[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wappinger 11-16-1987 by L.L. No. 17-1987. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to promote the health and safety of the residents of the Town of Wappinger by protecting the natural environment as affected by timber harvesting. The Town recognizes that the timber resource in the Town is of significant value and will be harvested. The Town also recognizes that if timber harvesting practices are poorly carried out they can result in significant environmental and aesthetic damage to the land and to adjacent lands and waters. Thus, this chapter is intended to regulate those harvesting activities that most readily render environmental damage, such as stream crossings and the location of landings, haul roads and skid trails, particularly to control soil erosion and sediment laden runoff; and to encourage the use of professional forest management expertise in the preparation and evaluation of timber harvests.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- BOARD FOOT
- Measure of lumber 12 inches by 12 inches by one inch.
- CLASSIFIED STREAM
- A stream protected under Part 608 of New York Codes, Rules and Regulations or any Town of Wappinger local law. A permit is required from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for any work which will disturb the stream or its banks.
- Harvesting method where virtually all trees over two inches in diameter on a site are removed.
- COOPERATING CONSULTING FORESTER
- A qualified private consultant forester who is a member of the DEC-sponsored cooperating consultant forester program.
- CUBIC FOOT
- A unit of timber volume measure, 12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches.
- HAUL (TRUCK) ROAD
- Constructed road of dirt and/or gravel utilized for moving cut trees from a point where they are loaded on a truck for exportation from the site.
- INTERNATIONAL ONE-FOURTH-INCH LOG RULE
- A method which has been legally recognized in New York State of estimating the amount of lumber, in board feet, that can be obtained from logs.
- Open or cleared areas used for loading logs onto trucks or any general purpose such as storing logs or servicing equipment.
- LOGGING DEBRIS
- Any residue associated with a harvesting operation, including undesirable tree trunks, slash and litter.
- LOGGING OPERATION
- The removal of timber in quantities greater than 20 standard cords of wood, 2,000 cubic feet or 10,000 board feet measured by the international one-fourth-inch log rule on any one ownership of land within any given calendar year.
- PROFESSIONAL FORESTER
- A graduate forester from a forestry college accredited by the Society of American Foresters who has at least two years' experience in forest management or timber product harvesting.
- SKID TRAIL (ROAD)
- Trail or rough road used to move a tree from the place where it was cut to a pile or landing where it is loaded onto a truck.
- Tree tops, small branches and leaves left over from a harvesting operation.
- STANDARD CORD
- A cut, stacked pile of wood measuring four feet by four feet by eight feet.
- Body of water flowing continuously or intermittently in a channel on the surface of the ground.
- WATER BARS
- Small built-up areas (humps) or diversions constructed across roads and/or landings for erosion and sediment control. They catch and divert runoff into adjacent vegetated areas.
It is hereby required that any landowner desiring to remove timber in quantities greater than 20 standard cords of wood or 2,000 cubic feet of wood or 10,000 board feet of timber as measured by international one-fourth-inch log rules on any one ownership of land within any given calendar year shall register with the Town Clerk.
The following information shall be provided to the Town Clerk at the time of registration:
[Amended 8-18-2003 by L.L. No. 10-2003]
This chapter will be enforced by the Zoning Administrator, the Building Inspector, the Deputy Building Inspector, the Fire Inspector, the Deputy Fire Inspector and any police agency having jurisdiction within the Town of Wappinger. Said officers shall be authorized and have the right in the performance of duties to enter upon any property proposed to be harvested, in the process of being harvested or in the process of being reclaimed after harvesting to make such inspections as are necessary to determine satisfactory compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Such entrance and inspection shall be initiated at reasonable times and in emergencies whenever necessary to protect the public interest. Owners, agents or operators on a property being harvested shall be responsible for allowing access to all parts of the premises within their control to the enforcement officer or his inspectors, acting in accordance with the requirements of this provision. It shall be the duty of the enforcement officers to investigate all complaints made under this chapter and to take appropriate legal action on all violations of this chapter.
Violations of DEC or APA rules and regulations should be dealt with by those agencies.
Upon determination by the enforcement officer that there has been a violation of any provision of this chapter, other than the above, he shall serve upon the property owner an initial order in writing to cease and desist commission of the violation immediately and directing that conditions therein be specified to be brought into compliance within five working days after the serving of such order. Work that is in compliance shall be permitted to continue while violations are brought into compliance.
Where violations cannot reasonably be corrected within five days and where the violator has demonstrated good faith efforts to comply, said time period may be extended by the enforcement officer for not more than 30 days.
If, after the expiration of such period, conditions are not corrected, the enforcement officer shall serve a written notice upon the owner requiring him to appear before the Town Justice of the Town of Wappinger at a time to be specified in such notice, which shall be the next scheduled court night after service of notice.
