Riparian Buffer Overlay District

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Feb 22, 2014 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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04/11/11

Page
1





Riparian Buffer Overlay District


Page #





Section
14.
1

Chesapea
ke Bay Tributary Strategy G
oals

& Objectives

2

Section
14.
2

Legislati
ve Intent

3

Section
14.
3

Applicabil
ity

3

Section
14.
4

Width Determin
ation
/De
lineati
on

4

Section
14.
5


Uses
Permitted
Within the Riparian Buffer Area

4

Section
14.
6


Uses
Prohibited
Within the Riparian Buffer Area

5

Section
14.
7


Buffer Width Reduction & Mitigation

6


Section
14.
8

Waiver of the Riparian Buffer Requiremen
ts

6



Section
14.
9


Riparian Buffer M
itigation

7

Section
14.
10

S
tream Crossing Standards

7

Section
14.
11


Definitions

8

Section
1
4.1
2



Boundary
Interpretation and Appeals

Procedure

10

Section 1
4.1
3


Inspection of Riparian Buffer Area

10

Section 1
4
.14

Se
verability

10


Section 1
4.1
5

Effective Date

10

Appendix A

Harris Township
Riparian Buffer

Map



Appendix B

Planting List















04/11/11

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2

ORDINANCE NO
. 292


AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWNSHIP OF HARRIS, CENTRE COUNTY,

PE
NNSYLVANIA AMENDING CHAPTER

11, ARTICLE
IV
OF THE HARRIS

TOWNSHIP CODE OF ORDINANCES BY ADDING SECTION 14 TO ESTABLISH

RIPARIAN BUFFER AREA STANDARDS FOR SUBDIVISION AND LAND DEVELOPMENT.


Section 1
4
.
Riparian Buffer Area


14.1

Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy
G
oals
&

Objective
s


WHEREAS,

i
n order for Pennsylvania to meet the aggressive goals of the Chesapeake Bay
Tributary Strategy, communities located within this drainage area will need to implement
Best Management Practices (BMPs) to address point and non
-
point pollution sour
ces;
riparian buffers are one of the BMPs that will help the Centre Region meet these goals.


WHEREAS
, t
he Centre Region is fortunate to contain high quality waterways which make
significant contributions to our environment and quality of life, and,



WHER
EAS
, r
ecent events have stressed the importance of local efforts to maintain and
protect the community’s waterways, and,


WHEREAS
,

t
he PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is moving forward with
the implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Tributary

Strategy which established aggressive
goals for reductions in the amount of sediments and nutrients such as nitrogen and
phosphorus, and,


WHEREAS
,

o
ur local streams contribute to the Susquehanna River drainage area and
ultimately the Chesapeake Bay, and
,


WHEREAS
,

t
he potential exists for DEP to establish total maximum daily load (TMDL)
regulations in order to prevent further increased sediment and nutrient loadings to our
waterways, and,


WHEREAS
,

i
f local measures such as riparian buffers
are not

eval
uated and implemented to
reduce loadings to our streams, the community’s healthy economy and environmental well
-
being could be permanently threatened, and,


WHEREAS
,

t
he region is located at the top of the watershed and since there are no upstream
communit
ies discharging nutrients and sediments to our local waterways, their protection
and preservation rests with us.


WHEREAS
,

t
hese point to the need for a more coordinated effort at the local municipal
level to protect our streams and waterways, and,


WHEREA
S
,

the Centre Region municipalities have evaluated and taken the opportunity to
pursue the following riparian buffer measures that will help to ensure the future health of our
valuable water resources. The implementation of a regional riparian buffer progr
am is an
important step in our cooperative water management efforts.


04/11/11

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3


BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED AND ORDAINED

that the Harris Township Board of
Supervisors, Centre County, Pennsylvania does hereby adopt this amendment to the Harris
Township
Subdivision and Lan
d Development

Ordinance.


Section
14.
2.

