[HISTORY: Adopted by the Legislative Council of the Town of Newtown 11-15-1983 (Reg. No. 8). Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in these regulations the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACCESS ROAD
- A roadway normally designed and intended for use by motor vehicles which provides access to or into forest land.
- An area measurement of 43,560 square feet, or approximately 208 feet by 208 feet.
- BEST AVAILABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
- Those silvicultural practices recommended or approved by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
- BORDER STRIP
- An area of variable width and length in which forest practices are restricted to provide a visual screen or to protect water quality.
- The Conservation Commission of the Town of Newtown, Connecticut.
- FORESTED LAND
- Land having a cover of trees and shrubs.
- FOREST PRACTICES
- Any activity which may alter the physical characteristics of any forested land, including, but not limited to, any activity involving or associated with the cutting of trees or harvesting of forest products.
- That portion of any lot or parcel of land covered or to be covered by any structure, including, but not limited to, septic systems and reserve area, wells, buildings, pools, and driveways.
- The identification of those trees to be harvested and/or to be left.
- PASTURE LAND
- Land devoted to the production of forage for livestock.
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, organization or legal entity of any kind, including any political subdivision of the state and excluding any federal or state agency.
- SIGNIFICANT IMPACT OR MAJOR EFFECT
- Any forest practice which may substantially alter the characteristics of any forested land, or wetland or watercourse associated with forested land.
- A machine used in moving logs from stump site to a landing, commonly rubber-tired.
- The act of moving logs from the stump site to a landing.
- SKID ROAD
- A main pathway normally intended for repeated use by a skidder to reach skid trails and where extensive exposure of soils can be expected from heavy traffic.
- SKID TRAIL
- A secondary pathway intended for use by a skidder to reach trees or groups of trees which have been cut and where extensive exposure of soils is not expected.
- The woody material or debris resulting from cutting trees and left on the ground after an area is logged.
- A large woody plant usually having one self-supporting stem or trunk, and numerous branches, normally expected to attain heights in excess of 20 feet, and having a stump diameter of at least four inches.
- Rivers, streams, brooks, waterways, lakes, ponds, marshes, swamps, bogs and all other bodies of water, natural or artificial, vernal or intermittent, public or private, which are contained within, flow through or border upon the Town of Newtown.
- Land, including submerged land, which consists of any of the soil types designated as poorly drained, very poorly drained, alluvial or floodplain by the National Cooperative Soils Survey of the Soil Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as it may be amended from time to time.
- YARDING AREA
- A cleared area to which trees are hauled by skidder for storage before transfer to trucks.
The following activities shall be exempt from the operation and effect of these regulations:
The cutting of trees by an owner or licensee for his or the licensee's own personal, noncommercial use.
Routine maintenance of roads, pasture land, easements, rights-of-way and the clearing of farm fence lines.
The clearing of homesites (as defined in § 329-2) to the extent that the clearing per homesite shall not exceed an area of more than three-quarters of an acre, not including the area for use as a driveway.
Christmas tree culture (Clearing in excess of one acre to establish a Christmas tree plantation is not exempt.).
Clearing of approved subdivision roads and public utility easements.
Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service cost-shared forestry projects.
Subject to the provisions of § 329-3 hereof, no person shall conduct or cause to be conducted any forest practice within the Town of Newtown until a permit is issued by the Commission.
Any person wishing to carry out forest practices shall submit an application to the Commission.
The day of receipt of any application shall be the day of the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Commission immediately following the day of submission to the Commission, or its agent, of such application, or 35 days after such submission, whichever is sooner, or the date on which a license has been granted, if earlier.
No application shall be deemed complete unless it shall be in such form and contain such information as the Commission deems necessary for a fair determination of the issues. The Commission shall inform all applicants of any such necessary information without delay.
If requested information is not received within six months of the date of request, the application will be deemed withdrawn, unless an extension is granted by the Commission.
All information submitted in the application shall be considered factual. A knowing failure on the part of the applicant or any of his agents to provide correct information or the performance of activities exceeding the levels of anticipated activity shall be sufficient grounds for the revocation of any permit issued under these regulations and/or for penalties to be imposed.
