by the Zoning and Planning Commission, pursuant to the Town's Subdivision Regulations, shall be deposited into the fund.
The fund shall be in the custody of the Town Treasurer or other officer in charge of funds of the Town, and all or any part of the monies in the fund may, from time to time, be invested in any securities in which public funds may be lawfully invested. All income derived from such investments shall be placed into the fund and become a part thereof. The monies so invested shall at all times be subject to withdrawal from such investments for use as, hereinafter set forth.
No sums contained in the fund, including interest and dividends earned upon said sums, shall be transferred to any other account within the Town budget. No expenditures shall be made from the fund except in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
The continuation of the fund shall be perpetual, notwithstanding that from time to time the fund may be unfunded.
Expenditures shall be made from the fund only in accordance with the following procedures and requirements:
Expenditures from the fund shall be made exclusively for acquisition costs, including but not limited to appraisal and closing costs, of real property or of easements, interests or other rights therein, the use of which shall be limited to open space purposes;
Expenditures from the fund shall only be made for acquisitions that have been approved in accordance with the procedures set forth in § 92-4 below; and
All expenditures from the fund shall conform to the Town's general procedures with regard to the expenditure of municipal funds.
The Conservation Commission is hereby designated to act on behalf of the Town for the purpose of reviewing and recommending to the Board of Selectmen acquisitions for open space purposes. Any person, including other agencies and departments of the Town, may propose possible acquisitions to the Conservation Commission for review. The Conservation Commission shall request input on possible acquisitions from other agencies and departments of the Town (such as the Parks and Recreation Department and the Zoning and Planning Commission), as appropriate in each circumstance.
The Conservation Commission shall recommend to the Board of Selectmen the acquisition of any parcel or interest therein to be used for open space purposes ("proposed acquisition"). The recommendation shall describe the proposed use and include a comprehensive statement of the Conservation Commission's evaluation of the proposed acquisition.
If the Board of Selectmen approves a proposed acquisition, it shall forward the Conservation Commission's recommendation for the proposed acquisition to the Zoning and Planning Commission for a report pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 8-24, and to the Board of Finance.
Following action by the Board of Finance and the issuance of the Zoning and Planning Commission's report, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 8-24, final action on the proposed acquisition shall be taken by the Board of Selectmen or, if required by Town Charter, by the Town Meeting.