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A08300 Summary:

BILL NOA08300A
 
SAME ASNo Same As
 
SPONSOREnglebright
 
COSPNSRJones
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Add Art 9 Title 21 9-2101 - 9-2105, En Con L; amd 97-e, St Fin L
 
Relates to the forest preserve health and safety land account and public utility improvements; enacts legislation to implement a constitutional amendment authorizing public utility lines and bicycle paths on certain state lands in the forest preserve and establishes a forest preserve health and safety land account.
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A08300 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                         8300--A
 
                               2017-2018 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                      June 6, 2017
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  ENGLEBRIGHT -- read once and referred to the
          Committee on Environmental Conservation -- reported  and  referred  to
          the Committee on Ways and Means -- committee discharged, bill amended,
          ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee
 
        AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law and the state finance
          law, in relation to the forest preserve health and safety land account
          and public utility improvements
 
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section 1. Article 9 of the environmental conservation law is  amended
     2  by adding a new title 21 to read as follows:
     3                                  TITLE 21
     4      FOREST PRESERVE HEALTH AND SAFETY LAND ACCOUNT AND PUBLIC UTILITY
     5                                IMPROVEMENTS
     6  Section 9-2101. Health and safety land account creation and use.
     7          9-2103. Highway right of way public utility improvements.
     8          9-2105. Department reporting.
     9  § 9-2101. Health and safety land account creation and use.
    10    1. Definitions. For purposes of this section:
    11    a.  "eligible project" means a public health or safety-related project
    12  necessary where no viable alternative exists, limited to the following:
    13    (i) address bridge hazards to improve public safety on county highways
    14  and town highways;
    15    (ii) elimination of the hazards of  dangerous  curves  and  grades  on
    16  county and town highways to improve public safety;
    17    (iii)  relocation,  maintenance, and reconstruction of county highways
    18  and town highways, including associated culverts,  for  the  purpose  of
    19  addressing public safety provided that no relocation of any single relo-
    20  cated portion shall exceed one mile in length;
    21    (iv)  water  wells  and  necessary  appurtenances  when such wells are
    22  necessary to meet drinking water quality standards and are located with-
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD13092-03-7

        A. 8300--A                          2
 
     1  in five hundred thirty feet of state highways, county highways and  town
     2  highways; and
     3    (v) stabilization devices for an existing utility pole adjacent to, or
     4  no more than the minimum distance from the width of highway necessary to
     5  comply with standard safety practices.
     6    Eligible  projects  shall  not include the use of chemicals/herbicides
     7  for clearing state land; the removal of trees and  vegetation  shall  be
     8  minimized  and  the  area shall be restored to pre-project conditions to
     9  the maximum extent practicable.
    10    b. "county highway" shall have the same meaning as defined in subdivi-
    11  sion four of section three of the highway law.
    12    c. "forest preserve expansion fund" shall mean  the  fund  established
    13  pursuant to section ninety-seven-e of the state finance law.
    14    d.  "project  sponsor" means a town, village, or county located in the
    15  counties of Clinton, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton,  Greene,  Hamil-
    16  ton,  Herkimer,  Lewis,  Oneida,  Saratoga,  Saint  Lawrence,  Sullivan,
    17  Ulster, Warren and Washington.
    18    e. "no viable alternative" means that no other option exists  for  the
    19  eligible  project  to  address  ongoing public health or safety concerns
    20  other than through the use of state lands.
    21    f. "state highway" means a state highway as  defined  in  subdivisions
    22  one, two and three of section three of the highway law.
    23    g.  "state  lands"  means  lands owned by the state in forest preserve
    24  counties that are under the jurisdiction of the department.
    25    h. "town highway" means a town highway, as defined in subdivision five
    26  of section three of the highway law, in existence as of  January  first,
    27  two  thousand  fifteen, listed on the local highway inventory maintained
    28  by the department of transportation, and annually plowed  and  regularly
    29  maintained.
    30    i.  "width  of the highway" shall have the same meaning as paragraph k
    31  of subdivision one of section 9-2103 of this title.
    32    2. Following approval by the legislature of two hundred fifty acres of
    33  land to be added to the  forest  preserve,  a  health  and  safety  land
    34  account  of  not more than two hundred fifty acres is created for use by
    35  project sponsors for eligible projects necessary to protect  health  and
    36  safety  where  no  viable  alternative is available. The account will be
    37  administered by the department.
    38    3. A project sponsor with an eligible project may apply to the  health
    39  and safety land account to receive acreage for an eligible project. Such
    40  application shall include:
    41    a.  a  resolution  from the governing body of the project sponsor that
    42  includes:
    43    (i) attestation that the project is necessary to address public health
    44  or safety and no viable alternatives exist;
    45    (ii) attestation that such  lands  will  only  be  used  for  eligible
    46  purposes  and that any real property acquired shall not be sold, leased,
    47  exchanged, donated or otherwise disposed of or used for other  than  the
    48  eligible purposes for which it was approved without the express authori-
    49  ty of an act of the legislature.
    50    b.  a detailed summary of the proposed eligible project, including the
    51  whole action and all related  activities,  a  detailed  summary  of  the
    52  alternatives  the  project  sponsor  explored  prior  to arriving at the
    53  conclusion there were no viable alternatives;
    54    c. specific metes and bounds, including total proposed acreage;
    55    d. a narrative about the project, including a justification;

