[Ord. 1862, 12/30/1996, § 1]
LOGGING AND TIMBER HARVESTING — The terms "logging" and "timber harvesting" are used interchangeably herein, and defined as the act of cutting and removing trees and all activities related thereto, for cordwood, for lumber, for pulp or for any commercial purpose, excepting therefrom a landowner cutting on his own property for his own use, the cultivation and harvesting of Christmas trees, or the clearing for development of building sites where such development is otherwise subject to the Township grading, landfill, excavation, subdivision or land development regulations.
- TOWNSHIP TIMBER HARVESTING ADMINISTRATOR or ADMINISTRATOR
- The Township representative appointed by the Board of Commissioners to administer this Part.
[Ord. 1862, 12/30/1996, § 2]
The Board of Commissioners finds, based on prior experience with the Township that:
Much of the forested land within the Township is hilly and/or close to streams or lakes and roads.
Uncontrolled stormwater runoff can contribute to flooding problems in watercourses or on public streets.
Improper logging can result in uncontrolled and dangerous stormwater runoff and erosion.
Improper logging can result in damage to roads, drains, public utilities and watercourses.
Improper logging can result in a fire hazard from logging debris.
Improper logging can ruin the natural beauty and environment of land within the Township and result in the reduction of property values in the Township.
Long-term production of timber can increase property values, provide continued employment in logging within the Township, and help to control stormwater runoff and erosion.
[Ord. 1862, 12/30/1996, § 3]
Logging operations within the Township of Harrison on any parcel of property over one acre in size shall require a permit.
B.=2, On parcels of 25 acres or more, a permit shall be issued for a maximum of 25 acres at one time, and may be extended to permit logging operations on a contiguous area of up to 25 acres upon finding by the Administrator that all requirements of this Part have been met, including payment of permit extension fees and charges as fixed by resolution.
The logging contractor must notify the Administrator in writing at least one month in advance that he or she will be completing timber harvesting on any twenty-five-acre parcel, and desires a permit extension to continue harvesting additional acreage. Timely notice will expedite the review process and assure that timber harvesting continues without delay and proper security is provided pursuant to § 106 of this Part.
On parcels of 25 acres or less, a permit shall be granted for the entire parcel.
All permits or permit extensions issued under this Section shall be valid for a period of four months.
[Ord. 1862, 12/30/1996, § 4]
An application for a logging permit and 10 copies shall be filed with the Administrator at least 30 days prior to the commencement of logging.
The application shall be on a form prescribed by the Township and shall include at least the following information:
The name and address of all property owners.
The name and address of the logging operator.
The proposed starting and completion dates for the logging operation.
The description of the type of trees to be harvested.
A description of the method of logging.
Type and rate of seeding/mulching to be done to stabilize soil after logging and placement of same.
An erosion and sedimentation control plan as approved by the Allegheny County Conservation District.
A description of all stormwater management and erosion control measures to be taken and the location of any stormwater or erosion control devices or facilities.
A site plan of the parcel or parcels of property upon which the logging will be conducted, which shows:
The location of roads, drains and watercourses, water mains, storm sewers and sanitary sewers and other public utilities in the area of the logging operation.
The location of any road work, grading, logging trails or log landing areas proposed in connection with the operation.
The location of trees to be cut down and the acreage to be logged.
The application must be signed by an owner of the property and by the logging operator, if any, and shall contain the following representation:
The Township Logging Administrator shall forward the application to the Township Engineer for review and may also forward it to any appropriate government agency for review. In reviewing the application, the Township Engineer shall consider the impact of the proposed logging operation upon stormwater runoff, erosion, watercourses, roads, water mains, storm sewers, sanitary sewers, drains and other public utilities. In particular, the Township Engineer shall consider the extent to which the application addresses and complies with applicable standards:
For erosion and sedimentation control and stream crossing regulations under 25 Pa.Code, Chapter 102, Erosion Control Rules and Regulations, issued pursuant to the Clean Streams Law, and 25 Pa.Code, Chapter 105, Dam and Waterway Rules and Regulations, issued pursuant to the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act.
