Talbot County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Council of Talbot County 10-22-1996 by Bill No. 627. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Floodplain management — See Ch. 70.
Subdivision regulations — See Ch. 168.
Zoning — See Ch. 190.
A. 
Title. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Talbot County Forest Conservation Ordinance."
B. 
Purpose.
(1) 
The purpose of this chapter is to protect and enhance the existing forest and other natural resources in Talbot County, specifically to prohibit certain development disturbances to occur before a forest stand delineation and forest conservation plan have been prepared and approved.
(2) 
The County Council has determined that to meet the requirements of Natural Resources Article, §§ 5-1601 through 5-1612, Annotated Code of Maryland, the provisions of this chapter must be enacted.
C. 
Legislative authority.
(1) 
These regulations receive their authority from Natural Resources Article §§ 5-1601 through 5-1612, Annotated Code of Maryland, and COMAR 08.19.01-08.19.06.
(2) 
Whenever any provision of this chapter refers to or cites a section of relevant local, state or federal law and that section is later amended or superseded, this chapter shall be deemed amended to refer to the amended section of the section that most nearly corresponds to the superseded section.
D. 
Jurisdiction. This chapter shall apply to all lands and properties in Talbot County which are outside the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area as established by the Talbot County Zoning Maps[1] as amended, but not including lands and properties lying within the zoning jurisdiction of the incorporated municipalities of Talbot County.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 190, Zoning, Art. III.
E. 
Conflict with other regulations. Whenever any provision of this chapter conflicts with any other provision of law, whether set forth in this chapter, or contained in any law, rule, regulation, ordinance, deed restriction or covenant covering any of the same subject matter, that provision which is more restrictive or imposes the higher standard or requirement shall govern.
F. 
Relationship to Comprehensive Plan. It is the intention of the Talbot County Council that this chapter implement the policies and recommendations in the 1990 Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Commission and Planning Officer shall take into consideration the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan in their review process under this chapter.
G. 
Amendments. Amendments to this chapter shall not be made without approval of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
A. 
Interpretations. For the purposes of this chapter, certain terms or words used herein shall have the following interpretations. The word "person" includes a firm, association, organization, partnership, trust, company, or corporation as well as an individual. Words used in the present tense include the future; words in the singular number include the plural, and words in the plural number include the singular unless the natural construction of the wording indicates otherwise. The word "shall" is mandatory and the word "may" is permissive.
B. 
Terms defined. In this chapter, the following terms have the meanings indicated:
(1) 
Establishment of a forest on an area from which forest cover is absent; or
(2) 
Establishment of a forest according to procedures set forth in the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual.
AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITY
Farming activities, including plowing, tillage, cropping, installation of best management practices, seeding, cultivating, and harvesting for production of food and fiber products (except commercial logging and timber harvesting operations), the grazing and raising of livestock, aquaculture, sod production, orchards, nursery, and other products cultivated as part of a recognized commercial enterprise. Agricultural activities include the construction, improvements, or maintenance of any and all associated buildings, structures, or other permanent fixtures ordinarily used in commercial agricultural production.[1]
APPLICANT
A person who is applying for subdivision, site plan or project plan approval or a sediment and erosion control permit, and who has requested approval of a forest stand delineation and forest conservation plan.
APPROVED FOREST MANAGEMENT PLAN
A document:
(1) 
Outlining all forestry practices to be conducted on a parcel of land as further defined in § 83-2B herein and approved by the DNR forester assigned to the County in which the property is located.
(2) 
Which operates as a protective agreement for forest conservation as described in the Natural Resources Article, § 5-1607(e) through (f), Annotated Code of Maryland.
AQUACULTURE
The farming or culturing of fish, aquatic plants, and animals in water. Activities include the culture of clams and oysters on tidelands and subtidal areas. For the purposes of this definition, related activities such as processing and product storage facilities are not considered aquacultural practices.
CALIPER
The diameter of a tree measured at two inches above the root collar.
CHAMPION TREE
The largest tree of its species within the United States, the state, County, or municipality.
CHAMPION TREE OF THE STATE
A tree which appears in the State Forest Conservation Manual list of state champion trees.
CLUSTER DEVELOPMENT
A development in which disturbance is concentrated in selected areas of the site so as to provide natural habitat and preserve natural features or other open space uses on the remainder.
COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL USES
Manufacturing operations, office complexes, shopping centers, and other similar uses and their associated storage areas, yarding, and parking areas, and corresponds to Talbot County zoning classifications Village Center (VC), Limited Commercial (LC), General Commercial (GC) and Limited Industrial (LI).
COMMERCIAL LOGGING OR TIMBER HARVESTING OPERATIONS
The cutting and removing of tree stems from a site for commercial purposes, leaving the root mass intact.
CRITICAL HABITAT AREA
A critical habitat for an endangered species and its surrounding protection area. A critical habitat area shall:
(1) 
Be likely to contribute to the long-term survival of the species;
(2) 
Be likely to be occupied by the species for the foreseeable future; and
(3) 
Constitute habitat of the species which is considered critical under Natural Resources Article, §§ 4-2A-06 or 10-2A-06, Annotated Code of Maryland.
CRITICAL HABITAT FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES
A habitat occupied by an endangered species as determined or listed under Natural Resources Article §§ 4-2A-04 or 10-2A-04, Annotated Code of Maryland.
DECLARATION OF INTENT
A signed statement by a landowner or the landowner's agent, having power of attorney, certifying that the activity on the landowner's property:
(1) 
Is for certain activities exempted under this chapter;
(2) 
Does not circumvent the requirements of this chapter; and
(3) 
Does not conflict with the purposes of any other approved declaration of intent.
DEPARTMENT
The Talbot County Office of Planning and Zoning.
DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
Any project requiring a site plan, sediment and erosion control plan, and/or involving a subdivision of land or the redevelopment of land.
DEVELOPMENT PROJECT COMPLETION
For the purposes of implementing afforestation and reforestation requirements, or completing payment into a fund:
(1) 
The release of the development bond, if required;
(2) 
Acceptance of the project's streets, utilities, and public services by the County; or
(3) 
Designation by the Department that a:
(a) 
Development project has been completed; or
(b) 
Particular stage of a staged development project, including a planned unit development, has been completed.
(1) 
Forest means a biological community dominated by trees and other woody plants covering a land area of 10,000 square feet or greater.
(2) 
Forest includes:
(3) 
Areas that have at least 100 live trees per acre with at least 50% of those trees having a two-inch or greater diameter at 4.5 feet above the ground and larger; and
(4) 
Areas that have been cut but not cleared.
(5) 
Forest does not include orchards, tree nurseries, or Christmas tree farms.
FOREST CONSERVANCY DISTRICT BOARD
The Talbot Forest Conservancy District Board, which was created under Natural Resources Article, §§ 5-601 through 5-610, Annotated Code of Maryland.
FOREST CONSERVATION
The retention of existing forest or the creation of new forest at the levels set by this chapter pursuant to Natural Resource Article 5-1601 through 5-1612.
FOREST CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT
An agreement as stated in the Tax-Property Article, § 8-211, Annotated Code of Maryland.
FOREST CONSERVATION PLAN
A plan prepared pursuant to Natural Resources Article §§ 5-1605 and 5-1606, Annotated Code of Maryland, as enumerated in § 73-7 herein.
FOREST CONSERVATION TECHNICAL MANUAL
The technical manual referred to as the "Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual," and incorporated by reference, used to establish standards of performance required in preparing forest stand delineations and forest conservation plans. The Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual shall be the most current version of the Maryland State Forest Conservation Technical Manual.
FOREST COVER
The area of a site which contains forest as defined herein.
FOREST MANAGEMENT PLAN
A plan establishing best conservation and management practices for a landowner in assessment of the resource values of forested property.
FOREST STAND DELINEATION
The methodology for evaluating the existing vegetation on a site proposed for development, as provided in the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual.
GROWING SEASON
The period of consecutive frost-free days as stated in the current Talbot County Soil Survey published by the National Cooperative Soil Survey Program, 16 U.S.C. § 590 (a) through (f).
