Township of New Garden, PA
Chester County
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[Added 2-25-2013 by Ord. No. 195]
The following natural resource conservation standards are established to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by minimizing adverse environmental impacts. These standards are intended to meet the following purposes:
A. 
Define and delineate selected natural resources within the Township and establish natural resource protection standards to assist the Township in reducing the impact proposed uses will have on such resources.
B. 
Conserve valuable natural resources within the Township in accordance with the following natural resources, water resources, and recreation and open space goals of the New Garden Township Comprehensive Plan (2005):
(1) 
To preserve and conserve the valuable natural and scenic resources of New Garden;
(2) 
To protect, enhance, and sustain the quality and quantity of water resources; and
(3) 
To preserve the aesthetic and recreational assets of the watersheds.
C. 
To ensure that greenway areas, as identified in the New Garden Township Greenways Plan and Phelps Property Plan (2009), are protected as important natural features for the benefit of the public.
A. 
General. It shall be a violation of this Article XXII to grade, fill, pipe, divert, channel, build upon, or otherwise alter or disturb a natural resource protected by this article.
B. 
Applications. The standards in this Article XXII shall apply to:
(1) 
Applications for permits involving:
(a) 
The addition to any parcel of 1,000 square feet or more of impervious cover; or
(b) 
Any earthmoving on any parcel that disturbs 5,000 square feet or more of land, exempting outdoor agriculture and any excavation regulated or permitted under a Pennsylvania mining permit.
(2) 
Zoning Hearing Board applications for special exception or variance.
(3) 
Applications for conditional use, subdivision or land development.
C. 
Utility easements. Routine maintenance of utility easements in accordance with a recorded easement agreement shall be exempt from the provisions of this article.
[Added 8-18-2014 by Ord. No. 213]
A. 
General.
(1) 
In the event the provisions of this article are in conflict with the provisions of any other Township ordinance, the most restrictive provisions shall apply.
(2) 
In the event that two or more natural resource areas identified in this article overlap, the most restrictive standards associated with such resources (i.e., the least amount of permitted alteration, grading, clearing or building) shall apply to the area of overlap.
(3) 
It shall be a violation of this Zoning Article XXII to grade, fill, pipe, divert, channel, build upon or otherwise alter or disturb a natural resource protected by this article prior to approval of applications for permits, where applicable; conditional uses or special exceptions; variances; or the approval of plans for subdivision or land development.
(4) 
Protection standards in this Zoning Ordinance § 200-179 shall apply before, during, and after construction on a site.
(5) 
Protection standards in this Zoning Ordinance § 200-179 shall apply based on the occurrence of identified resource areas at the time of adoption of this section. Disturbance permitted over time in multiple applications on the same lot or tract shall be measured against the same overall limitations established at the time of the first application after the adoption of this section. For example, if applicable disturbance limitations for a particular resource permit two acres of disturbance, and one acre of disturbance is permitted upon the first application after the adoption of this section, then only one acre shall remain to be permitted for future disturbance of the applicable resource regardless of the total number of applications over the years.
(6) 
The inclusion of information required by Zoning Ordinance § 200-180A shall be verified as complete and correct by the Township Engineer or other qualified professional as determined by the Township.
B. 
Floodplain. Areas identified as being within the boundaries of the Flood Hazard District shall comply with Article XII, Flood Hazard District, of this chapter. Floodplains shall be indicated on the plan as required by Zoning Ordinance § 200-180A.
C. 
Steep and precautionary slopes.
(1) 
Steep and precautionary slope areas shall be preserved by limiting disturbance as follows:
(a) 
Precautionary slopes. Up to 25% of the area of precautionary slopes may be graded, cleared, built upon or otherwise altered or disturbed.
(b) 
Steep slopes. Up to 10% of the area of steep slopes may be graded, cleared, built upon or otherwise altered or disturbed only for the following activities:
[1] 
Timber harvesting, when conducted in compliance with a timber harvesting plan approved by the Township. Clearcutting or grubbing of trees is prohibited on steep slopes.
[2] 
Grading for a driveway necessary for access to the principal use on a lot and sewer, water and other utility lines when it can be demonstrated that no other routing of such improvements is practicable.
[3] 
Hiking and riding trails, where developed so as to minimize potential erosion and follow existing topographic contours to the greatest degree practicable. Except where paving is required for stability purposes, trails shall be constructed of unpaved surfaces.
(2) 
A grading plan shall be provided identifying the existing contours of the site, proposed finished grades, the proposed location of all buildings and structures, and the percent of each category of slope to be disturbed.