For stormwater management as set forth in the Stormwater Management Act and regulations issued pursuant thereto and in any Township stormwater management regulations.
The Township Engineer shall make a recommendation in writing to the Township Logging Administrator approving or disapproving the logging plan and stating the reasons therefor.
Within 20 days after filing of the application, the Township Logging Administrator shall issue or deny a permit. Denial shall be in writing with reasons for denial stated therein. Approval may be subject to reasonable conditions stated in writing upon the permit and intended to achieve the goals of this Part. The applicant shall be informed in writing of the reasons for such conditions.
Request for a variance from the rules and regulations of this Part shall be considered by the Administrator in accordance with the following procedures:
A variance may be granted from the requirements of this Part if the following criteria are met:
That there is good and sufficient cause based on physical circumstances, conditions or topography unique to the property.
That failure to grant the variance would result in unnecessary hardship to the applicant.
Any variance granted shall be the minimum variance necessary to relieve the hardship claimed as a basis for the variance.
No application for a variance requested under this Part shall be granted that would cause a public or private nuisance or result in violation of the Erosion and Sedimentation Rules and Regulations set forth at 25 Pa.Code, Chapter 102; the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law, 35 P.S. § 691.1 et seq; the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act, 32 P.S. § 6931 et seq; the Stormwater Management Act, 32 P.S. § 680.1 et seq, or any other applicable Township ordinance or State or Federal Law.
The Administrator shall forward all applications for variances to the Township Engineer who shall review the applications, with a copy to the Board of Commissioners. The Township Engineer, in conducting his review, shall consider the factors referenced at Subsection 4 of this Part and may consider the guidelines provided in the Pennsylvania Forestry Association's publication "New Timber Harvesting Guidelines" or similar publication, and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources publication entitled "Controlling Erosion and Sedimentation from Timber Harvesting Operations," and any other publications setting forth commonly accepted guidelines for the timber harvesting industry. The Township Engineer may request additional information to assist in his review.
The Township Engineer shall, within 20 days after he receives an application for a variance, and any additional information, make a written recommendation with respect thereto to the Administrator, stating the reasons for his recommendation. The Administrator shall consider the Township Engineer's recommendation and any comment(s) received from the Board of Commissioners, and shall grant or deny the variance.
The grant of a variance may be subject to reasonable conditions and safeguards necessary in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare, to protect public and private property and to achieve the objectives of this Part.
Whenever a decision on a variance is made, the Administrator shall notify the applicant and the Board of Commissioners in writing of such decision.
Any person aggrieved by a permit or variance decision may file an appeal within 30 days to the Board of Commissioners, who shall hold a hearing thereon pursuant to the Local Agency Law and may affirm, modify or reverse the decision appealed from. The Board of Commissioners may impose, as part of its decision, any conditions and safeguards necessary in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare or to protect private or public property and to promote the objectives of this Part. The Board of Commissioners, as part of its decision, may adjudicate constitutional law issues and may grant relief from any substantive requirement herein where full compliance with the requirement, due to unique physical conditions of the land to be logged, is not reasonably possible and where waiving the requirement will not result in significant adverse environmental consequences or in any violation of applicable laws or regulations.
[Ord. 1862, 12/30/1996, § 5]
Both the landowner and logging operator shall be responsible for compliance with the following operational requirements:
No property shall be clear cut.
All applications to harvest timber on a slope exceeding 25% shall conform to the following conditions:
All logging roads/skid trails shall be cut only horizontally across slopes; and no roads/skid trails may be cut vertically.
No timber harvesting shall take place in areas determined by the Township Engineer, with reference to published or commonly accepted guidelines, to be landslide-prone or flood-prone.
No tree with a diameter of 36 inches or more may be harvested, without written approval from the Administrator, based upon a finding that the harvest of such tree will not result in undue soil erosion, loss or movement. Trees with a diameter of 12 inches or less may be harvested only if such trees are cull trees or dead trees, and such harvesting will not result in clear cutting of the parcel under permit. The removal of trees with a diameter of 12 inches or less must be specifically approved by the Administrator based upon a finding that such removal will not result in clear cutting. The diameter of the tree shall be measured at 4 1/2 feet above ground level.
