Substitute House Bill No. 6854
          Substitute House Bill No. 6854

              PUBLIC ACT NO. 97-227


AN ACT CONCERNING  ACQUISITION OF OPEN SPACE LAND,
MULTIPLE USE RIVERS COMMISSIONS AND THE RIVERFRONT
RECAPTURE PROJECT.


    Be it enacted  by  the  Senate  and  House  of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section  1.  Section   23-8   of  the  general
statutes  is  repealed   and   the   following  is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    (a)   The   Commissioner    of   Environmental
Protection shall have  power, acting by himself or
with local authorities,  to  acquire, maintain and
make  available to  the  public  open  spaces  for
recreation. Said commissioner  may  take,  in  the
name of the  state  and  for  the  benefit  of the
public, by purchase,  gift  or  devise,  lands and
rights in land and personal estate for public open
spaces, or take  bonds for the conveyance thereof,
or may lease  the  same for a period not exceeding
five  years,  with  an  option  to  buy,  and  may
preserve and care  for  such  public reservations,
and, in his  discretion  and upon such terms as he
may approve, such  other  open  spaces within this
state as may be entrusted, given or devised to the
state by the  United  States  or by cities, towns,
corporations or individuals  for  the  purposes of
public  recreation, or  for  the  preservation  of
natural beauty or historical association, provided
said commissioner shall  not  take  or contract to
take  by purchase  or  lease  any  land  or  other
property for an  amount or amounts beyond such sum
or sums as  have  been appropriated or contributed
therefor. No provision  of  this  section shall be
construed to set  aside  any  terms  or conditions
under which gifts  or  bequests  of land have been
accepted by the commissioner.
    (b) IT SHALL  BE THE GOAL OF THE STATE TO HAVE
NOT LESS THAN  TEN  PER  CENT  OF THE STATE'S LAND
AREA HELD BY  THE  STATE  AS  OPEN SPACE LAND. THE
COMMISSIONER, IN CONSULTATION  WITH THE COUNCIL ON
ENVIRONMENTAL  QUALITY ESTABLISHED  UNDER  SECTION
22a-11   AND   PRIVATE    NONPROFIT   LAND-HOLDING
ORGANIZATIONS,  SHALL  PREPARE,   AND   UPDATE  AS
NECESSARY, A COMPREHENSIVE  STRATEGY FOR ACHIEVING
THE  STATE  GOAL  AND  SHALL  SET  AN  APPROPRIATE
ADDITIONAL GOAL FOR  INCREASING THE AMOUNT OF LAND
HELD AS OPEN SPACE BY MUNICIPALITIES OR BY PRIVATE
NONPROFIT  LAND-HOLDING  ORGANIZATIONS  AND  SHALL
INCLUDE IN SUCH  STRATEGY PROVISIONS FOR ACHIEVING
SUCH GOAL. SUCH STRATEGY SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE
LIMITED   TO,   RECOMMENDATIONS   REGARDING:   (1)
TIMETABLES FOR ACQUISITION  OF  LAND BY THE STATE,
(2) MANAGEMENT OF  SUCH  LAND, (3) RESOURCES TO BE
USED FOR ACQUISITION  AND MANAGEMENT OF SUCH LAND,
AND (4) ACQUISITION  AND MAINTENANCE OF OPEN SPACE
LAND BY MUNICIPALITIES AND BY PRIVATE ENTITIES. ON
OR   BEFORE  JANUARY   1,   1998,   AND   ANNUALLY
THEREAFTER, THE COMMISSIONER SHALL SUBMIT A REPORT
TO THE JOINT  STANDING  COMMITTEE  OF  THE GENERAL
ASSEMBLY HAVING COGNIZANCE  OF MATTERS RELATING TO
THE ENVIRONMENT REGARDING  THE  STRATEGY  AND  THE
PROGRESS BEING MADE TOWARDS THE GOALS.
    Sec. 2. Subsection  (a)  of  section 25-232 of
the general statutes is repealed and the following
is substituted in lieu thereof:
    (a) Any two  or  more  municipalities  may, by
ordinance, (1) establish  a  river  commission  to
plan   for   coordinated    management    of   the
development,  protection  and  preservation  of  a
river corridor flowing through or forming a common