(3) 
Finished slopes of permitted cut and fill shall not exceed 25%. All stockpiles of earth shall be seeded or otherwise stabilized when stored for more than 30 days.
(4) 
The applicant shall delineate the two categories of slopes (precautionary and steep) on the plan required by Zoning Ordinance § 200-180A.
D. 
Wetlands.
(1) 
Wetlands shall not be graded, filled, piped, diverted, channeled, built upon or otherwise altered or disturbed except where state or federal permits have been obtained and copies thereof are submitted to the Township.
(2) 
Any applicant proposing a use, activity, or improvement which would entail the grading or placement of fill in wetlands, shall provide the Township with proof that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (Southeast Regional Office) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers have been contacted to determine the applicability of state and federal wetland regulations. Any applicant contacted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection or the United States Army Corps of Engineers in regards to wetlands also shall concurrently provide to the Township a copy of such correspondence.
(3) 
Where permitted subject to applicable regulation and as otherwise provided herein, sewers or other liquid transport pipelines shall only be permitted to cross wetlands on the minimum traversal distance and where every precaution shall be taken to prevent leaks and to prevent any possible draining of the wetland (e.g., water flowing through or along any pipe or trench). At the expense of the applicant, the Township may require inspection of applicable systems and facilities, including but not limited to x-ray of steel welds and pressure testing of pipelines.
(4) 
Where wetland disturbance is permitted subject to applicable regulation on any lot or tract, no more than 10% nor more than one acre of any wetland area, whichever is less, shall be disturbed for any purpose. Any disturbance to or loss of natural wetlands shall be mitigated at the rate of one times the lost or disturbed wetland area in a manner approved by the Township. Mitigation may include creation of wetlands which shall be hydrologically fed with stormwater discharged from an approved stormwater management facility. Created wetlands may be located at a site approved by the Township for such mitigation, whether on or off the property that contains the wetland subject to disturbance. Where approved by the Township, some or a portion of any required wetlands mitigation, in lieu of wetland creation, may be accounted for through permanent conservation of other existing unprotected wetlands or by restoration of former wetlands (e.g., through removal of tile fields or other drainage facilities) by means satisfactory to the Township.
(5) 
The applicant shall delineate the limits of wetlands on the site in accordance with Zoning Ordinance § 200-180A. In addition, the following information shall be provided:
(a) 
A full wetland delineation report, conducted by a qualified wetland biologist, soil scientist, or environmental professional of demonstrated qualifications, whose qualifications shall be submitted to and subject to review and acceptance by the Township.
(b) 
Such a professional shall certify that the methods used correctly reflect the currently accepted technical concepts, including identification and analysis of wetland vegetation, hydric soils, and hydrological indicators.
(c) 
The wetland report shall include a determination of whether wetlands are present on the site and a full delineation, area measurement (in square feet), and description of any wetlands determined to be present.
(d) 
Where applicable, evidence that the contacts required by Zoning Ordinance § 200-179D(2) have been made.
E. 
Wetland margins.
(1) 
Except for regulated activities permitted by the commonwealth (e.g., permitted stream or wetland crossing or other permitted disturbance), provision for unpaved trail access, selective removal of hazardous or invasive plant species, or a soil conservation project approved by the Chester County Conservation District, no more than 20% of a wetland margin shall be graded, filled, built upon or otherwise altered or disturbed.
(2) 
The applicant shall delineate the limits of the wetland margins on the site in accordance with Zoning Ordinance § 200-180A.
F. 
Watercourses/riparian.
(1) 
Zone One: Except for regulated activities permitted by the commonwealth (e.g., permitted stream or wetland crossing), provision for unpaved trail access, selective removal of hazardous or invasive plant species, or a soil conservation project approved by the Chester County Conservation District, the Zone One riparian buffer shall not be graded, filled, built upon or otherwise disturbed. Vegetation, except as provided for above, shall not be removed.
(2) 
Zone Two: Except for the following activities, no more than 20% of a Zone Two riparian buffer shall be graded, filled, built upon, or otherwise altered or disturbed:
(a) 
Activities permitted in the Zone One riparian buffer.
(b) 
Timber harvesting, when conducted in compliance with a required timber harvesting plan. Clear-cutting of timber shall not be permitted within the riparian buffer.
(c) 
Vegetation management in accordance with an approved landscape or open space management plan.
(3) 
The applicant shall delineate watercourses and Zone One and Zone Two riparian buffers located on the site in accordance with Zoning Ordinance § 200-180A.
G. 
Woodlands and hedgerows.