HIGH-DENSITY RESIDENTIAL AREAS
Areas zoned for densities greater than one dwelling unit per acre, including both existing and planned development and their associated infrastructure, such as roads, utilities, and water and sewer service, and corresponds to the Talbot County zoning classifications Town Residential (TR), Village Center (VC), and the floating zones of Manufactured Home Development Floating Zone (MHD) and Affordable Housing Floating Zone (AH).
IMMEDIATE FAMILY
Father, mother, son, or daughter.
[Amended 7-26-2011 by Bill No. 1204]
INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT AREA
Areas containing schools, colleges and universities, military installations, transportation facilities, utility and sewer projects, government offices and facilities, golf courses, recreation areas, parks, and cemeteries. These do not correspond to a particular County zoning classification, but may be a permitted use or allowed by a special exception under Chapter 190 of the Talbot County Code.
[Amended 4-14-2009 by Bill No. 1162]
INTERMITTENT STREAM
A stream in which surface water is absent during a part of the year as shown on the most recent 7.5-minute topographic quadrangle published by the United States Geologic Survey, or as confirmed by field verification and at the discretion of the Department.
LANDSCAPING PLAN
A plan:
(1) 
Drawn to scale, showing dimensions and details for reforesting an area at least 35 feet wide and covering 2,500 square feet or greater in size;
(2) 
Using native or indigenous plants when appropriate; and
(3) 
Which is made part of an approved forest conservation plan.
LINEAR PROJECT
A project whose configuration is elongated with nearly parallel sides and used to transport a utility product or public service not otherwise contained in an application for subdivision, such as electricity, gas, water, sewer, communications, trains, and vehicles. Such projects may traverse fee simple properties through defined boundaries or through easement rights.
LOCAL AGENCY
Each unit in the executive, legislative or judicial branch of a County or municipal government.
LOT
A unit of land, the boundaries of which have been established as a result of a deed or previous subdivision of a larger parcel.
MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT
The short-term management agreement associated with afforestation or reforestation plans required under Natural Resources Article § 5-1605, Annotated Code of Maryland, and § 73-16A of this chapter.
MEDIUM-DENSITY RESIDENTIAL AREAS
Areas zoned for densities greater than one dwelling unit per five acres and less than or equal to one dwelling unit per acre, including both existing and planned development and their associated infrastructure, such as roads, utilities, and water and sewer service, and corresponds to the Talbot County zoning classifications Rural Residential (RR), and when sewerage service is not available, the zone classifications of Village Center (VC) and Town Residential (TR).
(1) 
A minor subdivision of three lots or less; or
(2) 
A residential, commercial or industrial development meeting the criteria of a simplified site plan review as set forth in Chapter 190 of the Talbot County Code; or
[Amended 4-14-2009 by Bill No. 1162]
(3) 
A building permit application for single-family residences and associated accessory structures on lots greater than 40,000 square feet in size.
NATURAL REGENERATION
The natural establishment of trees and other vegetation with at least 400 woody, free-to-grow seedlings per acre, which are capable of reaching a height of at least 20 feet at maturity.
(1) 
Except in agriculture and resource areas, and in the residential zoning classifications of Village Center (VC) and Town Residential (TR) where agricultural activities are the primary land use, the total area of a site, including both forested and nonforested areas, to the nearest 1/10 acre, reduced by the area found to be within the boundaries of the 100-year floodplain; and
(2) 
In agriculture and resource areas, and in the residential zoning classifications of Village Center (VC) and Town Residential (TR) where agricultural activities are the primary land use, the part of the total tract for which land use will no longer be used for primarily agricultural activities, reduced by the area found to be within the boundaries of the 100-year floodplain.
NONTIDAL WETLANDS
An area that is:
(1) 
Inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and under normal conditions does support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, commonly known as hydrophytic vegetation; and
(2) 
Considered a nontidal wetland in accordance with the publication known as the "Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands," published in 1989 and as may be amended and interpreted by the Unite States Environmental Protection Agency.
OFF SITE
Outside of the limits of the area encompassed by the tract.
ON SITE
Within the limits of the area encompassed by the tract, including an area classified as a 100-year floodplain.
100-YEAR FLOOD
A flood which has a one-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. Except for Class III waters (natural trout streams), a body of water with a watershed less than 400 acres is excluded.
100-YEAR FLOODPLAIN
An area along or adjacent to a stream or body of water, except tidal waters, that is capable of storing or conveying floodwaters during a 100-year frequency storm event, or a 100-year flood. For the purpose of this chapter, boundaries of the 100-year floodplain coincide with those identified on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) most recently published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
PERENNIAL STREAM
A stream containing surface water throughout an average rainfall year, as shown on the most recent 7.5-minute topographic quadrangle published by the United States Geologic Survey, as confirmed by field verification and at the discretion of the Department.
PERSON
The federal government, the state, a County, municipal corporation, or other political subdivision of the state, or any of their units, or an individual, receiver, trustee, guardian, executor, administrator, fiduciary, or representative of any kind, or any partnership, firm, association, public or private corporation, or any of their affiliates, or any other entity.
PROJECT PLAN
A site plan, construction plan, and/or sediment and erosion control activity on an area of 40,000 square feet or greater.
(1) 
Transmission line or electric generating station; or
(2) 
Water, sewer, electric, gas, telephone, or television cable service line.
(1) 
Reforestation or reforested means the:
(a) 
Creation of a biological community dominated by trees and other woody plants containing at least 100 live trees per acre with at least 50% of those trees having the potential of attaining a two-inch or greater diameter measured at 4.5 feet above the ground, within seven years; or
(b) 
Establishment of a forest according to procedures set forth in the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual.
(2) 
Reforestation or reforested includes landscaping of areas under an approved landscaping plan establishing a forest at least 35 feet wide and covering 2,500 square feet or more of area.
REGULATED ACTIVITY
Any of the following activities, when that activity occurs on a unit of land which is 40,000 square feet or greater:
(1) 
Subdivision;
(2) 
Site plan;
(3) 
Building permit;
(4) 
An activity that requires a sediment and erosion control permit; or
(5) 
Project plans.
RETENTION
The deliberate holding and protecting of existing trees, shrubs or plants on the site according to established standards as provided in the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual.
SEDIMENT AND EROSION CONTROL PERMIT
The authorization of an activity regulated under a sediment and erosion control plan as provided in the Environment Article, Title 4, Annotated Code of Maryland.
SEEDLING
An unbranched woody plant, less than 24 inches in height and having a diameter of less than 1/2 inch measured at two inches above the root collar.
SELECTIVE CLEARING
The careful and planned removal of trees, shrubs, and plants using specific standards and protection measures under an approved forest conservation plan.
SITE PLAN
A detailed plan of development showing the arrangement of any buildings in relation to parking, streets, entrances, exits, open space, and adjoining properties, with all information relevant to size of area, number of parking spaces and square footage of buildings, etc., inscribed thereon in addition to any other pertinent information as may be required by this chapter.
STREAM BUFFER
All lands lying within 100 feet of perennial streams and 50 feet of intermittent streams, measured from the edge of the stream bank of the perennial or intermittent stream.
SUBDIVISION
Any division of a unit of land into two or more lots or parcels for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of transfer of ownership, sale, lease, or development.
(1) 
Timber harvesting means a tree cutting operation affecting one or more acres of forest or developed woodland within a one-year interval that disturbs 5,000 square feet or more of forest floor.
(2) 
Timber harvesting does not include grubbing and clearing of root mass.
TRACT
Property or unit of land subject to an application for a sediment and erosion control permit, subdivision approval, site plan approval, project plan approval, or areas subject to this chapter.
TREE
A large, branched woody plant having one or several self-supporting stems or trunks that reach a height of at least 20 feet at maturity.
VARIANCE
Relief from the chapter as may be granted by the County Board of Appeals as enumerated in § 73-17. Variance does not mean a zoning variance.
WATERSHED
All land lying within an area described as a subbasin in water quality regulations adopted by the Department of the Environment under COMAR 26.08.02.08.
WHIP
An unbranched woody plant greater than 24 inches in height and having a diameter of less than one inch measured at two inches above the root collar.
[1]
Editor's Note: The former definition of “agricultural and resource areas,” which immediately followed, was repealed 10-9-2007 by Bill No. 1105.
A. 
