Township of Upper Hanover, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 7-14-1998 by Ord. No. 98-2; 2-13-2001 by Ord. No. 01-01]
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 provide reasonable controls governing the conservation, management, disturbance and restoration of riparian corridors under authority of Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution; Act 247, the Municipalities Planning Code, as amended; and other commonwealth and federal statutes, in conformance with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, Open Space and Environmental Resource Protection Plan, and the following objectives:
A. 
Improve surface water quality by reducing the amount of nutrients, sediment, organic matter, pesticides and other harmful substances that reach watercourses, wetlands, subsurface and surface water bodies by using scientifically proven processes, including filtration, deposition, absorption, adsorption, plant uptake, and denitrification, and by improving infiltration, encouraging sheet flow, and stabilizing concentrated flows.
B. 
Improve and maintain the safety, reliability and adequacy of the water supply for domestic, agricultural, commercial, industrial and recreational uses along with sustaining diverse populations of aquatic flora and fauna.
C. 
Preserve and protect areas that intercept surface water runoff, wastewater, subsurface flow, and/or deep groundwater flows from upland sources and function to remove or buffer the effects of associated nutrients, sediment, organic matter, pesticides or other pollutants prior to entry into surface waters, as well as provide wildlife habitat, moderate water temperature in surface waters, attenuate flood flow, and provide opportunities for passive recreation.
D. 
Regulate the land use, siting and engineering of all development to be consistent with the intent and objectives of this chapter and accepted conservation practices, and to work within the carrying capacity of existing natural resources.
E. 
Assist in the implementation of pertinent state laws concerning erosion and sediment control practices, specifically "Erosion Control" of the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law, Act 1937-394, P.L. 1987,[1] Chapter 102 of the Administrative Code (as amended October 10, 1980, Act 157), Title 25, and any subsequent amendments thereto, as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Montgomery County Conservation District.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 35 P.S. § 691.1 et seq.
F. 
Conserve natural features important to land or water resources, such as headwater areas, groundwater recharge zones, floodway, floodplain, springs, streams, wetlands, woodlands, prime wildlife habitats, and other features that provide recreational value or contain natural amenities, whether on developed or undeveloped land.
G. 
Work with floodplain, steep slope, and other requirements that regulate environmentally sensitive areas to minimize hazards to life, property and riparian features.
H. 
Recognize that natural features contribute to the welfare and quality of life of the Township's residents.
I. 
Conserve natural, scenic and recreation areas within and adjacent to riparian areas for the community's benefit.
A. 
Application. The Riparian Corridor Conservation District is an overlay district that applies to streams, wetlands and ponds, and the land adjacent to them, as specified in the following table:
Surface Water Feature
Minimum Corridor Width
(1)
Perennial streams
The widest of the following three alternatives:
All perennial streams identified in the Soil Survey.1
(Perennial streams are shown as solid lines on the Soil Survey maps.)
(a)
(b)
(c)
Minimum width of 75 feet from each defined edge of the watercourse at bankfull flow, measured perpendicular to the edge of the watercourse.
Equal to the extent of the one-hundred-year floodplain3 where the floodplain extends more than the minimum 75 feet.
Minimum of 25 feet beyond the outer edge of a wetland along the stream where this limit would be more than 75 feet and/or more extensive than the one-hundred-year floodplain.
(Total minimum width = 150 feet plus the width of the stream.)
(2)
Intermittent streams
The widest of the following three alternatives:
Intermittent streams identified in the Soil Survey1 or any stream otherwise identified on the applicant's plan that has an upstream drainage area of 75 acres or more.2
(Intermittent streams are shown as dotted and dashed lines on the Soil Survey maps.)
(a)
(b)
(c)
Minimum width of 75 feet from each defined edge of the watercourse at bankfull flow, measured perpendicular to the edge of the watercourse.
Equal to the extent of the one-hundred-year floodplain3 where the floodplain extends more than the minimum 75 feet.
Minimum of 25 feet beyond the outer edge of a wetland along the stream where this limit would be more than 75 feet and/or more extensive than the one-hundred-year floodplain.
(Total minimum width = 150 feet plus the width of the stream.)
(3)
Other streams
The widest of the following three alternatives:
All other streams with an upstream drainage area of less than 75 acres,2 including intermittent streams identified in the Soil Survey.1
(a)
(b)
(c)
Minimum width of 25 feet from the center line of the watercourse, measured perpendicular to the center line of the watercourse.
