Borough of Fox Chapel, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
A notice of proposed environmental disturbance shall be filed for any environmental disturbance to be undertaken within the Borough of Fox Chapel unless it has been reviewed by the Environmental Review Disturbance Committee (ERDC) and it has been determined by the ERDC that the filing of the notice of proposed environmental disturbance is not required. The notice shall be considered at the first EAC meeting after the 28th day following the filing of the notice.
B. 
For an environmental disturbance involving a subdivision, the following procedures shall apply:
(1) 
The notice shall be filed with the Borough at least 28 days prior to the EAC meeting date, and copies shall be transmitted to the EAC.
(2) 
The notice shall be considered part of the preliminary subdivision application and shall be governed by the applicable submission and review time schedule of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (Chapter 380).
(3) 
When the subdivision involves more than 10 acres or involves land designated for future public acquisition, the notice shall be accompanied by an environmental report.
C. 
For an environmental disturbance involving an application for a building permit, the following procedures shall apply:
(1) 
The notice shall be filed with the Borough at least 28 days prior to the EAC meeting date, and copies shall be transmitted to the EAC.
(2) 
The notice shall be considered part of the building permit application.
(3) 
When the building permit application involves a site that exceeds 10 acres or involves land designated for future public acquisition, the notice shall be accompanied by an environmental report.
D. 
For an environmental disturbance not involving a subdivision or building permit application, the following procedures shall apply:
(1) 
The notice shall be filed with the Borough at least 28 days prior to the EAC meeting date, and copies shall be transmitted to the EAC.
(2) 
When the disturbance involves more than 10 acres or involves land designated for future public acquisition, the notice shall be filed at least 60 days prior to the intended initiation of said disturbance and shall be accompanied by an environmental report.
A. 
For any proposed environmental disturbance defined by § 363-20B(3) or D(2)above, an environmental report shall be filed concurrently with the notice of proposed environmental disturbance.
B. 
In addition, an environmental report shall be filed when:
(1) 
The EAC has determined, based upon its review of the notice of proposed environmental disturbance and its consideration of the various factors and standards set forth in this part, that the environment could be significantly affected irrespective of potential beneficial impacts; or
(2) 
The EAC has determined that such additional information as may be contained in the environmental report is necessary to properly evaluate all of the relevant environmental impacts which might be associated with the proposed environmental disturbance.
C. 
Where the disturbance in Subsection B(1) or (2) above involves a subdivision or building permit application under the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (Chapter 380) or the Zoning Ordinance (Chapter 400), the report shall be considered part of that application and shall be governed by the applicable submission and review requirements of that chapter. Where such disturbance does not involve a subdivision or building permit application, the environmental report shall be filed within a time period consistent with the complexities and potential environmental impacts involved with the proposed environmental disturbance. Unless otherwise ordered by Council, the proposed disturbance may not be initiated sooner than 60 days following the submission of the environmental report to Council in accordance with Subsection B(1) and (2) above.
Within 10 working days of the filing of an environmental report, the Borough shall give notice of such filing in the following manner:
A. 
It shall publish notice of the filing of the environmental report in a newspaper of general circulation among the residents of the Borough of Fox Chapel. The notice shall identify the land on which the environmental disturbance is proposed, by street address or other convenient means of disclosing to the public the location of the property in question, and shall specify from whom further information can be obtained; and
B. 
It may give notices of the filing of an environmental report to any particular persons, agencies and organizations on a regular basis upon a showing of a significant interest in the subject matter and upon the payment of a reasonable fee, as deemed necessary, to cover administrative costs. The notice of proposed environmental disturbance, and the environmental report if one is filed, shall be made available for public inspection at the Borough Building during regular business hours. Copies may be obtained by any member of the public upon the payment of the copying costs.
A. 