Exemptions. It is the intent of Talbot County to protect forest resources in a manner which is least burdensome to residents wishing to improve their property. The following is a list of activities which typically cause negligible forest disturbance and are therefore exempt from this chapter.
(1) 
Any activity on parcels less than 40,000 square feet in size.
(2) 
Properties wholly within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area as depicted on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Wetlands Maps.
(3) 
A preliminary plan of subdivision or a sediment and erosion control plan approved before July 1, 1991.
(4) 
The cutting or clearing of public utility rights-of-way for public service companies licensed under the Public Utilities Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland or land for electric generating stations licensed under the Public Utilities Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, if:
[Amended 8-24-2001 by Bill No. 837]
(a) 
Required certificates of public convenience and necessity have been issued under Natural Resource Article § 5-1603(f), Annotated Code of Maryland; and
(b) 
Cutting or clearing of the forest is conducted to minimize the loss of forest.
(5) 
Routine maintenance or emergency repairs of public utility rights-of-way for public utility companies licensed under the Public Utilities Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
[Amended 8-24-2001 by Bill No. 837]
(6) 
Except for a public utility subject to exemption under Subsection A(5) above, routine maintenance or emergency repairs of a public utility right-of-way, if:
(a) 
The right-of-way existed before the effective date of this chapter; or
(b) 
The right-of-way's initial construction was approved under the provisions of this chapter.
(7) 
Agricultural activities not resulting in a change in land use category, including agricultural support buildings and other related structures built using accepted best management practices, provided that the activity results in the cutting, clearing or grading of less than 40,000 square feet of forest within a one-year period.
(8) 
Mineral extraction activities regulated under Natural Resource Article, Title 7, Subtitle 5 or 5A or 6A, Annotated Code of Maryland.
(9) 
Revised plats where no additional lots are created as defined in Chapter 190 of the Talbot County Code.
[Amended 4-14-2009 by Bill No. 1162]
(10) 
Highway construction activities under Natural Resources Article, § 5-103, Annotated Code of Maryland, provided that the cutting or clearing of the forest is conducted to minimize the loss of forest, and provided that all forested area cut or cleared over 40,000 square feet in area is replaced at a ratio of one acre planted for each one acre removed as required by § 5-103 above.
(11) 
A subdivision for agricultural purposes only, where the stated "For agricultural purposes only" appears on the plat.
(12) 
Any habitat program approved by another government agency such as the United States Natural Resources Conservation Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for such habitat program if the activity does not result in the cutting, clearing, or grading of a forest that is subject to the requirements of a previous forest conservation plan approved under this chapter.
(13) 
The construction and maintenance of linear County utilities, such as drainage ditches, water and sewer lines, telephone lines, cable television lines, natural gas and electrical power lines, provided that the forest area cut or cleared is less than 20,000 square feet and is conducted to minimize the loss of forest.
[Amended 7-26-2011 by Bill No. 1204]
(14) 
County road construction activities where public funds are used, provided that the forest area cut or cleared is less than 20,000 square feet and is conducted to minimize the loss of forest.
[Amended 7-26-2011 by Bill No. 1204]
(15) 
The cutting or clearing of trees to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR § 77.25 relating to objects affecting navigable airspace, provided that the Federal Aviation Administration has determined that the trees are a hazard to aviation.
B. 
Exemptions requiring a declaration of intent. The following development or activities are exempt from the requirements of this chapter, provided that a declaration of intent is filed with the Department in accordance with § 73-3C of this chapter.
[Amended 4-9-2002 by Bill No. 858; 7-26-2011 by Bill No. 1204]
(1) 
Any residential construction conducted on any single lot 40,000 square feet or greater in size, where such lot is legally existing as of the effective date of this chapter, if the activity:
(a) 
Does not result in the cumulative cutting, clearing, or grading of 20,000 square feet or more of forest;
(b) 
Does not result in the cutting, clearing, or grading of a forest that is subject to the requirements of a previous forest conservation plan approved under this chapter; and
(c) 
Is the subject of a declaration of intent filed with the Department, as provided for in § 73-3C herein, stating that the lot will not be the subject of a regulated activity within five years of the cutting, clearing, or grading of forest.
(2) 
Agricultural activities not resulting in a change in land use category, including agricultural support buildings and other related structures built using accepted best management practices, if the activity results in the cutting, clearing, or grading of 40,000 square feet or greater of forest within a one-year period. However, the applicant may not receive an agricultural exemption unless the person files a declaration of intent as provided for in this chapter that includes:
(a) 
A statement that the landowner or landowner's agent will practice agriculture on that portion of the property for five years from the date of the declaration; and
(b) 
A sketch map of the property which shows the area to be cleared.
(3) 
An activity, including subdivision, required for the purpose of constructing a single-family dwelling unit intended for the use of the owner, or a member of the owner's immediate family, if the activity:
(a) 
Does not result in the cutting, clearing, or grading of 20,000 square feet or greater of forest; and
(b) 
The lot(s) being created is(are) subject to a declaration of intent which provides for a revocation of the exemption if the lot is transferred to anyone other than an immediate family member within five years of the declaration.
(4) 
A real estate transfer to provide a security, leasehold, or other legal or equitable interest, including a transfer of title, of a portion of a lot or parcel, if:
(a) 
The transfer does not involve a change in land use, or new development or redevelopment with associated land disturbing activities; and
(b) 
Both the grantor and the grantee file a declaration of intent, as provided for in § 73-3C of this chapter.
(5) 
Commercial logging and subsequent forest management operations, including, but not limited to, shearing, bedding, piling, windrowing, burning, precommercial thinning, construction or maintenance of timber-haul roads, and construction and maintenance of associated ditches.
(6) 
The Department may require a person failing to file a declaration of intent or found in noncompliance with a declaration of intent to:
(a) 
Meet the retention, afforestation and reforestation requirements established in this chapter;
(b) 
Pay a penalty for noncompliance established by fee schedules approved by the County Council of Talbot County per square foot of forest cut or cleared;
(c) 
Be subject to other enforcement actions appropriate under this chapter; or
(d) 
Comply with a stop-work order until a declaration of intent is filed with the Department.
C. 
Declaration of intent. The purpose of the declaration of intent is to verify that the proposed activity is exempt under this chapter.
(1) 
A person seeking an exemption under § 73-3B of this chapter shall file a declaration of intent with the Department.
(2) 
The declaration of intent is effective for five years.
(3) 
The existence of a declaration of intent does not preclude another exempted activity on the property subject to a separate declaration of intent, provided that the activity:
(a) 
Does not conflict with the purpose of any approved declaration of intent; and
(b) 
Complies with the applicable requirements for an exempted activity.
(4) 
If a regulated activity on the area covered by the declaration of intent occurs within five years of the effective date of the declaration of intent:
(a) 
There shall be an immediate loss of exemption; or
(b) 
There may be a noncompliance action taken by the Department, as appropriate, under this chapter.
(5) 
An applicant may apply for approval of a regulated activity on that area of the property not covered under the declaration of intent if the requirements of this chapter are satisfied.
(6) 
The Department may require a person failing to file a declaration of intent or found in noncompliance with a declaration of intent to:
(a) 
Meet the retention, afforestation and reforestation requirements established in this chapter;
(b) 
Pay a penalty for noncompliance established by fee schedules approved by the County Council of Talbot County per square foot of forest cut or cleared, but in no case less than $0.30 per square foot of forest cut or cleared as set by state law;
(c) 
Be subject to other enforcement actions appropriate under this chapter; or
(d) 
Comply with a stop-work order until a declaration of intent is filed with the Department.
(7) 
In its determination of appropriate enforcement action, the Department may consider whether failure to file a declaration of intent by a person required to file is a knowing or willful violation of this chapter.
D. 
General requirements. The following provisions shall apply to any person making application after the effective date of this chapter for subdivision, site plan approval, building permit approval, a sediment and erosion control permit, or project plan approval on an area of land 40,000 square feet or greater.
(1) 
The applicant shall:
(a) 
Submit to the Department a forest stand delineation and a forest conservation plan for the lot or parcel on which the development activity is located; and
(b) 
Use methods approved by the Department, as provided in the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual, to protect retained forests and trees during construction.
