St. Charles County, MO
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. No. 02-004 §1, 1-30-2002; Ord. No. 02-088 §1, 6-26-2002]
A. 
Vegetated buffers adjacent to natural watercourses provide numerous environmental protection and resource management benefits that can include the following:
1. 
Reducing flood impacts by absorbing peak flows and slowing the velocity of floodwaters;
2. 
Benefitting the community economically by minimizing encroachment on natural watercourses and the need for costly engineering solutions; by reducing property damage and threats to safety of watershed residents; by contributing to the scenic beauty and environment of the community, and thereby preserving the character of the community, improving the quality of life of its residents, and increasing the value of their property;
3. 
Providing infiltration of stormwater and runoff, and reducing impervious surfaces;
4. 
Stabilizing banks of natural watercourses;
5. 
Reducing sediment and erosion along natural watercourses;
6. 
Removing pollutants from stormwater;
7. 
Restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the water resources;
8. 
Maintaining base flows of natural watercourses;
9. 
Contributing organic matter that is a source of food and energy for the aquatic ecosystem;
10. 
Providing tree canopy to shade natural watercourses;
11. 
Providing habitat to a wide array of wildlife by maintaining diverse interconnected riparian vegetation;
12. 
Furnishing recreational opportunities; and
13. 
Allowing areas for natural watercourses to meander naturally reducing infrastructure and property damage.
B. 
It is the policy of St. Charles County to protect and maintain the native vegetation adjacent to natural watercourses by implementing specifications for the establishment, protection and maintenance of a vegetated buffer along all natural watercourses under St. Charles County's jurisdiction which are left in their natural state.
[Ord. No. 02-004 §1, 1-30-2002; Ord. No. 02-088 §2, 6-26-2002]
The purpose of this Article is to establish minimal acceptable requirements for the design of vegetated buffers to protect the natural watercourses of all watersheds within unincorporated St. Charles County which are left in their natural state; to protect the water quality of watercourses, reservoirs, lakes and other significant water resources within these watersheds; to protect riparian and aquatic ecosystems within these watersheds; to provide for the environmentally sound use of land and aquatic resources within these watersheds.
[Ord. No. 02-004 §1, 1-30-2002; Ord. No. 02-088 §3, 6-26-2002; Ord. No. 03-142 §1(72—73), 10-1-2003; Ord. No. 07-040 §1, 3-13-2007]
A. 
Application.
1. 
This Article shall apply to all proposed development except for that development which meets waiver or adjustment criteria as provided in this Article.
[Ord. No. 14-110 §1, 12-15-2014]
2. 
This Article shall apply to surface mining operations except that this Article's standards in Section 405.5025 shall not apply to active surface mining operations that are operating in compliance with Missouri Department of Natural Resources surface mining permit.
3. 
Except as provided in Section 405.5026(A) and Section 405.5026(B)(5), this Article shall not apply to land used primarily for agricultural or farming purposes.
B. 
Requirements.
1. 
All natural watercourses depicted on the most current United States Geological Survey (U.S.G.S) 7.5 Minute Series (Topographic) Maps for St. Charles County, Missouri, shall be left in their natural state.
2. 
All natural watercourses left in their natural state shall be flanked with vegetated buffers meeting the requirements of this Article.
3. 
Within such vegetated buffers, there shall be no clearing, grading, construction or disturbance of vegetation except as permitted by Section 405.5026 of this Article.
4. 
Development along natural watercourses that are left in their natural state shall have residential, commercial or industrial improvements, parking areas, driveways and in all subdivisions, except those with lots three (3) acres or larger in size, lot lines set back from the top of the existing stream bank or the 10-year, twenty-four (24) hour or 15-year, twenty (20) minute water surface elevation where no established top-of-bank can be determined, all as provided by this Article. In the case of subdivision plats, except those with lots three (3) acres or larger in size, the watercourse and the above-mentioned setback area shall be preserved and made the responsibility of the subdivision trustees. In the case of a subdivision with lots three (3) acres or larger in size, site plan, commercial, industrial or private site, the watercourse and the above-mentioned setback area shall be preserved and made the responsibility of the property owner(s). Permanent vegetation and existing ground elevation and grades within the above-mentioned setback area shall be left intact and undisturbed, except as permitted by this Article.
[Ord. No. 02-004 §1, 1-30-2002; Ord. No. 02-088 §4, 6-26-2002; Ord. No. 03-142 §1(74—76), 10-1-2003]
A. 
A vegetated buffer plan shall be submitted in conjunction with or as part of any grading plan or site plan for any development (if such grading plan or site plan is required by this Unified Development Ordinance), and the vegetated buffer shall be clearly delineated on any grading plan or site plan.
B. 
The vegetated buffer plan shall contain the following information:
1. 
A location or vicinity map;
2. 
Field-surveyed natural watercourses which are left in their natural state;
3. 
Field-surveyed vegetated buffers adjacent to natural watercourses which are left in their natural state;
4. 
Proposed clearing or grading limits;
5. 
Limits of the 100-year flood plain and floodway as identified on the official FIRM.
C. 
Boundary markers locating the boundaries of vegetated buffers and the clearing/grading limits shall be installed prior to final approval of the required clearing and grading plan.
[Ord. No. 02-004 §1, 1-30-2002; Ord. No. 02-088 §5, 6-26-2002]
A. 