Legislative Intent


14.2.1

Under the authority
granted by

Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania
Constitution, Act

247 the M
unicipalities Planning Code as amended,
and
other
Commonwealth and
F
ederal statutes, the
following riparian buffer regulations have
been enacted to
govern the restoration, conservation, disturbance and management of
r
iparian
b
uffer
areas

in Harris Township
.


14.2.2

For purposes of these regulations, riparian buffers are defined as the areas
su
rrounding perennial and intermittent streams
and jurisdictional wetlands
in Harris
Township, whether identified by the United States Geologic Survey (USGS)
or U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers
and illustrated on the Harris Township Riparian Buffer
Map

(Appendix

A)
, or identified by the property owner at the time of development
through subdivision or land development planning.



14.2.3

The spe
cific purpose and intent of these regulations is

to:


14.2.3.1
Conserve by natural processes (including filtration, depos
ition, absorption,
adsorption, plant uptake, and denitrification), the natural features of riparian
area
s to
:

reduce the amount of nutrients, sediment, organic matter,
pesticides, and other harmful substances that reach watercourses, wetlands,
subsurface,

and surface water bodies; regulate the temperature of
watercourses and surface water bodies; contribute to groundwater recharge.


14.2.3.2
Improve and maintain the safety, reliability, and adequacy of the Spring
Creek Watershed’s water resources.


Sectio
n
14.
3.

Applicability


14.3.1

T
he riparian buffer
regulations

shall apply
to

all subdivisions and land developments
created after the date of this ordinance that
contain an intermittent or perennial
stream o
r

jurisdictional wetland as defined herein.



14
.3.2

Adoption of these regulations does not grant public access to private property. Any
grant of public access remains the prerogative of each individual property owner.


14.3.3

Within the riparian buffer, all existing zoning, land use, and building regu
lations now
in place shall continue to apply, except where the regulations of this section are more
restrictive.


14.3.4

R
iparian buffer
mitigation

is
recommended, but
not required,
when a building or
zoning permit is needed
for activities
that do not requ
ire subdivision or land
development approval and that are
within or touching
the riparian buffer

area
.




04/11/11

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4

14.3.5

These regulations shall not apply to the footprints of any existing primary and
accessory uses,

including but not limited to

all agricultural u
ses and research related
thereto, buildings, transportation facilities, fences, lawns, gardens, utility lines, roads,
driveways, sidewalks, bikeways, decks, piers, water, septic and sewage supply
facilities and their related appurtenances (well houses, ut
ility pump and lift stations,
manholes, etc.)


14.3.6

Establishment, preservation and maintenance of r
iparian buffer

area
s shall remain
the
sole responsibility of the
individual property owner.


Section
14.
4.

Width Determination
/De
lineation


14.4.1

The me
asurement of the riparian buffer
area
shall extend a total width of
5
0 feet
from each defined edge of a perennial

stream
,

intermittent stream,
or jurisdictional
wetland,
or shall equal the extent of the 100 year floodplain, whichever is greater.


14.4.2

Subdivision and land development plans submitted to the Township for approval
shall clearly identify the riparian buffer areas

or include a note that there are no
riparian buffer areas identified on the property
.

This initial determination shall be
subjec
t to review and approval by the Township.


14.4.3

At the discretion of the property owner/developer, the riparian buffer may be
included as part of the proposed building lo
ts, or the riparian buffer may be a
separate lot of record and designated as open sp
ace.


14.4.4

Within 30 days of final plan approval, but in any case prior to any site development
or disturbance, th
e
property encompassing the
riparian buffer
area
shall be
clearly
delineat
ed

using

fiberglass boundary markers

(Carsonite or the equivalent
)
placed at
a minimum of every 50 feet

and extending a minimum of three feet above ground
.


14.4.5

The fiberglass boundary markers shall clearly
indicate

"riparian protection area."


