[Added 12-8-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-22]
This article shall be known and cited as the "Riparian Buffer Conservation Ordinance of the Township of Radnor (the "Township"), Delaware County, Pennsylvania."
This article is established in accordance with the Pennsylvania Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 27 (the "Environmental Rights Amendment"), and Sections 301(b), 603(b)(5), 603(d), 604(1) and 605(2)(ii & vii) of the Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
It is the purpose of this article to establish requirements for the establishment, maintenance, and preservation of riparian buffers, as defined herein, to protect the streams and ponds within the Township, and to limit the surface areas of buildings and structures within these areas.
Buffers adjacent to stream systems and other water resources (riparian buffers) provide numerous environmental and resource management benefits, including restoring and maintaining chemical, physical and biological integrity of the water resources; removing pollutants from urban stormwater, reducing erosion and controlling sedimentation, stabilizing stream banks, providing a natural impediment to floods, contributing organic material that is a source of food and energy for the aquatic ecosystem, maintaining stream temperatures and therefore the aquatic ecosystems by providing tree canopy, providing riparian wildlife habitat, and furnishing scenic value and recreational opportunities. To achieve these ends, it is necessary that development within the Township take place in such a manner so as to limit the amount of buildings and structures within riparian buffer areas; owners whose properties include riparian buffers be educated as to desirable riparian buffer maintenance practices; and riparian buffers be established where such buffers do not presently exist.
This article is intended to modify the location of certain new development in relation to streams and ponds, but not to modify said development's overall density. The provisions herein shall provide for the location of any building or accessory structure located within the riparian buffer setback on any property in the Township; provided, however, that they shall not be applicable on properties on which streams are enclosed by man-made channels or are underground.
The following land disturbances shall be permitted without limitation when located within the riparian buffer setback:
Detached accessory buildings and accessory structures subject to the requirements of the underlying zoning district; provided, however, that a minimum distance of 10 feet shall apply when such building or accessory structure is located adjacent to any stream bank or pond in the AC Agricultural Conservation or R-1, R-2, R-3, R-4, R-5 Residential Zoning District.
Vegetation management or open space management plan, which provides for the maintenance of streambanks, pond edges, and water quality.
Customary agricultural practices when permitted by the applicable zoning for the property, in accordance with a soil conservation plan approved by the Delaware County Conservation District.
Activities regulated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (such as permitted stream or wetland crossings or other encroachments).
Installation of pervious-surfaced trail providing access to a stream, pond or other water resource, or an impervious-surfaced trail access when required or authorized by federal, state or local regulations.
Gardening and exterior yard maintenance.
Temporary construction attendant to construction activities occurring within the riparian buffer setback; provided, however, that such temporary construction shall be removed and any land disturbance within the riparian buffer setback be remedied within a time period approved by the Township.
The Township Engineer shall be responsible for determining the location of the riparian buffer setback, as applicable to any specific permit or approval subject to review by the Township. An applicant shall provide all necessary plans, maps, and other information as required by the Engineer to make such determination.
The Engineer shall review the information provided and shall either approve or disapprove the riparian buffer setback and applicable permit application, citing the reasons for such disapproval. Any party who is aggrieved by the decision of the Township Engineer as to the boundaries of the riparian buffer setback may appeal such decision to the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB).
In any instance in which the ZHB is required to consider an appeal from the provisions of this article, such appeal shall be authorized as a special exception pursuant and subject to the provisions of § 280-145.
Applications filed with the ZHB shall contain the basis for the appeal of the Engineer's decision and a description of the relief requested. Plans submitted shall be prepared by a licensed professional acceptable to the ZHB and shall include the following:
In addition to the standards and criteria enumerated in § 280-145 of the Zoning Code, the following shall be considered by the ZHB in rendering affirmative decisions where applicable:
A showing of good and sufficient cause.
Whether strict application of this article would deny the applicant reasonable use of the property, or whether the ordinance would have severe impact and would render the property unusable or unsuitable for development.
Whether plan modifications or conditions of approval can achieve conservation objectives of this article.
That the relief granted is the minimum necessary and does not conflict with any Township, state, or federal regulations.
This article shall not apply to any development or land disturbance occurring after its effective date or to a development or land disturbance that:
Any person, partnership or corporation who or that has violated or permitted the violation of the provisions of this article shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Township, pay a judgment of not more than $500, in addition to all court costs, including reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Township as a resultthereof. No judgments shall commence or be imposed, levied or be payable until the date of determination of a violation by the District Justice. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the Township may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable rules of civil procedure. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation, unless the District Justice determining that there has been a violation further determines that there was a good-faith basis for the person, partnership or corporation violating this article to have believed that there was no such violation, in which event there shall be deemed to have been only one such violation until the fifth day following the date of the determination by the District Justice. Thereafter, each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation. All judgments, costs and reasonable attorney fees collected for the violation of this article shall be paid to the Township.