Borough of Media, PA
Delaware County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 6-21-2012 by Ord. No. 1094[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the deletion of former § 257-16, Steep slopes, which as an amendment to Ord. No. 495 was previously repealed on 12-15-2011 by Ord. No. 1091.
The purpose of this article is to expand upon the community development objectives associated with environmental protection. Further, the provisions of this article are designed to encourage the sensitive treatment of hillsides and the related soil and vegetation resources in an effort to minimize adverse environmental impacts. The following objectives serve to complement these specific purposes and the overall purpose of this article.
A. 
To conserve and protect slopes from harmful land disturbances such as excessive grading, landform alteration and extensive vegetation removal.
B. 
To avoid potential hazards to property and the destruction of ecological balance which may be caused by increased runoff, flooding, soil erosion and sedimentation, blasting and ripping of rock, landslide and soil failure.
C. 
To encourage the use of slopes for open space and other uses which are compatible with the preservation and protection of natural resources.
D. 
To combine with other zoning requirements, as an overlay of the existing Zoning Ordinance as it may be amended from time to time, certain restrictions for slopes to promote the general health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Borough.
E. 
To permit only those uses that are compatible with development of slope areas in order to avoid accelerated erosion, soil failure, accelerated seepage or other conditions which may create a danger to life and/or property.
F. 
To promote the ecological balance among those natural system elements, such as wildlife, vegetation and aquatic life, that could be adversely affected by inappropriate development of steep slope areas.
G. 
To prevent development that would cause excessive erosion and a resultant reduction in water-carrying capacity of the watercourses which flow through or around the Borough with the consequences of increased flood crests and flood hazards within the Borough and to both upstream and downstream municipalities.
H. 
To protect individual and adjacent landowners in the Borough and/or other municipalities from the possible harmful effects of inappropriate grading and development on steep slope areas.
I. 
To protect those individuals who choose, despite apparent dangers, to develop or occupy land with steep slopes.
J. 
To promote the provision of safe and reliable accessways, parking areas and utility systems serving development on or around steep slopes areas, where more sensitive grading and siting is essential.
K. 
Pursuant to the Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq., to assist in the implementation of pertinent state laws concerning erosion and sediment control practices, specifically Chapter 102 of the Clean Streams Law, P.L. 1978, and any subsequent amendments thereto and to implement Article 1, Section 27, of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which declares the right of the Commonwealth's residents to clean air, pure water and to the preservation of the natural scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CONSTRUCTION
The erection, addition, alteration, demolition, disturbance or removal of any building, structure or geographic feature.
DISTURB
To remove, strip, relocate, grade, excavate, cover, fill or otherwise directly or indirectly alter or destroy existing vegetative ground cover.
PERMISSIBLE DISTURBED AREA
That area which has been delineated on an approved construction plan as being land which may be disturbed subsequent to the plan approval upon issuance of a soil erosion and sedimentation control permit.
PERSON
Natural person, partnership, corporation, unincorporated association or other organization or entity.
WOODED AREA
That area of land on which sufficient tree masses grow such that the branches of trees intertwine.
No person shall use or alter any land in a Slope Conservation District except in compliance with the requirements of this article.
This article is not intended to repeal, abrogate or impair any existing zoning or subdivision regulations or land development regulations, easements, covenants or deed restrictions, except that to the extent this article imposes greater restrictions, the provisions of this article shall prevail. Furthermore, nothing contained in this article shall repeal, alter or impair in any way the provisions of Chapter 251, Stormwater Management.
A. 
The Slope Conservation District shall be comprised of areas of steep and very steep slopes as described in a topographic survey using elevation and distance based on an actual field survey by a registered engineer or surveyor and presented on a plan showing two-foot contour intervals with a horizontal scale of no more than 50 feet per inch. Such a topographic survey shall be required of any application for construction of a building or addition with a building footprint of 150 square feet in area.
B. 
The steep slope areas shall be comprised of areas with a slope of 15% or more but less than 25% as based on a site survey, where such slope exists for five contiguous contour intervals in any continuous horizontal distance of 50 feet based on a topographic survey showing two-foot contours (i.e., a difference of elevation over 7 1/2 vertical feet but less than 12 1/2 vertical feet over a distance of 50 horizontal feet).
C. 
The very steep slope areas shall be comprised of areas with slopes of 25% or greater, where such slope exists for five contiguous contour intervals in any continuous horizontal distance of 50 feet based on a topographic survey showing two-foot contours (i.e., a difference in elevation of 12.5 vertical feet or greater over a distance of 50 horizontal feet).
D. 
The Slope Conservation District Map shall be considered an overlay to the Borough Zoning Map. The following provisions shall apply in a Slope Conservation District:
(1) 
The district will have no effect on the permitted uses within the underlying zoning district, except where such uses are intended to be located within the boundaries of the Slope Conservation District, are in conflict with the use regulations set forth in § 311-159, Permitted uses, in which case the latter shall apply.
