Township of West Manheim, PA
York County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 270-56 Purpose.

The purpose of the Natural Features Overlay District is to ensure the public health, safety and welfare through the protection of slopes, streams, wetlands, and surface waters which are considered some of the Township's most important natural resources. The Natural Features Overlay includes the following:
A. 
Steep Slope Protection Overlay Zoning District;
B. 
Stream Protection Overlay Zoning District.
C. 
Surface Water Protection Overlay Zoning District; and
D. 
Wetland Protection Overlay Zoning District.

§ 270-57 Construal of provisions.

A. 
In the event that the provisions of this article and the provisions of other applicable Township ordinance standards are in conflict, the more restrictive provisions shall apply.
B. 
In the event that two or more natural resource areas identified in this article overlap, the resources with the most restrictive standard (the least amount of permitted alteration, regarding, clearing, or building) shall apply to the area of overlap.

§ 270-58 Steep Slope Protection Overlay Zoning District.

A. 
Purpose. Steep slopes and hillsides are unique areas. Slope areas are fragile and susceptible to erosion, landslides, mudslides, degradation of their natural vegetation and increased flooding using conventional development practices. By protecting this asset, the Township intends to:
(1) 
Guide development away from steep areas;
(2) 
Minimize grading and other site preparation in steep areas;
(3) 
Provide safe means for ingress and egress while minimizing scarring from hillside construction;
(4) 
Preserve the natural conditions in steep areas; and
(5) 
Prevent flooding and the deteriorating effects of erosion to streams and drainage areas.
B. 
Establishment of Steep Slope Protection Overlay boundaries and use standards.
(1) 
The Steep Slope Protection Overlay Zoning District shall consist of all land which has a 12% or greater slope, as determined by a professional land surveyor or professional engineer licensed in Pennsylvania, based on a field or aerial survey of the property. A map entitled "Zoning Overlays" has been provided with this chapter[1] for general informational purposes only and shall not be used to determine the location of the overlay district.
[1]
Editor's Note: Said map is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(2) 
Permitted uses.
(a) 
On slopes less than 25%, uses shall be regulated by the underlying zoning district.
(b) 
On slopes equal to or greater than 25.0%, the following uses shall be permitted by right, provided they are in compliance with the provisions of the underlying zoning district and are not prohibited by another ordinance, and provided that they do not require structures:
[1] 
Yard areas of uses permitted by the underlying zoning district.
[2] 
Agriculture, including general farming, pasture, grazing, outdoor plant nurseries, horticulture, truck farming, no-till planting and wild crop harvesting, excluding agribusiness;
[3] 
Common open space;
[4] 
Educational or scientific use not involving buildings or structures;
[5] 
Trails and open space and greenways;
[6] 
Parks and passive recreational areas not involving structures;
[7] 
Accessory residential and/or commercial uses such as gardens, play areas, picnic areas or fences; and
[8] 
Essential services provided they are installed underground.
(3) 
Prohibited uses.
(a) 
Storing of junk; and
(b) 
Unenclosed storage or stockpiling of manure.
(4) 
Disturbance limits.
(a) 
Based upon the slope of the land, the following disturbance limits shall be the maximum area of such slopes that may be regraded and/or stripped of vegetation. Such percentages shall be based on the slopes contained within the entire lot or lots to be developed at the time of application for subdivision or land development plan approval, or upon application for a zoning permit if no subdivision or land development plan is required.
Slope Range
(percent)
Maximum Disturbed Area
(percent)
12.0% to 14.9%
75%
15% to 17.9%
50%
18% to 24.9%
25%
25.0% +
0%
(b) 
Grading or earthmoving on all steep slope areas shall not result in earth cuts or fills whose highest vertical dimensions exceed 10 feet, except where no reasonable alternatives exist for construction of public roads, drainage structures, and other public improvements, in which case such vertical dimensions shall not exceed 20 feet. Finished slopes of all cuts and fills shall not exceed 3:1, unless the applicant can demonstrate that steeper slopes can be stabilized and maintained adequately. The landscape shall be preserved in its natural state insofar as practicable.
(c) 
The type and location of any permitted on-lot sewage disposal facility shall be provided in accordance with Article XIV of this chapter, Article V of Chapter 235, Subdivision and Land Development, and the PA DEP.
(5) 
Minimum lot size standards. No portion of a lot containing a slope equal to or greater than 25% shall count toward the minimum lot size required by the underlying zoning district.
(6) 
Setbacks. No change in existing topography, which results in a slope greater than the predevelopment condition, may be located within 10 feet of the neighboring property.
(7) 
Design information. All applications for subdivision or land development plan approval or for a zoning permit shall include a detailed description of the methods that are being used for construction in areas containing slopes of 12% or greater to attain the following:
(a) 
Protection and stabilization of areas that have a high potential for soil erosion;
(b) 
Accommodate stormwater runoff;
(c) 
Assure structural safety and minimize harm to the environment associated with development on steep slopes;
(d) 
Protection and preservation of on-site and off-site valuable natural wildlife and/or plant habitats;
(e) 
Protection and preservation of on-site and off-site water quality; and
(f) 
Protection of steep slopes on abutting properties.
C. 
Standards.
(1) 
The Steep Slope Protection Overlay Zoning District shall be established at the time of subdivision or land development or the application for a zoning permit if there is no subdivision or land development proposed.
(2) 
In all subdivision and land development applications, the Steep Slope Protection Overlay Zoning District and each slope range within the district shall be described by metes and bounds. A conservation easement covering the Steep Slope Protection Overlay Zoning District shall be provided in accordance with Chapter 235, Subdivision and Land Development.
(3) 
In all zoning permit applications, the Steep Slope Protection Overlay Zoning District and each slope range within the district shall be shown on a drawing indicating the location and measurements of the overlay district in accordance with the above standards.