14.4.
6

Where a riparian buffer area width reduction has been granted in

accordance with
Section
14.
7 of this ordinanc
e, the
fiberglass boundary markers shall be placed
at the
corners of the

reduced width area
s
,

as well as along the riparian buffer boundary at

the

minimum 50 f
oot distance

required in Section 14.4.4
.


14.4.7

R
iparian buffer area boundary markers shall remain in pl
ace for a minimum of three
years, the establishment period for new plantings.


Section
14.
5.

Uses

Permitted
Within the Riparian Buffer Areas


14.5.1

Riparian buffer areas are to be left in their natur
al state; however, t
he following
uses
,
which are primarily passive in character, may occur within the riparian buffer area
.
Any use not authorized in this section shall be prohibited within the riparian buffer
area
:


a.

Agricultural
uses

in compliance with t
he PA Clean Streams Law, specifically
rules and regulations promulgated under 25 PA Code, Chapters 102 (erosion

04/11/11

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5

and sediment control), and 91 (manure storage and management).



Agricultural

uses include
stream crossings for farm vehicles and/or livestock
if part of a federal, state and/or privately funded Centre County Conservation
District and/or local non
-
profit riparian buffer improvement project.


b.

Forestry
use
s, provided a Centre County Conservation District approved
erosion and sedimentation control p
lan has been prepared and in accordance
with the Best Management Practices for Forestry found in the Pennsylvania
Department of Environmental Protection’s Chapter 93
-
Water Quality
Standards.


c.

Removal of

noxious or

invasive species or removal of

trees wher
e such
removal is necessary as a means to eliminate dead, diseased or hazardous
stands of trees that jeopardize public safety, in accordance with the Best
Management Practices for Forestry found in the Pennsylvania Department of
Environmental Protection’s
Chapter 93
-
Water Quality Standards.


d.

Wildlife sanctuaries, nature preserves,
nature trails,

forest preserves, fishing
areas, passive areas of public and private parklands


e.

Stream bank stabilization
, habitat enhancement

and/or
native
planting and
native
tre
e reforestation.


f.

Research and monitoring devices such as staff gages, water recording, water
quality testing, cross vanes, weirs and relat
ed demonstration facilities.


g.

New stream crossings for roads, railroads, centralized sewer and/or water
lines and
public utility transmission lines and /or their related appurtenances
(i.e. towers, well houses, pump and lift stations)
, constructed in accordance
with stream crossing standards, as specified in Section

14.
10
.


Section
14.
6.

Use
s Prohibited Within the Rip
arian Buffer Area


14.6.1

Any use

not authorized within Section
14.5

shall be prohibited within the riparian
buffer area.
Without limiting this general statement of prohibition, t
he following
activities and facilities are specifically prohibited:



a.

Remov
al or disturbance of vegetation in a manner that is inconsistent with
erosion and sedimentation control and riparian buffer protection.


b.

Changing the existing grade as a result of earth disturbance, including cutting
and filling.


c.

Storage of any hazardous

or noxious materials, except those used during
emergencies for the treatment and /or maintenance of sewer and water
treatment facilities (i.e. generator sets and a
lternative drive units.)



04/11/11

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6

d.

Use of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and/or other chemicals

in excess of
federally prescribed industry standards and/or the recommendations of the
Centr
e County Conservation District.


e.

Roads or driveways, except where permitted as stream crossings
.


f.

Motor or wheeled vehicle traffic in any area not designed to a
deq
uately
a
ccommodate the type and volume.


g.

Parking
areas
.


h.

Structures.


Section
14.
7.

Buffer Width Reduction & Mitigation


14.7.1

A property owner may petition the Board of Supervisors for a reduction of the
riparian buffer width requirements. Such request
must be accompanied by evidence
that strict compliance cannot be achieved because of unique circumstances of the
property. The Board of Supervisors shall consider the recommendation of the
Township Engineer prior to granting any request to reduce the ripar
ian buffer width
;
however, t
he minimum width of any riparian buffer shall not be less than 35 feet at
any one location, except at approved stream bank crossings. Those areas having a
minimum total width of 35 feet (or less at approved stream crossings) sh
all comprise
no more than 50% of the
en
tire buffer length

of the subject parcel
.