(2) 
If a local agency or person using state funds makes application for subdivision, site plan approval, building permit approval, a sediment and erosion control permit, or project plan approval on an area of land 40,000 square feet or greater, the following applies:
(a) 
The application(s) for the proposed activity shall be submitted to the Department, which shall notify the Maryland Department of Natural Resources within 15 days of receipt of the completed application.
(b) 
Within 15 days of receipt of notice from the local authority, the Department of Natural Resources shall:
[1] 
Determine whether the project has impact on significant forest resources; and
[2] 
Notify the Department whether the project shall be subject to the state program.
(c) 
If the Department of Natural Resources determines that the project is subject to the state program, the:
[1] 
Time limit for approval of the forest stand delineation and forest conservation plan shall begin when the Department of Natural Resources receives the necessary documents from the applicant or the Department; and
[2] 
Department may not approve said application until it receives notice from the Department of Natural Resources that the standards and requirements of the state program have been satisfied.
(d) 
If the Department of Natural Resources determines the project need not be reviewed under the state program, the time limit for approval of the forest stand delineation and forest conservation plan under this chapter begins when such notice is received from the Department of Natural Resources.
A. 
A simplified forest stand delineation shall be submitted at the initial stages of approval, before a regulated activity is submitted for the tract being developed. Simplified forest stand delineations may be used when:
(1) 
No forest currently exists on the site; or
(2) 
None of the forest on the site will be cut, cleared or graded for the proposed use, and all of the forest on the site will be retained and protected under a long-term protection agreement.
B. 
The delineation shall be prepared by a licensed forester, licensed landscape architect, licensed surveyor, licensed engineer, or other qualified professional who meets the requirements stated in § 73-18B of this chapter.
C. 
A simplified forest stand delineation shall be submitted with the initial application for site plan review, subdivision review, building permit review, or sediment and erosion control plan review and may be submitted simultaneously with a forest conservation plan.
D. 
A simplified forest stand delineation shall contain the following components:
(1) 
Forest stand map or environmental features map locating field-verified forest boundaries (tree lines), forest type (dominant species), proposed limits of disturbance, and areas proposed for long-term protection;
(2) 
Past and present management of forested and unforested areas;
(3) 
Adjacent land uses, tree lines extending off-site and size and location of adjacent forested areas;
(4) 
Identification and location, using maps or aerial photography, of environmental features on the site, as described below:
(a) 
A soils map delineating hydric soils, or soils with a K value greater than 0.35 on slopes 15% or more, or soils having structural limitations;
(b) 
A topographic map delineating intermittent and perennial streams, stream buffers, tidal and nontidal wetlands and associated buffers, the 100-year floodplain, the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, and steep slopes over 25%;
(c) 
Critical habitat areas or rare, threatened, and endangered species of plants and animals.
(5) 
Information required by the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual; and
(6) 
Other information the Department determines is necessary to implement this chapter.
E. 
Approval of simplified forest stand delineations.
(1) 
An approved forest stand delineation may remain in effect for a period not longer than five years.
(2) 
Within 30 calendar days after receipt of the forest stand delineation, the Department shall notify the applicant whether the forest stand delineation is complete and correct.
(3) 
If the Department fails to notify the applicant within 30 days, the delineation shall be treated as complete and correct.
(4) 
Under certain extenuating circumstances, the Department may require an additional 15 calendar days for review.
A. 
An intermediate forest stand delineation shall be submitted at the initial stages of approval, before a regulated activity is submitted for the tract being developed. Intermediate forest stand delineations may be used when development will occur in forested areas on the development site, if:
(1) 
The forest retention on a development site will be greater or equal to what is required as calculated using the break-even amount referred to in § 73-11; and
(2) 
No priority forests or priority retention areas will be disturbed during or after development.
B. 
The delineation shall be prepared by a licensed forester, licensed landscape architect, or a qualified professional who meets the requirements stated in § 73-18(b) of this chapter.
C. 
The delineation shall be used during the preliminary plan review, to determine the most suitable and practical areas for forest conservation. All such submissions shall be prepared at a scale of no less than one inch equals 200 feet at a size no less than 18 inches by 24 inches, and shall contain the following components:
(1) 
Forest stand map(s) indicating location and size of field verified forest boundaries, proposed limits of disturbance, size and location of adjacent forested areas and areas proposed for long-term protection;
(2) 
A narrative, which may be included as notes on the intermediate forest stand delineation map, and includes the following:
(a) 
Preliminary worksheet calculations indicating forest conservation thresholds and/or required retention amounts;
(b) 
Summary of walk-through forest survey;
(c) 
Past and present management of forested areas and unforested areas; and
(d) 
Potential of stands adjacent to disturbance to recover or management recommendations.
(3) 
A summary, either in the narrative or on the map, of the composition (using dominant species), forest association or other description of forest inside the proposed limits of disturbance;
(4) 
A soils map delineating hydric soils, or soils with a K value greater than 0.35 on slopes 15% or more, or soils having structural limitations;
(5) 
A topographic map delineating intermittent and perennial streams, stream buffers, tidal and nontidal wetlands and associated buffers, the 100-year floodplain, the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, and steep slopes over 25%;
(6) 
Land use of adjacent properties;
(7) 
Priority retention areas in development areas that are:
(a) 
Critical habitat areas or rare, threatened, and endangered species of plants and animals;
(b) 
Part of a historic site or associated with a historic structure;
(c) 
Designated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources or local authority as a champion tree for that species;
(d) 
Specimen trees of 30 inches dbh or greater; and
(e) 
Trees with at least 75% of the diameter of the state champion tree of that species.
(8) 
Information required by the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual; and
(9) 
Other information the Department determines is necessary to implement this chapter.
D. 
Approval of intermediate forest stand delineations.
(1) 
An approved forest stand delineation may remain in effect for a period not longer than five years.
(2) 
Within 30 calendar days after receipt of the forest stand delineation, the Department shall notify the applicant whether the forest stand delineation is complete and correct.
(3) 
If the Department fails to notify the applicant within 30 days, the delineation shall be treated as complete and correct.
(4) 
Under certain extenuating circumstances, the Department may require an additional 15 calendar days for review.
A. 
A full forest stand delineation shall be submitted at the initial stages of approval, before a regulated activity is submitted for the tract being developed. Full forest stand delineations shall be required for all submissions where the conditions of either a simplified or intermediate forest stand delineation cannot be met.
B. 
The delineation shall be prepared by a licensed forester, licensed landscape architect, or a qualified professional who meets the requirements stated in § 73-18(b) of this chapter.
C. 
The delineation shall be used during the preliminary plan review to determine the most suitable and practical areas for forest conservation. All such submissions shall be prepared at a scale of no less than one inch equals 200 feet at a size no less than 18 inches by 24 inches, and shall contain the following components:
(1) 
Forest stand maps indicating species, location, and basal count of trees and showing dominant and codominant forest types;
(2) 
A soils map delineating hydric soils, or soils with a soil K value greater than 0.35 on slopes of 15% or more, or soils having structural limitations;
(3) 
A topographic map delineating intermittent and perennial streams, stream buffers, tidal and nontidal wetlands and associated buffers, the 100-year floodplain, the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, and steep slopes over 25%;
(4) 
Planned limits of disturbance;
(5) 
Land use of adjacent properties;
(6) 
Habitat areas occupied or utilized by rare, threatened, or endangered species as identified by the Maryland Natural Heritage Program;
(7) 
Cultural features (e.g., cemeteries, historic sites, etc.);
(8) 
Trees having a diameter, measured at 4.5 feet above ground, of
(a) 
Thirty inches or more; or
(b) 
Seventy-five percent or more of the State Champion Tree of that species as designated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources; or
(c) 
State champion trees as designated by the Department of Natural Resources.
(9) 
Location of any priority forests or priority retention areas as described in § 73-10(b);
(10) 
Information required by the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual; and
(11) 
Other information the Department determines is necessary to implement this chapter.
D. 
Approval of full forest stand delineations:
(1) 
An approved forest stand delineation may remain in effect for a period not longer than five years.
(2) 
Within 30 calendar days after receipt of the forest stand delineation, the Department shall notify the applicant whether the forest stand delineation is complete and correct.
(3) 
If the Department fails to notify the applicant within 30 days, the delineation shall be treated as complete and correct.
(4) 
Under certain extenuating circumstances, the Department may require an additional 15 calendar days for review.
