[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Franklin Park 1-20-1999 by Ord. No. 468-99. Amendments noted where applicable.]
In order to preserve woodland and the environmental and economic benefits they provide, it is the policy of the Borough of Franklin Park to encourage the owners of woodland land to continue to use their land for the long-term production of timber, recreation and wildlife habitat. These regulations are intended to promote good forest stewardship, protect the rights of the adjacent property owners, minimize potential for adverse environmental impact and avoid unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions on the right to practice forestry.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Borough of Franklin Park, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
- BOROUGH ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- An individual appointed by the Borough Council.
- BOROUGH ENGINEER
- A professional engineer licensed as such in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, duly appointed by the Borough Council to serve as the Engineer for the Borough.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR/ZONING OFFICER
- An individual appointed by Borough Council to enforce the Code of the Borough of Franklin Park.
- Removing all or a majority of trees from the area logged.
- CUTTING BLOCK
- An area of property to be logged, typically 10 acres to 15 acres in size, depicting the phase number, defined by natural boundaries and determined by a professional forester.
- DIAMETER LIMIT CUTTING
- The practice of cutting all and only all trees above a certain diameter within the area logged.
- LANDSLIDE-PRONE AREA
- An area which, due to its topography and geotechnical features, is in the opinion of the Borough Engineer susceptible to excessive erosion.
- The act of cutting/harvesting live or dead trees for cordwood, for timber, for pulp or for any commercial purpose, excepting therefrom a landowner and/or any agent of a landowner cutting on the property of the landowner for the use solely of the landowner; any properly approved clearing for development of building sites; cutting for right-of-way maintenance along utility or transportation corridors; or clearing for commercial farming operations. A landowner who cuts/harvests trees or permits such cutting/harvesting of trees upon the landowner's property for other than the landowner's own use is a person engaging in logging and in a logging operation. A logging operation shall include the construction of roadways, trails and landings and the acts of tree harvesting, site cleanup and site restoration.
- PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER
- An individual having obtained a professional engineer's license in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- PROFESSIONAL FORESTER
- A person who has earned a four-year college degree in forest management and is registered with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry.
- All debris resulting from logging operations, including stems, limbs and parts thereof.
- The word used to refer to the upper portion of a felled tree not normally merchantable. Typically, a top becomes part of the slash produced by a logging operation.
Logging operations within the Borough of Franklin Park on any parcel of property of which the wooded area is over one acre in size shall require a permit. The permit shall be issued by the Borough for the entire site but subject to review and approval for each cutting block. The logging operation must be completed to the satisfaction of the Borough in one cutting block prior to commencement of logging operation in the next cutting block. A logging operation which moves from one cutting block to another without first receiving the approval of the Borough is subject to the penalties in § 128-14 and other appropriate legal processes. The cutting block phase numbers shall be shown on the timber harvesting plan as prepared by a professional forester (refer to § 128-7, Application procedures). A logging permit shall be valid for a period of one year. A one-time six-month extension may be granted when requested in a statement from the professional forester hired by the property owner. If logging is conducted without or in violation of a Borough permit, the landowner and the logging operator shall each be in violation of this chapter, and each shall be fully subject to all applicable fines and penalties.
Allegheny County Conservation District (ACCD) must approve the erosion and sedimentation control plan of the owner and/or logger who seeks to operate, or cause to operate, a logging operation. Proper erosion and sedimentation control measures as outlined in the ACCD-approved plan shall be implemented prior to any commencement of logging activities on the property and throughout the duration of such logging activities to prevent accelerated water runoff. The first logging activities shall be construction of the roadways, trails, landings and such. The erosion and sedimentation control measures shall be maintained throughout the logging operation and until ground cover has established the soil surface.
Logging shall not be undertaken on landslide-prone areas or on slopes greater than 25%.
Hauling or skidding or placing fills or other obstructions in perennial or intermittent streams is prohibited except as approved by a professional forester and permitted by local, county, state and federal agencies as required by law. Nothing in this chapter, including the exception stated in the immediately preceding sentence, is intended to supersede, and nothing does supersede, federal and/or state law relating to clean water, flowing water, fish hatcheries or the pollution of water resources.
Diameter-limit cutting shall not be permitted unless approved by the Borough Enforcement Officer, who may approve diameter cutting if he finds that it will assist in forest regeneration and will not cause excessive erosion and sedimentation and will not be done within 50 feet of any public road right-of-way or of any abutting property.
Clear-cutting shall not be permitted unless approved by the Borough Enforcement Officer, who may approve clear-cutting if he finds that it will assist in forest regeneration and will not cause excessive erosion and sedimentation and will not be done within 50 feet of any public road right-of-way or of any abutting property.