All applications shall include the following information in writing and shall be on a form provided by the Commission available from the office of the Conservation Commission:
The applicant's name, home and business addresses and telephone numbers.
Applicant's interest in the land.
The owner's name(s), if not the applicant, home and business addresses and telephone numbers, and written consent to the proposed activity set forth in the application.
Description of the proposed forest practices.
The estimated number of acres to be harvested and the estimated volume of forest products to be harvested.
General description of the area in which the forest practices are proposed.
Estimated time for completion.
Non-regulated application. If the Commission or its designated agent finds, on the basis of the evidence before it, that a proposed activity or use does not involve a forest practice as defined in § 329-2 of these regulations, the application shall be dismissed as non-regulated. This dismissal shall be subject to review by the Commission if it is later shown that a regulated activity is a consequence of the proposed activity.
Short-form application. If the Commission or its designated agent finds that a proposed activity is a forest practice not involving a significant impact or major effect on forested land, as defined in § 329-2 of these regulations, it or its designated agent may permit the activity with or without conditions after initial review.
Long-form application. If the Commission finds that the activity applied for does or may involve a significant impact or major effect on forested land, as defined in § 329-2 of these regulations, the Commission shall request information which may include, but is not limited to the following:
A detailed sedimentation and erosion control plan.
A general description of dimensions, locations, grades, construction and maintenance guidelines for proposed access roads, skid roads, sawmill sites and yarding areas.
A description of all existing and proposed drainage structures such as culverts.
Location and nature of all existing or proposed construction affecting or which may affect a wetland or watercourse.
A detailed forest management practices plan, which must address aesthetic considerations, harvesting methods to be used, wildlife conservation, regeneration, and hours of the day and days of the week during which harvesting will occur.
Public hearings. The Commission may docket an application for forest practices determined to have significant impact or major effect on forested land, for public hearing.
All public hearings shall commence not later than 30 days after receipt of a completed application.
Notice of the hearing shall be published at least twice at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than 15 days and not fewer than 10 days, and the last not less than two days before the date set for the hearing, in a newspaper having a general circulation in the Town of Newtown.
All applications, maps, documents relating to the hearing shall be open for public inspection in the office of the Commission. Notice of the hearing shall be sent to the applicant by certified mail.
Where possible, public hearings shall be completed in a single session. However, the hearing may be continued (to a date certain), where necessary for the full development of the evidence, or for the full and adequate participation of the parties, or for such other substantial purposes.
An audiotape recording will be made of all such hearings.
The Commission may submit a copy of an application to the following agencies or commissions for review:
Application for a permit shall constitute permission for and consent to the Commission or its designated agent to conduct inspections of the site of the proposed activity at any reasonable time before or after the granting of a permit.
The Commission shall consider the following in making its final decision on all permit applications:
The record from any public hearing.
Any reports from consultants, commissions, and/or federal or state agencies, including the Soil and Water Conservation District and/or the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.
Additional requested information.
All relevant facts and circumstances, including but not limited to the following:
The environmental impact of the proposed action, including the effects of the activity on inland wetlands' and/or watercourses' natural capacity to support desirable biological life, to prevent flooding, to supply water, to control sediment, to facilitate drainage, and to promote public health and safety.
The character and degree of injury to, or interference with, safety, health, aesthetics, or the reasonable use of property which would be caused or threatened.
Whether proposed sediment and erosion controls generally conform to the recommendations contained in the booklet entitled "Logging and Water Quality in Connecticut, a Practical Guide for Protecting Water Quality While harvesting Forest Products," which was developed by the Connecticut 208 Forestry Advisory Committee and was published in 1982.
Whether the proposed construction of logging roads and trails, proposed harvest methods and fire-control considerations generally conform to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection's "Guidelines for Silvicultural Operations on the Department of Environmental Protection Lands," dated June 8, 1979.
Steps the applicant proposes to take to prevent damage to the aesthetic values of adjoining properties, which may include the use of border strips, the special treatment of slash, site restoration and regeneration of trees.
When applicable, does the forest management practices plan adequately address wildlife considerations, and does the plan provide for harvesting during reasonable hours and days of the week.
