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(a) Intent. Whereas, the Protected Hillside Zone areas of this Municipality differ from other areas of the Municipality because the hillsides and unique scenic resources and scenic river areas necessitate different provisions for their development and their protection; and
Whereas, the Protected Hillside Zone regulations are established to achieve, among others, the following objectives:
(1) To protect the public and private property owners from the potential damage to human life and safety and property damage that could potentially be caused by increased hillside instability.
(2) To assure access to properties within the Protected Hillside Zone by emergency police and fire vehicles to protect persons and property.
(3) To preserve and protect the unique scenic resources and scenic river habitats in the Protected Hillside Zone.
(4) To preserve and protect the valuable hydrologic systems, fragile hillside and valuable flora and fauna in the Protected Hillside Zone.
(5) To permit, subject to the best available technology, development on Protected Hillside Zone areas while conserving and promoting the public health, safety, convenience and general welfare by minimizing problems due to water runoff and soil erosion problems incurred in adjustment of the topography to meet developmental needs.
(6) To use the best accepted design, landscape architecture, architecture, civil engineering and hydrological engineering to preserve, enhance and promote the existing and future appearance and resources in Protected Hillside Zone areas.
(7) To preserve and enhance the natural beauty of Protected Hillside zones by encouraging the maximum retention of natural topographical features such as natural drainage swales, streams, slope ridge lines, rock outcropping, vistas from and of hillside, trees and other natural plant formations and retain the sense of identity and image that the Protected Hillside Zone areas now impart to the Village.
(8) To complement the other actions of this Council including the enactment of an erosion control ordinance, the enactment of a vegetation preservation ordinance and the designation, along with other communities, of the Chagrin River Corridor as a "Scenic Corridor" which should be protected and preserved.
(b) Definitions. For the purpose of this Section, the following terms shall have the meaning herein indicated. Other terms shall have the meaning indicated in Chapter 1123, Definitions:
(1) "Cut" means a portion of land surface or area from which the earth has been removed or will be removed by excavation.
(2) "Earth material" means soil, sediment, rock, sand, gravel and organic material or residue associated with or attached to the soil.
(3) "Earth moving" means any excavating, cutting or filling, or any stockpiling thereof.
(4) "Earth disturbing activity" means any grading, excavating, filling, drilling or other alteration of the earth's surface where natural or man-made ground cover is destroyed and which may result in or contribute to erosion and sediment pollution.
(5) "Erosion" means the process by which the land surface is worn away by the action of water, wind, ice or gravity.
(6) "Fill" means depositing of soil, rock or other materials by other than natural means.
(7) "Finish grade" means the final grade or elevation of the ground surface after grading is completed.
(8) "Hillside control measures" means all of the planning work and control that is required and specified by this Section.
(9) "Protected Hillside Zone" means those areas within the Village meeting the criteria set forth in sub-section 1173.03 (d).
(10) "Impervious surface" means water shedding surface which may include streets, buildings, tennis courts, roofs, driveways, patios, pool decks, parking lots and other similar water shedding surfaces.
(11) "Landslide" means the rapid mass movement of soil and rock material downhill under the influence of gravity in which the movement of the soil mass occurs along an interior surface of sliding.
(12) "Natural gradient" means the rate of ascent or descent of natural ground surfaces or natural terrains.
(13) "Natural ground surface" or "natural terrain" means the ground surface in its original state before any grading, excavation or filling.
(14) "Natural vegetation" means plant materials and trees which are indigenous to the area and exist on a site prior to any vegetation destruction, construction, earth moving or earth disturbing activity.
(15) "Owner/developer/builder/occupant" means an individual, firm, association, syndicate, partnership or corporation having sufficient proprietary interest to seek development of land.
(16) "Run-off" means the part of precipitation which flows over land without filtering into the soil.
(17) "Sediment" means solid material, both mineral and organic, that is in suspension, is being transported, or has been moved from its site of origin by wind, water, gravity, or ice, and has come to rest on the earth's surface.
