In developing a forest conservation plan, the applicant shall give priority to techniques for retaining existing forest on the site.
If existing forest on the site subject to a forest conservation plan cannot be retained, the applicant shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Department:
How techniques for forest retention have been exhausted.
Why the priority forests and priority areas specified in the Natural Resources Article, § 5-1607(c), of the Annotated Code of Maryland, cannot be left in an undisturbed condition.
If priority forests and priority areas cannot be left undisturbed, the sequence for afforestation or reforestation will be followed in compliance with the Natural Resources Article, § 5-1607, of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
Where on the site in priority areas afforestation or reforestation will occur in compliance with the Natural Resources Article, § 5-1607, of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The applicant shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Department that the requirements for afforestation or reforestation on site or off site cannot be reasonably accomplished if the applicant proposes to make a payment into the local forest conservation fund instead of afforestation or reforestation.
Nontidal wetlands. A regulated activity within the net tract area that occurs wholly or partly in areas regulated as nontidal wetlands under the Natural Resources Article, §§ 8-1201 through 8-1211, of the Annotated Code of Maryland, and COMAR 08.05.04 is subject to both the nontidal wetlands regulatory requirements and the requirements of this chapter, subject to the following:
Any area of forest in the net tract area, including forest in nontidal wetlands that is retained, shall be counted towards forest conservation requirements under this chapter.
For the purpose of calculating reforestation mitigation under this chapter, a forested nontidal wetland permitted to be cut or cleared and required to be mitigated under COMAR 08.05.04 shall be shown on the forest conservation plan and subtracted on an acre-for-acre basis from the total amount of forest to be cut or cleared as part of a regulated activity.
Nontidal wetlands shall be considered to be priority areas for retention and replacement.
Editor's Note: See now Environment Article, §§ 5-901 through 5-911.
A preliminary forest conservation plan shall be prepared and signed by a licensed forester, a licensed landscape architect or a qualified professional who meets the requirements stated in COMAR 08.19.06.01B.
Except for subdivisions of five lots or less, for minor development projects and projects where a simplified delineation applies on a tract, a preliminary forest conservation plan shall:
Be submitted with a preliminary plan of subdivision, County project plan or site plan, and prior to the submission of a grading permit or sediment control application.
Include the forest stand delineation for the site.
Include a table that lists the proposed values of the following, in square feet:
Include a clear graphic indication of the forest conservation provided on the site drawn to scale, showing the location of existing forest cover, limits of the net tract area, areas of proposed forest clearing and areas where retention of existing forest or afforestation or reforestation is proposed.
Show the proposed limits of disturbance.
Preliminary subdivision plans using open space for off-site forest conservation easements must first be approved by the Planning Commission as part of the preliminary plan process.
The review of the preliminary forest conservation plan shall be concurrent with the review of a site plan, County project plan or preliminary subdivision plan.
During the different stages of the review process, the preliminary forest conservation plan may be modified, provided that the Department approves of the changes.
A final forest conservation plan shall be prepared and signed by a licensed forester, a licensed landscape architect or a qualified professional who meets the requirements stated in COMAR 08.19.06.01B.
A final forest conservation plan shall:
Include the submitted or approved stand delineation, as applicable, and the approved preliminary forest conservation plan or the information required for a preliminary forest conservation plan when a preliminary forest conservation plan is not required.
With construction or improvement plan drawings prior to or simultaneously with submission of a final subdivision plan.
With an application for a site plan, after the approval of the preliminary forest conservation plan, if applicable.
With an application for a grading permit, after approval of the preliminary forest conservation plan, if applicable.
With an application for sediment control approval, after approval of the preliminary forest conservation plan, if applicable.
Show proposed locations and types of protective devices to be used during construction activities to protect trees and forests designated for conservation.
Include a proposed construction timetable showing the sequence of forest conservation procedures.
Show proposed stockpile areas.
Submit a narrative.
In the case of afforestation or reforestation, include an afforestation or reforestation plan, with a timetable and description of needed site and soil preparation, species, size and spacing to be used.
Incorporate a binding two-year maintenance agreement specified in COMAR 08.19.05.01 that details how the areas designated for afforestation or reforestation will be maintained to ensure protection and satisfactory establishment, including:
Incorporate a long-term binding protective agreement as specified in COMAR 08.19.05.02 that:
Provides protection for areas of forest conservation, including areas of afforestation, reforestation and retention.
Limits uses in areas of forest conservation to those uses that are designated and consistent with forest conservation, including recreational activities and forest management practices that are used to preserve forest.
Incorporates conservation easements, deed restrictions, covenants and other agreements as required.
Include the information required on a forest stand delineation.
Include a tie-down method for the easement, i.e., metes and bounds or distances and angles.
Other information the Department determines is necessary to implement this chapter.
Within 45 calendar days after receipt of the final forest conservation plan, the Department shall notify the applicant whether the forest conservation plan is complete and approved.
If the Department fails to notify the applicant within 45 calendar days, the plan shall be treated as complete and approved.
The Department may require further information or extend the deadline for an additional 15 calendar days under extenuating circumstances.
At the request of the applicant, the Department may extend the deadline under extenuating circumstances.
The Department's review of a final forest conservation plan shall be concurrent with the review of construction or improvement plan drawings, a site plan, a grading permit application, a sediment control application associated with the project or a final plat for a project associated with the project, whichever shall first occur.
The Department may revoke an approved forest conservation plan and assess a penalty if it finds that:
A provision of the plan has been violated;
Approval of the plan was obtained through fraud, misrepresentation, a false or misleading statement or omission of a relevant or material fact; or
Changes in the development or in the condition of the site necessitate preparation of a new or amended plan.
The Department may issue a stop-work order against a person who violates a provision of this chapter or a regulation, order, approved forest conservation plan or maintenance agreement.
Before revoking approval of a forest conservation plan, the Department shall notify the violator, in writing, and provide an opportunity for an informal administrative review hearing.