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SECTION 64-E
Peconic Bay region community preservation funds
Town (TWN) CHAPTER 62, ARTICLE 4
§ 64-e. Peconic Bay region community preservation funds. 1. As used in
this section, the following words and terms shall have the following
meanings:

(a) "Peconic Bay region" means the towns of East Hampton, Riverhead,
Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold.

(b) "Community preservation" shall mean and include any of the
purposes outlined in subdivision four of this section.

(c) "Board" means the advisory board required pursuant to subdivision
five of this section.

(d) "Fund" means the community preservation fund created pursuant to
subdivision two of this section.

(e) "Water quality improvement project" means: (1) wastewater
treatment improvement projects; (2) non-point source abatement and
control program projects developed pursuant to section eleven-b of the
soil and water conservation districts law, title 14 of article 17 of the
environmental conservation law, section 1455b of the federal coastal
zone management act, or article forty-two of the executive law; (3)
aquatic habitat restoration projects; (4) pollution prevention projects;
(5) the construction of public water mains and connections to provide
drinking water to inhabitants whose drinking water supply has been
contaminated by toxic chemicals as defined in section 37-0301 of the
environmental conservation law, hazardous substances as defined in
section 40-0105 of the environmental conservation law or emerging
contaminants as defined in section eleven hundred twelve of the public
health law; and (6) the operation of the Peconic Bay National Estuary
Program, as designated by the United States Environmental Protection
Agency; and (6) a septic system replacement loan program, pursuant to
section sixty-four-ee of the town law. Such projects shall have as their
purpose the improvement of existing water quality to meet existing
specific water quality standards. Projects which have as a purpose to
permit or accommodate new growth shall not be included within this
definition.

(f) "Wastewater treatment improvement project" means the planning,
design, construction, acquisition, enlargement, extension, or alteration
of a wastewater treatment facility, including alternative systems to a
sewage treatment plant or traditional septic system, to treat,
neutralize, stabilize, eliminate or partially eliminate sewage or reduce
pollutants in treatment facility effluent, including permanent or pilot
demonstration wastewater treatment projects, or equipment or furnishings
thereof. Stormwater collecting systems and vessel pumpout stations shall
also be included within the definition of a wastewater improvement
project.

(g) "Aquatic habitat restoration project" means the planning, design,
construction, management, maintenance, reconstruction, revitalization,
or rejuvenation activities intended to improve waters of the state of
ecological significance or any part thereof, including, but not limited
to ponds, bogs, wetlands, bays, sounds, streams, rivers, or lakes and
shorelines thereof, to support a spawning, nursery, wintering,
migratory, nesting, breeding, feeding, or foraging environment for fish
and wildlife and other biota.

(h) "Pollution prevention project" means the planning, design,
construction, improvement, maintenance or acquisition of facilities,
production processes, equipment or buildings owned or operated by
municipalities for the reduction, avoidance, or elimination of the use
of toxic or hazardous substances or the generation of such substances or
pollutants so as to reduce risks to public health or the environment,
including changes in production processes or raw materials; such
projects shall not include incineration, transfer from one medium of
release or discharge to another medium, off-site or out-of-production
recycling, end-of-pipe treatment or pollution control.

(i) "Stormwater collecting system" means systems of conduits and all
other construction, devices, and appliances appurtenant thereto,
designed and used to collect and carry stormwater and surface water,
street wash, and other wash and drainage waters to a point source for
discharge.

(j) "Vessel pumpout station" means a project for the planning, design,
acquisition or construction of a permanent or portable device capable of
removing human sewage from a marine holding tank.

2. The town board of any town in the Peconic Bay region is authorized
to establish by local law a community preservation fund pursuant to the
provisions of this section. Deposits into the fund may include revenues
of the local government from whatever source and shall include, at a
minimum, all revenues from a tax imposed upon the transfer of real
property interests in such town pursuant to article thirty-one-D of the
tax law. The fund shall also be authorized to accept gifts of any such
interests in land or of funds. Interest accrued by monies deposited into
the fund shall be credited to the fund. In no event shall monies
deposited in the fund be transferred to any other account. Nothing
contained in this section shall be construed to prevent the financing in
whole or in part, pursuant to the local finance law, of any acquisition
or water quality improvement project authorized pursuant to this
section. Monies from the fund may be utilized to repay any indebtedness
or obligations incurred pursuant to the local finance law consistent
with effectuating the purposes of this section. Where a town finances an
acquisition or water quality improvement project, in whole, or in part,
pursuant to the local finance law, the resolution authorizing such
indebtedness shall be accompanied by a report from the town supervisor
demonstrating how said indebtedness will be repaid by the fund. Said
report shall include an estimate of projected revenues of the fund
during the period of indebtedness. The report shall also provide an
accounting of all other indebtedness incurred against the fund to be
repaid for the same period. The town board shall make findings by
resolution that there will be sufficient revenue to repay such
indebtedness in its entirety from the fund before authorizing such
indebtedness.

