Strikeslip is confused about where the Town got the legal authority to collect such fees in the first place. There is nothing in the State Environmental Quality Review Act that authorizes anyone to take money in lieu of mitigating an adverse environmental impact. A review of the New Hartford Town Code turned up nothing that authorizes the Town to collect such fees.
Concerned Citizens have been led to believe that the Town is relying on Generic Environmental Impact Statements as providing the legal authority to enact a voluntary FILM.
Unless there is a provision of the New Hartford Code that I overlooked, there is neither a State law nor a local law that authorizes collection of Fees in Lieu of Mitigation. In other words, the collection of such fees is illegal because it is unauthorized.
What seems to be going on, however, may be worse than that "merely" being illegal . . .
SEQRA is clear that adverse impacts must be mitigated to the maximum extent practicable. The Town may refuse to issue permits if it determines that impacts are not sufficiently mitigated.
There are three possible things happening, none of which are acceptable. (1) The Town is using its authority to require mitigation to extort "voluntary" contributions from developers as Fees In LIEU of Mitigation. (2) The Town is actually allowing degradation of the Town environment -- unmitigated adverse environmental impacts -- by accepting Fees in LIEU of Mitigation. (3) Those running the Town haven't a clue what they are doing.
Are the Developers being FILM Flammed -- or the Residents?
There's more from NH Online.