14.7.2

Should a reduction in the riparian buffer width be granted, the Board of Supervisors
shall

require riparian buffer mitigation elsewhere on the subject property. In su
ch
cases, mitigation of the buffer area shall be at a 2:1 square foot replacement ratio.


14.7.3

Mitigation shall be applied to each side of the stream independently (i.e. if a property
encompasses both sides of a stream, buffer mitigation can be applied

to both sides,
but must be independent of one another for purposes of calculating the size of the
mitigation area).


Section
14.
8
.

Waiver o
f
the Riparian
Buffer

Requirements


14.8.1

I
f any provisions of th
e riparian buffer regulations a
re found to be unre
asonable and
cause undue or unnecessary hardship as they apply to
a

proposed subdivision and/or
land development plan, the Board of Supervisors may waive the
regulations

in
accordance with Chapter 11, Article IV, Section 1.1 of the Harris Township
Subdivis
ion Regulations.

W
aiver requests must be accompanied by evidence that
strict compliance cannot be achieved because of unique circumstances o
f

the
property.


14.8.2

A waiver of buffer requirements is prohibited in subdivisions and/or land
development plan
s that
propose

the following
activities
:



a.


Subsurface discharge from a wastewater treatment facility

b.

Junkyards


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7

c.



Commercial or industrial storage and/or service of motor vehicle


facilities

d.

C
ommercial s
torage tanks for fuel and fuel oil

e.


Commercial gree
nhouses or landscape supply facilities

f.



Commercial or public pools

g.

Concentrated animal feed operations

h.

Veterinary hospitals,
commercial
kennels and/or similar operations


Section
14.
9.

Riparian Buffer
Mitigation


14.9.1

All subdivision and land develo
pment plans
submitted to the Township shall clearly
illustrate
the riparian buffer area

or include a note indicating that there is no riparian
buffer area on the subject property
.


14.9.2

Riparian buffer areas which remain in their natural state or compl
y with the
permitted uses identified in Section
14.
5 of this ordinance are exempt from buffer
mitigation
; however,
earth disturbance activities

proposed for a subdivision or land
development
must comply with PA Department of Environmental Protection Erosio
n
and Sedimentation Control regulations (Chapter 102).



14.9.3

S
ubdivision
s and land developments

that propose activity involving grading,
tilling,
digging or filling of ground or stripping of vegetation or
other
activity that causes an
alteration to the
natural condition of the land

within or touching a riparian buffer area

shall
be

required to
illustrate on the plan the scope
o
f

the

disturbance to the riparian
buffer area.
Mitigation

of the disturbed area of

the riparian buffer
is required
at a 1:1
squa
re foot ratio
, in accordance with the following specifications:



14.9.3.1
Existing p
lantings

intended to be counted toward mitigation
of ripari
an
buffer disturbance shall be clearly illustrated

on subdivision or land development
plan submissions.



14.9.
3.2
Riparian buffer

mitigation

plantings must include

at least four tree species
and two shrub species

from the
list included in Appendix B, adapted from the

PA
Department of Environmental Protection's Stream ReLeaf
P
rogram for Pennsylvania

Native R
iparia
n

Tree/Shrub Plant Selection.

Plantings
shall occur prior to

April 15
or after leaf fall in the autumn. Plantings shall include a mix of species at a rate of
100 to 125 containerized

or ball and burlap trees and shrubs

per acre at
approximately 20 x 20 f
oot spacing OR 400 bare root
trees and shrubs

per acre at
approximately 10 x 10 foot spacing.




14.9.3.3
A survival rate
o
f at least 70%

after three years

is required for any trees or
shrubs planted in the riparian buffer area. Replanting may be neces
sary
during the
three year period, but in any case shall be required

at the end of the third growing
season following planting

to meet the 70% overall survival rate requirement
.