        A. 8300--A                          3
 
     1    e. a metes and bounds description and accurate  survey  of  any  lands
     2  proposed  for  inclusion  in  the forest preserve. Such lands must be of
     3  equal environmental value and fair market value  and  reasonable  equiv-
     4  alent  usefulness  and location to the state lands being discontinued or
     5  in  the  event  that the project sponsor provides money in lieu of land,
     6  such money shall be at least equivalent to the fair market value of  the
     7  state land proposed to be conveyed;
     8    f. any necessary permits and authorizations; and,
     9    g. an accurate survey.
    10    4.  Immediately  upon determining that an application is complete, the
    11  department shall cause a notice of application, which shall also include
    12  the time period for public comments, to be published in the next  avail-
    13  able  state  register  and environmental notice bulletin as well as in a
    14  newspaper having general circulation in the area in which  the  eligible
    15  project  is  proposed  to  be  located.  Newspaper publications shall be
    16  provided by the project sponsor.
    17    5. The department shall hold a public hearing on each eligible project
    18  at which the public shall be given an opportunity to be heard.
    19    6. The department,  following  consultation  with  the  department  of
    20  transportation  to  determine  that  any required authorization has been
    21  provided, shall only deem a project sponsor eligible to receive  acreage
    22  from the health and safety land account following a determination that:
    23    a.  the  project  meets the eligible project criteria, is necessary to
    24  protect public health or safety and the eligible project has  no  viable
    25  alternative on land not owned by the state;
    26    b.  the  project minimizes adverse environmental impact to the maximum
    27  extent practicable;
    28    c. the project will not adversely impact lands with  recognized  crit-
    29  ical  or  recreational value, as determined by the department based on a
    30  resource inventory and assessment;
    31    d. the lands to be conveyed by the project sponsor  for  inclusion  in
    32  the  forest  preserve, or the monies to be paid into the forest preserve
    33  expansion fund, are at least equivalent to the fair market value of  the
    34  state land proposed to be conveyed.
    35    7.  Once an application has been approved the commissioner shall cause
    36  to be prepared an accurate survey map  showing  the  boundaries  of  all
    37  state land proposed to be conveyed and shall notify the legislature.
    38    8.  a.  Prior  to  the actual transfer of title or issuance of letters
    39  patent for an eligible project that has been approved by the department,
    40  the legislature shall approve each eligible project and  the  dedication
    41  of  lands of equal environmental value and fair market value and reason-
    42  able equivalent usefulness and location  to  those  state  lands  to  be
    43  conveyed  for  inclusion  in  the  forest preserve. Once approved by the
    44  legislature, title to the land shall be approved and  the  deed  to  the
    45  people of the state of New York of any lands dedicated shall be approved
    46  by  the attorney general as to form and manner of execution and recorda-
    47  bility prior to its delivery.
    48    b. Prior to the actual transfer of title or issuance of letters patent
    49  for an eligible project for which the total project cost  is  below  the
    50  public  work contract threshold pursuant to section one hundred three of
    51  the general municipal law and is  less  than  one  quarter  linear  mile
    52  total, which shall run and be measured parallel to the county highway or
    53  town  highway,  and, which has been approved by the department, title to
    54  land shall be approved and the deed to the people of the  state  of  New
    55  York of any lands dedicated shall be approved by the attorney general as
    56  to form and manner of execution and recordability prior to its delivery.