A. 
Once a forest stand delineation plan has been approved by the Department, a forest conservation plan shall:
(1) 
Be prepared by a licensed forester, a licensed landscape architect, or other qualified professional who meets the requirements stated in § 73-18(b) of this chapter;
(2) 
Be submitted with the following:
(a) 
A final site or subdivision plan;
(b) 
A final project plan;
(c) 
An application for a building permit; or,
(d) 
An application for a sediment and erosion control permit.
(3) 
Include the approved forest stand delineation for the site;
(4) 
Give priority to retaining existing forest on the site, and if these forests cannot be retained, then the applicant must qualify for a variance from the Planning Officer by demonstrating:
[Amended 7-26-2011 by Bill No. 1204]
(a) 
How techniques for forest retention have been exhausted;
(b) 
Why any priority areas as defined in § 73-10B(2)(a) through (d) cannot remain undisturbed by proving:
[1] 
Special features of the site or other circumstances exist that would result in unwarranted hardship to the applicant;
[2] 
Implementation is designed in a manner consistent with the spirit and intent of this chapter; and
[3] 
The granting of a variance will not adversely affect water quality; and
(c) 
How any required afforestation or reforestation will comply with the requirements specified in § 73-12 of this chapter; or
(d) 
That the requirements for reforestation or afforestation on site or off site cannot be reasonably accomplished and, therefore, a fee-in-lieu of the required planting shall be made into the Talbot County Conservation Fund.
(5) 
Development projects occurring within the Town Residential (TR) or Village Center (VC) zones may meet any required afforestation or reforestation requirements through the retention of an existing off-site forest, provided that:
(a) 
The existing off-site forest is not currently preserved and protected under a Long Term Protective Agreement;
(b) 
Any off-site retention done to accomplish the required afforestation or reforestation shall be at twice the acreage amount necessary to meet the planting requirements; and
(c) 
An intermediate forest stand delineation is submitted for the existing off-site forest retention area.
B. 
A forest conservation plan shall include:
(1) 
A table that lists the proposed values of the following, to the nearest 1/10th acre:
(a) 
Net tract area;
(b) 
Area of forest existing on-site within the net tract area;
(c) 
Area of forest conservation required as determined by § 73-11 herein; and
(d) 
Area of forest conservation proposed for both on-site and off-site areas.
(2) 
A clear graphic indication of any reforestation or afforestation provided on the site drawn to scale and showing the proximity of any retained forests;
(3) 
An explanation of how the provisions of § 73-7A(4) of this chapter have been met;
(4) 
In the case of afforestation or reforestation, a planting plan, with a timetable and description of needed site and soil preparation, species, size, and spacing to be used;
(5) 
The limits of disturbance;
(6) 
Stockpile areas;
(7) 
Locations and types of protective devices to be used during construction activities to protect trees and forests designated for conservation;
(8) 
A binding two-year maintenance agreement as provided for in § 73-16A that details how the areas designated for afforestation or reforestation will be maintained to ensure protection and satisfactory establishment, including:
(a) 
Watering as necessary; and
(b) 
A reinforcement planting provision if survival rates fall below required standards, as provided in the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual.
(9) 
A long-term binding protective agreement as specified in § 73-16B that:
(a) 
Provides protection for areas of forest conservation, including areas of afforestation, reforestation, and retention; and
(b) 
Limits uses in areas of forest conservation to those uses that are designated and consistent with forest conservation, including passive recreational activities and forest and wildlife management practices that are used to preserve forest.
(10) 
Information required in the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual and any other information deemed necessary to implement this chapter, as determined by the Department.
C. 
Approval of forest conservation plans.
(1) 
Within 45 calendar days after receipt of the final forest conservation plan, the Department shall notify the applicant whether the forest conservation plan is complete and approved.
(2) 
If the Department fails to notify the applicant within 45 calendar days, the plan shall be treated as complete and approved.
(3) 
The Department may require further information or extend the deadline for an additional 15 calendar days under extenuating circumstances.
(4) 
At the written request of the applicant, the Department may extend the deadline under extenuating circumstances.
(5) 
The Department's review of a final forest conservation plan shall be concurrent with the review of the final site plan or final conditions for site plan review, final subdivision or final project plan, building permit application, or sediment and erosion control application associated with the project.
(6) 
The Department may revoke an approved forest conservation plan if it finds that:
(a) 
A provision of the plan has been violated;
(b) 
Approval of the plan was obtained through fraud, misrepresentation, a false or misleading statement, or omission of a relevant or material fact; or
(c) 
Changes in the development or in the condition of the site necessitate preparation of a new or amended plan.
(7) 
The Department may issue a stop-work order against a person who violates a provision of this chapter or a regulation, order, approved forest conservation plan, or maintenance agreement.
(8) 
Before revoking approval of a forest conservation plan, the Department shall notify the violator in writing and provide an opportunity for a hearing as stated in § 73-18A(2)(a).
If a portion of the proposed regulated activity is located within the Critical Area, then afforestation or reforestation requirements may follow those specified by the Talbot County Critical Area Program. All Critical Area afforestation and reforestation requirements must be met within the Critical Area portion of the parcel. However, any afforestation or reforestation necessary under this chapter may be conducted wholly or partially within the Critical Area. Protection agreements are required as stated in § 73-16B.
A. 
Applicability.
(1) 
Linear projects not exempted from the requirements of this chapter pursuant to § 73-3A shall meet the requirements enumerated in this section.
(2) 
Linear projects subject to the requirements of this section include:
[Amended 7-26-2011 by Bill No. 1204]
(a) 
The construction and maintenance of linear County utilities, such as drainage ditches, water and sewer lines, telephone lines, cable television lines, natural gas and electrical power lines, and the forest area cut or cleared is equal to or greater than 20,000 square feet; and
(b) 
County road construction activities where public funds are used and the forest area cut or cleared is equal to or greater than 20,000 square feet. In cases where state funds are used for County road construction activities, the activities are subject to Natural Resources Article § 5-103, Annotated Code of Maryland, and the Department of Natural Resources must be contacted for review of the project.
(3) 
The net tract area for a linear project, not exempted by this chapter, means:
(a) 
The area of the right-of-way, new access roads and storage; or
(b) 
The limits of disturbance as shown on an application for sediment and erosion control plan approval; or
(c) 
The area shown in an approved capital improvements program project description.
B. 
Requirements.
(1) 
All forest stand delineations submitted for linear projects shall encompass a minimum project area extending 100 feet from the right-of-way center line, or 50 feet outside the proposed limits of disturbance, if the right-of-way is wider than 100 feet.
(2) 
A simplified forest stand delineation consistent with the requirements of § 73-4 herein may be submitted for approval on linear projects to determine if sufficient forested area is proposed for disturbance to require submission of a forest conservation plan. In addition, simplified forest stand delineations may be submitted for linear projects when:
(a) 
The proposed disturbance area is less than 40 feet wide and 120,000 square feet in area, and no priority forest or priority retention areas are disturbed; or
(b) 
Alternative routes are being considered in studies to support an application for a Certificate for Public Convenience and Necessity.
(3) 
The forest conservation threshold as described in § 73-11 herein for linear projects is 15% of the net tract area.
(4) 
Linear projects which do not result in a change of land use or land disturbing activities do not require afforestation. However, any forest cleared for construction or maintenance shall be cleared in conformance with best management practices and protection measures as approved in a forest conservation plan.
C. 
Long-term protection.
(1) 
Any retention, afforestation or reforestation areas on linear project rights-of-way shall be exempt from a long-term protective agreement, if:
(a) 
The areas are maintained according to a forest conservation plan; and,
(b) 
Any areas placed under a forest conservation plan which are subsequently removed from forest cover shall be replaced on a per-acre basis within Talbot County.
(2) 
Any retention, afforestation or reforestation areas not on linear projects rights-of-way shall be required to submit a long-term protective agreement as stated in § 73-16B.
A. 
