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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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SECTION 64-J
Town of Northeast preservation funds
Town (TWN) CHAPTER 62, ARTICLE 4
§ 64-j. Town of Northeast preservation funds. 1. As used in this
section, the following words and terms shall have the following
meanings:

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

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

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

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

(e) "Tax" shall mean the real estate transfer tax imposed pursuant to
section fourteen hundred thirty-nine-bb of the tax law or, if the
context clearly indicates, shall mean the real estate transfer tax
imposed pursuant to article thirty-one of the tax law.

2. The town board of the town of Northeast 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-A-three 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.

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 ten 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.

4. If the implementation of the community preservation project plan,
adopted by the town board, as provided in subdivision seven 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.

5. Preservation of community character shall involve one or more of
the following:

(a) preservation of open space;

(b) establishment of parks, nature preserves, or recreation areas;

(c) preservation of land which is predominantly viable agricultural
land, as defined in subdivision seven of section three hundred one of
the agriculture and markets law, or unique and irreplaceable
agricultural land, as defined in subdivision six of section three
hundred one of the agriculture and markets law;

(d) preservation of lands of exceptional scenic value;

(e) preservation of freshwater marshes or other wetlands;

(f) preservation of aquifer recharge areas;

(g) preservation of undeveloped beach-lands or shoreline;

(h) 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;

(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; and

(n) undertaking any of the purposes of this subdivision in furtherance
of the establishment of a greenbelt.

6. 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. Board members' terms shall be staggered.

7. 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 town clerk, 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 thirty-nine-bb of the
tax law. If at the time of referendum, the town shall have in place an
adopted open space plan, such plan shall be deemed sufficient to waive
the preservation plan requirements of this subdivision. Any monies
expended from the community preservation plan shall, however be
consistent with the purposes outlined in subdivisions three and five of
this section and with the open space plan for a period not to exceed
twelve months.

8. The town board which has established a community preservation fund
pursuant to this section may 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.

9. 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 rights or
interest in real property 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.

10. Rights or interest in real property 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. Notwithstanding any other provision of this
subdivision there shall be no right to public use and enjoyment of land
used in conjunction with a farm operation as defined by subdivision
eleven of section three hundred one of the agriculture and markets law.
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.

11. 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 state
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
state legislature. Any conservation easements, created under title three
of article forty-nine of the environmental conservation law, which are
acquired with monies from such fund may only be modified or extinguished
as provided in section 49-0307 of such law. 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 five of this section, and (b) the proceeds from such sale
shall be deposited in the community preservation fund.