Legislation

Search OpenLegislation Statutes
This entry was published on 2014-09-22
The selection dates indicate all change milestones for the entire volume, not just the location being viewed. Specifying a milestone date will retrieve the most recent version of the location before that date.
SECTION 64-G
Town of Warwick preservation funds
Town (TWN) CHAPTER 62, ARTICLE 4
§ 64-g. Town of Warwick preservation funds. 1. As used in this
section, the following words and terms shall have the following
meanings:

(a) "Town" means the town of Warwick.

(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.

2. The town board of the town of Warwick 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-F 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 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. The town
of Warwick may only adopt the local law authorized by this subdivision
if it has incurred or authorized bonded indebtedness since nineteen
hundred eighty for open space purposes equal to or greater than two
hundred dollars per town resident. The number of residents shall be
determined by the 2000 U.S. Census. Said local law shall make a finding
that the town has complied with the per resident financial commitment
requirement of this subdivision.

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, and (d) to provide a management and stewardship program for
such interests and rights consistent with subdivision nine of this
section and in accordance with such plan designed to preserve community
character. Not more than ten percent of the fund shall be utilized for
the management and stewardship program. If the implementation of the
community preservation project plan, adopted by the 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.

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; (c) preservation of lands of exceptional scenic value; (d)
preservation of aquifer recharge areas; (e) preservation of undeveloped
beachlands or shoreline; (f) 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; (g) preservation of unique or threatened ecological
areas; (h) preservation of rivers and river areas in a natural,
free-flowing condition; (i) preservation of forested land; (j)
preservation of public access to lands for public use including stream
rights and waterways; (k) 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; and
(l) undertaking any of the aforementioned in furtherance of the
establishment of a greenbelt.

5. The town board 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 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 or land 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 which has established a community preservation fund
shall, by local law, adopt a community preservation project plan. Such
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 such plan. Such plan shall
establish the priorities for preservation, and shall include the
preservation of farmland as its highest priority. Funds from the
community preservation fund may only be expended for projects which have
been included in such plan. Such 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 such 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. Such plan shall be completed at
least sixty days before the submission of the mandatory referendum
required by section fourteen hundred forty-nine-bbbb of the tax law.

7. The town board 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 the 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 cultural property
consistent with accepted standards for historic preservation. 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.

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 the 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 the town acquired pursuant to this section,
where said sale is made by a central bank created by the town, pursuant
to a transfer of development rights program established by the 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.