(1) 
Disturbance allowance for woodlands and hedgerows:
(a) 
Unless undertaken as an approved timber harvesting operation conducted in compliance with the required timber harvesting plan, no more than 15% of woodlands and hedgerows shall be graded, cleared, built upon or otherwise altered or disturbed for any use, excluding outdoor agriculture conducted in conformance with Zoning Ordinance § 200-179G(1)(b), below. Where woodland and hedgerows overlap other protected natural resources, the more restrictive disturbance standard shall apply. When determining the total acreage and the degree of disturbance permitted, areas of woodlands and hedgerows shall be considered in combination as a single resource.
(b) 
No more than 40% of woodlands and hedgerows may be cleared for the purposes of clearing fields for agricultural/farm products, for outdoor agricultural uses (i.e., crop farming) and/or for the grazing of livestock or horses. However, the watercourse/riparian standards in Zoning Ordinance § 200-179F above shall be met.
(c) 
The requirements for removal and replacement of trees in § 170-49B of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance shall apply for all disturbance.
(d) 
Preserved woodlands and hedgerows may be incorporated in the vegetative screens and buffers required by the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.
(e) 
The Township may seek advice as needed from a qualified arborist to assist in the application of these woodland and tree protection standards.
(2) 
The applicant shall delineate woodlands and hedgerows on the plan required by Zoning Ordinance § 200-180A.
H. 
Rare species.
(1) 
With the exception of selective removal of hazardous or invasive vegetation, no rare species site shall be graded, filled, built upon or otherwise altered or disturbed.
(2) 
A thirty-five-foot buffer area, minimum, shall be provided around the entire perimeter of any rare species site within which no land disturbance shall be permitted. Said buffer area shall be increased if any federal or state agency requires a larger buffer area.
(3) 
The applicant shall delineate rare species areas on the plan required by Zoning Ordinance § 200-180A.
I. 
Exceptional natural areas.
(1) 
With the exception of those uses or activities listed below, and where not otherwise regulated more restrictively under the provisions of this chapter, no more than 10% of any exceptional natural area shall be graded, filled, built upon or otherwise altered or disturbed, except for the following purposes:
(a) 
Regulated activities permitted by the commonwealth (i.e., permitted stream or wetland crossing);
(b) 
Provision for trails;
(c) 
Selective removal of hazardous or invasive vegetation; or
(d) 
Vegetation management in accordance with an approved landscape plan or open space management plan.
(2) 
The applicant shall identify exceptional natural areas on the plan required by Zoning Ordinance § 200-180A.
A. 
Delineation of resources and plan information. In order to ensure compliance with the natural resource protection standards of this article, the following information shall be submitted for all applications subject to Zoning Ordinance § 200-178:
(1) 
A site plan, complying with the drafting standards in the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance § 170-20A and the site analysis plan in the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance § 170-20B(4) and, which delineates the limits of all natural resources on the site as regulated by this article and the proposed use of the site including any existing or proposed structures.
(2) 
The limits of all encroachments and disturbances necessary to establish the proposed use on the site, including a grading plan showing existing and proposed contours.
(3) 
The maximum buildable area and any areas reserved for on-lot sewage systems, as described in Subsection B, below.
(4) 
Calculations indicating the area of the site with natural resources and the area of natural resources that would be disturbed or encroached upon. The calculations shall be shown on the plan in table format, as follows:
Protected Resource1
A. Amount of Land in Protected Resource
(square feet)
B. Maximum Disturbance Allowance
(percent)
C. Maximum Area of Permitted Disturbance
(square feet)
D. Proposed Area of Resource Disturbance
(square feet)
Floodplain
0%
Slopes:
Steep (over 25%)
10%
Precautionary (15% - 25%)
25%
Wetlands
0%
Wetland margins
20%
Watercourses/ riparian:
Zone 1 buffer
0%
Zone 2 buffer
20%
Woodlands, hedgerows:
All uses (excluding agriculture)
15%
Agriculture
40%
Rare species
0%
Exceptional natural areas
10%
Total:
NOTES:
1
Where resources overlap, the overlapping area should be included for the more restrictive resource category.
B. 
Maximum buildable area.
(1) 
Purpose. The identification of a maximum buildable area serves to ensure that sufficient area is provided for the general location of the building, driveway, patio, on-lot sewage facilities (where applicable) and other necessary improvements and site alterations while meeting the natural resource protection standards of this article.
(2) 
Building area delineation. The applicant shall delineate on the plan a contiguous buildable area, free of protected resources, sufficient in size to accommodate proposed site improvements and which complies with the disturbance limitations of this article and other applicable codes and ordinances.
