Editor's Note: For additional regulations of the protection of land, see Chapter 17.
[Ord. No. 339 § 1]
The Township Committee does hereby decide and find that the woodlands are an important cultural, ecological, scenic and economic resource. Proper management of this resource will insure its maintenance for all forest benefits including but not limited to watershed protection, wildlife habitat, recreational aspects and aesthetics and also result in greater economic returns for harvested timber. The current yield of timber in the woodlands is below the region's potential because of fire, excessive cutting, and poor management.
The woodlands must be preserved, protected, enhanced and maintained. A forestry program is intended to meet these objectives by providing opportunities for the continuing uses of the Township's forest resources which are compatible with the maintenance of the environment. This can be accomplished by the improvement of the forests through the application of sound management practices.
[Ord. No. 339 § 2]
As used in this chapter:
- Shall mean the growing and harvesting of trees for commercial purposes.
- Shall mean a woody plant that has the potential to reach a height of at least ten (10) feet, has a single stem, and has a definite crown shape.
[Ord. No. 339 § 3]
Excepted from this chapter shall be:
Any tree located on a parcel of land one (1) acre or less in size on which a residence has been constructed or is being constructed (building permit issued).
Any tree growing on property actually being used as a nursery, garden center, Christmas tree plantation, or an orchard.
Any tree growing on land being used for sanitary landfill.
Any tree to be cut for personal use by the owner.
Any tree growing on a public right-of-way.
Any dead, diseased, or other tree that is likely to endanger life or property.
[Ord. No. 339 § 4]
Any landowner desiring to cut, remove, or harvest any tree for commercial purposes shall submit to the Zoning Officer a permit application which shall include a Harvesting Plan, which details the harvesting practices proposed to be employed, including but not limited to, the following:
Location and size of tracts.
Owner's name, address and telephone number.
Map of the property showing wetlands, types of vegetation cover, area to be harvested, receiving waters, location of stream crossings and alternatives, location of skid trails, location of access roads and landings, cutting boundaries, and size of filter or buffer strips.
Description of area to be harvested should include: acreage, general soil types and erodibility; range of percent of slope; timber quality and age (forest type, species, age, DBH, height, volume, and reproduction), and understory.
Description of timber to be harvested (number of trees, species, diameter classes and volume) and the reason/purpose for the timber to be harvested (e.g. to obtain cordwood, pulpwood, lumber, etc.).
Description of regeneration plans. In no event shall the wood cut and/or harvested from any parcel of land larger than five (5) acres be more than that parcel of land can regenerate in one (1) growing season.
Description of intermediate management practices to be applied during or after harvesting.
The total area of any proposed woodcutting for which a permit is sought cannot exceed ten (10) contiguous acres, regardless of the size of the tract of land involved. No requests for a woodcutting operation/permit shall involve more than two (2) separate tracks or parcels of land as shown on the current tax map of the Township.
No single applicant or property owner in any one (1) calendar year shall be issued.
More Than Two (2) Permits for Ongoing Woodcutting Operations at Any One Time. Issuance of further permits shall be depended upon the Zoning Officer's certification that woodcutting for one or both of the current permits has been completed in a satisfactory manner as provided herein and such certification shall not be unreasonably withheld.
More than a total of three (3) permits regardless of the acreage involved in any one or all three (3) permits.
During any one (1) calendar year only one (1) woodcutting permit may be issued for any one (1) tract or parcel of land regardless of the parcel or tract size, ownership or the applicant involved.
[Ord. No. 339 § 5]
Forest vegetation represents a unique and financially valuable part of the essential character of the Township. If properly managed, forests represent significant economic opportunities to their owners while perpetuating the overall ecological value of the Township. This chapter encourages commercial forestry that will maximize forest land values and provide for the long-term economic and environmental integrity of the Township. Forestry shall be authorized throughout the Township provided:
That access to land proposed for harvesting:
Follows previously established roads and trails to maximum extent practical.
Avoids wetland areas except as are absolutely necessary to harvest wetland species or to gain access to the harvesting site.
Avoids crossing streams with high and unstable banks and those with approaching slopes exceeding ten (10%) percent where alternative crossings exist.
That all activities during and after harvesting are carried out in a manner to avoid damage to stream banks and bottoms, erosion, and degradation of water quality, including the following:
Stream banks at crossings shall be stabilized during and after harvesting.
Culverts and bridges shall be temporary in nature.
Trees which serve to stabilize stream banks shall be retained; other trees shall be felled to avoid stream banks where practical and winched off such banks where felling occurs.
A fifty (50) foot vegetated buffer along streams, ponds, and marshes shall be maintained.
The use of active and intermittent stream channels for skidding of logs shall be prohibited.