        A. 8300--A                          4
 
     1    9.  Real property acquired, developed, improved, restored or rehabili-
     2  tated by or through a project sponsor pursuant to this section shall not
     3  be leased, exchanged, donated or otherwise disposed of or used for other
     4  than the eligible project for which it was approved without the  express
     5  authority  of an act of the legislature. When the project sponsor deter-
     6  mines such eligible project is no longer needed, the lands shall  revert
     7  to  the  state forest preserve. The department shall prescribe the terms
     8  and conditions for the removal of any infrastructure.
     9  § 9-2103. Highway right of way public utility improvements.
    10    1. Definitions. For purposes of this section:
    11    a."county highway" shall have the same meaning as defined in  subdivi-
    12  sion four of section three of the highway law.
    13    b.  "eligible  project"  shall  mean burial or co-location of a public
    14  utility line or construction and  maintenance  of  bicycle  paths  by  a
    15  project  sponsor within the width of a highway of a town highway, county
    16  highway or state highway that traverses state forest preserve land.
    17    c. "project sponsor" shall mean a village, town, a county, located  in
    18  the  counties  of  Clinton,  Delaware,  Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene,
    19  Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Oneida, Saratoga, Saint  Lawrence,  Sullivan,
    20  Ulster, Warren and Washington or, for:
    21    (i) bicycle paths, the department of transportation,
    22    (ii) for water lines, a public water supplier; or
    23    (iii)  for  electric,  telephone  or broadband lines, a public utility
    24  company.
    25    d. "public utility company" shall have the same meaning as  such  term
    26  is  defined in section two of the public service law; provided, however,
    27  that for broadband projects a person subject to article  eleven  of  the
    28  public service law shall be included.
    29    e.  "public  utility line" shall mean only electric, telephone, broad-
    30  band, water or sewer lines. Public utility line shall  not  include  the
    31  construction  of  any  new  intrastate natural gas or oil pipelines that
    32  have not received all necessary state and  local  permits  and  authori-
    33  zations as of June first, two thousand sixteen.
    34    f.  "public water supplier" shall mean a county or town water improve-
    35  ment district, village, New York city,  public  benefit  corporation  or
    36  public  authority  established  pursuant  to  state law and empowered to
    37  construct and operate a municipal water management facility, as  defined
    38  in section twelve hundred eighty-one of the public authorities law.
    39    g.  "state  highway" shall mean a state highway as defined in subdivi-
    40  sions one, two and three of section three of the highway law.
    41    h. "state lands" shall  mean  lands  owned  by  the  state  in  forest
    42  preserve counties that are under the jurisdiction of the department.
    43    i. "town highway" shall mean a town highway, as defined in subdivision
    44  five  of  section  three  of the highway law, in existence as of January
    45  first, two thousand fifteen, listed on the local highway inventory main-
    46  tained by the department of  transportation,  and  annually  plowed  and
    47  regularly maintained.
    48    j. "water supply projects" shall mean drinking water wells.
    49    k.  "width  of  the  highway"  shall  mean  three  rods or the deeded,
    50  recorded municipal or state right of way or easement in existence as  of
    51  January first, two thousand fifteen.
    52    2. Pursuant to approval by the department and the department of trans-
    53  portation  and  following  a  public hearing on each eligible project at
    54  which the public shall be given an opportunity to  be  heard,  a  public
    55  utility line may be co-located within or buried beneath the width of the
    56  highway of any state highway, county highway, or town highway.

