The Environmental Protection Board was created by Ordinance in 1974 (Ordinance 74-286 Supplemental) as a multi-purpose City agency combining the duties and authorities of a local Inland Wetlands Agency, (CGS 22a-42), a local Conservation Commission(CGS 7-131a), and a local Flood and Erosion Control Board (59 CFR). The blueprint for these entities evolved from state enabling legislation passed during the late 1960's and early 1970's with some of the responsibilities being elective, but most mandated. In the absence of the Environmental Protection Board, regulatory programs having a significant impact on local citizens would be administered at the state rather than local level on a fee for services basis.
Since its inception, the Environmental Protection Board has added responsibilities for regulating development within designated flood hazard areas in cooperation with the Zoning Board thus ensuring Stamford's eligibility to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program and to receive federal disaster relief funds.; overseeing the control of erosion and sedimentation from construction and other land-disturbing activities, again in cooperation with the Zoning Board (CGS 22a-446h); and the regulation of activities within certain Conservation Easement Areas --there are 317 of them in town totaling approximately 885 acres. It is a broad agenda of regulatory responsibilities that touches upon a substantial proportion of development activities within Stamford.
In addition to its regulatory responsibilities, the Environmental Protection Board has an array of stewardship responsibilities. Acting primarily in its capacity as Stamford's Conservation Commission, the EPB has the duty to catalogue, inspect, and protect through enforcement action where necessary, the approximately 367 Conservation Easement Areas that have been created throughout Stamford as a consequence of some type of development approval --most commonly a Planning Board approval of proposals to subdivide parcels of land into building lots. Also within the realm of stewardship, the EPB, in partnership with the Zoning Board, is an earnest guardian of hard-won points of public access to Stamford's waterfront and shoreline. Currently, Stamford has more than one mile of coastal-access corridors totaling more than seven acres in area along the shore.
Finally, the Environmental Protection Board is an advisor to other City agencies, to citizens and property owners on environmental and conservation matters, and to businesses and others considering locating in Stamford and seeking reliable information about the land-use process. EPB staff is technically proficient and knowledgeable in a number of environmental, conservation and sustainable-development fields. Staff is also connected to an extensive network of information and assistance services offered by federal and state programs such as the Cooperative Extension Service, the National Flood Insurance Program, the Natural resources Conservation Service, the University of Connecticut, and the Long Island Sound Study.
The director of the EPB has been an appointed and active participant in both the Long Island Sound Public Outreach Group and the Marine Services Citizen’s Advisory Committee. In addition, the EPB director is an active member in the Scofieldtown Area Remediation Task Force and in the Sustainable Stamford Advisory Group.
The independence of the EPB was codified by Ordinance (Ordinance 93-711 Supplemental) with the unanimous bi-partisan support of the members of the Board of Representatives.