Afforestation requirement. A person making application after the effective date of this chapter for site plan, subdivision or project plan approval, a building permit, or a sediment and erosion control permit for an area of land 40,000 square feet or greater, not exempt from this chapter, shall:
(1) 
Conduct afforestation in accordance with the following:
(a) 
Net tract areas having less than 20% forest cover shall be afforested up to at least 20% in the following zoning districts:
[Amended 10-9-2007 by Bill No. 1105]
[1] 
Agricultural Conservation (AC), Western Rural Conservation (WRC), Countryside Preservation (CP), Town Conservation (TC) ; and
[2] 
Town Residential District (TR) without sewerage service and Village Center (VC) without sewerage service;
(b) 
Net tract areas with less than 15% forest cover shall be afforested up to at least 15% in all other remaining zoning districts and institutional uses permitted or by special exception.
(2) 
Comply with the following when cutting or clearing forest cover that is currently below the afforestation percentages described in Subsection A(1) of this section:
(a) 
The required afforestation level shall be determined by the amount of forest existing before cutting or clearing begins; and
(b) 
Forest cut or cleared below the required afforestation level shall be reforested or afforested at a 2:1 ratio and added to the amount of afforestation necessary to reach the minimum required afforestation level, as determined by the amount of forest existing before cutting or clearing began.
B. 
Retention.
[Amended 7-26-2011 by Bill No. 1204]
(1) 
Trees, shrubs, and plants located in sensitive areas, including one-hundred-year floodplains, intermittent and perennial streams and their buffers, steep slopes 15% or greater, nontidal wetlands and their buffers and critical habitats; and contiguous forest that connects the largest undeveloped or most-vegetated tracts of land within and adjacent to the site shall be:
(a) 
Considered priority for retention and protection;
(b) 
Left in an undisturbed condition unless the applicant has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Department that reasonable efforts have been made to protect them and the plan cannot reasonably be altered.
(2) 
The following trees, shrubs, plants, and specific areas shall be considered priority for retention and protection and shall be left in an undisturbed condition unless the applicant has demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the Department, that the applicant qualifies for a variance in accordance with § 73-7A(4):
(a) 
Trees, shrubs, or plants determined to be rare, threatened, or endangered under:
[1] 
The Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 in 16 U.S.C. §§ 1531 through 1544 and in 50 CFR Part 17;
[2] 
The Maryland Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, Natural Resources Article, §§ 10-2A-01 through 10-2A-09, Annotated Code of Maryland; and
[3] 
COMAR 08.03.08.
(b) 
Trees that:
[1] 
Are part of an historic site;
[2] 
Are associated with an historic structure; or
[3] 
Have been designated by the state or the Department as a national, state, or County champion tree.
(c) 
Any tree having a diameter measured at 4.5 feet above the ground of:
[1] 
Thirty inches or more; or
[2] 
Seventy-five percent or more of the diameter, measured at 4.5 feet above the ground, of the current state champion tree of that species as designated by the Department of Natural Resources.
(d) 
Other sensitive areas as determined by the Department and as amended to this chapter.
A. 
There is a forest conservation threshold established for all land use categories, as provided in Subsection B below. The forest conservation threshold means the percentage of the net tract area at which the reforestation requirement changes from a ratio of 1/4 acre planted for each acre removed above the threshold to a ratio of two acres planted for each acre removed below the threshold.
B. 
After reasonable efforts to minimize the cutting or clearing of trees and other woody plants have been exhausted in the development of a site plan, subdivision or project plan, building permit, sediment and erosion control permit, and implementation of the forest conservation plan, the forest conservation plan shall provide for reforestation, or payment into the Forest Conservation Fund, according to the formula set forth in § 73-14 and consistent with the following forest conservation thresholds for the applicable zoning classifications:
[Amended 10-9-2007 by Bill No. 1105]
Zoning Classifications
Threshold Percentage
Agricultural Conservation (AC), Countryside Preservation (CP), Western Rural Conservation (WRC), Town Conservation (TC)
Unclustered
50% of net tract area
Clustered
50% of proposed net tract area
Town Residential (TR)
Without sewer
25%
With sewer
20%
Village Center (VC)
Without sewer
25%
With sewer
20%
Manufactured Home Development (MHD)
20%
Affordable Housing (AH)
20%
Limited Industrial (LI)
15%
Limited Commercial (LC)
15%
General Commercial (GC)
15%
Institutional Uses (any zone)
15%
C. 
Calculations.
(1) 
For all existing forest cover measured to the nearest 1/10th acre cleared on the net tract area above the applicable forest conservation threshold, the area of forest removed shall be reforested at a ratio of 1/4 acre planted for each acre removed.
(2) 
Each acre of forest retained on the net tract area above the applicable forest conservation threshold shall be credited against the total number of acres required to be reforested under Subsection C(1) of this section. The calculation of the credit shall be according to the criteria provided in the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual.
(3) 
For all existing forest cover measured to the nearest 1/10th acre cleared on the net tract area below the applicable forest conservation threshold, the area of forest removed shall be reforested at a ratio of two acres planted for each acre removed below the threshold.
A. 
Requirements for afforestation and reforestation.
(1) 
After techniques for retaining existing forest on the site have been exhausted, afforestation or reforestation shall occur, as determined by the Department, in the following sequence:
(a) 
Selective clearing and supplemental planting on site;
(b) 
On-site afforestation or reforestation, if economically feasible, using transplanted or nursery stock that is greater than 1.5 inches diameter measured at 4.5 feet above the ground;
(c) 
On-site afforestation or reforestation, using whip and seedling stock;
(d) 
Landscaping of areas under an approved landscaping plan which establishes a planting area that is at least 35 feet wide and covering 2,500 square feet or more of area;
(e) 
Off-site afforestation or reforestation, if economically feasible, using transplanted or nursery stock that is greater than 1.5 inches diameter measured at 4.5 feet above the ground;
(f) 
Off-site afforestation or reforestation, using whip and seedling stock;
(g) 
Development projects occurring within the Town Residential (TR) or Village Center (VC) Zones may meet any required afforestation or reforestation requirements through the retention of an existing off-site forest, provided that:
[1] 
The existing off-site forest is not currently preserved and protected under a long-term protective agreement; and
[2] 
Any off-site retention done to accomplish the required afforestation or reforestation shall be at twice the acreage amount necessary to meet the planting requirement; or
(h) 
Natural regeneration in accordance with approved forest management techniques.
(2) 
A sequence other than the one described above may be used for a specific project, if necessary, with Department approval, to achieve the objectives of the County land use plan or County land use policies, or to take advantage of opportunities to consolidate forest conservation efforts.
(3) 
If the afforestation or reforestation cannot be reasonably accomplished within the watershed in which the project is located, then the afforestation or reforestation shall occur elsewhere within Talbot County.
B. 
The following are considered priority areas for afforestation and reforestation:
(1) 
Establish or enhance forest buffers adjacent to intermittent and perennial streams to widths of at least 50 feet;
(2) 
Establish or enhance nonforested areas on 100-year floodplains, when appropriate;
(3) 
Establish or increase existing forested corridors to connect existing forests within or adjacent to the site and where practical, forested corridors should be a minimum of 300 feet in width to facilitate wildlife movement;
(4) 
Establish or enhance forest buffers adjacent to critical habitats where appropriate;
(5) 
Establish plantings to stabilize slopes of 25% or greater and slopes of 15% or greater with a soil K value greater than 0.35 including the slopes of ravines or other natural depressions;
(6) 
Establish buffers adjacent to areas of differing land use when appropriate, or adjacent to highways or utility rights-of-way;
(7) 
Establish forest areas adjacent to existing forests to increase the overall area of contiguous forest cover, when appropriate; and
(8) 
Establish or enhance forest buffers adjacent to nontidal wetlands when appropriate.
C. 
Use native plant materials for afforestation or reforestation, when appropriate.
D. 
A person required to conduct afforestation or reforestation shall accomplish it within one year or two growing seasons, whichever is a greater time period, following development project completion.
A. 
Tree species used for afforestation or reforestation shall be native to Talbot County and selected from a list of approved species.
B. 
The Department shall adopt a list of approved tree species to be used for any required afforestation or reforestation and incorporate it into the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual. This list shall be updated from time to time as amendments become necessary subject to approval by the Department of Natural Resources.
A. 
There is an established Talbot County Forest Conservation Fund.
B. 
