Government

Yorktown Town Board to Propose New Wetlands Ordinance

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YORKTOWN, N.Y. - An amended version of the town’s wetland ordinance is being drafted and reviewed by town officials and employees.

This revision of the law follows the board’s repeal of the town’s existing affordable housing law last month and the adoption of a revised tree ordinance in September. Since January, when the new board was sworn in, Supervisor Michael Grace has said the board intends to continue to sort through and update the code as it deems necessary.

“These things should be up for review every half-dozen years at least,” Grace said.

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The main components of the existing law that were examined at the Nov. 22 town board work session included the definition of a “wetland” and the size of the regulated wetland. Bruce Barber, environmental consultant to the town, said proposed changes were not “substantive,” but suggested tweaks to the parameters of a defined wetland. Regulatory components of the law might also be subject to change as well.

“This ordinance is going to have a functional analysis of the wetland and that’s a huge difference,” Grace said. “The ordinance will approach things from a qualitative rather than a quantitative point of view.”

Grace elaborated and said the quality of the area around the wetland will be considered under the new ordinance in order to decide how much of an area may be disturbed, rather than basing such a decision on predefined parameters. He added that a functional analysis will result in “mitigation to not just be one-on-one based on square feet, but one-on-one based on the function of the wetland.”

Permit requirements for landowners whose petitioned projects come within the buffer zone of a designated wetland were examined as well. Currently, property owners with proposed developments that interfere with a wetland’s buffer need to go before the board to receive a permit. Barber said he discussed options with the town attorney to establish “simple action” changes that won’t require a permit.

A second version of the revised law is being drafted before it is presented for public review and comment. A public hearing has not been scheduled.

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