Why is there an Environmental Commission?
How was the Commission established?
Who makes up the membership?
How are Officers designated?
What are the powers and duties of the Commission?
What reports must the Commission submit?
Are Commission members compensated?
A. The preservation and improvement of the quality of the natural and man-made environment within the Town of West Seneca, in the face of population growth, urbanization and technologic change with their accompanying demand on natural resources, is found to be of increasing and vital importance to the health, welfare and economic well-being of present and future inhabitants and requires forthright action by the governing body of the Town of West Seneca.
B. It is recognized that the biologic integrity of the natural environment on which man is dependent for survival and the natural and functional beauty of our surroundings which condition the quality of our life experience cannot be protected without the full cooperation and participation of all the people of the Town of West Seneca working in partnership with local and state officials and with various public and private institutions, agencies and organizations. Establishment of a commission for conservation of the environment is a necessary step in a fostering unified action on environmental problems.
Chapter § 10-2. Establishment of Commission
The Town Board of the Town of West Seneca hereby creates a commission which shall be known as the "Town of West Seneca Commission for the Conservation of the Environment," hereinafter called the "Commission."
A. The Commission shall consist of nine (9) members, of which nine (9) shall be appointed by the Town Board and shall serve at the pleasure of the Town Board, and the remainder shall be ex officio members as provided herein. Persons residing in the Town of West Seneca who are interested in the improvement and preservation of environmental quality shall be eligible for appointment as a member of the Commission. Vacancies on the Commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment, except that a vacancy occurring other than by the expiration of term of office shall be filled only for the remainder of the unexpired term.
B. The membership of the Commission shall be diversified to take into account the many different opinions on the environment throughout West Seneca, with at least one (1) member between the age of sixteen (16) and twenty-one (21) but not more than two (2) members between the age of sixteen (16) and twenty-one (21).
C. The terms of members on the Commission shall be staggered with the first three (3) members appointed to a term of one (1) year, the next four (4) members appointed to a term of two (2) years, the eighth member appointed for a term of one (1) year, and the ninth member appointed for a term of two (2) years. Upon the expiration of each term, the successor appointee shall be appointed for a full two-year term.
D. The Town Board, Chairman of the Planning Board, Planning Director, Recreation Director, Chairman of the Recreation Commission, Town Attorney and other officials that may be hereafter designated by the Town Board shall be ex officio members of the Commission.
Chapter § 10-4. Officers and meetings
The Town Board shall designate a member of the Commission to act as Chairman thereof. At the first meeting of the Commission, its members shall elect from among themselves a Recording Secretary. The Commission shall adopt rules and procedures for its meetings. It shall keep accurate records of its meetings and activities and shall file an annual report as provided in § 10-6 of this local law.
A. Advise the Town Board on matters affecting the preservation, development and use of the natural and man-made features and conditions of the town insofar as beauty, quality, biologic integrity and other environmental factors are concerned and, in the case of man's activities and developments, with regard to any major threats posed to environmental quality so as to enhance the long-range value of the environment to the people of the town.
B. Develop and, after receiving general approval by resolution of the Town Board, conduct a program of continuing public information in the community which shall be designed to foster increased understanding of the nature of environmental problems and issues and support their solutions.
C. Conduct studies, surveys and inventories of the natural and man-made features within the Town of West Seneca and such other studies and surveys as may be necessary to carry out the general purposes of this local law.
D. Maintain an up-to-date inventory or index of all open spaces in public or private ownership within the municipality, including but not limited to natural landmarks, glacial and other geomorphic or physiographic features, streams and their floodplains, swamps, marshlands and other wetlands, unique biotic communities, scenic and other open areas of natural or ecological value, and of the ownership, present use and proposed use of such open areas, so as to provide a base of information for recommendations by the Commission for their preservation and use.
E. Seek to coordinate, assist and unify the efforts of municipal agencies or departments and those of private groups, institutions or individuals within the Town of West Seneca in accord with the purposes of this local law.
F. Maintain liaison and communications with public and private agencies and organizations of local, state and national scope whose programs and activities have an impact on the quality of the environment or who can be of assistance to the Commission.
G. Working in cooperation with the Planning Board, recommend from time to time to the Town Board features, plans and programs relating to environmental improvement for inclusion in the Master Plan of the Town of West Seneca, and, similarly, recommend to the Town Board appropriate and desirable changes in existing local laws and ordinances relating to environmental control or recommend new local laws or ordinances.
H. Prepare, print and distribute books, maps, charts and pamphlets in accord with the purposes of this local law.
I. Obtain and maintain in orderly fashion maps, reports, books and other publications to support the necessary researches of the Commission into local environmental conditions.
J. When authorized by resolution of the Town Board of the Town of West Seneca, the Commission may accept, by gift, grant, devise, bequest or otherwise, property both real and personal in the name of the Town of West Seneca as may be necessary to conserve and otherwise properly utilize open spaces and other land and water resources within the boundaries of the Town of West Seneca. Such real property may be accepted in fee for land and water rights or as any other lesser interest, development right, and easement, including conservation easement, covenant or other contractual right, including conveyance with limitations or reversions.
K. Carry out such other duties as may be assigned from time to time by the Town Board.
L. Hold meetings as its demands require but not less than once per calendar year.
Chapter § 10-6. Reports.
The Commission shall submit an annual report to the Town Board not later than the first day of April of each year, concerning the activities and work of the Commission, and from time to time shall submit such reports and recommendations as may be necessary to fulfill the purposes of this local law.
Chapter § 10-7. Compensation and expenses.
The members of the Commission, including ex officio members, shall receive no compensation for their services as members thereof, but may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties within the appropriations made available therefore.