boundary of such  municipalities  and  to  perform
such other functions  as are specified in sections
25-230 to 25-237,  inclusive,  or  (2) designate a
river  advisory board  to  act  as  such  a  river
commission, provided the  requirements  of section
25-233 ARE MET.
    Sec. 3. Section 25-233 of the general statutes
is repealed and  the  following  is substituted in
lieu thereof:
    (a) An ordinance authorizing the establishment
of a river  commission  pursuant to section 25-232
shall   provide  for   the   membership   of   the
commission, the method of selecting members, their
terms of office and the filling of vacancies. Such
ordinance shall provide for not more than [eleven]
TWELVE members from any one municipality and shall
include:  [two  representatives   of  each  member
municipality appointed by  the]  THE chief elected
official of each  such  municipality, [and] OR HIS
DESIGNEE,  THE CHAIRMAN  OF  THE  INLAND  WETLANDS
AGENCY OF EACH SUCH MUNICIPALITY, OR HIS DESIGNEE,
AND A MEMBER OF ANOTHER LAND USE REGULATION AGENCY
OF EACH SUCH  MUNICIPALITY  APPOINTED BY THE CHIEF
ELECTED  OFFICIAL  FOR   SUCH   MUNICIPALITY;  one
representative each of  [any]  A public utility or
rail service company  which  owns  property within
the municipality or  serves the municipality; [, a
representative    of   any    regional    planning
organization, as defined  in  section  8-37a,] one
member representing a conservation organization or
interest; [,] ONE MEMBER REPRESENTING a recreation
organization  or  interest;  [,  and]  ONE  MEMBER
REPRESENTING  a  private   or  municipal  economic
development foundation, agency or interest; [, and
one  representative  of   each  of  the  following
interests:  (1)  Agriculture,   (2)   business  or
industry  and  (3)   real   estate]   ONE   MEMBER
REPRESENTING  AGRICULTURE  INTERESTS;  ONE  MEMBER
REPRESENTING BUSINESS OR  INDUSTRY  INTERESTS; ONE
MEMBER REPRESENTING REAL  ESTATE INTERESTS AND ONE
MEMBER WHO IS  A  RIVERFRONT  PROPERTY  OWNER OR A
REPRESENTATIVE OF A  RIVERFRONT  PROPERTY  OWNERS'
ASSOCIATION.  IN ADDITION,  THE  COMMISSION  SHALL
APPOINT   AS   VOTING   MEMBERS   AT   LARGE   ONE
REPRESENTATIVE OF EACH  REGIONAL  PLANNING  AGENCY
ASSOCIATED WITH THE  COMMISSION'S GEOGRAPHIC AREA.
THE COMMISSION MAY  APPOINT  SUBCOMMITTEES  AS  IT
DEEMS  APPROPRIATE  AND  MAY  ELECT  AN  EXECUTIVE
COMMITTEE TO CARRY  OUT ITS BUSINESS PROVIDED SUCH
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE SHALL  INCLUDE  AT  LEAST  ONE
REPRESENTATIVE OF A  CONSERVATION ORGANIZATION AND
ONE REPRESENTATIVE OF A REGIONAL PLANNING AGENCY.
    (b)   Prior  to   transacting   any   official
business,  a  river   commission  shall  establish
written  procedures  AND  BY-LAWS  for  conducting
business. Such procedures  AND  BY-LAWS  shall  be
open to public inspection.
    Sec. 4. The  Metropolitan  District Commission
of Hartford county,  established  under number 511
of the special  acts  of  1929,  may enter into an
agreement with Riverfront Recapture, Incorporated,
or   its   successors   or   assigns,   sponsoring
organization or developer, to develop, operate and
maintain real property  for  recreational and park
purposes and to  lay  out, construct and maintain,
own, operate, lease  or license parks, esplanades,
levees,  docks, parking  facilities  and  walkways
connected to the  Riverfront Recapture project and
may establish rates for such purposes.
    Sec. 5. This  act  shall  take effect from its
passage, except that  section  1 shall take effect
July 1, 1997.

Approved June 27, 1997