§ 270-59 Stream Protection Overlay Zoning District.

A. 
Purpose. Streams, creeks, and the natural areas around them are important hydrological and environmental assets. It is the intent of this chapter to preserve natural and man-made watercourses.
B. 
Establishment of Stream Protection Overlay boundaries. The Stream Protection Overlay District shall be established around all streams and watercourses (including intermittent ones) that are typically inundated throughout the year. The size of the Stream Protection Overlay District shall be based on critical environmental features present in the area surrounding the watercourse. The overlay district shall be drawn to encompass all critical areas as described below. A map entitled "Zoning Overlays" has been provided with this chapter[1] for general informational purposes only and shall not be used to determine the location of the overlay district.
[1]
Editor's Note: Said map is included as an attachment to this chapter.
C. 
Critical areas to be included in Stream Protection Overlay District. The Stream Protection Overlay District shall be drawn to include all of the following critical areas:
(1) 
All land within 25 feet of the edge of a watercourse under typical flow conditions.
(2) 
Alluvial soils located within 50 feet of the water's edge;
(3) 
Springs located within 50 feet of the water's edge; and
(4) 
Slopes of 25% or greater located within 50 feet of the water's edge. In this case, the overlay district shall extend to the uppermost edge of the twenty-five-percent slope area.
D. 
Permitted uses. The following uses shall be permitted by right in the Stream Protection Overlay District, provided that they are in compliance with the provisions of the underlying zoning district and are not prohibited by another ordinance, and provided that they do not require building(s), fill or storage of materials and equipment.
(1) 
Common open space, nature preserves, forest preserves, passive recreational areas, and similar uses requiring no structures, improvements, or man-made features.
(2) 
Trails to and along the watercourse.
(3) 
Stream bank and watershed improvements approved by the York County Conservation District and/or DEP.
(4) 
Crossings by farm vehicles, livestock, recreational trails, roads, railroads, sewer and waterlines, and public utility transmission lines, provided that all necessary permits and approvals from federal, state, and local agencies are received and that required plantings are maintained to the greatest extent possible.
E. 
Prohibited uses.
(1) 
Grading or filling other than that required for a permitted use;
(2) 
Storage or disposal of any toxic, hazardous, or noxious substances;
(3) 
Storing of junk; and
(4) 
Unenclosed storage or stockpiling of manure.
F. 
Required vegetation. Within the Stream Protection Overlay District, native species of trees, shrubs and ground cover must be provided and maintained for stream bank stabilization, soil stability and habitat for native animal species. Where adequate vegetation does not already exist, new plantings shall be provided.
G. 
Standards.
(1) 
The Stream Protection Overlay shall be established at the time of subdivision or land development or the application for a zoning permit if there is no subdivision or land development proposed.
(2) 
In all subdivision and land development applications, the Stream Protection Overlay shall be described by metes and bounds. A conservation easement on the plan covering the Stream Protection Overlay shall be provided in accordance with Chapter 235, Subdivision and Land Development.
(3) 
In all zoning permit applications, the Stream Protection Overlay shall be shown on a drawing indicating the location and measurements of the overlay district in accordance with the above standards.