No tree may be cut which is the largest of its species in the state.
No on-site retail sale of harvested wood or logs shall be permitted from the property unless the property is located in a commercial zoning district which permits such use. Such retail sale operation shall still be required to meet the ordinance requirements with respect to permits relating to the sale of goods.
No portable sawmills are permitted.
No tops or slash of the felled trees shall be left on any right-of-way or drainage ditch leading from a culvert, water bar, intercepting dip or break in berm of road, or in, on or within 25 feet of a boundary line, stream, spring seep, dam, lake or public road right-of-way, unless otherwise authorized, in writing, by a professional forester, who shall not in any use have the power to authorize violations of federal or state law or regulations. Burning of slash is not permitted.
Logging operations shall be conducted at a time of the year when the Borough Enforcement Officer determines that the least amount of environmental damage will occur and are subject to being shut down if they occur at other times. A logging operation and its principles shall be subject to § 128-14, Violations and penalties, for violation of this requirement.
As a part of the completion of a logging operation, all disturbed areas such as the landings, roads and critical areas must be seeded with vegetative covers as determined by the Borough Enforcement Officer, and the site must otherwise be restored. See Attachment A for approved species.
Editor's Note: Attachment A is an attachment to this chapter.
Access roads shall be permanently blocked and/or closed by a locked gate and kept as such, except during brief periods needed by logging operations to give access to logging operation vehicles, to prevent and discourage access for unauthorized uses, i.e., waste dump, all-terrain vehicle trail. When the logging operation on a parcel has been completed, the access road shall be permanently blocked and kept as such.
For all logging operations, prior to hauling on any Borough road, a bond shall be posted in accordance with § 128-6. The Borough Engineer and/or his designee shall prepare a report prior to hauling to establish the existing road condition and for the purpose of establishing reasonable times and conditions for hauling logs so that damage to the road will be minimized. Conditions may include, without limitation, limiting hauling to dry periods. The Borough shall be notified during normal working hours as to when hauling will begin from a cutting block so that the first truck can be followed to determine if the roadway is being damaged.
A logging operation shall keep any roadway over which it hauls logs or other logging residue clean and free of mud and debris to the extent that such roadway mud, debris or similar material is the result of vehicles traveling to and from the logging operation. At the point of access, the logger shall construct an aggregate entrance area to support the roadway edge. No parking of logging vehicles or storage of logs shall be permitted in the road right-of-way. Water from the logging area shall not be discharged onto the road surface.
Performance bond. Prior to the commencement of a logging operation, the applicant shall post a bond, written by a surety company authorized to do business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with the Borough identified as the obligee, in an amount to be determined by Borough at an amount of $1,000 per acre to a maximum amount of $5,000, which bond shall guarantee restoration of the property logged or of any other property damaged by the logging operation. Determination shall be based upon actual area of soil disturbance as delineated in the Borough-approved logging plan. The Borough shall be given 48 hours' advance notice, in writing, by the contractor, owner or any other party conducting a logging operation for the purpose of permitting the Borough to inspect the site and approve/disapprove logging work proposed to begin on a cutting block which has not previously been the subject of logging under the approved harvesting plan. Such initial notice may not be given on a weekend or official Borough holiday and must be hand-delivered to the Borough's offices. In lieu of a bond, other security acceptable to the Borough (e.g., cash or irrevocable letter of credit issued by a bank or savings and loan) may be posted with the Borough.
Vehicles over posted weight bond.
Prior to hauling on any Borough road, the applicant for the logging permit shall post a separate bond to guarantee restoration of roads damaged by the hauling. The amount of the bond shall be set as follows:
Application for a logging permit shall be made, in writing, to the Building Inspector/Zoning Officer on forms supplied by the Borough. Such application shall be accompanied by the site plan, timber harvest plan, erosion and sedimentation control plan, performance bond in the full amount, fee, insurance certificates and, if applicable, proof of a written timber sales contract between the property owner and logging company. This application shall also be accompanied by evidence that hand-written notification of pending application for a logging permit has been mailed to the owners of all property having boundaries within 1,000 feet of the perimeter of the area to be logged.
The site plan shall be prepared by a professional engineer employed by the property owner or logging company. It shall indicate the following:
Contours as shown on a United States Geological Survey topographical map.
Location of any preexisting roads/rights-of-way, easements, streams and property lines. It shall also include the location of proposed roads or access/egress cartways.
Areas of trees to be harvested must be depicted.
Cutting block subdivision of the site.
The timber harvest plan shall be prepared by a professional forester hired by the owner. It shall show the following:
Point of access onto public roadway(s), where aggregate entrance is to be placed, log landing areas, stream crossings and logging trails.