(2) 
Should the Slope Conservation District boundaries be revised as a result of a legislative action or judicial decision, thereby removing lands from such district, the zoning requirements applicable to the land in question shall revert to the requirements of the underlying zoning district(s) without regard to the provisions of this article.
(3) 
Should the zoning classification(s) of any parcel or any part thereof within which the Slope Conservation District is an overlay be changed as a result of legislative action or judicial decision, such change(s) in classification shall have no effect on the boundaries of the Slope Conservation District.
A. 
Any application for construction in a Slope Conservation District shall include a contour map with two-foot contour intervals on a horizontal scale of no more than 50 feet to the inch. The map shall separately delineate slopes less than 15%, between 15% and less than 25%, and slopes greater than or equal to 25%. The contour information on such map shall be derived from actual field topographic surveys which shall be referenced in the application.
B. 
The contour map described in Subsection A hereof shall be reviewed by the Borough Planning Commission and the Borough Engineer. The applicant shall be required to follow all regulations of this article for those areas which reflect steep-slope and very-steep-slope conditions.
The following uses shall be permitted in Slope Conservation Districts:
A. 
Areas of very steep slopes (25% or greater).
(1) 
Uses permitted by right:
(a) 
Agricultural uses that do not require cultivation, construction or the use of structures.
(b) 
Conservation and recreational uses not requiring construction or the use of structures, such as parks; hiking and bridle paths; woodlands; nature sanctuaries, refuge and conservation areas; and other such noncommercial conservation and passive recreational activities.
(c) 
Utility easements and rights-of-way.
(d) 
Yard setbacks required in the underlying zoning district, provided that no earthmoving activities occurs within the Slope Conservation District in connection with grading or construction activities for structures located outside the Slope Conservation District.
(2) 
Uses permitted when authorized as a special exception.
(a) 
Conservation and recreational uses, including those requiring construction or the use of structures.
(b) 
Cultivation and agricultural uses, including those requiring construction or the use of structures.
(c) 
Sealed water supply wells.
(d) 
Accessory uses and structures customarily incidental to uses described in Subsection A(1)(a) and (b) hereof.
(e) 
Road or access driveways to provide access to a permitted use if the Zoning Hearing Board determines no alternative alignment or location is feasible.
(f) 
Front, rear and side yard setbacks required by the underlying zoning district on any lot or tract where grading or construction activities for structures located outside the Slope Conservation District is necessary.
(3) 
Prohibited uses and structures.
(a) 
Cut and fill, other than in association with any uses identified in Subsection A(1) hereof and in Subsection A(2) when authorized as a special exception.
(b) 
Soil, rock or mineral extraction, other than in association with any used relating to Subsection A(1) hereof and in Subsection A(2) when authorized as a special exception.
(c) 
Removal of topsoil.
(d) 
On-lot sewage disposal systems.
(e) 
Dumps, junkyards and other outdoor storage of refuse material and discarded or abandoned vehicles.
(f) 
Stormwater management facilities, other than in association with any uses identified in Subsection A(1) hereof and in Subsection A(2) when authorized as a special exception.
B. 
Areas of steep slope (15% to less than 25%).
(1) 
Uses permitted by right in § 311-159A(1) of this article.
(2) 
Uses permitted when authorized as a special exception.
(a) 
Any use or structure identified in Subsection A(2) hereof.
(b) 
Sanitary sewer and sewage pumping stations.
(c) 
Accessory uses customarily incidental to any uses described in this subsection; and accessory uses customarily incidental to any uses permitted in Subsection B(1) hereof.
(d) 
Road or access driveways to provide access to a permitted use if the Zoning Hearing Board determines no alternative alignment or location is feasible.
(3) 
Prohibited uses and structures.
(a) 
Cut and fill, other than in association with any uses related to Subsection B(1) and (2) hereof.
(b) 
Soil, rock and mineral extraction, other than in association with any uses related to Subsection B(1) and (2) hereof.
(c) 
Removal of topsoil.
(d) 
Dumps, junkyards or other outdoor storage of refuse materials and discarded or abandoned vehicles.
A. 
Permissible disturbed area. Except as provided in Subsection B hereof, no person shall directly or indirectly disturb vegetative ground cover on more than the following percentages of each classification of land within the Slope Conservation District of the property for which zoning relief or approvals as a special exception are required when taken as a whole:
Slope Classification
Maximum Permissible Disturbance Area
Very steep slope
5%
Steep slope
15%
The above-referenced allowable percentages of disturbance do not apply if the area of steep slope disturbance is less than 300 square feet or the area of very steep slope disturbance is less than 100 square feet.
B. 
The restrictions in Subsection A hereof shall not apply to disturbances of soil for agricultural or food production purposes.
C. 
