Town of Elmira, NY
Chemung County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Elmira 4-20-1998. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 73.
Open burning — See Ch. 87.
Farming — See Ch. 113.
Noise — See Ch. 145.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 198.
Zoning — See Ch. 217.
The purpose and intent of this chapter is to promote the health and safety of the residents of the Town of Elmira by protecting the natural environment as affected by timber harvesting. The Town recognizes that the timber resource in the Town is a renewable resource of significant value and may be harvested. The Town also recognizes that if the timber harvesting practices are poorly carried out they can result in significant environmental damage to the land and to adjacent lands, waters, and roads. Thus, this chapter is intended to regulate those harvesting activities that most readily affect the environment, such as stream crossings and the location of landings, haul roads and skid trails, particularly to control soil erosion and sediment-laden runoff, and to encourage the use of professional forest management expertise in the preparation and evaluation of timber harvests.
[Added 8-19-2013 by Res. No. 107-13; amended 1-23-2014 by Res. No. 56-14]
The primary impacts from logging include the potential for: erosion and sedimentation from improperly designed and constructed logging roads, skid trails, log landings and stream crossings; visual impacts from the removal of trees, presence of logging roads and existence of slash; noise impacts associated with the actual harvesting; and traffic impacts associated with the movement of logging trucks to and from the site. However, the harvesting of forest products also produces many social benefits. Logging operations which are properly conducted result in the improvement of wildlife habitat by increasing "edge" and providing diversity of cover types. Roads constructed for timbering also provide access to areas previously inaccessible, thereby increasing recreational opportunities. Properly managed timbering makes use of a renewable resource providing wood products and fuel. Logging also provides direct and indirect jobs in areas that are often economically depressed. The potential negative impacts from timber harvesting can be minimized or avoided through the use of proper management techniques. The following management techniques shall be required on each logging operation:
A. 
Streams and water.
(1) 
Check and comply with all requirements of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation about special regulations that apply to logging along wild, scenic and recreational rivers.
(2) 
Check and comply with all requirements of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for advice and approval about crossing classified streams.
(3) 
Cross streams by the most direct route and avoid crossing at bends and pools. Any skidding across streams shall be with bridging or pipes. Only trucks can cross streams. (A "stream" shall be considered any watercourse with defined banks.)
(4) 
Find crossing sites that have low, stable banks, a firm stream bottom and gentle slopes along the approaches.
(5) 
Use temporary culverts, bridges or runways where stream bottoms or banks would be otherwise damaged, and remove them after use.
(6) 
Do not skid up and down stream channels, including intermittent streams.
(7) 
"Clear cutting" shall be considered all trees being removed with a diameter of two inches at a height of 4 1/2 feet above the ground.
(8) 
Avoid cutting trees growing within 10 feet of the stream banks. Help keep the banks in place and maintain shade over the water, where possible.
(9) 
Keep skidders back at least 50 feet from water and winch any logs that lie closer to the bank, wherever conditions permit.
B. 
Roads and skid trails.
(1) 
After logging, regrade roads and primary skid trails and install diversion devices as needed.
(2) 
Provide ways to divert running water off roads and primary skid trails.
(3) 
Do not run ditch water directly into a stream. Stop roadside ditches before a stream crossing and divert the water into the woods.
(4) 
Any litter resulting from any logging operation shall be cleaned up and removed from the site before it is vacated by the operator.
(5) 
No loading or skidding of logs shall take place in the municipal right-of-way without the permission of the Highway Superintendent.
(6) 
Provide for the careful protection of slopes exceeding 30% grade.
(7) 
Winch logs off steep slopes where possible and minimize the number of skid trails and the amount of skidder traffic.
(8) 
Log steep slopes during dry weather when soils are dry, or log when the ground is frozen and snow covered, wherever practical.
(9) 
Keep roads back from streams, ponds and marshes.
(10) 
Keep roads out of low spots and poorly drained places.
(11) 
Set landings back at least 200 feet from streams, ponds, lakes, marshes and municipal roads, where location dictates.
