Date: First Wednesday of Each Month
Location: DeWitt Town Hall, Meeting Room B
Meetings are open to the public.
Presently, the DACC is below our 9-member limit; we would love to have DeWitt residents interested in the work of the DACC join us on the Commission. If you are interested, please attend a meeting and/or contact the Town of DeWitt Planning and Zoning Department (315) 446-3910, ext. 3. See more information about the DACC below…
We’re building conservation…
What is the DACC?
The DeWitt Advisory Conservation Commission, commonly known as the DACC, was created by the Town of DeWitt several decades ago. The goal of the DACC is the “preservation and improvement of the quality of the natural and man-made environment within the Town of DeWitt . . .” (Town Code, 8-1).
The Commission consists of 9 members and 2 alternates; they represent DeWitt residents of diverse backgrounds with significant interest in the environmental quality of the town. At present, our members include individuals with professional scientific experience, including at least one Ph.D., a physician, high school science teachers, and other residents with similar interests and/or backgrounds.
Our achievements, as well as our ongoing and future plans are varied. Within the past few years the DACC has created a “Critical Environmental Report;” the purpose of the report is to protect areas of the Onondaga Escarpment within DeWitt. That report has been submitted to the Town Board for consideration.
The Commission has also developed a recommended modification to the Town’s regulations regarding environmentally responsible residential property care. In March of 2020 (immediately before the COVID-19 shutdown), the DACC hosted a very well-attended and comprehensive presentation on ticks. This event, held in the Jack Schultz Courtroom at Town Hall, included presentations by several local and regional experts on ticks. The presenters represented Upstate Medical University, The State University of Environmental Science, and Cornell Cooperative Extension. The DACC has also provided critical input regarding the I-81/Community Grid proposal.
The DACC organizes and administers our annual Spring and Fall (April and September) roadside clean up each year. In April 2021, our volunteers collected over 7 tons of trash from town streets and common dumping locations; once the clean-up is concluded, the Town Highway Department takes our accumulated garbage to an OCRRA site, where it is weighed on OCRRA’s scales.
We also worked with Onondaga County to have a large barrier erected on Old Stonehouse Road, off of Nottingham Road, to discourage the large-scale dumping that had been happening there for years.
Currently, the DACC is working to revise the Town’s Sustainability Policy and also to encourage and support actions within town that are consistent with that policy. We also always man a table at Canal Day. We also coordinate with DeWitt’s Tree Committee on an on-going basis. A significant future challenge for the DACC will be working with Town staff and volunteers to redevelop and improve the Butterfly Garden in Ryder Park at Town Hall.
The DACC meets in room B, upstairs at Town Hall, on the first Wednesday of each month, beginning at 7:00pm; guests are welcome. Typically, our meetings last for approximately 90 minutes. The meetings are always open to (vaccinated and safely spaced) members of the public, including high school and college students. We always encourage our guests to speak up if they have contributions to make regarding our agenda discussions.
Dennis Payne, Chair
DeWitt Advisory Conservation Commission
Dennis Payne (Chair), Jonathan Kresge, Martha Lowe, Brian Solomon, Angela Weiler, Ann Stevens (Tree Committee), Olivia Green, Sonia Kragh, Gordon Heisler, Joe Chiarenza (Town Board Liaison)
Powers and Duties of the Commission (from §8-5 of the DeWitt Town Code)
A. Advise the Town Board on matters affecting the preservation, development and use of the natural and man-made features and conditions of the Town of DeWitt insofar as beauty, quality, biologic integrity and other environmental factors are concerned and, in the case of man's activities and developments, with regard to any major threats posed to environmental quality, so as to enhance the long-range value of the environment to the people of the Town of DeWitt.
B. Develop and, after receiving general approval by resolution of the Town Board, conduct a program of public information in the community which shall be designed to foster increased understanding of the nature of environmental problems and issues and support for their solutions.
C. Conduct studies, surveys and inventories of the natural and man-made features within the Town of DeWitt and such other studies and surveys as may be necessary to carry out the general purposes of this article.
D. Maintain an up-to-date inventory or index of all open spaces in public or private ownership within the municipality, including but not limited to natural landmarks, glacial and other geomorphic or physiographic features, streams and their floodplains, swamps, marshlands and other wetlands, unique biotic communities and scenic and other open areas of natural or ecological value, and of the ownership, present use and proposed use of such open areas, so as to provide a base of information for recommendations by the Commission for their preservation and/or use.
E. Seek to coordinate, assist and unify the efforts of private groups, institutions and individuals within the Town of DeWitt in accordance with the purposes of this article.
F. Maintain liaison and communications with public and private agencies and organizations of local, state and national scope whose programs and activities have an impact on the quality of the environment or who can be of assistance to the Commission.
G. Advise the Town Board and Planning Board concerning features, plans and programs relating to environmental improvement for inclusion in the Master Plan of the Town of DeWitt and recommend to the Town Board appropriate and desirable local legislation relating to environmental control.
H. Carry out such duties as may be assigned from time to time by the Town Board of the Town of DeWitt.