§ 83-3  APPLICATION.
   (A)   Except as provided in division (B) of this section, this chapter applies to:
      (1)   A person making application for a subdivision, project plan, grading or sediment control approval on units of land 40,000 square feet or greater after the effective date of this chapter;
      (2)   A public utility not exempt under division (B)(5) and (B)(6) of this section; and
      (3)   A unit of county or municipal government, including a public utility or public works project, making application for a subdivision, project plan, grading, or sediment control approval on areas 40,000 square feet or greater.
   (B)   This chapter does not apply to:
      (1)   Highway construction activities under Md. Code, Natural Resources Article, § 5-103;
      (2)   Areas governed by the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Protection Law, Md. Code, Natural Resources Article, §§ 8-1801—8-1816;
      (3)   Commercial logging and timber harvesting operations, including harvesting conducted subject to the forest conservation and management program under Md. Code, Tax Property Article, § 8-211, that are completed:
         (a)   Before July 1, 1991; or
         (b)   After July 1, 1991 on property which:
            1.   Has not been the subject of application for a grading permit for development within five years after the logging or harvesting operation; and
            2.   Is the subject of a declaration of intent as provided for in division (C) below of this section, approved by the Department.
      (4)   Agricultural activities not resulting in a change in land use category, including agricultural support buildings and other related structures built using accepted best management practices, except that a person engaging in an agricultural activity clearing 40,000 square feet or greater of forest within a one-year period, may not receive an agricultural exemption, unless the person files a declaration of intent as provided for in division (C) below of this section which includes:
         (a)   A statement that the landowner or landowner's agent will practice agriculture on that portion of the property for five years from the date of the declaration; and
         (b)   A sketch map of the property which shows the area to be cleared.
      (5)   The cutting or clearing of public utility rights-of-way licensed under Md. Code Article 78, §§ 54A and 54B or § 54-1, or land for electric generating stations licensed under Md. Code Article 78, §§ 54A and 54B or § 54-1, if:
         (a)   Required certificates of public convenience and necessity have been issued in accordance with Md. Code, Natural Resources Article, § 5-1603(f); and
         (b)   Cutting or clearing of the forest is conducted to minimize the loss of forest.
      (6)   Routine maintenance or emergency repairs of public utility rights-of-way licensed under Md. Code Article 78, §§ 54A and 54B or § 54-1;
      (7)   Except for a public utility subject to division (B)(6) above of this section, routine maintenance or emergency repairs of a public utility right-of-way if:
         (a)   The right-of-way existed before the effective date of this chapter; or
         (b)   The right-of-way's initial construction was approved under this chapter.
      (8)   An activity conducted on an existing single lot of any size if the activity:
         (a)   Does not result in the cumulative cutting, clearing or grading of more than 40,000 square feet of forest;
         (b)   Does not result in the cutting, clearing, or grading of a forest that is subject to the requirements of a previous forest conservation plan approved under this chapter; and
         (c)   Is the subject of a declaration of intent filed with the Department, as provided for in division (C) below of this section, stating that the lot will not be the subject of a regulated activity within five years of the cutting, clearing or grading of forest.
      (9)   Strip or deep mining of coal regulated under Md. Code, Natural Resources Article, Title 7, Subtitle 5 or 5A;
      (10)   Noncoal surface mining regulated under Md. Code, Natural Resources Article, Title 7, Subtitle 6A;
      (11)   An activity required for the purpose of constructing a dwelling house intended for the use of the owner, or a child or a grandchild of the owner, if the activity:
         (a)   Does not result in the cutting, clearing, or grading of more than 40,000 square feet of forest; and
         (b)   Is the subject of a declaration of intent filed with the Department, as provided for in division (C) below of this section, which states that transfer of ownership may result in a loss of exemption.
      (12)   A preliminary plan of subdivision or a grading or sediment control plan approved before July 1, 1991, or a final subdivision plan completed and approved prior to the passage of this chapter;
      (13)   A planned unit development that, by December 31, 1991, has:
         (a)   Met all requirements for planned unit development approval; and
         (b)   Obtained initial development plan approval by the Department.
      (14)   A real estate transfer to provide a security, leasehold, or other legal or equitable interest, including a transfer of title, of a portion of a lot or parcel, if:
         (a)   The transfer does not involve a change in land use, or new development or redevelopment, with associated land disturbing activities; and
         (b)   Both the grantor and grantee file a declaration of intent, as provided for in division (C) below of this section.
   (C)   Declaration of intent.
      (1)   The purpose of the declaration of intent is to verify that the proposed activity is exempt under Md. Code, Natural Resources Article, §§ 5-103 and 5-1601—5-1612.
      (2)   A person seeking an exemption under division (B)(3), (B)(4), (B)(8), (B)(11) and (B)(14) above of this section shall file a declaration of intent with the Department.
      (3)   The declaration of intent is effective for five years.
      (4)   The existence of a declaration of intent does not preclude another exempted activity on the property subject to a declaration of intent, if the activity:
         (a)   Does not conflict with the purpose of any existing declaration of intent, and
         (b)   Complies with the applicable requirements for an exempted activity.
      (5)   If a regulated activity on the area covered by the declaration of intent occurs within five years of the effective date of the declaration of intent:
         (a)   There shall be an immediate loss of exemption; or
         (b)   There may be a noncompliance action taken by the Department, as appropriate, under this chapter.
      (6)   An applicant may apply for a regulated activity on that area of the property not covered under the declaration of intent if the requirements of this chapter are satisfied.
      (7)   The Department may require a person failing to file a declaration of intent or found in noncompliance with a declaration of intent to:
         (a)   Meet the retention, afforestation and reforestation requirements established in §§ 83-3 through 83-13 of this chapter;
         (b)   Pay a noncompliance fee of $0.30 per square foot of forest cut or cleared under the declaration of intent;
         (c)   Be subject to other enforcement actions appropriate under Md. Code, Natural Resources Article, §§ 5-1601—5-1612 and this chapter; or
         (d)   File a declaration of intent with the Department.
      (8)   In its determination of appropriate enforcement action, the Department may consider whether failure to file a declaration of intent by a person required to file is a knowing violation of this chapter.
(Ord. 92-6, passed 12-21-1992)