C. 
Roadside along major travel corridors.
(1) 
Keep logging slash off the right-of-way of public roads.
(2) 
Comply with New York fire laws.
(3) 
If logging along a major travel corridor is not screened by a hill, high bank or other topography, maintain a scenic buffer strip along the roadside.
(4) 
Keep skidders back in the woods and off rights-of-way, keeping road banks from getting rutted and helping to keep skid trails out of sight, wherever possible.
(5) 
Direct felled trees so the tops land away from the road.
(6) 
Pull down hung-up or partly fallen trees, and fell bent-over and broken-off trees.
(7) 
Use care in skidding to protect understory vegetation.
(8) 
Keep in mind that trees standing directly at the edge of the wood provide the best screening.
D. 
In order to ensure that the proposed activity is consistent herewith, a Town representative shall review and approve each work site. The Town representative also has the authority to impose additional site-specific conditions, if deemed necessary.
A. 
Prior to the start of any timber harvesting operation, the property owner shall register with the Town.
B. 
Exclusions from registration:
(1) 
The clearing of land for rights-of-way for utilities, except that said clearing shall comply with accepted forest management practices.
(2) 
The harvesting of trees by the owner for the personal use of the owner.
(3) 
The harvesting of trees by the owner for sale of not more than 5,000 board feet of lumber or 10 full cords of firewood in any calendar year from January 1 to December 1.
(4) 
Trees removed for site preparation for construction or land development which has been approved by the Town Board or Town Planning Board.
(5) 
The harvesting of Christmas trees.
A. 
The following shall be provided to the Town:
(1) 
A registration fee of $30.
(2) 
Name, address and telephone number of the property owner(s).
(3) 
Names, address and telephone number of the harvester.
(4) 
Name, address and telephone number of consultant forester, if any.
(5) 
Number of acres to be harvested, harvesting dates, type of harvest, stream crossings, other permits required.
(6) 
Book and page of deed for property and Tax Map number.
(7) 
A sketch map to scale, showing:
(a) 
The boundaries of the property.
(b) 
The access roads into the property.
(c) 
The area within which the logging operation will occur.
(d) 
The location of the product loading area.
B. 
The registration form shall be signed by the property owner(s) and the harvester.
C. 
At the time of registration, the Town shall provide the timber harvesting guidelines of the Town, as may have been promulgated by the Town Board, and the responsibilities of the owner and/or harvester upon completion of the timber harvesting operation.
D. 
Review of the registration by the Town Highway Superintendent.
E. 
The Town will require surety for performance, in a form satisfactory to the Town, by the harvester and/or property owner in the amount of $50 per acre or a minimum of $1,000 to ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter. The maximum amount of any such bond shall be $5,000. Upon completion of harvesting activities, and compliance with all provisions of this chapter, as certified by a written statement from the Code Enforcement Officer, the security shall be returned. In the case of noncompliance with this chapter, the Town Board shall utilize the security or such portion thereof as may be necessary to ameliorate such noncompliance.
A. 
The harvester and/or the property owner shall include with the registration proof of current liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 and keep it in force during the life of the harvesting contract.
B. 
The harvester shall include with the registration proof of workers' compensation and disability coverage.
A. 
Within 10 days after the receipt of the completed registration, unless the time is extended by mutual consent, the Code Enforcement Officer shall review the registration certificate and advise the property owner that the registration has been accepted for filing and he may proceed with the logging operation.
B. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall review all registrations and shall submit a copy of the decision to the Town Board. If review by the Town Board is required under any section herein, the Code Enforcement Officer shall refer the registration to the Town Board.
C. 
The Town Board shall review the registration:
(1) 
When the applicant has been cited for a violation of this article within five years prior to the date of the request for registration.
(2) 
When a waiver of any of the provisions of this article or guidelines of operation has been requested, except when the Code Enforcement Officer determines that the waiver is insignificant.
(3) 
When a registrant seeks an interpretation of this chapter.
(4) 
When the operation of the registrant does not meet the standards set under the generic determination of environmental significance which may have been issued by the Town.