A vegetated buffer for a natural watercourse which is left in its natural state shall consist of a vegetated strip of land extending along both sides of a natural watercourse.
B. 
The vegetated buffer shall begin at the edge of the bank of the natural watercourse.
C. 
For those sites where vegetation does not exist, developers or owners shall allow the vegetated buffer to succeed naturally.
D. 
The minimum width of the vegetated buffer shall be:
1. 
Fifty (50) feet along the main branch of the Dardenne Creek, the Peruque Creek, the Femme Osage Creek, the Big Creek, and the McCoy Creek;
2. 
Twenty-five (25) feet along all other natural watercourses left in their natural state.
E. 
The following land uses and/or activities are designated as potential water pollution hazards and must be set back from any natural watercourse left in its natural state by the distance indicated below:
1. 
Drain fields from on-site sewage disposal and treatment systems (i.e., septic systems)—one hundred (100) feet;
2. 
Raised septic systems—two hundred fifty (250) feet.
[Ord. No. 02-004 §1, 1-30-2002; Ord. No. 03-142 §1(77—79), 10-1-2003; Ord. No. 07-040 §1, 3-13-2007]
A. 
Installation or removal of berms or dams across natural watercourses that are depicted on the most current United States Geological Survey 7.5 Minute Series (Topographic) Maps for St. Charles County, Missouri, that cause or caused the impoundment of stormwater are permitted only with the approval of the Governing Body.
B. 
The vegetated buffer shall be managed to enhance and maximize its value and effectiveness. Management includes specific limitations on altering the natural conditions of the buffer. The following practices and activities are permitted only with the express written approval of the Director of Community Development:
1. 
Clearing of existing vegetation;
2. 
Soil disturbance by grading, stripping, or other practices;
3. 
Filling or dumping;
4. 
Drainage by ditching;
5. 
Installation or removal of berms or dams across natural watercourses that are not depicted on the most current United States Geological Survey 7.5 Minute Series (Topographic) Maps for St. Charles County, Missouri, that cause the impoundment of stormwater.
C. 
The following structures, practices and activities are permitted in the vegetated buffer, with specific design or maintenance features, subject to the review by the Director of the Division of Planning and Zoning and Director of the Division of Development Review:
1. 
Roads, bridges and utilities (including sanitary and storm sewers). The right-of-way shall be the minimum width needed to allow for maintenance access and installation. The angle of the right-of-way or utility crossing shall be perpendicular to the natural watercourse or vegetated buffer in order to minimize clearing requirements. Plats and site plans shall include only the minimum number possible of such crossings.
2. 
Paths, including hard-surfaced trails.
D. 
Buffer restoration projects approved by the Director of the Division of Planning and Zoning are permitted within the vegetated buffer.
E. 
Water quality monitoring and stream gauging are permitted within the vegetated buffer.
F. 
Trash and debris and individual trees within the vegetated buffer that are in danger of falling, causing damage to dwellings or other structures, or causing blockage of the natural watercourse may be removed.
G. 
Material dredged or removed during development authorized under this Section shall be stored outside the vegetated buffer.
H. 
All plats and all improvement plans shall clearly:
1. 
Show the boundaries of any vegetated buffer on the subject property;
2. 
Provide a note to reference any vegetated buffer stating: "There shall be no clearing, grading, construction or disturbance of vegetation except as permitted by Section 405.5026 of the Unified Development Ordinance of St. Charles County, Missouri".
[1]
Editor's Note—For designation of the division of planning and zoning, see ord. no. 02-204 adopted 12-23-2002 set out in ch. 132 of this code and ord. no. 03-195 adopted 12-31-2003.
[Ord. No. 02-004 §1, 1-30-2002; Ord. No. 03-142 §1(80), 10-1-2003; Ord. No. 14-110 §2, 12-15-2014]
A. 
The Director of Community Development or his/her designee may grant a waiver allowing the vegetated buffer to be disturbed only in cases of public purpose and necessity or only upon the Director's approval of designed streambank or site-development erosion control measures.
B. 
The Director of Community Development or his/her designee, upon written application by a property owner, may adjust the provisions of Section 405.5026, above, to allow a new accessory structure to encroach on the vegetated buffer, if the Director makes the following determinations based on the application and the records of the Department of Community Development.
1. 
The application is for a lot that:
a. 
Is less than three (3) acres in area;
b. 
Existed of record on January 30, 2002; and
c. 
Is improved by structures all of which existed on January 30, 2002.
2. 
The proposed accessory structure is permissible without any other variance.
3. 
The encroachment is the minimum necessary to accommodate the proposed accessory structure.
4. 
The encroachment will not substantially impair the policy, purpose and standards stated in Sections 405.5021, 405.5022 and 405.5025, above.
[Ord. No. 02-004 §1, 1-30-2002]
A. 
The Director of the Division of Planning and Zoning shall enforce the provisions of the foregoing Sections of this Article as provided in Sections 405.640 through 405.655 of this Unified Development Ordinance.
B. 
Anyone who knowingly makes any false statements in any application, record or plan required by this Article shall upon conviction be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) for each violation, imprisonment for not more than thirty (30) days, or both.
[1]
Editor's Note—For designation of the division of planning and zoning, see ord. no. 02-204 adopted 12-23-2002 set out in ch. 132 of this code and ord. no. 03-195 adopted 12-31-2003.