No person shall disturb vegetative ground cover in any Slope Conservation District without first having submitted to the Borough and having obtained the Borough's approval of a soil erosion and sedimentation control plan which satisfies the requirements of Chapter 251, Stormwater Management, of this Code. Any person permitted to disturb vegetative ground cover pursuant to this section shall keep the amount of disturbed vegetative ground cover to an absolute minimum, consistent with the objectives of other Borough ordinances and regulations.
D. 
In no event shall the Borough give approval to disturb vegetative ground cover in any Slope Conservation District in an amount greater than the percentages set forth in Subsection A hereof or when located outside the permissible disturbed area.
A. 
No person shall undertake grading, disturbing or earthmoving of land within a very steep slope district except as provided in this article. Grading or earthmoving within a steep slope district shall be permitted, provided that such grading or earthmoving does not create earth cuts or fills with a vertical dimension in excess of 10 feet, unless grading or earthmoving is a necessary element of any approved overall landscape plan for providing visual screening by earth berms or where it is required for the construction of retention ponds or similar environmental protection uses.
B. 
Finished slopes of all earthmoving shall not exceed a slope of three horizontal to one vertical unless the applicant demonstrates that such slopes can be adequately stabilized and maintained as part of an application filed pursuant to § 311-162, Application for approval.
A. 
All applications for approval for use of land which is included in whole or in part within the Slope Conservation District pursuant to this article shall include submission of the following materials and information:
(1) 
Location, dimension and elevation of the property.
(2) 
Existing and proposed uses and development including access drives.
(3) 
Existing and proposed contours at two-foot intervals.
(4) 
Location and boundaries of steep slopes and very steep slopes as described herein above.
B. 
The following additional information shall be submitted as deemed necessary by the Borough Zoning Officer or the Borough Engineer for the evaluation of the impact of the proposal:
(1) 
Typical cross-sections and elevations of the property and proposed structures at intervals described on a horizontal scale of 50 feet per inch and a vertical scale of five feet per inch.
(2) 
A description of existing land cover characteristics of that portion of the property within the Slope Conservation District; such description shall indicate wooded areas, open non-wooded areas and the ground cover type in any areas with impervious surfaces. Proposed modifications to existing land cover shall also be indicated.
(3) 
Soil types of the land to be used for those portions of the land included within the Slope Conservation District; soil types shall be further qualified relative to the subsurface horizons of the soil. The applicant may be required to consult the United States Soil Conservation Service for its comments and submittal to the Borough.
(4) 
Photographs showing existing uses, vegetation and topography of areas within the Slope Conservation District.
(5) 
A report describing the slope, soil and vegetation characteristics of that portion of the property within the district. Such report shall also describe the proposed type and method of proposed construction, the type of foundation systems to be employed, the proposals for landscaping, sewage disposal and water supply. Further, the report shall describe all sediment and soil control and stormwater management measures to be used as required by the Borough, the United States Soil Conservation District and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources and any and all additional engineering and conservation techniques designed to alleviate environmental impacts which may be created by proposed development activities.
(6) 
Such information as may be sufficient to meet the information needs of the Borough of uses and slopes within 200 feet adjoining the property involved, as well as sufficient information to evaluate the integration of usage(s) within the Slope Conservation District with the underlying zoning district.
A. 
In determining whether to grant a special exception for a structure or use of land located in a Slope Conservation District, the Zoning Hearing Board shall take into consideration the factors set forth in Article XVII, § 311-109B and the following:
(1) 
The relationship of the proposed use to the specific objective(s) set forth in § 311-153, Purpose.
(2) 
The standards set forth in other sections of this article.
(3) 
Whether abutting properties shall be adversely affected by possible runoff or erosion from the proposed use.
B. 
No special exception for a structure or use of land in a Slope Conservation District shall be granted unless it has been demonstrated by the applicant that:
(1) 
The proposed use or structure is of proper engineering design and that the footings are designed to extend to stable soil and/or bedrock.
(2) 
Proposed on-lot sewage disposal facilities shall be designed and installed in conformance with all pertinent standards of the Borough and of the Department of Environmental Resources.
(3) 
Proposed nonagricultural displacement of soil shall be undertaken only for purposes consistent with the goals and objectives of this article and shall be executed in a manner that shall not cause excessive erosion or create other unstable conditions.
(4) 
Surface runoff of water shall not create unstable conditions, including erosion. Stormwater drainage facilities and/or systems shall be constructed where the proposed use shall or is likely to create conditions requiring such facilities.
(5) 
No other alternative location is feasible or practical for the proposed use.
(6) 
Earthmoving activities and vegetation removal shall be conducted only to the extent necessary to accommodate the proposed uses and structures and in the manner that shall limit as far as practical surface runoff, erosion or sedimentation or unstable soil conditions. Any and all reasonable mitigation techniques and procedures shall be utilized.