The Town Justice may, after a hearing at which the testimony and witnesses of the enforcement officer and the violator shall be heard, fine the violator in the amount set forth in Chapter 122, Article V, § 122-20DD of the Code per violation or imprison him for a period of not more than 15 days, or both. Each continued day of violation shall constitute a separate violation.
[Amended 9-13-1999 by L.L. No. 6-1999; 3-22-2004 by L.L. No. 5-2004]
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Enforcement Officer may take an appeal to the Town Board. Any determination by the Town Board under this chapter may be appealed to the Supreme Court under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
Stream protection. Every effort shall be made to protect streamside vegetation, stream beds and the water purity of all continuously flowing streams. For maximum stream protection, the following practices shall be adhered to:
Streamside vegetation along classified streams shall be protected and left standing in all logging operations to provide shade to the stream and minimize water temperature increases. Avoid cutting trees within 10 feet of the streambank.
Skidding logs up and down a stream channel is prohibited.
Trees shall not be felled into or across streams. Logging debris should be prevented from falling into stream channels, and if any debris does get into a channel, it shall be removed immediately.
Whenever a logging operation must cross a classified stream, the permit required by NYS DEC under 6 NYCRR, Part 608 shall be submitted prior to any crossing.
Unless contrary to the terms of a DEC permit, the following standards shall apply: Streams should be crossed only at right angles using straight approaches and streambank protection should be provided. Temporary or permanent bridges should be encouraged for all crossings and made mandatory where no other side protection alternatives are available. In selecting a site for a bridge, attention should be directed to the alignment of the stream, as well as that of the road. The streambed should be in a direction parallel to the stream flow and must be imbedded in good foundation material. The grade of the bridge should coincide with that of the road, i.e., if the bridge is to be built on a two-percent grade, the approach should be the same grade for at least 50 feet at each end. Abrupt changes in the grade line at the ends of the bridge are to be avoided. All stream crossing structures shall be removed by the contractor at the completion of harvesting activity unless specifically allowed to remain by the town.
Truck roads, skid roads and log landings.
Whenever possible, main truck and skid roads should be located on benches and ridges to minimize erosion. They should be kept out of wet and poorly drained areas and off the tops and toes of banks and slopes.
Truck and skid roads shall be kept back from streams, ponds and marshes at least 100 feet on slopes of 30% or less, and at least 150 feet for steeper slopes.
Roads should be designed so that construction causes a minimum amount of soil disturbance.
Wherever possible, truck road grades should not exceed 10% and skid road grades should not exceed 20%.
Drainage structures shall be installed where necessary depending on soil type, time of year and amount of use. Culverts with sufficient capacity to carry the largest expected flow should be installed at the crossings of all drainage ways (except small streams and seeps which can be safely diverted into ditches). Drainages should be detoured from unstable areas to avoid saturation and erosion and should be routed onto the forest floor preferably on benches so that sediment can settle out before the drainage water reaches stream channels. The Town enforcement officer has the authority to require either temporary or permanent installation of culverts if deemed necessary.
Skid road grades should be gradual (less than 20% in most cases) to reduce erosion hazards. On steeper slopes, uphill skidding should be avoided, although some uphill winching may be permitted.
The number and spacing of main skid roads depends upon terrain and equipment. Skidding distances of 300 feet to 400 feet from the main skid roads are reasonable. Since uphill skidding is not encouraged, main skid roads should not be spaced more than about 500 feet apart.
Log landings should be concealed from the view of major travel corridors. They should be put behind a hill or other land form that hides them from the road. If this is not possible, they should be set back as far as practical with the long axis perpendicular to the road. Entrances from the road should be kept narrow to reduce the visibility from the roadside. Landings should be placed on gently sloping ground that will give good drainage and they should be kept out of low poorly drained places. No landing shall be closer than 200 feet from any stream, pond, lake or marsh.
Upon completion of the harvesting activity, reclamation of the site shall be performed by the applicant. Truck roads and main skid trails shall, as needed, be smoothed, sloped, ditched and seeded to perennial grasses and protected with water bars as needed. Log landing shall be smoothed and seeded and streambanks shall be restabilized. All reclamation efforts shall be subject to inspection by the Town enforcement officer to assure compliance with this provision.
Aesthetics. The following practices shall be required by the Town to protect the aesthetic qualities of any area:
Use of uncut strips to screen clear-cut areas, shelter wood cuts or other heavy cuts.
Cutting lightly near well-traveled roads.
Removal of trash, such as lunch papers, oil cans and miscellaneous junk, during and after the harvest operation.
Removal of all structures used by the contractor upon completion of harvesting.
Removal of hanging trees and severely damaged trees.
Removal of all logging debris from along public roadsides and ditches for a distance of up to 100 feet.
Keeping skidders back in the woods and off road rights-of-way.