[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Independence as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 7-2-2003 by Ord. No. 5-2003]
No person, firm, corporation, partnership or similar entity shall cut or remove trees, on any cutting block over five acres, in the Township of Independence without first obtaining a timber harvesting permit from the Township in accordance with the regulations and procedures set forth herein.
No permit shall be required for Christmas tree farms, cutting trees for personal use or thinning/pruning trees to maintain a wooded stand.
In all cases where a permit is required, the applicant and the property owner shall submit an application for such a permit, on a form provided by the Township, and pay the permit fee as may be established by the Board of Supervisors by resolution. The Township strongly recommends that all applicants utilize the services of a professional forester in connection with the preparation and submission of the application and related materials.
The applicant shall, at least 30 days prior to submission of the application, provide written notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, of its proposed logging operation to all adjoining property owners. The written notice shall provide in detail the nature, extent and duration of the proposed operation, including submission of a detailed description of the location of the proposed operation. The applicant shall submit proof of providing such notice, including return receipts, at the time of submission of the application.
At the time of submission of the application, the following items shall be provided:
A logging plan, which must be prepared on a property survey map, tax map or USGS topo map of the entire site, which depicts or includes by separate submission the following information:
Area of trees to be cut down. The area must be marked in the field by survey ribbon.
Location of existing roads, public and private rights-of-way or easements and points of access to public roads.
Location of any streams or wetlands.
The names and addresses of owners of adjacent properties.
Location of storage piles, loading areas and skidding roads, if possible.
Proposed transportation route for bonding purposes of public roads.
North arrow and scale.
An Erosion and Sediment Control Plan.
Such other documents, plans or reports as may be reasonably necessary to review the application and the proposed operation.
Proof of liability insurance coverage shall be submitted at the time of application, with combined limits of coverage of no less than $1,000,000, which shall name the property owner and Township as the insureds or additional insureds. Proof of workers’ compensation insurance coverage shall also be submitted.
Bond requirements. Road maintenance bonds shall be posted with the Township, in an amount and form to be determined by the Township, in accordance with applicable PennDOT regulations, and to insure repair of any Township roadways which may be damaged as a result of harvesting operations. The Township shall set a reasonable time limit for such bond, which shall coincide with the length of the proposed operation. The bond shall be renewed or extended with each permit renewal. Said bond shall remain in full force and effect until a certificate of completion has been issued by the Zoning Officer. In lieu of such a bond, the applicant may post a cash deposit or certified check with the Township Secretary.
Each application, together with the required documentation and information set forth in § 187-2, shall be submitted to the Township’s Zoning Officer for review. Within 30 days after submission of an application that is determined to be complete, the Zoning Officer shall approve, disapprove, or approve with modifications or conditions, the application as submitted. Notice of the Zoning Officer’s determination shall be provided to the applicant and property owner by certified mail, return receipt requested.
In the event that the Zoning Officer determines that it is necessary to have the application reviewed by a professional forester, then the Zoning Officer shall notify the applicant by certified mail, return receipt requested, that such review is necessary. In such event, the applicant shall deposit with the Township additional funds as determined by the Zoning Officer to compensate the professional forester for his evaluation. The time limits set forth in Subsection A above shall be extended for an additional 30 days from the time of submission of the completed application.
An applicant who is aggrieved by the determination of the Zoning Officer may file an appeal from such determination to the Township’s Zoning Hearing Board within 30 days of written notice of the Zoning Officer’s decision.
In the event that a permit is issued by the Zoning Officer, the applicant shall comply with the following additional standards or requirements:
No tops or slash may be left within 50 feet of any adjoining property line.
No cutting or loading shall occur from dusk to dawn.
All permits issued shall expire one year from the date of issuance. A permit may be extended for an additional year upon payment of an additional application fee and a determination that the applicant is in compliance with this article and all applicable laws.
The applicant shall notify the Township by certified mail, return receipt requested, 10 business days prior to completion of its operation.
Streamside logging shall be conducted in accordance with all applicable laws, and subject to the following:
Selected trees may be cut within 50 feet of any stream. However, no tops or slashes may be left within such area.
A fifty-percent canopy must be maintained within the fifty-foot buffer zone from the stream.
Streams may not be crossed at any time unless an appropriate permit is obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
A minimum distance between a stream and any road or skid trail shall be maintained at 50 feet plus four feet for each 1% of slope (i.e., a twenty-percent slope between road/trail and stream would require a one-hundred-thirty-foot buffer area).
All public roadways shall be kept clean and free of mud and debris.
Prior to opening the entrance to a logging site onto a Township road, a driveway opening permit shall be obtained by the applicant.
At any point of approved access to a public road, the applicant shall construct an aggregate base to support the roadway edge.
No vehicles utilized in the logging operation shall be parked within a public right-of-way.
No tops or slash shall be left within 100 feet of a public right-of-way.
No trees may be cut within any Township right-of-way unless the applicant obtains the written consent of the Township for such cutting.
All logging operations shall comply with any and all applicable Township, county, state and federal laws, including but not limited to:
Erosion and sedimentation control regulations contained in 25 Pennsylvania Code, Chapter 102, promulgated pursuant to the Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. § 691.1 et seq.).
Stream crossing and wetlands protection regulations contained in 25 Pennsylvania Code, Chapter 105, promulgated pursuant to the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act (32 P.S. § 693.1 et seq.).
Stormwater management plans and regulations issued pursuant to the Storm Water Management Act (32 P.S. § 680.1 et seq.).
Municipal Planning Code Act of 1986 (P.L. 805, No. 247, as reenacted and amended).
This article shall be enforced by the Township Zoning Officer. The Zoning Officer may request and shall receive, so far as may be necessary in the discharge of his duties, the assistance and cooperation of the police and all other municipal officials exercising jurisdiction over property being harvested or harvesting operations.
The Zoning Officer and assistants described above, upon the showing of proper credentials and in the discharge of their duties, may enter upon any property at any reasonable hour, where timber harvesting is reported, proposed or being conducted, and no person shall interfere with such entry.
The Zoning Officer may revoke a timber harvesting permit theretofore issued in the following instances:
Where he finds that there has been any false statement or misrepresentation as to a material fact in the application, plan or information on which issuance of the permit was based.
Where he finds that the permit was issued in error and should not have been issued in accordance with applicable law.
Where the permittee fails or refuses to comply with a written order issued by the Zoning Officer within the time fixed for compliance therewith.
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate or fail to comply with a written order or notice of violation issued by the Zoning Officer, or with any of the provisions of this article or conditions of the timber harvesting permit, shall be subject to the appropriate penalties set forth in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II.