3. The purposes of the fund shall be exclusively, (a) to implement a
plan for the preservation of community character as required by this
section, (b) to acquire interests or rights in real property for the
preservation of community character within the town including villages
therein in accordance with such plan and in cooperation with willing
sellers, (c) to establish a bank pursuant to a transfer of development
rights program consistent with section two hundred sixty-one-a of this
chapter, (d) to provide a management and stewardship program for such
interests and rights consistent with subdivisions nine and nine-a of
this section and in accordance with such plan designed to preserve
community character; provided that not more than ten percent of the fund
shall be utilized for the management and stewardship program, and (e) to
implement water quality improvement projects in accordance with a plan
to preserve community character. A maximum of twenty (20) percent of the
fund may be utilized for the implementation of water quality improvement
projects; provided that where such water quality improvement funds are
utilized for the operation of the Peconic Bay National Estuary Program,
the use of such funds shall only be utilized to match federal, state,
county, or other public or private funds on a dollar for dollar basis,
not to exceed ten (10) percent of the annual amount appropriated for
water quality improvement projects. If the implementation of the
community preservation project plan, adopted by a town board, as
provided in subdivision six of this section, has been completed, and
funds are no longer needed for the purposes outlined in this
subdivision, then any remaining monies in the fund shall be applied to
reduce any bonded indebtedness or obligations incurred to effectuate the
purposes of this section.

3-a. Preliminary and incidental costs in connection with the
acquisition of interests or rights in real property, pursuant to
subdivision three of this section, shall be deemed part of the cost of
the acquisition for which they were incurred. Such expenditures may
include any administrative or other expenditures directly arising
therefrom. No expenditure shall be charged to the fund, unless
authorized by law. A full accounting of such costs for each acquisition
of land shall be provided to the town board.

4. Preservation of community character shall involve one or more of
the following: (a) establishment of parks, nature preserves, or
recreation areas; (b) preservation of open space, including agricultural
lands provided, however, that farm buildings and structures used for the
marketing of farm products produced on such agricultural lands shall be
permitted; (c) preservation of lands of exceptional scenic value; (d)
preservation of fresh and saltwater marshes or other wetlands; (e)
preservation of aquifer recharge areas; (f) preservation of undeveloped
beachlands or shoreline including those at significant risk of coastal
flooding due to projected sea level rise and future storms; (g)
establishment of wildlife refuges for the purpose of maintaining native
animal species diversity, including the protection of habitat essential
to the recovery of rare, threatened or endangered species; (h)
preservation of pine barrens consisting of such biota as pitch pine, and
scrub oak; (i) preservation of unique or threatened ecological areas;
(j) preservation of rivers and river areas in a natural, free-flowing
condition; (k) preservation of forested land; (l) preservation of public
access to lands for public use including stream rights and waterways;
(m) preservation of historic places and properties listed on the New
York state register of historic places and/or protected under a
municipal historic preservation ordinance or law; (n) preservation of
lands necessary to protect fisheries and water dependent uses essential
to maintain and enhance maritime heritage; and (o) undertaking any of
the aforementioned in furtherance of the establishment of a greenbelt.
Preservation of community character shall also include the protection
and improvement of the quality of all water resources.

5. The town board of any town in the Peconic Bay region which has
established a community preservation fund shall create an advisory board
to review and make recommendations on proposed acquisitions of interests
in real property or water quality improvement projects using monies from
the fund. Such board shall consist of five or seven legal residents of
the municipality who shall serve without compensation. No member of the
local legislative body shall serve on the board. A majority of the
members of the board shall have demonstrated experience with
conservation and land preservation activities or water quality
improvement activities, or historic preservation activities. The board
shall act in an advisory capacity to the town board. At least one member
of the board shall be an active farmer.