§ 270-60 Surface Water Protection Overlay Zoning District.

A. 
Purpose. Lakes and ponds and the natural areas around them are important hydrological and environmental assets. It is the intent of this overlay district to preserve these natural and man-made assets. By protecting these assets, the Township intends to:
(1) 
Protect wildlife.
(2) 
Preserve existing vegetation along lakes or ponds.
(3) 
Minimize the negative effects on lakes or ponds from agriculture and development related erosion.
(4) 
Minimize scenic degradation.
(5) 
Protect the integrity of ponds and lakes as functioning wetland areas.
B. 
Establishment of surface water protection overlay boundaries. The Surface Water Protection Overlay Zoning District shall be established as the area in or within 25 feet of a lake or pond. All natural and man-made lakes, ponds and established easement areas shall remain in permanent open space. Because these areas may relate to other hydrologic features, no development or diverting of these water bodies shall be permitted without proper approval from PA DEP.
C. 
Permitted uses. Permitted uses are as follows:
(1) 
Common open space;
(2) 
Educational or scientific use not involving buildings or structures;
(3) 
Fishing, swimming, boating or hunting;
(4) 
Boat-launching facilities, provided that parking areas and other uses associated with the boat launch are placed outside of the Surface Water Protection Overlay District;
(5) 
Passive recreational areas not involving structures;
(6) 
Trail access to adjacent open space; and
(7) 
Nature preserve and wildlife sanctuary.
D. 
Standards.
(1) 
All lands identified in § 270-60B of this chapter shall contain no more than 15% impervious surface.
(2) 
At least 70% of the Surface Water Protection Overlay District shall remain in its natural state as open space.
(3) 
The Surface Water Protection Overlay Zoning District shall be established at the time of subdivision or land development or the application for a zoning permit if there is no subdivision or land development proposed.
(4) 
In all subdivision and land development applications, the Surface Water Protection Overlay Zoning District shall be described by metes and bounds. A conservation easement on the plan covering the Surface Water Protection Overlay Zoning District shall be provided in accordance with Chapter 235, Subdivision and Land Development.
(5) 
In all zoning permit applications, the Surface Water Protection Overlay Zoning District shall be shown on a drawing indicating the location and measurements of the overlay district in accordance with the above standards.

§ 270-61 Wetland Protection Overlay Zoning District.