Skidding shall not occur within fifty (50) feet of streams, ponds, lakes, and marshes, except for necessary crossings.
Accessways for forestry activities shall be located at least one hundred (100) feet from streams, ponds, lakes and marshes, where practical.
Landings shall be located in well drained areas where practical and at least two hundred (200) feet from ponds, lakes and marshes.
Filter strips shall be located between: harvested areas, landings, and skid trails; and streams, ponds, lakes and marshes.
Water diversion devices shall be installed as necessary to control erosion.
Keep roads and skid trails out of wet and poorly drained spots.
Plan carefully for the protection of slopes exceeding thirty (30%) percent.
Landowner notifies the Township when harvesting is to commence once application is approved.
That only those trees which have been selected for harvesting are cut; that all trees are cut to the base; and all practical steps are taken to minimize damage to undesignated trees.
That at the conclusion of any harvesting operation:
All areas disturbed for access, processing, moving or loading trees shall be regraded to approximate natural slopes and that water diversion devices are installed as necessary in order to avoid erosion.
All accessways shall be closed and devices installed, such as poles, pilings or beams that will preclude use of the accessway.
Bare ground areas shall be stabilized with vegetation and replantings where necessary.
All debris shall be removed from streams.
All nonvegetative refuse shall be collected
All hanging trees shall be removed.
That harvesting and reforestation activities shall ensure the regeneration of the harvested forest.
That harvesting and reforestation in Atlantic white-cedar and hardwood swamps is conducted in the following manner:
Atlantic white-cedar will be cut and managed to create site conditions favorable to regeneration of Atlantic white-cedar.
Reforestation to ensure Atlantic white-cedar regeneration will involve control of competitive hardwood species.
Existing streams shall be cutting boundaries where practical.
Harvesting methods employed shall be those which minimize environmental damage including the use of winches, corduroy roads, and helicopters.
Harvesting will occur to the greatest extent practical during dry periods or when the ground is frozen.
That proposed activity does not involve the draining or filling of wetlands.
[Ord. No. 339 § 6]
Work shall be performed in compliance with the submitted Harvesting Plan and shall adhere to the standards in Section 18-5. Any change will require the submission of a new or revised Harvesting Plan. The permit shall be valid for a period not to exceed one (1) year.
[Ord. No. 339 § 7]
An applicant for a woodcutting permit shall deposit with the Zoning Officer prior to the issuance of a woodcutting permit a sum of money equal to seventy-five ($75.00) dollars per acre. The money is in addition to the application fee required. The monies so deposited shall be held by the Township to assure conformance with the provisions of this chapter and the permit issued for the proposed woodcutting operation. If the woodcutting is carried out in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, the approved plan and the permit issued, then all monies deposited, except the application fee paid, shall be refundable in full to the applicant.
Upon receipt of the monies, the Zoning Officer shall deposit same with the Township Treasurer who shall deposit the funds in an escrow account. Release of the monies shall be through the normal voucher system employed by the Township after application by the applicant for release of funds and after certification by the Zoning Officer that the woodcutting was properly carried out, which certification shall not be unreasonably withheld. Failure of the applicant to properly undertake or perform as required, shall mean forfeiture of the monies so deposited and the Township Treasurer shall turn the funds over to the Township as fees collected for deposit in the General Fund of the Township and to be used for reforestation projects within the Township and/or to clean up the property where the applicant improperly performed.
An applicant can request in writing the transfer monies deposited to the woodcutting escrow account in connection with one (1) permit application for another permit application once the original application for which the monies were deposited have been certified by the Zoning Officer to be satisfactorily complete and the permit expired or terminated as the case may be. Such transfer shall not affect the calculation of the amount which must be so deposited for the "new" application as set forth hereinabove.
[Ord. No. 339 § 8]
A stop work order shall be issued by the Zoning Officer if noncompliance with the submitted Harvesting Plan is evident or if there is nonadherence to the standards in Section 18-5. The stop order will remain in effect until the Township has determined that resuming work will not violate the conditions of the submitted Harvesting Plan and the requirements set forth in this chapter. The penalty for non-compliance with the submitted Harvesting Plan shall be the forfeiture of the financial security/performance security.
[Ord. No. 339 § 9]
A fee schedule will be determined to adequately cover the administrative costs of this chapter. The fee shall be included with the permit application. The fee shall be twenty-five ($25.00) dollars for the first acre involved in the application and five ($5.00) dollars for each additional acre or portion thereof involved in the application.
[Ord. No. 339 § 10; New]
Any person, business, corporation, partnership or other entity violating any provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be liable to the penalty stated in Chapter 1, Section 1-5, with a minimum penalty established of one hundred ($100.00) dollars in the discretion of the Judge of the Municipal Court.