[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of North Versailles 7-17-2000 by Ord. No. 980. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- BUFFER ZONE
- That area of land surrounding the immediate perimeter of a logging operation in which no cutting of trees or other vegetation shall occur except for the isolated cutting of individual trees which are dead, damaged, sick, infected or constitute a danger to neighboring properties or the public generally.
- A logging method that removes all trees from a tract of land or portion thereof.
- FARMING OPERATIONS
- A person engaged in raising crops, not including trees as defined in this chapter, in dairy farming, the production of poultry or livestock, the production of poultry or livestock products, or the principal part of whose income is derived from any one or more of the foregoing operations.
- A person with a degree in forestry from a college or university accredited by the Society of American Foresters who has experience in wood lot management.
- The act of cutting live trees for cordwood, timber, pulp or for any commercial purpose.
- LOGGING OPERATIONS
- The act of cutting live trees pursuant to a logging permit issued under the authority of this chapter.
- See "logging."
- Any permit to remove trees or to conduct logging operations as defined and authorized in this chapter.
- Any individual, partnership, corporation, association or other legal entity, including the plural as well as the singular, and including all tree removal companies and persons removing trees on behalf of others.
- SELECTION METHOD
- A method of selectively removing trees from a wooded area either singly or in small groups according to age and size with provision being made for natural or artificial vegetation.
- All debris resulting from logging operations, including stems, limbs, and parts thereof.
- See "logging."
- That part of a felled tree which is left above the part of the tree to be utilized by the logger.
- Any self supporting woody plant of a species, which normally in the area grows at maturity to an overall height of a minimum of 15 feet.
- TREE REMOVAL
- The cutting of trees for any purpose.
Tree removal, timbering and/or logging within the Township on any parcel of land one acre in area or larger shall require a permit except as provided herein. Permits shall be issued for a maximum of 10 acres at any one time, and shall be valid for a period of four months from date of issue.
Except as otherwise herein provided, it shall be unlawful for anyone to cut down any tree in any zoning district in North Versailles Township which is six inches or more in diameter measured at a point 4 1/2 feet above ground.
Except as otherwise herein provided, any person desiring to conduct a logging operation or cut trees on any parcel of land in the Township of North Versailles shall first obtain a logging permit or tree removal permit as the case may be; it shall be unlawful to maintain, operate or permit the maintenance or operation of any logging operation or tree removal on any land in the Township in violation of any provision of this chapter.
No permit shall be necessary and it shall be lawful to cut down trees six inches or more in diameter up to 20 trees per acre if the tree is sick, infected, damaged, dead, is in such position or condition that it constitutes a danger to neighboring property or to the public generally, or is located within the legal right-of-way of a public street or public utility.
No permit shall be necessary and it shall be lawful to cut down trees six inches or more in diameter up to 20 trees per acre when conducted by a homeowner on a parcel of land upon which his home is situate one acre in area or smaller. It is specifically noted that only 20 trees may be cut down with this exemption. If more than 20 trees are to be cut down, a tree removal permit is required.
When a zoning permit is issued for a building, structure or use, it shall be lawful to cut down any trees which exist in the space to be occupied by such building, structure, or use, any space within 15 feet of any building or structure, and any space to be occupied by, and all space within 10 feet of all sides of, any driveway, parking area, water system, or sewage disposal system. The granting or entitlement to a grading permit shall not obviate the requirement for a permit under this chapter if tree removal mandates a permit. In such event, a person may require a grading permit and a permit under this chapter.
Any and all permits issued pursuant to this chapter shall be declared null and void if commencement of work so permitted is not started within a reasonable time, but in no case will the permit be valid for more than four consecutive months. Permits not utilized within this period will become null and void and future work will require a new application. A permit shall further be deemed to be terminated when the work authorized by the permit is completed. This shall in no way excuse the permit holder from strict compliance with the terms and conditions of this chapter.
During periods of abnormal forest fire danger, as determined by the Township Fire Marshal, the Township shall have the right to order a suspension of logging operations until the danger subsides.
Any person desiring to remove no more 20 trees per acre, six inches or more in diameter on land comprised of three acres or less and not otherwise covered in § 185-3A or B, shall first obtain a tree removal permit. Tree removal may only be done in accordance with a forest management plan prepared by a forester, and an erosion and sedimentation control plan designed to prevent erosion and sedimentation during and after the logging operations approved by the Soil Conservation Service of Allegheny County. Copies of all such plans shall be filed with the Zoning Officer. This permit may be issued by the Zoning Officer without the necessity of obtaining a special exception.
Logging shall be permitted as a special exception in all zoning districts in the Township in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 300, Zoning, of the Code of North Versailles Township, relating to the granting of special exceptions.
Logging shall be done only in accordance with a forest management plan, prepared by a forester, and an erosion and sedimentation control plan designed to prevent erosion and sedimentation during and after the logging operations approved by the Soil Conservation Service of Allegheny County. Copies of all such plans shall be filed with the Zoning Officer at least 30 days prior to the date on which the Zoning Hearing Board is to hold its hearing on the application for a special exception to do such logging. All submissions shall contain a recitation of the manner of how the work shall be accomplished and demonstrate compliance with the requirements of § 185-7.
Application for logging permits shall be accompanied by an application fee in an amount to be determined by the Board of Commissioners by simple resolution from time to time.
Application for a logging permit shall be accompanied by a topographical survey of the property with the area of trees to be cut down shown thereon.
