Township of Upper Hanover, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
In expansion of the declaration of legislative intent and statement of community development objectives found in §§ 500-101 and 500-102 of Article I of this chapter, it is the intent of this article to benefit the public health, safety and welfare by conserving and protecting areas of steep slopes from the harmful consequences of excessive clearing of vegetation, excessive grading, and/or inappropriate development, in conformance with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, Open Space and Environmental Resource Protection Plan, and the following objectives:
A. 
Guard against property damage and personal injury and minimize the potential for erosion, soil failure, stream siltation, and contamination of surface waters caused by the misuse of steep slope areas.
B. 
Conserve existing woodlands for air and water quality benefits, to provide habitat for wildlife, and to maintain the ecological balance among the natural systems on steep slope areas.
C. 
Permit land uses by right that are compatible with protection of steep slope areas, and encourage the use of steep slope areas for open space and conservation uses.
D. 
Require development to avoid steep slope areas wherever possible, and require all land use, clearing, grading and construction to satisfy performance standards that guard against potential harmful consequences.
E. 
Regulate expansion of land use or development that existed on steep slope areas prior to enactment of these requirements.
F. 
Protect adjoining properties from harmful consequences of development permitted under relief from the provisions of these requirements.
G. 
Establish regulations to achieve the intent of this article.
The Steep Slope Conservation Overlay District is established as all those areas of the Township with a slope of 15% or more, referred to as "steep slopes" or "steep slope areas." This district may be referred to as the "Steep Slope District."
A. 
Steep slope map:
(1) 
Areas of steep slopes shall be plotted on a map known as the "Steep Slope Conservation Overlay District Map of Upper Hanover Township (Steep Slope Map)," as determined from United States Geological Survey (USGS) maps to indicate the approximate boundaries of the Steep Slope District.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Said map is on file in the Township offices.
(2) 
The boundaries shown on the Steep Slope Map may be supplemented or modified by boundaries determined by examination of one or more of the following sources whenever a subdivision or land development plan is submitted for review by the Township:
(a) 
Soil Survey of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 1967, USDA Soil Conservation Service.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Now the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
(b) 
Contour maps prepared from aerial photography.
(c) 
On-site survey prepared by a registered professional engineer or surveyor.
(3) 
Changes in the boundaries of the Steep Slope District shall be plotted as amendments to the Steep Slope Map when feasible.
B. 
Boundary delineation, interpretation, and appeals:
(1) 
Applicants shall show the boundaries of the Steep Slope District on all subdivision and land development plans, based on one or more of the sources listed in § 500-2501A herein. Steep slopes shall be further divided into the following two categories:
(a) 
Slopes of 15% but less than 25%.
(b) 
Slopes of 25% or more.
(2) 
The Township Engineer shall decide whether or not the Steep Slope District has been shown with sufficient accuracy on the applicant's plans. Based on the Township Engineer's advice, the Township Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors may require applicants to revise the boundaries shown on the plans.
(3) 
Any party aggrieved by the decision of the Township Engineer may appeal the decision to the Zoning Hearing Board as prescribed in this chapter.
(4) 
The burden of proving the correct boundary shall be on the appellant, supported by engineering and/or surveying data or mapping, testimony of a soil scientist, or other acceptable evidence.
The Steep Slope District shall be an overlay on all zoning districts and shall function in accordance with the following:
A. 
For any lot or portion thereof lying within the Steep Slope District, the regulations of the overlay district shall take precedence over the regulations of the underlying district.
B. 
Should the underlying zoning of any lot or any part thereof which is located in the Steep Slope District be changed through any legislative or judicial action, such change shall have no effect on the overlying Steep Slope District unless such change was included as part of the original application.
C. 
Should the overlying Steep Slope District be declared inappropriate to any lot through any legislative or judicial actions, such change shall have no effect on the underlying zoning district.
D. 
All uses, activities and development occurring within any Steep Slope District shall be undertaken only in strict compliance with the provisions of this article, with all federal and state laws, and with all other applicable Township codes and ordinances.
The following open space and conservation uses are permitted by right, provided that they shall not include any structures, roads, driveways, parking areas, construction or other development, or grading or clearing of vegetation.
A. 
Wildlife sanctuary, woodland preserve, arboretum and passive park and recreation areas.
B. 
Game farm or hunting preserve.
C. 
Forestry and reforestation in accordance with recognized natural resource and soil conservation practices.
D. 
Pasture and grazing land in accordance with recognized natural resource and soil conservation practices.
E. 
Outdoor plant nursery or orchard in accordance with recognized natural resource and soil conservation practices.
F. 
Cultivation and harvesting of crops in accordance with recognized natural resource and soil conservation practices.
G. 
Front, side, or rear yards, and required lot area for any District, subject to the requirements of § 500-2508, Development regulations, herein and provided such yards shall not be used for any use prohibited under § 500-2505 herein.
H. 
Nonstructural accessory uses necessary to the operation and maintenance of the above permitted uses.
The following uses shall be permitted on steep slopes of less than 25% when authorized by the Board of Supervisors as conditional uses, in accord with the conditional use standards and criteria in § 500-2507 herein:
A. 
