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City of Easton, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
The following environmental control and protection standards are established to protect the public health, safety and welfare by minimizing adverse environmental impacts and are specifically authorized by § 604 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Code, 53 P.S. § 10604, as enacted and amended. These standards are intended to meet the following purposes:
(1) 
Promote and implement §§ 603(c)(7), 603(g)(2), and 604(1) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Code, 53 P.S. §§ 10603(c)(7), 10603(g)(2) and 10604(1), providing for the protection and preservation of environmentally sensitive areas and natural resources through municipal zoning ordinances.
(2) 
Define and delineate selected environmental resources within the City and establish resource protection standards to assist the City in reducing the impact proposed uses will have on the environment.
B. 
Any use in existence prior to the effective date of this chapter which does not conform to the additional standards set forth in this article shall be considered nonconforming and shall be subject to the provisions of Article X, Nonconformities.
A. 
It is the intent of this article to ensure that critical features of the environment are protected from pollutants and other degradation. To achieve this, all applications shall be accompanied by an impact assessment and mitigation report in accordance with Article XXXIV. Such statement shall clearly indicate that the provisions of the City governing land, noise, water and air quality, and land use, etc., will be met. In addition, all applicable regulations, laws, ordinances and statutes of the City, state and federal governments shall be met. No application shall be approved until such impact report is approved by the City.
B. 
No use or activity established after the effective date of this chapter which transmits or receives electrical or electromagnetic waves or signals shall adversely affect the operation of any equipment beyond its lot lines.
C. 
No use or activity established after the effective date of this chapter shall direct or reflect heat or glare, whether from lights or from high-temperature processing such as welding or otherwise, beyond its lot lines.
D. 
No use or activity established after the effective date of this chapter shall produce any vibration which is discernible without the aid of instruments beyond its lot lines.
A. 
Floodplain.
(1) 
Resource protection standards. Areas identified as being within the boundaries of the floodplain shall not be regraded, filled, built upon, channeled, or otherwise altered or disturbed except in conformance with Article XXV, (FH) Flood Hazard Overlay District.
B. 
Steep slopes.
(1) 
Resource protection standards. Areas identified as being within the boundaries of the Steep Slope Conservation District shall not be regraded, filled, built upon, channeled, or otherwise altered or disturbed except in conformance with Article XXVI, (SSC) Steep Slope Conservation Overlay District.
C. 
Wetlands.
(1) 
Delineation. The applicant shall delineate the limits of wetlands on the site in accordance with the following:
(a) 
A full wetland delineation report conducted by a qualified wetland biologist, soil scientist, or environmental professional of demonstrated qualifications shall be submitted to the City. If there is a question as to the accuracy of the wetland delineation report, the City may hire a qualified consultant to review the delineation and recommend revisions, at the applicant's expense.
(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 hydrologic indicators. Methods used in the delineation report shall be acceptable to the City Engineer.
(c) 
The wetland report shall include a determination of whether wetlands are present or not present on the site and a full delineation, area measurement (in square feet), and description of any wetlands determined to be present.
(2) 
Resource protection standards.
(a) 
Any applicant proposing a use, activity or improvement which would entail the regrading or placement of fill in wetlands shall provide the City with proof that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (Bureau of Dams and Waterway Safety and Bureau of Water Quality Management) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been contacted to determine the applicability of state and federal wetland regulations. The applicant shall concurrently provide to the City a copy of the application and any other wetlands information submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
(b) 
Wetlands shall not be regraded, filled, piped, diverted, channeled, built upon, or otherwise altered or disturbed except where state or federal permits have been obtained.
(c) 
Existing wetlands shall not be used for stormwater management except where the wetlands are highly degraded and a mitigation program is provided.
D. 
Wetland buffer.
(1) 
Except as noted below, no more than 20% of a wetland buffer shall be regraded, filled, built upon, or otherwise altered or disturbed.
(2) 
The following uses or activities shall be permitted in the wetland buffer and shall not be counted towards the twenty-percent disturbance allowance:
(a) 
Regulated activities permitted by the commonwealth.
(b) 
Provision for unpaved trail access.
(c) 
Selective removal of hazardous or invasive alien vegetative species.
(d) 
Vegetation management in accordance with an approved landscape plan.
(e) 
A soil or stream conservation project approved by the Northampton County Conservation District.
E. 
Riparian buffers.
(1) 
Delineation. For purposes of this chapter, riparian buffers shall be divided into two zones:
(a) 
Zone 1: Inner Riparian Buffer. This zone begins at the top of each stream bank of an identified watercourse and occupies a margin of land with a minimum width of 35 feet measured horizontally on a line perpendicular to the edge of the water at the top of the defined bank, as reviewed and approved by the City Engineer. Where very steep slopes (25% and over) are located within 35 feet of a watercourse, Zone 1 shall extend the entire distance of this sloped area.
(b) 
Zone 2: Outer Riparian Buffer. This zone begins at the outer edge of Zone 1 and occupies a maximum width of 35 feet in addition to Zone 1.
[1] 
In cases where Zone 1 extends beyond 35 feet due to the presence of very steep slopes, the width of Zone 2 shall be adjusted so that the total riparian buffer width equals a total width of 70 feet.
[2] 
Where the entire width of the Zone 2 riparian buffer is not wooded, the outer edge, up to the maximum seventy-foot width, shall be maintained as a filter strip of dense grass or other features to provide sediment filtering, nutrient uptake, and convert concentrated flow to uniform, shallow sheet flow.
(c) 
Measurements for the Zone 1 boundary are to be made horizontally, perpendicular from the following reference points: edge of stream bank of perennial streams, center line of intermittent streams, and mean water level of lakes and ponds. Measurements for the Zone 2 boundary are to be made horizontally, perpendicular from the boundary of the environmentally sensitive lands (see Diagrams 5-1, 5-2).
Diagram 5-1
Diagram 5-2
Diagrams 5-1 and 5-2 Notice: Diagrams are for illustration purposes and are not to be construed as the operative language of the Zoning Ordinance. The obligations are governed only by the written standards set forth in this chapter.
(2) 
Resource protection (see Diagram 5-3).
(a) 
Zone 1 riparian buffer: Except as noted below, no land disturbance, shall be permitted within the Zone 1 riparian buffer.
[1] 
Regulated activities permitted by the commonwealth.
[2] 
Provision for trail access.
[3] 
Selective removal of hazardous or invasive alien vegetative species.
[4] 
Vegetation management in accordance with a landscape plan approved in accordance with Article XXX.
[5] 
A soil or stream conservation project, including reforestation and stream bank stabilization, approved by the Northampton County Conservation District.
Diagram 5-3
Diagrams 5-3 Notice: Diagrams are for illustration purposes and are not to be construed as the operative language of the Zoning Ordinance. The obligations are governed only by the written standards set forth in this chapter.
(b) 
Zone 2 riparian buffer. Except as noted below, no more than 35% of a Zone 2 riparian buffer shall be regraded, built upon or otherwise altered or disturbed.
[1] 
Those activities permitted in the Zone 1 riparian buffer shall be permitted in the Zone 2 riparian buffer and shall not count towards the thirty-five-percent disturbance limit.
(c) 
Prohibited uses in a riparian buffer.
[1] 
Clear cutting of trees and other vegetation.
[2] 
Selective cutting of trees and other vegetation, except where such clearing is necessary to prepare and for an approved land development or subdivision application and where the effects of these actions are mitigated by revegetation.
[3] 
Removal or disturbance of vegetation that is inconsistent with erosion control.
[4] 
Storage of any hazardous or noxious materials.
[5] 
Use of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and/or chemicals in excess of prescribed industry standards.