Whether the application represents the use of best available forest management practices.
Measures which would mitigate the impact of the proposed activity and may be imposed as conditions of the permit. Such measures include the availability of further technical improvements or safeguards which could reasonably be added to the plan or action.
In the absence of a public hearing, the Commission shall render a final decision within 30 days of the receipt of the complete application. The Commission shall notify the applicant by certified mail of its decision within 15 days of the date of such decision.
When a public hearing is held, action shall be taken on applications within 30 days after completion of the hearing. The Commission shall inform the applicant by certified mail of its decision within 15 days of the date of such decision; and the Commission shall cause notice of its decision to be published in a newspaper having a general circulation in the Town of Newtown.
At the time of denying a permit, the Commission shall issue a decision presenting its reasons. The opinion may include discussion of the considerations and criteria listed in § 329-6A of these regulations.
The Commission may deny a permit with or without prejudice. If a permit is denied with prejudice, the application shall not be resubmitted for one year following the date of such denial. If a permit is denied without prejudice, the applicant may modify, amend, or correct the proposal at any time.
Before any permit can be issued by the Commission, the applicant must receive all other necessary permits from other Town agencies.
A permit shall expire within 12 months of the date of issuance with or without conditions, unless harvesting has commenced. Once harvesting has commenced, a permit shall expire 24 months from the date of issuance or at the completion of harvesting, whichever is earlier.
Upon granting a permit the Commission shall provide notice to the State Bureau of Forestry with respect to the applicant's name, harvest location, acres to be harvested and volume of forest products to be harvested.
If the Commission or its duly authorized agent finds that any person is conducting or maintaining any activity or condition in violation of these regulations or Chapter 140, Forests, authorizing these regulations, or the decisions of the Commission, the Commission or its duly authorized agent may issue a written order by certified mail to such person conducting such activity or maintaining such condition to cease immediately such activity or to correct such conditions. Within 10 days of the issuance of such order, the Commission shall hold a hearing to provide the person an opportunity to be heard and show cause why the order should not remain in effect. The Commission shall consider the facts presented at the hearing and, within 10 days of the completion of the hearing, notify the person by certified mail that the original order remains in effect, that a revised order is in effect, or that the order has been withdrawn. The original order shall be effective upon the issuance and shall remain in effect until the Commission affirms, revises or withdraws the order. The issuance of an order pursuant to this section shall not delay or bar any action pursuant to Subsection C of this section.
The Commission or its agent may revoke or suspend any permit whose conditions or limitations have been exceeded, or which was secured through deception or through inaccurate information. Before such suspension or revocation may take effect, the Commission shall afford the applicant opportunity to show compliance with all lawful requirements for retention of the permit. In the event that the Commission shall suspend or revoke a permit pursuant to this subsection, the applicant shall be notified of the date of the decision and the Commission shall cause notice of its order in revocation or suspension of a permit to be published in a newspaper having general circulation in the Town of Newtown. The issuance of an order pursuant to this section shall not delay or bar any action pursuant to Subsection C of this section.
No regulations shall become effective until after a public hearing is held by the Commission at which the public shall have an opportunity to be heard. Notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be published in the form of a legal advertisement, appearing in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the Town of Newtown at least twice at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than 25 days, and not less than 15 days, and the last not less than two days before such hearing. A copy of such proposed regulations shall be filed in the Commission's office for public inspection at least one day before such publication. Upon the request of the Commission or any person, any such regulations may be amended or repealed. In the event that the request is made by any person, such request shall be in writing in a form prescribed by the Commission and acted upon within 90 days of the Commission's next regular meeting following the submittal of such request. A public hearing shall be held upon any such request within 60 days of submittal. The Commission may require a filing fee to be deposited with the agency to defray the cost of publication of the notice required for a hearing. Any regulation shall become effective at such time as is fixed by the Commission which shall be no later than 60 days from the affirmative vote by four members of the Commission.
The Town of Newtown consents to a suit against it by any person aggrieved by any order or decision of the Commission, provided said suit is commenced and returned to the Superior Court in and for the Judicial District of Danbury within 21 days of receipt of any order or decision of the Commission.