6. The town board of any town in the Peconic Bay region which has
established a community preservation fund shall, by local law, adopt a
community preservation project plan. This plan shall list every project
which the town plans to undertake pursuant to the community preservation
fund. It shall include every parcel which is necessary to be acquired in
the town in order to protect community character. Such plan shall
provide for a detailed evaluation of all available land use alternatives
to protect community character, including but not limited to: (a) fee
simple acquisition, (b) zoning regulations, including density
reductions, cluster development, and site plan and design requirements,
(c) transfer of development rights, (d) the purchase of development
rights, and (e) scenic and conservation easements. Said evaluation shall
be as specific as practicable as to each parcel selected for inclusion
in the plan. The plan shall establish the priorities for preservation,
and shall include the preservation of farmland as its highest priority.
Said plan shall also list every water quality improvement project which
the town plans to undertake pursuant to the community preservation fund
and shall state how such project would improve existing water quality.
Projects which have as their purpose the accommodation of new growth as
opposed to the remediation of water quality shall not qualify for
funding under this section. Funds from the community preservation fund
may only be expended for projects which have been included in said plan.
Said plan shall be updated not less than once every five years, but in
no event until at least three years after the adoption of the original
plan. A copy of the plan shall be filed with the commissioner of
environmental conservation, the commissioner of agriculture and markets
and the commissioner of the office of parks, recreation and historic
preservation. Said plan shall be completed at least sixty days before
the submission of the mandatory referendum required by section one
thousand four hundred forty-nine-bb of the tax law. As part of, or in
addition, to said community preservation fund project plan, each town
board may also adopt a management and stewardship plan for interests or
rights in real property acquired pursuant to this section. No monies
from the fund shall be expended for management and stewardship, except
as approved in said plan. Said plan may provide management and
stewardship projects for up to a three year period and shall provide a
description and estimated cost for each project. Said plan shall be
approved and adopted by local law and may be updated from time to time
at the discretion of the town board. Only management and stewardship
projects permitted pursuant to subdivision nine-a of this section shall
be eligible to be included in the plan.

7. The town board of any town in the Peconic Bay region which has
established a community preservation fund pursuant to this section shall
study and consider establishing a transfer of development rights program
to protect community character as provided for by section two hundred
sixty-one-a of this chapter. All provisions of such section two hundred
sixty-one-a shall be complied with. If at any time during the life of
the community preservation fund a transfer of development rights program
is established, the town may utilize monies from the community
preservation fund in order to create and fund a central bank of the
transfer of development rights program. If at any time during the life
of the community preservation fund, a transfer of development rights
program is repealed by the town, all monies from the central bank shall
be returned to the community preservation fund.

8. No interests or rights in real property shall be acquired pursuant
to this section until a public hearing is held as required by section
two hundred forty-seven of the general municipal law; provided, however,
that nothing herein shall prevent the town board from entering into a
conditional purchase agreement before a public hearing is held. Any
resolution of a town board approving an acquisition of land pursuant to
this section, shall find that acquisition was the best alternative for
the protection of community character of all the reasonable alternatives
available to the town.

9. Lands acquired pursuant to this section shall be administered and
managed in a manner which (a) allows public use and enjoyment in a
manner compatible with the natural, scenic, historic and open space
character of such lands; (b) preserves the native biological diversity
of such lands; (c) with regard to open spaces, limits improvements to
enhancing access for passive use of such lands such as nature trails,
boardwalks, bicycle paths, and peripheral parking areas provided that
such improvements do not degrade the ecological value of the land or
threaten essential wildlife habitat; and (d) preserves historic and
cultural property consistent with accepted standards for historic
preservation and permits adaptive reuse of such properties that is
consistent with the historic character of the property, while maximizing
public use to the maximum extent practicable. In furthering the purposes
of this section, the town may enter into agreements with corporations
organized under the not-for-profit corporation law and engage in land
trust activities to manage lands including less than fee interests
acquired pursuant to the provisions of this section, provided that any
such agreement shall contain a provision that such corporation shall
keep the lands accessible to the public unless such corporation shall
demonstrate to the satisfaction of the town that public accessibility
would be detrimental to the lands or any natural resources associated
therewith.

9-a. (a) Except for interests or rights in real property acquired for
historic preservation purposes, management and stewardship projects
shall be only expended for (1) projects which promote the protection or
enhancement of the natural, scenic, and open space character for which
the interests or rights in real property were acquired, or (2) accessory
uses related to the purpose for which the interests or rights in real
property were acquired consistent with subdivision nine of this section,
or (3) restoration of acquired real property to its natural state
including the demolition of existing buildings and structures.

