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(A) Notwithstanding anything in this subchapter to the contrary, property which is not forested as of the date of application for a BEP may be the subject of an application for the establishment of a forest bank.
(B) A person who owns property which is not forested may submit an application to the county for approval of a forest bank. The application shall include information that shows the ownership interest of the applicant, a location map and a site or property map illustrating existing site conditions (topography, soils, the existence of wetlands, floodplain, or streams), and a map showing the site relative to surrounding physiography. At the time the application is submitted to the county, the proposed forest bank shall be clearly marked in the field, pursuant to the requirements of the Technical Manual, in order that it may be inspected.
(C) The county shall review the application for a forest bank and shall determine, based upon the physiographic priorities established in the Technical Manual, whether the location, size and other characteristics of the property are conducive to the successful establishment of a forest and to achieving the goals of this subchapter. The county may approve or deny the application based upon these considerations.
(D) After an area is approved as a forest bank, the applicant may submit a BEP and once the county has approved that plan may proceed consistent with the BEP to establish a forest either by planting the area or by allowing the area to regenerate naturally.
(E) A forest bank may not be certified until:
(1) A registered forester has provided assurance to the county that the area allowed to naturally regenerate meets the definition of a forest pursuant to this subchapter;
(2) The maintenance period for an area to be planted has been completed with a survival rate consistent with the requirements of the Technical Manual; or
(3) A suitable guaranty for an area to be planted has been provided pursuant to § 150.31.
(F) Bank sites shall be certified by the county prior to sale of bank credits.
(G) After a forest bank has been certified, surveyed, and has been protected by an easement or other long-term protective agreement, the bank may be used to meet the forestation requirements of this subchapter for sites elsewhere in the county. When a bank credit is used for afforestation or reforestation, that portion shall be deducted from the total acreage of the bank. The maintenance of the forest bank is the responsibility of the forest bank owner. Any area within a forest bank that is not the subject of a long-term protective agreement may be withdrawn from bank status.
(H) Acceptance and certification of a forest bank does not relieve the applicant or developer of any responsibility or requirement under any other law or statute and a suitable guaranty may be required for areas of forest bank that do not meet the definition of forest to assure actual establishment of the forest.
(I) Use of a forest bank may be approved on individual projects when higher priorities established in this subchapter are deemed impossible or impractical or when complying with those higher priorities would create an undue hardship.
(J) The county will develop and maintain technical guidelines and specifications to be used in the establishment, review, and acceptance of forest banks. These guidelines and specifications are included in the Technical Manual.
(2004 Code, § 115-19) (Ord. 98-4, passed 11-18-1998; Ord. 02-03, passed 3-14-2002; Ord. 03-04, passed 1-30-2003; Ord. 04-05, passed 4-1-2004)