        A. 8300--A                          5
 
     1    3.  A  project sponsor for an eligible project within the width of the
     2  highway shall submit an application for a permit to the department  that
     3  at minimum shall include:
     4    a.  a resolution from the governing body of the project sponsor, or in
     5  the case of a public utility seeking to utilize the width of highway  of
     6  a  town highway, the governing body of the town, or the width of highway
     7  of a county, the county governing board, that includes:
     8    (i) approval of the project;
     9    (ii) attestation that such width of highway lands will  only  be  used
    10  for eligible purposes;
    11    (iii)  attestation that the project will minimize the removal of trees
    12  and vegetation and restore the area  to  pre-project  condition  to  the
    13  maximum extent practicable.
    14    b.  specific metes and bounds, including total proposed acreage of the
    15  width of highway land sought;
    16    c. a narrative about the project, including a justification;
    17    d. any necessary permits and authorizations; and,
    18    e. an accurate survey.
    19    4. Immediately upon determining that an application is  complete,  the
    20  department shall cause a notice of application, which shall also include
    21  the  time period for public comments, to be published in the next avail-
    22  able state register and environmental notice bulletin as well  as  in  a
    23  newspaper  having  general circulation in the area in which the eligible
    24  project is proposed to  be  located.  Newspaper  publications  shall  be
    25  provided by the project sponsor.
    26    5. The department shall hold a public hearing on each eligible project
    27  at which the public shall be given an opportunity to be heard.
    28    6.  The  department,  following  consultation  with  the department of
    29  transportation to determine that any  required  authorization  has  been
    30  provided,  shall  only  approve  an  application for an eligible project
    31  permit following a determination that:
    32    a. the eligible project meets the eligible project criteria;
    33    b. the eligible project minimizes adverse environmental impact to  the
    34  maximum extent practicable; and
    35    c.  the  eligible  project will not adversely impact lands with recog-
    36  nized critical or recreational value, as determined  by  the  department
    37  based on a resource inventory and assessment.
    38    7.  After  a  hearing and opportunity to be heard, if the commissioner
    39  determines that a project sponsor is utilizing land for a purpose  other
    40  than  as  authorized  by  the  department,  the commissioner may require
    41  removal of any improvements to the land and restoration of the land to a
    42  natural, vegetative state.
    43    8. The department is authorized to promulgate  such  rules  and  regu-
    44  lations  as  may be necessary to implement and administer the provisions
    45  of this article.
    46  § 9-2105. Department reporting.
    47    1. The department shall issue an  annual  report  to  the  legislature
    48  detailing  the use of the health and safety land account and the highway
    49  right of way public utility improvement permits including: the number of
    50  applications received; the  number  of  eligible  projects  applications
    51  approved  and  denied; the project description, narrative and acreage of
    52  eligible projects; the cumulative total of eligible projects  listed  by
    53  project  sponsor; total deposits by each project sponsor into the forest
    54  preserve fund; annual disbursements from the forest  preserve  fund  and
    55  the  amount  of  land  acquired with such disbursements; total number of

        A. 8300--A                          6
 
     1  public utility improvement permits issued; and the cumulative total  and
     2  project type of permits issued listed by project sponsor.
     3    2.  The information contained in such report shall also be made avail-
     4  able on the department's website and updated no less than annually.
     5    § 2. Section 97-e of the state finance law, as amended by chapter  637
     6  of the laws of 1960, is amended to read as follows:
     7    § 97-e. Forest preserve expansion fund. 1. There is hereby established
     8  in the state treasury a special fund, to be known as the forest preserve
     9  expansion  fund, which shall consist of and into which shall be paid all
    10  moneys derived from the sale of certain forest preserve lands  specified
    11  in  section  twenty-four of the public lands law, moneys received from a
    12  project sponsor of an eligible project for  a  health  and  safety  land
    13  account  transaction  pursuant  to  section  9-2101 of the environmental
    14  conservation law and such other moneys as may be  paid  into  said  fund
    15  pursuant  to law. The moneys in such fund shall be expended only for the
    16  acquisition of additional lands for the forest  preserve  within  either
    17  the  Adirondack or Catskill park as now fixed by law. Upon appropriation
    18  by the  legislature,  the  [conservation]  department  of  environmental
    19  conservation may use such moneys or any portion thereof for the acquisi-
    20  tion  of  such additional lands subject to the approval of title thereto
    21  by the attorney general. All payments from such fund shall  be  made  by
    22  the  department  of taxation and finance after audit by and upon warrant
    23  of the comptroller, on vouchers approved by the  [conservation]  commis-
    24  sioner of environmental conservation.
    25    2.  The  [conservation]  commissioner of environmental conservation is
    26  authorized to accept, in the name of the people  of  the  state  of  New
    27  York, any gift or bequest of moneys to be paid into such forest preserve
    28  expansion  fund and to be expended and disbursed as provided in subdivi-
    29  sion one of this section.
    30    § 3. The enactment of this legislation shall be  deemed  to  meet  the
    31  legislative  approval  requirement  pursuant to subdivision 8 of section
    32  9-2101 of the environmental conservation law, for an eligible project as
    33  defined in section 1 of section 9-2101 of the environmental conservation
    34  law, that consists of the relocation of a county-owned highway structure
    35  taken out of service in 2009, which spans the Schroon River in the  town
    36  of Chester in the county of Warren. Such authorization is conditioned on
    37  the  receipt  by  such project of all required permits and approvals and
    38  compliance with all the other criteria identified in section  9-2101  of
    39  the environmental conservation law.
    40    §  4.  This  act  shall  take  effect on the same date and in the same
    41  manner as a "CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY  proposing
    42  an  amendment to article 14 of the constitution, in relation to allowing
    43  public utility lines and bicycle paths on certain  state  lands  in  the
    44  forest  preserve  and  establishing  a forest preserve health and safety
    45  land account" takes effect, in accordance with section 1 of  article  19
    46  of the constitution.
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