A. 
Purpose.
(1) 
Wetland areas are indispensable and fragile hydrological natural resources that provide:
(a) 
Habitat for fish, wildlife and vegetation.
(b) 
Water-quality maintenance and pollution control.
(c) 
Flood control.
(d) 
Erosion control.
(e) 
Open space.
(f) 
Scientific study opportunities.
(g) 
Recreational opportunities.
(2) 
Damaging or destroying wetlands threatens public safety and the general welfare. Because of their importance, wetlands are to be protected from negative impacts of development and other activities. It is the intent of this overlay district to:
(a) 
Require planning to avoid and minimize damage of wetlands whenever prudent or feasible.
(b) 
Require that activities not dependent upon wetlands be located to other upland sites.
(c) 
Allow wetland losses only where all practical or legal measures have been applied to reduce these losses that are unavoidable and in the public interest.
B. 
Establishment of Wetland Protection Overlay boundaries. The Wetland Protection Overlay shall apply to all lands in or within 25 feet of a nontidal wetland located within West Manheim Township. The Wetland Protection Overlay shall be based on a wetland investigation by the applicant. The Natural Features Map of the West Manheim Township Comprehensive Plan may be used as a guide for determining the general location of wetlands. A map entitled "Zoning Overlays"[1] has been provided with this chapter for general informational purposes only and shall not be used to determine the location of the overlay district. Wetland delineations shall be performed in accordance with the procedures of the PA DEP as specified in the Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands and any subsequent amendments thereto. Wetland mitigation shall be permitted. Wetland mitigation shall be approved by the PA DEP. Wetlands proposed to be mitigated shall not be considered part of the Wetland Protection Overlay.
[1]
Editor's Note: Said map is included as an attachment to this chapter.
C. 
Permitted uses. The following uses shall be allowed within the Wetland Protection Overlay to the extent that they are in compliance with the provisions of the underlying zoning district and are not prohibited by any other ordinance, provided that they do not require structures, fill or storage of materials and equipment, and provided that a permit is obtained from the PA DEP and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, if applicable:
(1) 
Agriculture, including general farming, pasture, grazing, outdoor plant nurseries, horticulture, truck farming, no-till planting and wild crop harvesting, excluding agribusiness;
(2) 
Common open space;
(3) 
Educational or scientific use not involving buildings or structures;
(4) 
Fishing, swimming, boating and hunting;
(5) 
Trail access to the stream or drainageway and trails in linear parks;
(6) 
Passive recreational areas not involving structures;
(7) 
Accessory residential uses such as gardens, play areas, picnic areas, fences or stormwater/drainage facilities;
(8) 
Nature preserve and wildlife sanctuary; and
(9) 
Essential services provided they are installed underground.
D. 
Prohibited uses.
(1) 
Storing of junk; and
(2) 
Unenclosed storage or stockpiling of manure.
E. 
Standards.
(1) 
The Wetland Protection Overlay District shall be established at the time of subdivision or land development or the application for a zoning permit if there is no subdivision or land development involved. The wetland delineations shall be performed in accordance with the procedures specified in the Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands and any subsequent amendments thereto.
(2) 
In all subdivision and land development applications, a wetland investigation shall be required in accordance with Chapter 235, Subdivision and Land Development. A conservation easement covering the Wetland Protection Overlay District shall be provided in accordance with Chapter 235, Subdivision and Land Development. The Wetland Protection Overlay District and conservation easement shall be described by metes and bounds, indicating the location and measurements of the overlay district.
F. 
In all zoning permit applications, the Wetland Protection Overlay District shall be shown on a drawing indicating the location and measurements of the overlay district. (Wetland delineations shall be performed in accordance with the procedures specified in the Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands and any subsequent amendments thereto.)

§ 270-62 Exemptions.

Where a proposed lot, improvement, or earth disturbance is located 250 feet or greater from a potential natural feature overlay district; consists of a lot add on which no new lots, structures and public improvements are created, the overlay district does not need to be located or delineated as required within this article. In such cases, the overlay district shall be located using any existing available data, such as York County GIS data, USGS topographical maps, and similar sources. If a natural feature is located within the two-hundred-fifty-foot distance, the natural feature and associated overlay shall be delineated to its extent on the property.