[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Rochester 7-20-2000 by Ord. No. 382; amended in its entirety 2-15-2007 by Ord. No. 419. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to protect forests and the environmental and economic benefits they provide and to encourage the owners of forestland to continue to use their land wisely, including the long-term production of timber, recreation, wildlife and amenity values. The timber harvesting requirements of this chapter are intended to further the above purpose by:
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all timber harvesting within the Township where the size of tract exceeds one acre or where the value of the trees, logs or other timber products removed exceeds $1,000. These provisions do not apply to the cutting of trees for the personal use of the landowner or for pre-commercial timber stand improvement.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings given them in this section.
- The act of cutting a standing tree so that it falls to the ground.
- Managing and using for human benefit forestlands and natural resources that occur on and in association with forestlands, including trees, other plants, animals, soil and water. It includes, but is not limited to, the planting, cultivating, harvesting, transporting and selling of trees for commercial purposes.
- A place where logs, pulpwood or firewood are assembled for transportation to processing facilities.
- An individual, partnership, company, firm, association or corporation that is in actual control of forestland, whether such control is based on legal or equitable title, or on any other interest entitling the holder to sell or otherwise dispose of any or all of the timber on such land in any manner, and any agents thereof acting on their behalf, such as forestry consultants, who set up and administer timber harvesting.
- Discarded items not naturally occurring on the site, such as tires, oil cans, equipment parts and other rubbish.
- To cut tops and slash into smaller pieces to allow the material to settle close to the ground.
- An individual, partnership, company, firm, association or corporation engaged in timber harvesting, including the agents, subcontractors and employees thereof.
- PRE-COMMERCIAL TIMBER STAND IMPROVEMENT
- A forest practice, such as thinning or pruning, which results in better growth, structure, species composition or health for the residual stand but which does not yield a net income to the landowner, usually because any trees cut are of poor quality, too small or otherwise of limited marketability or value.
- Dragging trees on the ground from the stump to the landing by any means.
- Woody debris left in the woods after logging, including logs, chunks, bark, branches, uprooted stumps and broken or uprooted trees or shrubs.
- Any area of forest vegetation whose site conditions, past history and current species composition are sufficiently uniform to be managed as a unit.
- Any natural or artificial channel of conveyance for surface water with an annual or intermittent flow within a defined bed and banks.
- TIMBER HARVESTING, TREE HARVESTING OR LOGGING
- The process of cutting down trees and removing logs from the forest for the primary purpose of sale or commercial processing into wood products.
- The upper portion of a felled tree that is unmerchantable because of small size, taper or defect.
- Areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, including swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas.
For all timber harvesting operations that are expected to exceed one acre or $1,000 in value, the landowner shall notify the Township Code Enforcement Officer and/or the Township Forester Consultant at least five business days before the operation commences and within two business days before the operation is complete. No timber harvesting shall occur until the notice has been provided. Notification shall be in writing and shall specify the land on which harvesting will occur, the expected size of the harvest area, and, as applicable, the anticipated starting or completion date of the operation.
Every landowner on whose land timber harvesting is to occur shall provide a written logging plan in the form specified by this chapter, which shall be submitted to the Code Enforcement Officer and/or the Forester Consultant for review and approval. No timber harvesting shall occur until the plan has been prepared and approved by the Code Enforcement Officer and/or the Forester Consultant. The provisions of this plan shall be followed throughout the operation. The plan shall be available at the harvest site at all times during the operation.
The landowner and the operator shall be jointly and severally responsible for complying with the terms of the logging plan.
As a minimum, the logging plan shall include the following:
All trees to be harvested shall be properly marked with tree marking paint at eye level on two sides of the tree and also below stump height. Upon discovery by the Forester Consultant of unmarked stumps, the Township reserves the right to immediately cease operations;
Design, construction, maintenance and retirement of the access system, including haul road, skid roads, skid trails and landings;
Design, construction and maintenance of water control measures and structures such as culverts, broad-based dips, filter strips and water bars;
Design, construction and maintenance of stream and wetland crossings; and
The general location of the proposed operations in relation to municipal and state highways, including any accesses to those highways;
Certificate of liability in the amount of $2,000,000, workers' compensation insurance where applicable. The Township and Forester Consultant shall be named as additional insured.