D. 
The Town Highway Superintendent may require posting of any additional bond to protect the Town roads, in an amount to be established by the Town Highway Superintendent.
E. 
Any bond held hereunder shall be released within 10 working days after the reclamation has been completed, inspected, and approved by the Code Enforcement Officer. Inspection shall be conducted within 10 days of notice that the operation is complete.
A. 
This chapter shall be enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer appointed by the Town Board.
B. 
Any person registering hereunder or person or persons authorizing or consenting to such registration shall be deemed to have authorized the Code Enforcement Officer or his designee to enter upon the premises at any reasonable time for the purpose of inspecting the same. Said officer shall be authorized and have the right in the performance of his duties to enter upon any property proposed to be harvested, in the process of being harvested, or in the process of being reclaimed after harvesting to make such inspections as are necessary to determine satisfactory compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Such entrance and inspection shall be initiated at a reasonable time, upon notice to the harvester and property owner, and in emergencies whenever necessary to protect the public interest. Owners, agents or harvesters on a property being harvested shall be responsible for allowing walking access to appropriate parts of the premises within their control to the Code Enforcement Officer or his inspectors, acting in accordance with the requirements of this provision.
C. 
It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer to investigate all complaints made under this chapter, and to take appropriate legal action on all violations of this chapter.
D. 
As part of the registration, the applicant shall submit to personal jurisdiction of all matters of violation under this chapter to the Town Justice of the Town of Elmira.
A. 
Upon determination by the Code Enforcement Officer that there has been a violation of any provision of this chapter, he shall serve upon the property owner, the owner's representative or the harvester a written stop-work order directing that conditions therein specified be brought into compliance within three working days after the serving of such order. Work that is in compliance shall be permitted to continue while violations are brought into compliance.
B. 
Where violations cannot reasonably be corrected within three days and where the violator has demonstrated good faith efforts to comply, said time period may be extended by the Code Enforcement Officer for not more than 30 days.
C. 
If, after the expiration of such period or any extension thereof, the conditions are not corrected, the Code Enforcement Officer shall serve written notice upon the owner and the harvester suspending the registration and requiring them to appear before the Town Justice of the Town.
D. 
The Town Justice may, after a hearing at which the testimony and witnesses of the Code Enforcement Officer and violator shall be heard, call for compliance within 30 days. If compliance is not achieved, a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000 may be imposed for each violation cited.
Whenever a registration has been suspended or is restricted or suspended, the Town shall, personally or by certified or registered mail, serve notice upon the harvester, property owner and consulting forester, if any, which shall state that: "The registrant may request an appeal hearing before the Town Board by delivery of a written request therefor to the Town Clerk within seven days of personal service or 10 days after service by certified or registered mail." A request for a hearing shall be signed by the party requesting the hearing and shall state his address, that a hearing is requested and the facts and law relied upon. The hearing shall be held at the next regularly scheduled Town Board meeting unless sooner scheduled. If scheduled at a time other than at the next regularly scheduled Town Board meeting, the Town shall give the appealing party at least five days' written notice of the time and place of the hearing, but the appealing party may waive the notice provision by filing a written waiver thereof with the Town Clerk.
It shall be grounds for suspending, restricting, or conditioning a registration that any harvester, property owner, or any person connected or associated with the registrants as a partner, director, officer, stockholder, general manager, or person who is exercising managerial authority of or on behalf of the registrant or acting under the authority of such registrant:
A. 
Violated any provisions of this chapter or other applicable statutes, codes, rules or regulations pertaining to the harvesting of trees for commercial use, or violated any of the restrictions or conditions placed upon the harvesting operation of the registrant.
B. 
Made any false, misleading or fraudulent statement of a material fact in the registration or any report or record required to be kept or filed with the Town.
C. 
Operated the tree harvesting in a manner so as to be detrimental to the health, welfare and safety of the public.
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Code Enforcement Officer may take an appeal to the Town Board. Any determination by the Town Board under this chapter may be appealed to the Supreme Court under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.