(b) In the case of interests or rights in real property acquired for
historic preservation purposes, funds may be expended only for the
restoration and rehabilitation of buildings and structures consistent
with accepted standards for historic preservation.

(c) Expenses related to the customary operation and maintenance of
acquired interests or rights in real property shall not be permitted
from the fund.

(d) Any project funded pursuant to this subdivision must have a useful
life of five years or more under section 11.00 of the local finance law.

(e) Any expenditure from the fund for a purpose other than that
permitted, herein, shall be deemed to be prohibited.

10. Rights or interests in real property acquired with monies from
such fund shall not be sold, leased, exchanged, donated, or otherwise
disposed of or used for other than the purposes permitted by this
section without the express authority of an act of the legislature,
which shall provide for the substitution of other lands of equal
environmental value and fair market value and reasonably equivalent
usefulness and location to those to be discontinued, sold or disposed
of, and such other requirements as shall be approved by the legislature.
Nothing in this section shall preclude a town, by local law, from
establishing additional restrictions to the alienation of lands acquired
pursuant to this section. This subdivision shall not apply to the sale
of development rights by a town acquired pursuant to this section, where
said sale is made by a central bank created by a town, pursuant to a
transfer of development rights program established by a town pursuant to
section two hundred sixty-one-a of this chapter, provided, however (a)
that the lands from which said development rights were acquired shall
remain preserved in perpetuity by a permanent conservation easement or
other instrument that similarly preserves the community character
referenced in subdivision four of this section, and (b) the proceeds
from such sale shall be deposited in the community preservation fund.
Nothing in this section shall preclude a town from utilizing development
rights acquired with monies from the fund from being utilized to provide
community housing, provided that such development rights have not been
expressly extinguished at the time of acquisition. The lands from which
said development rights were acquired shall remain preserved in
perpetuity by a permanent conservation easement or other instrument that
similarly preserves the community character referenced in subdivision
four of this section. Where such development rights are sold, the
proceeds from such sale shall be deposited in the community preservation
fund. For purposes of this subdivision, "community housing" shall mean a
primary residential property where the purchase price limit shall not
exceed one hundred fifty percent of the purchase price limits
established by the state of New York mortgage agency low interest rate
loan program in non-target categories for the county.

11. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, towns may
enter into intermunicipal agreements pursuant to article five-G of the
general municipal law for the following purposes: (a) to jointly acquire
interests or rights in real property, consistent with the purposes of
this section, where the acquisition of such interests or rights promotes
a regional public benefit for two or more towns pursuant to a regional
plan,

(b) to establish an office or department among all five towns to
render legal opinions and interpretations to facilitate the efficient
and consistent administration of each fund created under this section,

(c) to provide for an independent financial audit of each town's fund,

(d) to hire employees necessary to implement the provisions of this
section.

12. Each town shall annually commission an independent audit of the
fund. The audit shall be conducted by an independent certified public
accountant or an independent public accountant. Said audit shall be
performed by a certified public accountant or an independent public
accountant other than the one that performs the general audit of each
town's finances. Such audit shall be an examination of the fund and
shall determine whether the fund has been administered consistent with
the provisions of this section and all other applicable provisions of
state law. Said audit shall be initiated within sixty days of the close
of the fiscal year of each town and shall be completed within one
hundred twenty days of the close of the fiscal year. A copy of the audit
shall be submitted annually to the state comptroller and the town clerk.
A copy of the audit shall be made available to the public within thirty
days of its completion. A notice of the completion of the audit shall be
published in the official newspaper of the town and posted on the
official sign board of the town within ten days of its filing with the
town clerk. Said audit and notice shall also be posted on the internet
site for the town. The cost of the audit may be a charge to the fund.

13. The cost of employees and independent contractors to implement the
provisions of this section, may only be paid for by the fund where the
duties and responsibilities of said employees and independent
contractors are directly dedicated to implementing the provisions of
this section. Where such employees and independent contractors are not
exclusively dedicated to implementing the provisions of this section, no
more than the cost of the actual time expended directly dedicated to
implementing the provisions of this section may be charged. Such costs
shall be expressly identified in the town budget and any plan adopted
pursuant to this section before funds for such costs may be expended. In
addition, such costs must be documented by a time accounting system,
subject to audit. Costs relating to the activities of elected officials
implementing the purposes of this section may not be a charge to the
fund.