Sample Bylaws
 ~ Courtesy of North Smithfield Conservation Commission ~

 ARTICLE I – AUTHORITY:

The North Smithfield Conservation Commission has been established by Rhode Island General Law 45-35, and Article XIII, Section 2-187 of the North Smithfield Town Code.

 ARTICLE II – PURPOSE:

To maintain and preserve the natural environment within the Town of North Smithfield by promoting, protecting, and developing its ecological resources. To seek to coordinate activities of official and unofficial bodies organized for similar purposes of ecological preservation. To coordinate with state and local officials for the purpose of addressing conservation issues and concerns as they pertain the town. To offer advise to the town planning department with regards to environmental issues and concerns relating to construction on new and existing developments within the town. To recommend to the town administrator and the town council programs for the better promotion, development, utilization, and preservation of open spaces, streams, shores, wooded areas, roadsides, swamps, marshland, watersheds, and all other natural areas.

ARTICLE III – MEMBERSHIP:

Section 1. Any resident of the Town of North Smithfield, at least eighteen (18) years of age, may submit a letter of intent to the town administrator for appointment to the commission.

Section 2. Subsequent to the initial appointments at the inception of the commission, members shall serve for a term of not more than three (3) years. Two (2) months prior to the completion of a term, members who wish to be reappointed must submit a letter of request for renewal to the chairperson, who shall in turn, forward said letter to the town administrator for approval.

Section 3. In the event of a vacancy, interim appointments may be made by the town administrator, with the advice and consent of the town council, for the remainder of that term.

Section 4. Members with three (3) consecutive, unexcused absences, or excessive absenteeism, may be subject to a recommendation of replacement by the chairperson to the town administrator.

Section 5. The commission shall consist of seven (7) voting members appointed by the town administrator with the advice and consent of the town council.

ARTICLE IV – COMMISSION ORGANIZATION:

Section 1. The membership shall elect a chairperson and a vice chairperson. These officers shall hold their positions from the time of the their election until their successors have been duly elected. Vacancies occurring in these offices shall be immediately filled by majority vote of commission members.

The chairperson shall be elected by closed ballot from a list of candidates nominated from the floor by a commission member.

Criteria for nomination shall be:

i. Active and consistent commission participation and attendance.

ii. Having actively served on the commission for no less than six (6) months.

The chairperson shall be elected no less than one (1) month prior to the expiration of the term of the current chair.

The chairperson shall serve for a period of one (1) year, but shall not be limited to the number of consecutive terms of service in that capacity.

Section 2. The vice chairperson shall be nominated and elected in the same manner, and is subject to the same terms and conditions as the chairperson.

Section 3. Clerical assistance, for the purpose of sending notices for meetings and hearing and the keeping of minutes of the various meetings, shall be provided by the office of the town clerk.

Section 4. Subcommittees shall be appointed by the chair as needed.

Section 5. Commission business, motions, and votes shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules and the bylaws of this commission and is subject to the following terms and conditions:

A quorum of at least four (4) voting members must be present to conduct business.

Each member shall have one (1) vote.

In the absence of the chairperson or vice chairperson, the commission member present with the most longevity shall assume the duties of the chair.

Except as otherwise noted, motions shall pass by an affirmative vote of a simple majority of members present.

The commission may solicit additional staff support from any town department it deems appropriate.

The commission shall meet monthly, or at the request of the chairperson, hold interim meetings as appropriate.

Article V – DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

Section 1. The chairperson shall:

Maintain order, insure fair and active participation from all members, and insure adherence to the monthly agenda.

Develop the agenda for the forthcoming meeting and insure that minutes of the previous meetings have been furnished to commission members.

Schedule the meeting time and place of the commission.

Article VI – COMMISSION ACTIVITIES:

Section 1. Promote the Purpose and intent of the conservation commission.

Section 2. Assist in the development and distribution of all materials and information relating to conservation issues.

Section 3. Conduct researches into local land areas and seek to coordinate the activities of official and unofficial bodies organized for similar purposes.

Section 4. Draft policies for the protection, conservation, and responsible uses of the resources of the town.

Section 5. Consult and confer with other statewide and regional conservation commissions with regard to new or existing information, policies, and issues as they pertain to the commission.

Section 6. Attend and sponsor educational and awareness seminars relevant to conservation issues as they pertain to the purpose of the commission.

Section 7. Serve in an advisory capacity to the town’s planning department on major subdivision and land development projects and their impacts on the natural resources and open spaces of the town.

Section 8. Serve in an advisory capacity to the State of Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management regarding impacts to such areas including, but not limited to, wetlands, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, watersheds, and open spaces as they pertain to subdivisions and building proposals, wetland alterations, and other modifications to the natural resources within the limits of the town.

Section 9. Serve in an advisory capacity to the town administrator and the town council on all conservation matters.

ARTICLE VII – ADOPTION AND AMENDMENTS:

Section 1. These bylaws shall be adopted by the commission by majority vote and take effect immediately upon approval of the town administrator and town council.

Section 2. These bylaws may be amended, upon submission in writing, at any regular commission meeting, by a two-thirds majority of voting members and the subsequent approval of the town administrator and town council.

 

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