Written comments. Any interested persons, whether or not a resident of the Borough of Fox Chapel, who may be interested in, affected by, or technically competent to comment on the impacts of the proposed environmental disturbance may submit written comments to the Fox Chapel Borough Council regarding any notice of proposed environmental disturbance or environmental report filed. Comments submitted shall be as specific, substantive and factual as possible. The comments need not conform to any particular format but should be organized in a manner consistent with the structure of the notice or report. Comments should be directed to the assessment of the environmental impacts of the proposed disturbance and the acceptability of those impacts on the quality of the environment, particularly as contrasted with the impacts of reasonable alternatives or modifications to the disturbance. Modifications or new alternatives to the proposed disturbance that will enhance environmental quality and avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts may be recommended. Written comments received by Council prior to any decision by it with regard to the proposed disturbance shall be furnished to the EAC and to the developer and filed with the notice of report. Comments received and filed shall be evaluated carefully by Council and considered in its decision process.
B. 
Public hearings.
(1) 
Where Borough Council determines that it would be advantageous to hold one or more public hearings regarding a proposed environmental disturbance, particularly where significant public interest and controversy exists, as may be evidenced by written comments filed with Council in accordance with Subsection A of this section, and where additional input from various sources may assist Council in its decision with regard to the proposed disturbance, Council may, in its discretion, hold such a hearing or hearings or delegate the EAC to hold such hearing. If a hearing is held, the following procedures shall apply:
(a) 
At least five days in advance of the date set for the hearing, Council shall publish notice of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation among the residents of Fox Chapel Borough, post a copy of the notice prominently at the Borough Building, and shall give notice individually to the developer, abutting owners and the owners of any land within 500 feet of the boundaries of the land upon which the subject disturbance is proposed, each person who has filed written comments on the notice of proposed environmental disturbance or environmental report with Council, and any other person that has filed a request to receive notices of hearings in general, in accordance with § 363-22B above.
(b) 
The notice shall give the time and place of the hearing, contain a statement describing the subject matter of the hearing, and specify from whom additional information can be obtained.
(c) 
The hearing shall be held before the EAC or the Borough Council.
(d) 
Any person desiring to be a witness at the hearing and give testimony relevant to the subject matter of the hearing shall file with the Borough Manager, no later than the day preceding the hearing date, a signed written statement giving his name and address. The presiding body shall, to the greatest extent possible, give all persons who timely file the aforementioned statement the opportunity to offer testimony but may impose reasonable limitations on the number of witnesses heard and on the nature and length of their testimony, particularly where one person can adequately present the viewpoint of a group of persons with similar interests.
(e) 
All testimony at the hearing shall be under oath or affirmation, administered by the presiding officer.
(f) 
A record of the hearing shall be made by a court reporter or sound recording, and any person shall have the opportunity to review the transcript or listen to the recording at any reasonable time. The record shall be maintained for a period of six months after the decision is rendered by Council.
(2) 
In deciding whether a public hearing is appropriate, Council shall consider:
(a) 
The magnitude of the proposed disturbance in terms of economic costs, the geographic area involved, and the uniqueness or size of the commitment of the resources involved;
(b) 
The degree of interest in the proposed disturbance, as evidenced by requests that a hearing be held;
(c) 
The complexity of the issues and the likelihood that information will be presented at the hearing which will be of assistance to Council in reaching a decision; and
(d) 
The extent to which public involvement already has been achieved through other means, such as written comments filed with Council.
A. 
The Fox Chapel Borough Council, in consultation with the EAC, shall evaluate all information and data contained in any notice of proposed environmental disturbance and environmental report filed in accordance with the provisions of this part and shall make a determination of what the potential environmental impacts and community benefits associated with the proposed disturbance are likely to be, or how the impacts are proposed to be mitigated, and whether, on balance, the probable net benefit from the proposed land disturbance will exceed the probable net detriment as evidenced by foreseeable unmitigated adverse environmental impacts. In making its determination, Council shall consider all of the data and information contained in the notice, environmental report, if one has been filed, and the written comments filed with Council. It shall also consider all viewpoints and information presented at any hearing or hearings which may have been held pursuant to § 363-23 of this part. In reaching its decision, Council shall give thorough consideration to each of the factors set forth in this section, to each of the applicable standards set forth in §§ 363-16 through 363-18 of this part, and to such other factors as may be relevant to the particular environmental disturbance under consideration.