Structures, roads, driveways, parking areas, construction or other development.
B. 
Clearing of vegetation or grading, including the addition of fill composed of earth, rock or inorganic construction debris.
C. 
Sealed public water supply wells, with approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
D. 
Sanitary or storm sewers and stormwater detention basins with the approval of the Township Engineer and the Department of Environmental Protection.
E. 
On-site sewage disposal systems, when approved by the Department of Environmental Protection.
F. 
Utility transmission lines and aboveground utility line structures.
G. 
Extractive uses and borrow pits in accordance with recognized conservation practices and regulations of the State Department of Environmental Protection.
The following uses are specifically prohibited:
A. 
On steep slopes of less than 25%:
(1) 
Removal of topsoil except when related to an approved conditional use.
(2) 
Solid waste disposal, recycling uses, junkyards or other outdoor storage uses.
B. 
On steep slopes of 25% or more, all uses listed in §§ 500-2504A through E and 500-2505A herein.
Applications for conditional uses shall comply with the procedures in § 500-818 of this chapter and provide the following information and documentation:
A. 
A plan by a registered professional engineer or surveyor which accurately locates the proposed use with respect to the Steep Slope District boundaries and existing development within 200 feet of the proposed use, together with all pertinent information describing the proposal and a topographical survey with contour elevations at no greater than five-foot intervals.
B. 
A plan of proposed development or use of the site, conforming to the preliminary plan requirements of Chapter 425, Subdivision and Land Development, with contours shown at two-foot intervals, where feasible, throughout the steep slope areas proposed for development or use. Contours shall be accurately drawn from on-site survey or aerial photographic sources.
C. 
Proposed modifications to the existing topography and vegetative cover, as well as the means of accommodating stormwater runoff.
D. 
Documentation of any additional engineering and/or conservation techniques designed to alleviate environmental problems created by the proposed activities, in compliance with the Township's sedimentation and erosion control regulations.
E. 
The following, as deemed necessary by the Board of Supervisors:
(1) 
Typical tract cross sections at a scale of one inch equals 100 feet or larger, and/or typical tract cross sections at a vertical and horizontal scale deemed appropriate by the Township Engineer.
(2) 
Specifications of building materials and construction, including filling, grading, materials storage, water supply, and sewage disposal facilities.
In considering a conditional use application, the Board of Supervisors shall consider the following:
A. 
Relationship of the proposed use to the objectives set forth in § 500-2500.
B. 
Adverse effects on abutting properties.
C. 
The need for a woodland management plan on wooded steep slope areas.
[Amended 2-13-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
D. 
Evidence that:
[Amended 2-13-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
(1) 
Proposed buildings or structures are of sound engineering design, and that footings are designed to extend to stable soil and/or bedrock, and that the proposal will be sound from architectural, engineering and environmental perspectives and will have no adverse impacts on the health, safety and welfare of the community.
(2) 
Proposed roads, drives and parking areas are designed so that land clearing and/or grading will not cause accelerated erosion. Both vertical and horizontal alignment for such facilities shall be so designed that hazardous conditions are not created.
(3) 
Alternative placements on non-steep-slope areas were carefully evaluated for structures, including buildings, retaining walls, swimming pools, roads, access driveways, parking facilities and other development, and can be shown to be inappropriate or infeasible to the satisfaction of the Board of Supervisors.
(4) 
Proposed on-lot sewage disposal facilities are properly designed and constructed in conformity with applicable regulations.
(5) 
Proposed nonagricultural displacement of soil is for purposes consistent with the intent of this chapter and will be executed in a manner that will not cause erosion or other unstable conditions. The applicant shall provide an erosion and sediment control plan and supporting evidence.
(6) 
Surface runoff of water will not create unstable conditions, including erosion, and that appropriate stormwater management facilities will be constructed as necessary.
The following regulations apply to all proposals within the Steep Slope District:
A. 
All structures, roads, driveways, parking areas, grading, construction and other development, and clearing of vegetation shall be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the boundary of the Steep Slope District, unless otherwise approved as part of a conditional use application.
B. 
No building lot shall be created unless it contains sufficient buildable area with slopes less than 25%. If it is infeasible to provide this buildable area in accordance with the setbacks required by the underlying district, the lot area shall be increased as necessary to provide a buildable area equal to at least 1/2 the building envelope provided by the minimum lot dimensional standards of the underlying district.
No steep slope areas shall be occupied until a certificate of compliance has been submitted to the Township by a registered professional engineer and/or land surveyor, as applicable, that the construction of any buildings or other improvements or any other changes were accomplished in compliance with this chapter.
The granting of a use and occupancy permit or the approval of a subdivision or land development plan on or near the Steep Slope District shall not constitute a representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind by the Township or any official or employee thereof regarding the practicability or safety of the proposed use and shall create no liability upon the Township, its officials or its employees. Protections provided by this chapter are reasonable for regulatory purposes and are based on engineering and scientific studies. The chapter does not imply that areas outside the Steep Slope District are free from the adverse effects of erosion and sedimentation.