Equal to the extent of the one-hundred-year floodplain3 where the floodplain extends more than the minimum 25 feet.
Minimum of 25 feet beyond the outer edge of a wetland along the stream where this limit would be more than 25 feet and/or more extensive than the one-hundred-year floodplain.
(Total minimum width = 50 feet.)
(4)
Wetlands and ponds
Any wetlands greater than 10,000 square feet in area when not located along a stream, and all ponds greater than 10,000 square feet in area, and combinations thereof greater than 10,000 square feet in area.
Minimum width of 25 feet from the outer edge of the wetland or pond, measured perpendicular to the edge. For wetlands located at the edge of a pond, the measurement shall be made from the outer edge of the wetland.
NOTES:
1
The most recent edition of the Soil Survey of Montgomery County.
2
Upstream drainage area is measured from where the stream exits the applicant's site.
3
One-hundred-year floodplain as identified on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) prepared by FEMA, or as calculated by the applicant where FEMA data does not apply.
B. 
Width adjustments for steep slopes. Where steep slopes in excess of 25% are located along a watercourse, wetland or pond, the riparian corridor shall extend to the limit of the steeply sloped area or to the limits specified in § 500-2901A, whichever is larger.
C. 
Identification and width determination.
(1) 
The applicant shall identify all watercourses, wetlands and/or ponds on and abutting the applicant's site, and locate these features accurately on the applicant's plans. Swales and/or ditches along roads shall be shown on the plans but shall be exempted from the requirements of this district.
(2) 
The applicant shall determine the applicable width of the riparian corridor(s) in compliance with § 500-2901A herein, and clearly identify these areas on all plans submitted for subdivision, land development, or other improvements that require plan submissions or permits.
(3) 
The initial determination(s) for Subsection C(1) and (2) above shall be subject to review and approval by the Township Planning Commission, with the advice of the Township Engineer.
The following uses are permitted by right in the Riparian Corridor Conservation Overlay District in compliance with the requirements of this article:
A. 
Open space uses that are primarily passive in character, including wildlife sanctuaries, nature preserves, forest preserves, fishing areas, passive areas of public and private parklands, recreational trails, and reforestation.
B. 
Streambank stabilization.
C. 
Forestry operations approved by the Montgomery County Conservation District.
D. 
Corridor crossings:
(1) 
Agricultural crossings by farm vehicles and livestock.
(2) 
Driveways serving one or two single-family detached dwelling units, provided the mitigation requirements of § 500-2907B are satisfied. The corridor crossing standards of § 500-2908 should be considered during design of the driveway.
(3) 
Driveways serving more than two single-family detached dwelling units, or roadways, recreational trails, railroads and utilities, provided the mitigation requirements of § 500-2907B and the corridor crossing design standards of § 500-2908 are satisfied.
E. 
Front, side and/or rear yards on private lots, provided that the setback for all permanent structures from the outer boundary of the riparian corridor shall be a minimum of 25 feet. In addition, yard areas within the riparian corridor shall otherwise comply with the restrictions of the riparian corridor requirements herein.
F. 
The following uses are permitted by right within the Riparian Corridor but shall not be located within 25 feet of the edge of any watercourse, wetland or pond:
(1) 
Passive areas of uses, such as picnic areas and golf courses.
[Amended 4-14-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-01]
(2) 
Active recreation areas such as ball fields, playgrounds and courts, provided these uses are designed in a manner that will not permit concentrated flow of stormwater runoff and includes an alternative method of filtering runoff acceptable to the Township Engineer.
(3) 
Centralized sewer and/or water lines and public utility transmission lines running along the corridor. When proposed as part of a subdivision or land development, the mitigation requirements of § 500-2907B shall be satisfied. In all cases, these lines shall be located as far from the watercourse, wetland or pond as practical.
(4) 
Residential accessory structures having a floor area no larger than 225 square feet.
(5) 
Agricultural uses conducted in compliance with methods prescribed in the Department of Environmental Protection's Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Manual, 1990, as amended.
[Amended 6-8-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-06; 2-13-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
Any use or activity not authorized within § 500-2902 herein shall be prohibited within the Riparian Corridor Conservation Overlay District, and the following activities and facilities are specifically prohibited:
A. 