Each logging plan shall include a site map containing the following information:
Site location and boundaries, including both the boundaries of the property on which the timber harvest will take place and the boundaries of the proposed harvest area within that property;
Significant topographic features related to potential environmental problems;
Location of all earth disturbance activities such as road, landings and water control measures and structures;
Location of all crossings of water of the Commonwealth; and
The general location of the proposed operation to municipal and state highways, including any accesses to those highways.
The logging plan shall address and comply with the requirements of all applicable state laws and regulations including, but not limited to, the following:
Erosion and sedimentation control regulations contained in 25 Pennsylvania Code, Chapter 102, promulgated pursuant to the Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. § 691.1 et seq.);
Stream crossing and wetlands protection regulations contained in 25 Pennsylvania Code, Chapter 105, promulgated pursuant to the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act (32 P.S. § 693.1 et seq.); and
Stormwater management plans and regulations issued pursuant to the Storm Water Management Act (32 P.S. § 680.1 et seq.).
Any permits required by state laws and regulations shall be attached to and become part of the logging plan. An erosion and sedimentation pollution control plan that satisfies the requirements of 25 Pennsylvania Code, Chapter 102, shall also satisfy the minimum requirements for the logging plan and associated map specified in Subsections C and D of this section, provided that all information required by these subsections is included or attached.
The following requirements shall apply to all timber harvesting operations in the Township:
Felling or skidding on or across any public thoroughfare is prohibited without the express written consent of the Township or the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, whichever is responsible for maintenance of the thoroughfare.
No tops or slash shall be left within 25 feet of any public thoroughfare or private roadway providing access to adjoining residential property.
All mainstream portions of residual tree tops and slash shall be lopped to a maximum height of six feet above the surface of the ground, in all areas affected by harvesting to include public and private roadways.
No tops or slash shall be left on or across the boundary of any property adjoining the operation without the consent of the owner thereof.
Litter resulting from a timber harvesting operation shall be removed from the site before it is vacated by the operator.
The landowner and the operator shall be responsible for repairing any damage to Township roads caused by traffic associated with the timber harvesting operation to the extent the damage is in excess of that caused by normal traffic.
Pursuant to 67 Pennsylvania Code, Chapter 189, the Township may require the landowner or operator to furnish a bond to guarantee the repair of such damages.
Township Code Enforcement Officer. The Township Code Enforcement Officer and/or the Forester Consultant shall be the enforcement officer for the provisions of this chapter.
The Township Code Enforcement Officer and/or the Forester Consultant may enter upon the site of any timber harvesting operation before, during or after active logging to:
Violation notices and suspensions.
Upon finding that a timber harvesting operation is in violation of any provision of this chapter, the Township Code Enforcement Officer shall issue the operator and the landowner a written notice of violation describing each violation and specifying a date by which corrective action must be taken.
The Township Enforcement Officer and/or the Forester Consultant may order the immediate suspension of any operation upon finding that:
Suspension orders shall be in writing, shall be issued to the operator and the landowners, and shall remain in effect until, as determined by the Township Code Enforcement Officer and/or the Forester Consultant the operation is brought into compliance with the provisions of this chapter or other applicable statutes or regulations.
The landowner or the operator may appeal an order or decision of the Township Code Enforcement Officer and/or Forester Consultant within 30 days of issuance to the Board of Commissioners of the Township.
Penalties. Any landowner or operator who violates any provision of this chapter, refuses to allow the Township Code Enforcement Officer access to a harvest site pursuant to Subsection B of this section, or fails to comply with a notice of violation or suspension order issued under Subsection C of this section is guilty of a summary offense and upon conviction shall be subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $300, plus costs for each separate offense. Each day of continued violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute a separate offense.