Areas of trees to be harvested must be designated by the cutting block phase numbers. The phase number shall depict the order of harvesting.
Type and rate of seeding/mulching to be used and where it will be placed to stabilize the soil after logging operations.
The erosion and sedimentation control plan shall be approved by the Allegheny County Conservation District. A copy of that agency's review/approval comments shall be attached.
The application fee shall be determined from time to time by Borough Council. Initially, the application fee for processing of the logging plan shall be as set by resolution of the Borough Council for the original plan and for any amendment thereto. In addition, the applicant will be responsible for reasonable costs associated with review by the Borough Engineer and a professional forester designated by the Borough. Any disputes with respect to fees shall be dealt with according to the procedure under the Municipalities Planning Code.
The harvesting operator shall, at all times throughout the timbering operation, maintain insurance with insurance companies licensed to do business in Pennsylvania against such risks, loss, damage and liability (including liability to third parties) for such amounts as are customarily insured against by other enterprises of like size and type, including without limitations:
The Borough-appointed professional forester and Borough Engineer shall examine said application and related required information to determine compliance with all applicable codes and ordinances within 45 days after all necessary filing and required information has been submitted. The Borough Engineer shall advise Council to either approve or reject said application within that time frame. If the application is rejected, the Borough representatives shall inform the applicant, in writing, stating the reasons for such rejection.
A copy of all plans and applications for proposed logging to be considered for approval may be submitted by the Building Inspector/Zoning Officer to any other appropriate persons or agencies, i.e., professional forester for the Borough; Borough Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC); Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry; Fish and Boat Commission; Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands, etc. All applications and supporting documentation will also be available to the public for inspection.
From time to time as he may deem advisable, the Borough's Enforcement Officer shall inspect the work under the approved plans, specifications, timing schedule and permit.
Whenever the Borough's authorized representative finds that the work under any permit fails to conform to the approved plans, specifications and timing schedule, he may, as he deems reasonably necessary in reliance upon the criteria set forth in this chapter, by written order, direct suspension of further work until conformance has been achieved or direct such measures that he deems reasonably necessary in the circumstances for control of erosion, sedimentation, adverse environmental impacts, protection of worker safety or protection of rights of adjacent property owners on the site and for compliance with this chapter. After conformance with requirements has been reestablished, the Borough's authorized representative will give written notice of approval to resume operations.
Any person aggrieved by a permit decision or stop-work order may file a written appeal within 30 days of the date of the decision or order appealed from. The appeal shall be filed, along with the applicable fee, in the Borough Manager's office. The Borough Council shall hold a Local Agency Law hearing on such appeal and may affirm, reverse or modify the decision or order appealed from. The Borough Council may impose, as part of its decision, any conditions and safeguards necessary in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare or to protect private or public property and to promote the objectives of this chapter. The Borough Council, as part of its decision, may grant relief from any substantive requirement herein where full compliance with the requirement, due to unique physical conditions of the land to be logged, is not reasonably possible and where waiving the requirement will not result in significant adverse environmental consequences or in any violation of applicable laws or regulations.
Editor's Note: See 2 Pa.C.S.A. § 105.
Neither the issuance of permits under the provisions of this chapter nor the compliance with the provisions hereto or with any conditions imposed by the Borough Council or its agents hereunder shall relieve any person from the responsibility for damage to any persons or property otherwise imposed by law, nor impose any liability upon the Borough for damages to persons or property. Nothing in this chapter is to be interpreted as eliminating or reducing the immunities enjoyed by the Borough or its elected or appointed officials.
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provision of this chapter or fails to comply therewith or with any of the requirements thereof, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Borough, shall pay a judgment of not less than $100 nor more than $600 plus costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the Borough. A separate offense shall arise for each day or portion thereof in which a violation of this chapter is found to exist and for each section of this chapter found to have been violated. The Borough may also commence appropriate actions in equity or other to prevent, restrain, correct, enjoin or abate violations of this chapter. All penalties collected for violations of this chapter shall be paid to the Borough Treasurer.
When provisions of this chapter conflict with other applicable regulations, codes or laws, the more stringent regulation or legislation shall apply. As is the case with all legislation, this chapter is to be interpreted utilizing a rule of reason that will best allow for the attainment of the balance between the public and private interests the chapter seeks to achieve. Furthermore, the chapter is to be interpreted and applied, to the extent possible, so that it meets all federal and state constitutional requirements and statutory requirements. If any aspect of the chapter is finally determined to violate constitutional and/or statutory requirements, through the process of appellate litigation, that aspect of the chapter shall be deemed excised or reformed to the extent necessary to cause the remainder of the chapter to remain legally enforceable.