14.9.3.4

R
iparian buffer mitigation

plantings
and their location within t
he buffer
area
sh
al
l be evaluated to verify

their

ability to
relieve

the effects of any proposed
disturbance with
in the riparian buffer area. Any
mitigation
shall

identify the existing

04/11/11

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8

conditions (vegetation, floodplain, wetlands, soils, slopes, etc.), al
l proposed
activities, and if applicable, any proposed management techniques
.


Section
14.
10.
Stream Crossing Standards


14.10.1
All stream crossings permitted under Section
14.
5 of this ordinance shall comply

with and incorporate the following min
imum standards:



14.10.1.1
S
tream crossings requiring any activity in, under and/or over any body of
water shall first consult the Department of Environmental Protection's North Central
Regional Office
,

Watershed Management Per
mitting and Technical Servi
ces S
ection

or other appropriate office designated by DEP
.



14.10.1.2

The width of any right
-
of
-
way shall not be greater than the minimum
right
-
of
-
way width required by the
Harris Township Subdivision and Land
Development regulations.



14.10.1.3
Stre
am crossings shall be designed to cross at direct right angles to
minimize disturban
ce to the riparian buffer area.



14.10.1.4
Stream crossings on the same property shall be separated by a minimum
of 1,000 feet o
f stream length.



14.10.1.5

Bridges, wit
h the appropriate federal and/or state permits, shall be used in
place of culverts when crossings would require a 72 inch or greater diameter pipe.
When culverts are installed, they shall consist of slab, arch or box culverts and not
corrugated metal pip
e. Culvert bottoms shall be depressed in accordance with
Department of Environmental Protection regulations to allow for the natural flow of
water through the culvert during low flow or dry weather periods.




14.10.1.6

Any d
isturbance to the riparian bu
ffer as a result of a stream crossing shall
be mitigated at a ratio of 1:1 for each square foot

of disturbance
,
in accordance with

the Riparian Buffer Mitigation specifications found in Section
14.
9.

Such mitigation
shall occur immediately adjacent to the

stream crossing.


Section
14.
11.

Definitions


The following words and or phrases when used in this ordinance shall have the meanings given to
them in this subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:


Agricultural Use:

See Farm Use


Best M
anagement Practice (BMP):


A structural or non
-
structural device designed to
temporarily store or treat urban storm water runoff in order to mitigate flooding, pollution
and reduce soil loss and water quality degradation caused by nutrients, animal wastes,

toxins, sediments and runoff.


C
hesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy
:

Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy is a
catalog of measures that, if applied to the state’s Susquehanna and Potomac Watersheds,

04/11/11

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9

will generate appreciable sediment and nutrie
nt reductions in order to provide cleaner water
resources in the state and downstream at the Chesapeake Bay.


Farm Use:

The use of land and structures for one or more of the following: the tilling of the
land, the raising of crops, fruits, and vegetables,

and the raising and keeping of animals and
plants, horticultural uses related to the raising, propagating, and selling of trees, shrubs,
flowers, and other plant materials, forestry uses related to the harvesting of lumber products.


Forestry
:

The manage
ment of forests and timberlands when practiced in accordance with
accepted silvicultural principles, through developing, cultivating, harvesting, transporting
and selling of trees for commercial purposes, which
does not

involve any kind of land
development
.


Herbicides
:

Chemicals developed to control or eradicate plants.


I
nsecticides
:

Chemicals developed to control or eradicate insects.

I
ntermittent Stream
:

A body of water flowing in a channel or bed composed primarily of
substrates associated with flowin
g water, which during periods of the year is below the local
water table and obtains its flow from both surface runoff and groundwater discharges.




Jurisdictional Wetland:

Areas

regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that are
inundated or saturat
ed by surface water or groundwater at a frequency or duration sufficient
to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation
typically adapted for life in saturated soil
.


L
evel Spreader
:

A device used to disperse conc
entrated storm water flow uniformly over
the ground surface as sheet flow.