If a person subject to this chapter demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Department that requirements for reforestation or afforestation on site or off site cannot be reasonably accomplished, the person shall contribute money, at a rate established by the County Council fee schedule, per square foot of the area of required planting into the Talbot County Forest Conservation Fund. For a project inside a priority funding area, the rate shall be 20% lower than the rate established above.
[Amended 7-26-2011 by Bill No. 1204]
C. 
Money contributed instead of afforestation or reforestation under this section shall be paid within 90 calendar days after final development project approval.
D. 
Money deposited in the Talbot County Forest Conservation Fund, which is collected under § 73-14B or § 73-18A:
(1) 
May be spent on the costs directly related to reforestation and afforestation, including site identification, acquisition, and preparation, maintenance of existing forests and achieving urban canopy goals;
[Amended 7-26-2011 by Bill No. 1204]
(2) 
Shall be deposited in a separate fund, specifically for forest conservation and forest enhancement activities which achieve the objectives of the Talbot County Comprehensive Plan and Forest Conservation Program; and
(3) 
May not revert to the County's general fund.
E. 
Sites for afforestation or reforestation using fund money.
(1) 
The reforestation or afforestation requirement under this section shall occur in Talbot County and in the watershed in which the project is located.
(2) 
If the reforestation or afforestation cannot be reasonably accomplished in the watershed in which the project is located, then the reforestation or afforestation shall occur elsewhere in Talbot County at the discretion of the Department.
A. 
Standards for the protection of trees from construction activity that are at least as effective as the standards provided by the Department of Natural Resources shall be incorporated into the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual. These standards shall be updated from time to time as amendments become necessary subject to approval by the Department of Natural Resources.
B. 
Before cutting, clearing, grading, or construction begins on a site for which a forest conservation plan is required by this chapter, the applicant shall demonstrate to the Department that protective measures have been established.
A. 
Short-term protective agreements.
(1) 
Maintenance agreements.
(a) 
Application. A person required to conduct afforestation or reforestation under this chapter shall include in the forest conservation plan a binding maintenance agreement for the length of two years, as specified in the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual and as approved by the County Attorney.
(b) 
Approval procedures and timing shall be consistent with the procedures provided in this chapter and the Talbot County Forest Conservation Program.
(c) 
The maintenance agreement shall detail how the areas designated for afforestation or reforestation will be maintained to ensure protection and satisfactory establishment of forest, following the standards provided in the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual.
(d) 
The person required to conduct the afforestation or reforestation, hereafter referred to as the "obligee," shall present evidence of a legal right to implement the proposed maintenance agreement on a selected site by providing:
[1] 
An executed deed conveying title to a selected site to the obligee;
[2] 
An executed conservation easement agreement;
[3] 
Written evidence of the landowner's consent to the use of a selected site;
[4] 
A fully executed option agreement, long-term lease agreement, or contract of sale for a selected site; or
[5] 
Other written evidence of a possession or ownership interest in a selected site.
(e) 
The County shall be a signatory to the maintenance agreement, or shall be designated a third-party beneficiary of the agreement.
(f) 
The Department may not release a bond or end monitoring without receipt of a long-term protective agreement on those lands where afforestation or reforestation will occur.
(g) 
The maintenance agreement shall provide for access, for the duration of the maintenance agreement, by the Department to the afforestation or reforestation site.
(2) 
Bonding.
(a) 
Application.
[1] 
A person required to conduct afforestation or reforestation, or to deposit money into the local fund under this chapter shall include a bond or other financial security as an element of a forest conservation plan.
[2] 
This section does not apply to agencies of any federal, state, County or municipal government.
(b) 
Requirements. A financial security shall be furnished in the form of:
[1] 
A bond which shall be made payable to the Talbot County Council; or
[2] 
An irrevocable letter of credit which shall:
[a] 
Be equivalent to the required bond;
[b] 
Be issued by a financial institution authorized to do business in Maryland;
[c] 
Expressly state that the total sum is guaranteed to be available and payable directly to the County on demand in the event of forfeiture; and
[d] 
Be in force until all mitigation for reforestation and afforestation and monitoring requirements have been fulfilled to the satisfaction of the Department or until all contributions have been made to the Talbot County Forest Conservation Fund; or
[3] 
Other security approved by the County.
(c) 
The financial security shall:
[1] 
Ensure that:
[a] 
The afforestation, reforestation and associated maintenance agreement are conducted and maintained in accordance with the approved forest conservation plan; or
[b] 
Contributions have been made to the Talbot County Forest Conservation Fund.
[2] 
Be in the amount equal to the estimated cost of afforestation and reforestation, or the amount of the contribution due, as determined by the County;
[3] 
Be in a form and content approved by the County.
(d) 
The value of the financial security:
[1] 
Shall be based on:
[a] 
The cost to perform all work required by the afforestation or reforestation plan if the work had to be performed by or contracted out by the County; or
[b] 
When appropriate, the amount due for a fund contribution.
[2] 
May be adjusted according to the actual cost of mitigation for afforestation and reforestation or, if the cost of future mitigation work changes, the County shall notify the obligee of a proposed adjustment and provide an opportunity for an informal conference on the adjustment; and
[3] 
May be reduced if the obligee proves to the County that the costs to complete the mitigation project have been reduced.
(e) 
A surety bond or other alternative form of security may not be canceled by the surety, bank, or other issuing entity unless both of the following conditions are satisfied:
[1] 
The surety notifies the County and the obligee of its intent to cancel the bond, in writing, by registered mail, not less than 90 days before cancellation; and
[2] 
At least 45 days before the cancellation date indicated in the notice, the obligee files a commitment from a surety, bank, or other issuing entity to provide a substitute security which will be effective on the cancellation date indicated in the notice.
(f) 
After one growing season, the person required to file a bond or other financial security under this regulation may request reduction of the amount of the bond or other financial security by submitting a written request to the County with a justification for reducing the bond or other financial security amount, including estimated or actual costs to ensure that the afforestation or reforestation requirements are met.
(g) 
The County shall determine whether a lesser amount is sufficient to cover the cost of afforestation or reforestation, taking into account the following:
[1] 
The number of acres;
[2] 
The proposed method of afforestation or reforestation;
[3] 
The cost of planting materials or replacement materials;
[4] 
The cost of maintenance of the afforestation or reforestation project; and
[5] 
Other relevant factors, as determined by the Department.
(h) 
If after two growing seasons, the plantings associated with the afforestation or reforestation meet or exceed the standards of the Talbot County Forest Conservation Technical Manual, the remaining amount of the cash bond, letter of credit, surety bond, or other security shall be returned or released.
(i) 
Bond release.
[1] 
The bond shall be released on receipt of written notice from the County, if applicable, stating that all afforestation or reforestation requirements have been met.
[2] 
The written notice shall be sent at the end of the required two-year monitoring and management period, as provided in the maintenance agreement.
[3] 
If the County fails to send written notice within 60 days after the end of the monitoring and management period, the bond shall be automatically released.
(j) 
Financial security forfeiture.
[1] 
The bond or other financial security may be subject to forfeiture if the obligee fails to comply with:
[a] 
The Department's revocation of the approved Forest Conservation Plan, as in § 73-7C; or
[b] 
A stop-work order.
[2] 
The County shall notify the obligee, by certified mail, of the intention of the County to initiate forfeiture proceedings.
[3] 
The obligee has 30 days from receipt of the notice of forfeiture to show cause why the bond or other financial security may not be forfeited through an administrative appeal as in § 73-17.
[4] 
If the obligee fails to show cause, the bond or other financial security shall be forfeited.
B. 
Long-term protective agreements.
(1) 
An applicant under this chapter shall have in effect at all times an approved long-term protective agreement to conserve and protect lands retained as forest, afforested or reforested under this chapter. These may include one or more of the following:
(a) 
Approved forest management plan.
[1] 
Procedure for approval.
[a] 
An application for approval of a forest management plan shall include all information required in the Forest Conservation Technical Manual.
[b] 
The forest management plan shall be:
[i] 
Legally binding from the date of approval;
[ii] 
Prepared by a licensed professional forester;
[iii] 
Submitted to the Department of Natural Resources Forester assigned to Talbot County; and
[iv] 
May be amended periodically, as provided for in § 73-19.
[c] 
The Forester shall review the plan to ensure that it is complete and consistent with this chapter and submit comments to the Department.