B. 
Council shall consider the following factors in reaching a decision in accordance with this section:
(1) 
Conformity with the goals and objectives of relevant federal, state and county statutes and regulations and with Fox Chapel Borough ordinances, most particularly conformity with standards in §§ 363-16 through 363-18 of this part;
(2) 
Conformity with federal, state, county, regional or local land use plans;
(3) 
Impacts on the natural and scenic features and natural resources of the Borough, including air, water, forests, soils, floodplains, geology, slopes, wildlife and wildflower habitats, and the extent to which the impacts will be minimized and/or mitigated;
(4) 
Suitability of those areas of the site proposed for disturbance, and the prospect for alternative locations on the same site, from the standpoint of the natural resources or features involved;
(5) 
Designation of area for public acquisition;
(6) 
Reduction of existing or potential open spaces, including adjacent public park area and agricultural lands;
(7) 
Potentiality of increased stormwater runoff and erosion and reduced aquifer recharge, minimization of these impacts and their effects on vegetation and water quality and quantity; and
(8) 
Environmental effect on public service facilities, capacities and transportation.
A. 
Council shall approve a proposed environmental disturbance if it determines that:
(1) 
There are no potential adverse environmental impacts associated with the proposed disturbance;
(2) 
The potential adverse environmental impacts are proposed to be fully mitigated; or
(3) 
The potential community benefits to be derived from the proposed disturbance outweigh any potential adverse environmental impacts which might occur.
B. 
As a condition to approval, Council may restrict or limit the proposed disturbance, or impose such changes or modifications in the design, planning or implementation of the proposed disturbance, including modifications in the construction and operation of any structures or facilities which may be located thereon, as may be deemed necessary to eliminate, reduce or otherwise mitigate any adverse environmental impacts. No approval based on such conditions shall be deemed to have been granted until the conditions are agreed to in writing by the developer. Where the developer's written concurrence is not provided within the prescribed time period, Council shall be deemed to have denied approval.
C. 
Approval shall become void if the work is not commenced and substantially completed within a period of one year, except as otherwise provided by law.
A. 
Council shall deny approval of a proposed environmental disturbance for reasons of inadequate information whenever:
(1) 
It has rejected a notice of proposed environmental disturbance for inadequate information and an environmental report has not been filed by the developer at the time specified by this part;
(2) 
It has rejected an environmental report for inadequate information and the developer has failed to file an acceptable environmental report within 30 days of such rejection or such other greater period of time as may be necessary and as Council may allow; or
(3) 
A notice of proposed environmental disturbance or environmental report has otherwise not been prepared or submitted in accordance with this part, except that in such a case the developer shall be given timely notice of any defect in preparation or submission and a reasonable opportunity to correct such defect.
B. 
Whenever Council shall deny approval of a proposed environmental disturbance in accordance with the provisions of this section, it shall do so in writing as per § 363-26D below, as if it had denied approval of the proposed disturbance on the basis of an assessment of the environmental impacts and community benefits.
C. 
Council shall deny approval of a proposed environmental disturbance unless it determines that:
(1) 
There are no potential adverse environmental impacts associated with the proposed disturbance;
(2) 
The potential adverse environmental impacts are proposed to be fully mitigated; or
(3) 
The potential community benefits to be derived from the proposed disturbance outweigh any potential adverse environmental impacts which might occur.
D. 
In the event that Council denies approval of a proposed environmental disturbance in accordance with the provisions of this section, it shall notify the developer in writing and state the reason for the denial. The applicant may appeal any adverse recommendation of the Environmental Advisory Council to the Borough Council, which may consider alternate methods, standards or materials proposed by the applicant.