Clearing of existing vegetation, except where such clearing is necessary to prepare land for a use permitted under § 500-2902 herein and where the effects of these actions are mitigated by reestablishment of vegetation, as specified under § 500-2907 herein.
B. 
Storage of any hazardous or noxious materials.
C. 
Use of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and/or other chemicals in excess of prescribed industry standards or the recommendations of the Montgomery County Conservation District.
D. 
Roads or driveways, except where permitted as corridor crossings in compliance with § 500-2902 herein.
E. 
Motor or wheeled vehicle traffic in any area not designed to accommodate adequately the type and volume.
F. 
Parking lots.
G. 
Subsurface sewage disposal areas.
H. 
Sod farming.
I. 
Stormwater basins, including necessary berms and outfall facilities.
J. 
Residential accessory structures having a floor area larger than 225 square feet.
K. 
Mowing of grass within 25 feet of the edge of any watercourse, wetland or pond, except as necessary to prevent or control the intrusion of unwanted species along the riparian corridor.
Nonconforming structures and uses of land within the Riparian Corridor Conservation Overlay District shall be regulated under the provisions of Article VII, Nonconformance, herein, except that the one-year time frame for discontinuance shall not apply to agricultural uses which are following prescribed best management practices for crop rotation.
A. 
When an applicant disputes the boundaries of the riparian corridor or the defined edge of a watercourse, wetland or pond, the applicant shall submit evidence to the Township that shows the applicant's proposed boundary and provides justification for the proposed boundary change.
B. 
The Township Engineer and/or other advisors selected by the Board of Supervisors shall evaluate all material submitted and provide a written determination within 45 days to the Board of Supervisors, Township Planning Commission, and landowner or applicant.
C. 
Any party aggrieved by any such determination or other decision or determination under this section may appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board under the provisions of Article VI, Zoning Hearing Board; Applications and Appeals, of this chapter. The party contesting the location of the district boundary shall have the burden of proof in case of any such appeal.
A. 
Lands within or adjacent to an identified Riparian Corridor Conservation Overlay District will be inspected by the Township's Code Enforcement Officer when:
(1) 
A subdivision or land development plan is submitted.
(2) 
A building permit is requested.
(3) 
A change or resumption of nonconforming use is proposed.
B. 
The district may also be inspected periodically by the Code Enforcement Officer and/or other representatives designated by the Board of Supervisors for compliance with an approved restoration plan, excessive or potentially problematic erosion, hazardous trees, or at any time when the presence of an unauthorized activity or structure is brought to the attention of Township officials.
A. 
Riparian corridor planting. Reestablishment of forest cover and woodland habitat shall be required consistent with the requirements of the landscaping regulation within Chapter 425, Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See § 425-500, Landscaping regulations, of Ch. 425, Subdivision and Land Development.
B. 
Mitigation measures.
(1) 
Uses permitted in § 500-2902 involving corridor crossings or other encroachment within the riparian corridor shall be mitigated by increasing the width of the corridor as replacement for the area lost due to the encroachment or disturbance, so that the total area of the corridor for each applicable side of the stream or watercourse is equal to that required by § 500-2901A.
(2) 
Corridor area is the product of the corridor width required by § 500-2901A and the total length for each applicable side of the stream or watercourse for which a riparian corridor is being established. Perimeter shall be used in place of length for determining wetland buffer area. The increased width shall be spread throughout the corridor to the maximum extent feasible, subject to approval by the Township Engineer.
A. 
Corridor crossing criteria. Review of corridor crossings should include, but not be limited to, consideration of the following design standards:
(1) 
The width of the right-of-way should not be greater than the minimum right-of-way width required by the Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.
(2) 
Crossings should be designed to cross the riparian corridor at direct right angles to the greatest extent possible in order to minimize disturbance of the corridor.
(3) 
Separation of corridor crossings should be maximized as much as feasible, subject to approval of the Township Planning Commission, with the advice of the Township Engineer.
(4) 
Bridges should be used in place of culverts when crossings would require a seventy-two-inch-or-greater-diameter pipe. When culverts are installed they should consist of slab, arch or box culverts and not corrugated metal pipe. Culverts should also be designed to retain the natural channel bottom to ensure the passage of water during low-flow or dry weather periods.
Technical terminology used in this article shall be interpreted to have the meanings used by recognized sources and experts in the fields of forestry, woodland or meadow management, streambank protection, wetlands management, erosion and sedimentation control, or other relevant fields.