[d] 
The Department shall notify the applicant whether the forest management plan has been approved.
[2] 
Procedure for amendment of an approved forest management plan.
[a] 
An approved forest management plan may be amended if there is a change in site conditions or landowner objectives.
[b] 
Amendments shall be prepared by a licensed professional forester.
[c] 
The amendment shall be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources Forester assigned to Talbot County.
[d] 
The Forester shall review the amendment to ensure that it is complete and consistent with this chapter and the Talbot County Forest Conservation Program.
[e] 
The Department shall notify the applicant as to whether the amendment has been approved.
[f] 
The applicant shall sign the amendment.
(b) 
Forest conservation and management agreement. An applicant may satisfy the requirement for long-term protection under Natural Resources Article, § 5-1607(e), Annotated Code of Maryland, by executing a forest conservation and management agreement, as provided in Tax-Property Article, § 8-211, Annotated Code of Maryland, and COMAR 08.07.03.
(c) 
Other legally binding protective agreements, at the discretion of the Department and the County Attorney.
[1] 
Other legally binding protective agreements include:
[a] 
Covenants running with the land;
[b] 
Deed restrictions;
[c] 
Conservation easements; and
[d] 
Land trusts.
[2] 
Other legally binding agreements shall provide:
[a] 
Long-term protection for land retained as forest, afforested, or reforested under this chapter and the Talbot County Forest Conservation Program; and
[b] 
Limitation on the uses of forest to those that are consistent with forest conservation.
(d) 
An applicant may include in a forest conservation plan another long-term protective measure if the applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Department and County Attorney that the measure will provide for the long-term protection of the areas retained, afforested or reforested under this section.
(2) 
Procedure for a timber harvesting plan.
(a) 
An individual may harvest timber on forested, reforested, or afforested areas protected under an approved forest conservation plan, provided that the harvest:
[1] 
Is consistent with the intent of an approved forest management plan, forest conservation management agreement, or other long-term protective agreement;
[2] 
Is subject to a timber harvest plan:
[a] 
Prepared by a licensed professional forester;
[b] 
Submitted to the Talbot Forest Conservancy District Board for review and approval; and
[c] 
Remains in effect for two years.
[3] 
Is consistent with the intent and requirements of the approved forest conservation plan.
(b) 
The Talbot County Forest Conservancy District Board shall notify the Department and the applicant whether the timber harvest plan has been approved.
A. 
Appeals.
(1) 
Any person aggrieved by any final ruling or order as to the interpretation or application of the terms and conditions herein provided may appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals, provided said appeal is taken within 30 days after the final decision has been rendered.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 21, Board of Appeals Rules of Procedure.
(2) 
All appeals shall be in writing and shall state the section of this chapter being appealed and the grounds for such appeal.
B. 
Variances.
(1) 
A person may request a variance from this chapter if the person demonstrates that enforcement would result in unwarranted hardship to the person.
(2) 
An applicant for a variance shall:
(a) 
Describe the special conditions peculiar to the property which would cause the unwarranted hardship;
(b) 
Describe how enforcement of these rules will deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by others in similar areas;
(c) 
Verify that the granting of the variance will not confer on the applicant a special privilege that would be denied to other applicants;
(d) 
Verify that the variance request is not based on conditions or circumstances which are the result of actions by the applicant;
(e) 
Verify that the request does not arise from a condition relating to land or building use, either permitted or nonconforming, on a neighboring property;
(f) 
Verify that the granting of a variance will not adversely affect water quality; and
(g) 
Meet all applicable procedural provisions for a zoning variance as given in Chapter 190.
[Amended 4-14-2009 by Bill No. 1162]
(3) 
The Talbot County Board of Appeals shall make written findings that the applicant has met the requirements of this section before the Board of Appeals may grant a variance.
(4) 
The County shall provide to the Department of Natural Resources notification of a variance request within 15 days of the receipt of an application. Written response received from the Department of Natural Resources prior to the hearing date will be presented to the Talbot County Board of Appeals.
(5) 
The Department of Natural Resources shall have the right to initiate or intervene in an administrative, judicial, or other original proceeding or appeal concerning an approval of a variance under this chapter.
A. 
Enforcement.
(1) 
The Department may issue a stop-work order against a person who violates a provision of this chapter or a regulation, order, approved forest conservation plan, or maintenance agreement.
(2) 
Noncompliance fees.
[Amended 7-26-2011 by Bill No. 1204]
(a) 
A person found to be in noncompliance with this chapter, regulations adopted under this chapter, the forest conservation plan, or the associated two-year maintenance or long-term protection agreement shall be assessed by the Department the penalty as set by the County Council fee schedule per square foot of the area found to be in noncompliance with required forest conservation. Before such action, the violator shall be notified in writing and allowed an opportunity for a hearing as under § 73-17A.
(b) 
Money collected under Subsection A(2)(a) shall be deposited in the Talbot County Forest Conservation Fund as required by § 73-14 of this chapter and may be used by the Department for purposes related to implementing this chapter.
(3) 
Violation and penalties.
(a) 
In addition to the provisions under § 73-18A(2), a person who violates a provision of this chapter or a regulation or order adopted or issued under this chapter is liable for a penalty not to exceed $1,000, which may be recovered in a civil action brought by the Department.
(b) 
Each day a violation continues is a separate violation.
(4) 
The Department may seek an injunction requiring the person to cease violation of this chapter and take corrective action to restore or reforest an area.
B. 
Qualified professional.
(1) 
An individual may prepare a full or intermediate forest stand delineation or a forest conservation plan, if the individual:
(a) 
Is a licensed forester;
(b) 
Is a licensed landscape architect; or
(c) 
Meets the minimum requirements for qualified professionals as determined by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for preparing forest stand delineations and forest conservation plans and is approved in writing by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a qualified professional.
(2) 
An individual may prepare a simplified forest stand delineation, if the individual:
(a) 
Is a licensed forester;
(b) 
Is a licensed landscape architect;
(c) 
Is a licensed surveyor or licensed engineer; or
(d) 
Is a qualified professional as determined by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
C. 
Fees. A nonrefundable fee will be collected for each declaration of intent, simplified forest stand delineation, forest stand delineation, and forest conservation plan submitted. This fee will provide for the cost of plan review, administration and management of the plan approval process, and inspection and monitoring of all projects subject to this chapter. A permit fee schedule shall be established as needed by the Talbot County Council.
A. 
Amendments. The provisions of this chapter may be amended by the Talbot County Council in accordance with the procedures for text amendments as set forth in Chapter 190. Such amendments shall be consistent with the Forest Conservation Act, Natural Resources Article 5-1601 through 5-1612, Annotated Code of Maryland, and the regulations adopted by the State of Maryland for forest conservation as promulgated in COMAR 08.19.01 through 08.19.06. Proposed amendments shall be referred to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for review and approval.
[Amended 4-14-2009 by Bill No. 1162]
B. 
Annual report.
(1) 
On or before March 1 of each year, after the effective date of this chapter, the Department shall prepare, and the County shall submit to the Department of Natural Resources, a report on:
[Amended 7-26-2011 by Bill No. 1204]
(a) 
The number, location, and type of projects subject to the provisions of this chapter;
(b) 
The amount and location of acres cleared, conserved, and planted in connection with a development project;
(c) 
The amount of reforestation and afforestation fees and noncompliance penalties collected and expended;
(d) 
The costs of implementing the Talbot County Forest Conservation Program;
(e) 
The size, location, and protection of any local forest mitigation banks which are created under a local or state program;
(f) 
The number, location, and types of violations and type of enforcement activity conducted in accordance with this chapter; and
(g) 
To the extent practicable, the size and location of all conserved and planted forest areas, submitted in an electronic geographic information system or computer-aided design format.
(2) 
The Department of Natural Resources shall compile the reports and submit them to the Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee and the House Environmental Matters Committee subject to State Government Article § 2-2312 and Natural Resources Article § 5-1613, Annotated Code of Maryland.
C. 
Biennial review by the Department of Natural Resources. The Department shall submit the necessary documentation to comply with COMAR 08.19.02.04, which shall consist of the information provided annually as provided in § 73-19B of this chapter, and other information requested by the Department of Natural Resources in writing 60 days in advance.