Fort Payne Council releases revised logging ordinance
March 16, 2017 Share

Fort Payne Council releases revised logging ordinance

PHOTO: The Fort Payne City Council released their final version of the logging ordinance. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

tyler@southerntorch.com

FORT PAYNE, Ala. Last week, the Fort Payne City Council took public comments on Ordinance No. 2017 – 02, which seeks to regulate logging within city limits, primarily on the side of Lookout Mountain. The council has updated the ordinance accordingly, and is set vote on the matter at the next meeting.

For the second reading, the city has more clearly defined a “logging operation” to differentiate between commercial logging and situations such as removing trees from storm damage, clearing land for new house construction, or removing trees infested with disease.

The new ordinance also more clearly defines the 40 percent slope limit as, “a rise of 40 feet or more per hundred feet of run.” The bond required to operate a logging truck in the city has also been changed to be based on the, “age, design, or construction of said street or road, the weight and volume of vehicles anticipated by said logging operations, and the potential damage to said roads or streets.”

This version will be voted on after consideration at the next regular council meeting. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 21 at 12 noon.

Updated Ordinance (As of March 15):

Ordinance No. 2017- 02

Establishing a permit process, rules, and regulations for logging or timbering activity within the city limits of Fort Payne, Alabama.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL, AS THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE CITY OF FORT PAYNE, AS FOLLOWS:

  • Section 1. That Ordinances 2016 – 05 and 2016-09 are hereby rescinded and repealed in their entirety.
  • Section 2. Permit required; Prior to engaging in any logging or timbering activity within the City limits of Fort Payne, Alabama, in addition to the required appropriate business license(s), any entity therein must acquire from the Fort Payne Inspections Department a permit to conduct said activity.
  • Section 3.
    • a) Logging or timber harvest shall be, and hereby is, defined as cutting and/or removing of any timber for any commercial purpose, including the sale thereof.
    • b) The removal of trees for other purposes, for example construction of new residences, clearing sight lines, etc. which meet current zoning regulations is not considered logging or timber harvest, even if incidental thereto said timber removed is sold.
    • c) The provisions with regard to cutting in a slope area shall not apply to emergency situations such as storm damage, diseased or infestation of the forest which shall cause the death of the timber.
  • Section 4. That, upon application for permit, the following rules and regulations govern the issue of such permit:
    • a) That, at the time of the application for said permit, a non-refundable fee of Fifty Dollars ($50.00) shall be paid to the City of Fort Payne.
    • b) That a plat and legal description of all properties upon which any logging or timbering activity shall be conducted shall be filed with the City of Fort Payne Inspections and Zoning Department.
    • c) That the entity engaging in said logging or timbering activity shall provide to the City of Fort Payne proof that the operation shall be covered by general liability insurance with a minimum of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) coverage.
    • d) That the operator applying for said permit shall be PLN certified.
    • e) That the permitee shall identify each and every mill including the name, address, and phone number thereof, that shall be receiving timber.
    • f) That the City of Fort Payne may, at any time, enter upon such land during the course of the operation to determine whether or not all regulations hereinafter set forth are being complied with.
    • g) That the City may, at its option, employee a registered forester for inspection of the property. The cost of employment, on a case by case basis, for said forester shall be taxed to the operator under the permit.
    • h) That the failure of the holder of said permit to comply with any of these regulations shall result in the revocation of the permit and immediate cessation of operations.
  • Section 5. Rules and Regulations for operations under a permit:
    • a) That all persons operating under a logging or timbering permit shall comply with the “Best Management Practices” as promulgated by the Alabama Forestry Commission, as updated.
    • b) In slope areas, the following rules and regulations shall apply:
      • i) A slope area is defined as any and all properties located on the western slope of Lookout Mountain, being from the top brow of Lookout Mountain to the foot of said mountain.
      • ii) Any slope exceeding 40 percent, i.e. rise of 40 feet or more per hundred feet of run.
    • c) In a slope area, cutting or harvesting of trees shall be limited as follows:
      • i) Said area may be select cut only, and no tree shall be harvested or cut which is less that 12 inches in diameter, to be measured 4.5 feet above the undisturbed ground from the highest point on said ground which is contiguous to the tree.
    • d) That any applicant for a permit who has been previously convicted of a violation of the ordinance shall not be eligible for the issuance of such permit.
  • Section 6. Bond:
    • a) Any permitee conducting logging or timbering operations within the slope area of the City of Fort Payne shall, prior to the issuance of said permit, post a bond for the purpose of ensuring the repair or replacement of any City streets or roads damaged by the operation.
    • b) That the amount of said bond shall be determined by the City of Fort Payne Public Works Director based on the age, design, or construction of said street or road, the weight and volume of vehicles anticipated by said logging operations, and the potential damage to said roads or streets.
    • c) In no case, shall the bond be 150 percent of any anticipated or potential damage to said roads or streets.
    • d) Said bond shall be in the form of a letter of credit from a federally insured financial institution and payable upon demand, to the City of Fort Payne, for repair of damages, etc.
    • e) If any portion of the road is required to be entirely replaced due to damage done by the logging or timbering operation, that road shall be replaced in a manner which complies with current sub-division road installation regulations of the City of Fort Payne, and the cost thereof shall be taken from the bond.
  • Section 7. Penalties:
    • a) Each day of failure by a permit holder to operate within the guidelines, rules, and regulations of this ordinance shall be considered a separate offense.
    • b) Each tree cut or harvested in violation of this ordinance shall be considered a separate offense.
    • c) That each offense shall be subject to a fine of not less than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250) and not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500) and incarceration for up to six (6) months in the City jail. 
  • Section 8. Severability:
    • a) If any part, section, or subdivision of this ordinance shall be held unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, such holding shall not be construed to invalidate or impair the remainder of this ordinance, which shall continue in full force and effect notwithstanding such holding.
  • Section 9. That this ordinance shall take effect as provided by law, after passage, approval and publication.

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