(3) 
On-lot sewage facilities delineation. For uses with individual on-lot sewage systems, the primary sewage system and a reserve or replacement area as required by the Chester County Health Department and Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act shall be identified, in addition to the minimum buildable area specified in Subsection B(2) above. Such areas shall not include the portion of those environmentally sensitive areas that may not be developed or intruded upon as specified in § 200-179.
C. 
Continued protection of identified natural resources. In order to ensure the continued protection of natural resources, the following requirements shall apply to Zoning Hearing Board applications for special exception or variance, and to applications for conditional use, subdivision and land development:
(1) 
Protected resources areas on individual lots:
(a) 
For resource protection areas on individual lots, restrictions meeting Township specifications shall be placed in deeds for each site or lot that has resource protection areas within its boundaries. Such restrictions shall also be included on the final recorded subdivision or land development plan when applicable.
(b) 
Deeds shall clearly state that the maintenance responsibility lies with the individual property owner. The restrictions shall provide for the continuance of the resource protection areas in accordance with provision of this article.
(c) 
Other mechanisms for ensuring the continued protection of identified resources may also be considered and used if approved by the Township.
(2) 
Protected resource areas held in common. Such resources shall be protected in accordance with Zoning Ordinance § 200-98, Open space requirements.
D. 
Modification to natural resource protection standards.
(1) 
For any use or activity subject to subdivision or land development review, modifications to the natural resource protection standards of Zoning Ordinance § 200-179 may be requested as part of such application, which modifications may be granted by the Board of Supervisors pursuant to the provisions of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance and subject to Subsection D(5) below.
(2) 
For any use or activity subject to application for approval of a conditional use, special exception, or variance, modifications to the natural resources protection standards of Zoning Ordinance § 200-179 may be requested as part of such application, subject to Subsection D(5) below; provided, however, that if the use or activity subject to approval of a special exception or variance before the Zoning Hearing Board is also subject to application for subdivision or land development review, approval of a conditional use, or the issuance of permits subject to Zoning Ordinance § 200-178A, the modification shall be requested before the Board of Supervisors and not the Zoning Hearing Board.
(3) 
For permit applications subject to compliance with this Zoning Article XXII, the Township Zoning Officer may waive the requirements for delineating resources on the plans required by Zoning Ordinance § 200-180A if the Zoning Officer determines that information on the application is sufficient to document that the proposed scope of work will meet with requirements of this Zoning Article XXII. The waiver of any requirement other than the delineation of resources on the plans shall be subject to conditional use approval under Subsection D(4) below. Said waiver approval or denial shall be issued by the Zoning Officer in writing, within 30 days of receiving a request from the applicant.
(4) 
For any use or activity subject to this article pursuant to Zoning Ordinance § 200-178 not otherwise subject to approval as provided in Subsection D(1) and (2) above, including the issuance of permits subject to Zoning Ordinance § 200-178A, modifications to the natural resources protection standards of Zoning Ordinance § 200-179 may be requested in the form of an application for grant of a conditional use by the Board of Supervisors, subject to Subsection D(5) below.
(5) 
In approving any application requiring modification to the natural resource protection standards of Zoning Ordinance § 200-179 as provided herein, the Board of Supervisors or Zoning Hearing Board, as applicable, as a condition of approval of such application, may permit specific modification to said standards, subject to the following:
(a) 
The Board of Supervisors or Zoning Hearing Board, as applicable, may grant a modification of the requirements of one or more provisions if the literal enforcement will exact undue hardship or be unreasonable because of peculiar conditions pertaining to the land in question, or if an alternative standard can be demonstrated to provide equal or better results. Further, the Board of Supervisors or Zoning Hearing Board, as applicable, shall find that such modification will be the minimum modification necessary, will not be contrary to the public interest and that the purpose and intent of this article is observed.
(b) 
All requests for a modification shall be in writing and shall accompany and be a part of the applicable application. The request shall state in full the grounds and facts of unreasonableness or hardship on which the request is based, the provision or provisions involved and the minimum modification necessary.
(c) 
If approval power is reserved for the Zoning Hearing Board, the request for modification shall be referred to the Board of Supervisors for advisory comments. In all cases, the request for modification may be referred to the Planning Commission for advisory comments.
(d) 
The applicant shall have the duty and burden of presenting evidence to the Board of Supervisors or Zoning Hearing Board, as applicable, in support of and justifying the requested modifications and demonstrating that such modifications will be the minimum modification necessary, will not be contrary to the public interest and that the purpose and intent of this article are observed.
(e) 
The request for modification shall not be granted if the effect of the modification is to exceed the maximum densities, building/structure coverages or impervious coverages allowed under this chapter.
(f) 
The Board of Supervisors shall keep a written record of all action on all requests for modifications.