[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Lower Burrell 4-11-1994 by Ord. No. 5-1994. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- LOGGING or TIMBER HARVESTING
- Such terms are used interchangeably herein, and are 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 homeowner 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 City grading, erosion and sedimentation, stormwater management, subdivision or land development regulations.
The Mayor and Council find, based on prior experience within the City, that:
Much of the land within the City is forested and hilly.
Uncontrolled stormwater runoff has contributed to flooding problems in many City watercourses.
Improper logging can result in uncontrolled and dangerous stormwater runoff and erosion.
Improper logging can result in damage to roads, drains 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 City and result in the reduction of property values in the City.
Long-term production of timber can increase property values, provide continued employment in logging within the City, and help control stormwater runoff and erosion.
Logging operations within the City of Lower Burrell on any parcel of property over one acre in size shall require a permit.
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 chapter 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 § 270-6 of this chapter.
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.
An application for a logging permit shall be filed with the City Timber Harvesting Administrator (hereinafter referred to as the "Administrator") at least 30 days prior to the commencement of logging.
The application shall be on a form prescribed by the City 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.
An erosion and sedimentation control plan and a stormwater management plan describing all stormwater management and erosion control measures to be taken and the location of any stormwater or erosion control devices or facilities. (Westmoreland County Conservation District review may be required by the City.)
A survey of the parcel or parcels of property upon which the logging will be conducted, which shows:
A map showing the route loaded vehicles will travel over City streets.
The Administrator shall forward the application to the City Engineer for review. In reviewing the application, the City Engineer shall consider the impact of the proposed logging operation upon stormwater runoff, erosion, watercourses, roads and drains. In particular, the City Engineer shall consider the extent to which the application addresses and complies with the 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; City erosion and sedimentation control ordinance and Westmoreland County Conservation District.
The City Engineer shall make a recommendation in writing to the Administrator approving or disapproving the logging plan and stating the reasons therefor.
Within 90 days after filing of the application, the 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 chapter. The applicant shall be informed in writing of the reasons for such conditions.
Requests for a variance from the rules and regulations of this chapter shall be considered by the Administrator in accordance with the following procedures:
A variance may be granted from the requirements of this chapter 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 chapter shall be granted that would cause a public or private nuisance or result in violation of the 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 Encroachment Act, 32 P.S. § 693.1 et seq.; the Stormwater Management Act, 32 P.S. § 680.1 et seq.; or any other applicable City ordinance or state or federal laws. If such is found to be occurring, the applicant will be in violation of this chapter and subject to the remedies set forth in §§ 270-8 and 270-9 of this chapter.
The Administrator shall forward all applications for variances to the City Engineer who shall review the applications, with a copy to the Mayor and Council. The Engineer, in conducting his review, shall consider the factors referenced at § 270-4D of this chapter and may consider the guidelines provided in the Pennsylvania Forestry Association's publication entitled "New Timber Harvesting Guidelines," and the Department of Environmental Protection's publication entitled "Controlling Erosion and Sedimentation from Timber Harvesting Operations," and any other publications setting forth commonly accepted guidelines for the timber harvesting industry. As a result of the Engineer's review, the City Engineer may request additional information including, but not limited to, the following:
A detailed erosion and sedimentation plan prepared pursuant to 25 Pa. Code, Chapter 102.
Proof of approval of harvesting plan from the county and/or the Commonwealth Department of Environmental Protection.
The City Engineer shall, within 30 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 City Engineer's recommendation and any comment(s) received from the Mayor and Council, 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 chapter.
Whenever a decision on a variance is made, the Administrator shall notify the applicant and the Mayor and Council in writing of such decision.
Any person aggrieved by a permit or variance decision may file an appeal within 30 days to the Mayor and Council, who shall hold a hearing thereon pursuant to the Local Agency Law and may affirm, modify or reverse the decision appealed from.
Editor's Note: See 2 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 551 et seq. and 751 et seq.
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 City 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 trees 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. 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 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 roadways/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 located in residential zones.
No tree may be cut which is the largest of its species in the state.
All soil or debris washed or otherwise deposited 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 within 40 feet, measured horizontally, from an adjacent property line, unless the owner thereof has provided a written waiver consenting to the operation encroaching closer that 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.
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 City as obligee in the amount of $500 per acre to guarantee restoration of the property logged or of other property, including City streets, damaged by the logging operation. In lieu of the bond, other securities acceptable to the City, 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 twenty-five-acre parcel, and upon issuance of a permit extension by the Administrator to proceed to the next twenty-five-acre area, the bond or other security posted shall be acceptable security for the continuing timber harvesting operation.
When a permit is issued, the applicant shall also reimburse the City for reasonable fees charged by the City Engineer for reviewing the application if in excess of the processing fee. Such fees shall be in accord with a written schedule of fees submitted by the City Engineer to the City.
City police officers or the Ordinance Officer 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 chapter. The bond shall also cover street damage.
If any logging is done in violation of this chapter, the City may do any or all of the following:
Bring action in court of 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 Mayor and Council within 30 days of notice of revocation.
Bring action before the Magisterial District Judge to impose penalties for violation.
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 plus costs and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.