MPC:

Acronym for the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act 247, as amended.


N
utrient
:

A substance that provides food or nourishment, such as usable proteins, vitamins,
minerals or carbohydrates. Fertilizers, particularly phosphorus and nitrogen, are the most
common nutrients that contribute to eutrophication.


N
utrient Loading
:

A quantity of nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, entering an
ecosystem in a given pe
riod of time.


Open Space
:


A portion of a development site which is permanently set aside for public or
private use and will not be developed with
structur
es. The space may be used for passive or
active recreation, or may be reserved to protect or buffer

natural areas.


Perennial Stream:

Streams which flow continuously.


Riparian Buffer

Areas
:

The areas
where development is restricted or prohibited
that extend a
total width of 50 feet from
the

defined edg
e of perennial and intermittent
streams

and
jurisd
ictional wetlands
.


04/11/11

Page
10


Riparian Buffer Map:

Harris Township map that illustrates the location of riparian buffer
areas
once

they are established through subdivision or land development

activity
.


Stream:

A

general term for a body of flowing water; natural w
ater course containing water
at least par
t

of the year. In hydrology, it is generally applied to the water flowing in a natural
channel as distinct from a canal.


S
tream Crossing
:

A bridge, ford or structure installed across a stream or watercourse for
te
mporary and/or permanent use as a means of ingress and egress, livestock, or construction
and/or agricultural vehicles.


T
otal
M
aximum Daily Load

(TMDL):


A tool for establishing the allowable loadings of a
given pollutant in a surface water resource to me
et predetermined water quality standards.


W
atershed
:

All the land area that contributes runoff to a particular point along a waterway
.


Section
14.
1
2
.

Boundary Interpretation and Appeals Procedure

14.12.1

When a landowner or applicant disputes the boundar
ies of the riparian buffer
or the defined edge of a perennial or intermittent stream

or jurisdictional wetland
, the
landowner or applicant shall submit evidence to the Township describing the
boundary, illustrating the landowner or applicant’s proposed bou
ndary, and
presenting all justification for the proposed boundary change.


14.12.2

Any challenges to any municipal interpretation of the riparian buffer
regulations may be appealed to the Zoning Hearing Board under the provisions of
Article IX


Zoning Hea
ring Board and Other Administrative Proceedings, of the
Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), Act 247, as amended. The party contesting
the location of the district boundary shall have the burden of proof in the case of any
such appeal.


Section
14.1
3
.

Insp
ection of Riparian Buffer Area


Lands within or adjacent to an identified
r
iparian
b
uffer a
rea

will be inspected by the Township
when a subdivision and/or land development plan is submitted.


The
r
iparian
b
uffer
a
rea may also be inspected periodically by
the Township for compliance with
any required riparian buffer restoration in accordance with recommendations for improvements
identified in Section
14.
9 and when excessive or potentially problematic erosion, sedimentation,
hazardous trees or an unauthoriz
ed activity or structure is brought to the attention of
the
Township.


Section 1
4.
14


Severability


If any sentence or clause, section or part of this Ordinance is found to be unconstitutional, illegal or
invalid, such findings shall not affect or impair a
ny of the remaining parts of this Ordinance. It is
hereby declared to be the intent that this Ordinance would have been adopted had such part not been
included.


Section 1
4
.
15


Effective Date


04/11/11

Page
11


The effective date of this Ordinance shall be five (5) days aft
er the date of enactment thereof.




ENACTED AND ORDAINED this _______

day of ________________, 20
_
_













HARRIS TOWNSHIP

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS








_________________________________







Clifford Warner,

Chair








_________________________________







Dennis Hameister
, Vice
-
Chair








_________________________________







Charles E. Graham
, Supervisor








_________________________________







Nigel Wilson
, Supervisor








______________________________
___







Paul Rittenhouse, Sr.
, Supervisor


ATTEST:



__________________________

Amy Fa
rkas,
Secretary