The forest management plan and the logging operation shall comply with the following requirements:
All logging shall be undertaken by the selection method. Clear-cutting is prohibited.
All cutting, removing, skidding and transporting of trees shall be planned and performed in such manner as to minimize the disturbance of or damage to other trees and vegetation and the land itself.
Any roads, trails or grading to facilitate roads shall be planned and performed in such manner as to minimize the disturbance of or damage to other trees and vegetation and the land itself. All roads must be seeded and mulched within 30 days of completion of the project, the expiration of the permit or cessation of work.
Roads and trails shall be only wide enough to accommodate the type of equipment used and grades shall be kept as low as possible.
Where possible, stream crossings shall be avoided, but where deemed necessary, crossings shall be made at a right angle across suitable culverts or bridges.
Skidding logs across live or intermittent streams is prohibited, but they may be skidded over bridges and culverts.
Buffer zones of 50 feet shall be maintained on the property on which the logging operation is being conducted along all streets and abutting properties.
Buffer zones of 25 feet shall be maintained along any streams and around any springs.
Everything practicable shall be done to prevent damage or injury to young growth and trees not designated for cutting.
All limbs and stubs shall be removed from felled trees prior to skidding.
All trees bent or held down by felled trees shall be released promptly.
No trees shall be left lodged in the process of felling.
Felling or skidding on or across property of others is prohibited without the express written consent of the owners of such property. Felling or skidding on or across any public street is prohibited without the express written consent of the Township in the case of Township streets or the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in the case of state highways.
No tops or slash shall be left within 50 feet of any public street or adjoining property; within 25 feet of any stream, historic or scenic trail; or within 10 feet of a drainage ditch. All slash must be removed from the site within 30 days of completion of the project, the expiration of the permit or cessation of work.
Stumps of all felled trees shall be permitted to remain in the soil for stabilization purposes.
Upon completion of a logging operation, all roads shall be graded to eliminate any wheel ruts, and access to such roads from any public street by motor vehicles of any kind shall be effectively and safely blocked.
Before the logging operation begins, all trees which are to be felled in connection therewith shall be clearly marked on the trunk and the stump so that the same may be easily identified both before and after a tree has been felled. No trees shall be felled which have not been designated for removal on the forest management plan as finally approved by the Zoning Hearing Board.
The holder of a permit to conduct a logging operation shall notify the Township at least 48 hours before the cutting of trees is to begin.
The holder of a permit to conduct a logging operation shall notify the Township at least 48 hours before the removal of trees from the site is to begin.
The holder of a permit to conduct a logging operation shall notify the Township at least 48 hours in advance of an expected suspension of logging operations for more than five successive working days for reasons other than weather conditions.
The holder of a permit to conduct a logging operation shall notify the Township at least 48 hours in advance of the expected completion date of the logging operation, and shall notify the Township immediately upon completion.
The Township may, by its own personnel or outside persons hired for the purpose, go upon the site of any proposed logging operation after an application to conduct such operation has been filed for the purpose of reviewing the plans for the proposed operation and thereafter recommending or opposing the proposed operation or recommending or requiring changes or modifications thereto.
After a permit for a logging operation has been issued, the Township shall have the right, by its own personnel or by outside persons hired for the purpose, to go upon the site before, during, and after the logging operation to insure compliance with the plans for said operation, as finally approved, and all of the terms and provisions of this chapter.
Logging shall not be undertaken on any ground with a slope exceeding 25%, in landslide-prone areas or in a floodplain.
All trees shall be removed in sections not to exceed 24 feet in length.
When a logging operation has been completed, the property shall be replanted with trees of a similar nature measuring a minimum of two feet in height to replace the trees which were cut down.
All logging debris, including small tree tops and branches, shall either be hauled from the site or properly mulched on the site and spread; the property shall be completely restored to its pre-logging condition.
No tree may be cut which is the largest of it species in the state.
The logging permit application shall be field-checked prior to issuance of permit.
Daily hours of operation, which includes, but is not limited to, the movement of trucks and/or equipment at the logging operation site, shall commence no earlier than 7:00 a.m. and terminate no later than 7:00 p.m. prevailing time.
Prior to the commencement of a logging operation, the person who secures the logging permit shall post a bond written by a surety company authorized to do business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with the Township as obligee in the amount of $3,000 per acre to guarantee restoration of the property and a bond in the amount of $15,000 per 1,000 feet of Township road over which equipment and/or trucks from the logging operation travel to guarantee repair and restoration of the Township roads. In lieu of the bond, other security acceptable to the Township (e.g., an irrevocable letter of credit issued by a bank or savings and loan) may be posted with the Township.
Bond will not be released until the site has been inspected and approved by the Code Enforcement Officer, and all the requirements of this chapter have been satisfied by the permittee.
A permit fee must accompany each application for a permit in an amount to be determined by the Board of Commissioners from time to time by simple resolution. The fee shall be in such amount to cover the cost and fees charged by Township personnel in carrying out the intent of this chapter, including all engineering fees for inspection, prosecution (if necessary) and supervision. A permittee shall continue to be liable for all fees and expenses incurred by the Township at its customary rates in enforcing this chapter. Initially, each permittee must pay a permit fee of $1,000 with the submission of his application.
Any person found to be in violation of any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty in the amount of $1,000 for each violation. Every day shall be deemed to be a separate violation. In addition, any person found to be in violation of this chapter shall be liable to the Township for all Township expenses and legal fees in connection with such prosecution.