No log in excess of 24 feet in length shall be removed from the property.
Upon completing a timber harvesting operation, no replanting will be required within one year. After one year, the property owner shall inspect the property for evidence of new seedlings and provide the inspection results to the Administrator. If such inspection shows no evidence of seedling regeneration, the property owner shall replant the property with seedlings of similar nature, measuring a minimum of one foot in height, and in numbers determined by the Administrator to be reasonably adequate to protect the harvested property from undue soil erosion, loss or movement.
Treetops and other logging debris should not exceed seven feet in height above the ground surface.
All roadway/skid trails must be repaired to prevent soil erosion and sedimentation and to prevent pooling of stormwater.
Proper erosion and sedimentation control measures shall be taken on disturbed property to prevent accelerated water runoff.
No commercial sale of wood or logs shall be permitted on the property unless zoning approval is obtained.
No tree may be cut which is the largest of its species in the State.
All soil or debris washed onto public streets during logging shall be cleaned up each day. Where adjacent properties, public or private, have suffered erosion or accumulation of soil and debris as a result of logging, such conditions shall be promptly remedied.
No timber harvesting operation may take place with 40 feet measured horizontally from an adjacent property line, unless the owner has provided a written waiver consenting to the operation encroaching closer than 40 feet. A waiver shall be knowingly made and separate from a lease or deed unless the lease or deed contains an explicit waiver from the owner.
[Ord. 1862, 12/30/1996, § 6]
Prior to the commencement of a logging operation, the person who secures the logging permit shall post a bond written by a surety company authorized to do business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with the Township as obligee in the amount of $500 per acre to guarantee restoration of the property logged or of other property damaged by the logging operation. In lieu of the bond, other securities acceptable to the Township, such as cash, escrow arrangement or irrevocable letter of credit issued by a bank or savings and loan institution, may be posted. Upon completion of timber harvesting in any 25 acre parcel, and upon issuance of a permit extension by the Administrator to proceed to the next 25 acre area, the bond or other security posted shall be acceptable security for the continuing timber harvesting operation.
[Ord. 1862, 12/30/1996, § 7]
Payment of a nonrefundable fee for processing of a logging application shall accompany the application. The fee shall be as fixed by resolution of the Board of Commissioners.
When a permit is issued, the applicant shall also reimburse the Township for reasonable fees charged by the Township Engineer for reviewing the application. Such fees shall be in accord with a written schedule of fees submitted by the Township Engineer to the Township.
[Ord. 1862, 12/30/1996, § 8]
Township officers may enter upon the land in question before, during or after a logging operation in order to determine whether a logging application or operation complies with this Part.
If any logging is done in violation of this Part, the Township may do any or all of the following:
Bring action in court at law or in equity to prevent, restrain, correct, determine or abate such violation.
Revoke or suspend any logging license that has been granted, such action to be appealable to the Board of Commissioners within 30 days of notice of revocation.
Bring action before the District Justice to impose penalties for violation.
[Ord. 1862, 12/30/1996, § 9]
Any person violating this Part shall, upon conviction thereof before a District Justice, be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $600 for each violation and each day such violation continues may be considered a separate offense.
[Ord. 1862, 12/30/1996, § 11]
When provisions of this Part conflict with other applicable regulations, codes or laws the more stringent regulation or legislation shall apply. As is the case with all legislation, this Part is to be interpreted utilizing a rule of reason that will best allow for the attainment of the balance between the public and private interests this Part seeks to achieve. Furthermore, this Part is to be interpreted and applied, to the extent possible, so that it meets all Federal and State constitutional requirements and statutory requirements. If any aspect of this Part is finally determined to violate constitutional and/or statutory requirements, through the process of appellate litigation, that aspect of this Part shall be deemed excised or reformed to the extent necessary to cause the remainder of this Part to remain legally enforceable.