(18) "Slip" means landslide as defined herein.
(19) "Sloughing" means a slip or downward movement of an extended layer of soil resulting from the undermining action of water or the earth-disturbing activity of man.
(20) "Slope" means an inclined ground surface; the inclination is expressed as a ratio of the horizontal distance to the vertical distance.
(21) "Soil" means unconsolidated erodible earth material consisting of minerals and/or organics.
(22) "Unstable soil" means a portion of land surface or area which is prone to slipping, sloughing or landslides.
(c) Protected Hillside Zone Map and Additional Documentation. The Protected Hillside Zone Map shall be available for guidance and review in the office of the Building Inspector, and such map shall be published as a convenient reference document and the information contained therein shall be believed to be accurate. However, the Village shall not certify the accuracy of the map and shall assume no liability or responsibility for discrepancies between the map and the criteria for the Protected Hillside Zone as set forth in sub-section 1173.03 (d). At the time of development plan review, the Planning Commission may require that the applicant submit additional, definitive documentation of existing and proposed grades.
(d) Criteria to Determine Protected Hillside Zone. The Protected Hillside Zone contains one (1) or more of the following criteria:
(1) Areas that exhibit evidence of past or present unstable soil.
(2) Areas having slopes with a natural gradient within the limits set forth in Exhibit "A" attached to original Ordinance 1992-42 and incorporated herein fully as if by reference and adopted as if by reference.
(3) All areas that exhibit evidence of the presence of Geeburg soils, based on the most recent Cuyahoga County soil survey maps or by soil surveys performed by the applicant done by a certified soils specialist.
(1) No owner, developer, builder or occupant shall make changes of any land proposed to be subdivided, developed or changed in use by grading, excavating or by their removal or destruction of any natural vegetation or the removal of any topsoil, trees or other vegetation covering thereon within the Protected Hillside Zone as defined in sub-section 1173.03 (d) without first having obtained a Zoning Certificate from the Building Inspector authorizing such activity in the Protected Hillside Zone.
(2) This Section shall not be interpreted to prohibit or require an application for normal landscaping, gardening, maintenance or routine arboreal activities or to prohibit small scale planting of ornamental flowers or shrubs or the removal of diseased, dead or damaged trees or trees which are a threat to the health and safety of the owner of the property. However, such activity shall be carried out in the conformance with the standards of vegetation or revegetation of this Section and in accordance with Section 1173.05, Regulations for the Cutting of Trees.
(3) Where Geeburg soils are present in the area of proposed disturbance as defined in sub-section 1173.03 (d)(3), no earth disturbing activity shall take place within the Hillside Protection Zone as defined in Exhibit "A" attached to original Ordinance 1992-42.
(4) The area of proposed disturbance shall include any area that will be subjected to paving, installation of sidewalks, construction of structures or other man-made improvements.
(f) Administration. All applications for development within the Protected Hillside Zone shall be submitted to the Building Inspector. The Building Inspector shall review the application, and in connection with such review, the Building Inspector is authorized to consult and obtain opinions from such other professionals as the Village Engineer, hydrological and geotechnical engineers, botanists, biologists and landscape architects as he may deem necessary. No Zoning Certificate for development within the Protected Hillside Zone shall be issued until the application, together with the report of the Building Inspector, has been reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission, pursuant to Chapter 1127, Development Plan Review Procedures.
(g) Application Materials. Maps and data, either separate or combined, shall be provided as required by Chapter 1127 and the following additional information shall be provided for final development plan review:
(1) Topographic map. A topographic map that includes a drawing, showing contours at two foot intervals based on the County datum plane. It shall show approximate direction and gradient of ground slope on immediately adjacent land; indicate subsurface condition of tract; and show watercourses, marshes, wooded areas, isolated preservable trees and other significant features. The topography shall be at the same scale as the preliminary plan. In addition to those requirements this drawing shall clearly indicate the limits of the Protected Hillside Zone.
(2) Development plan. A development plan, superimposed on the topographic and property line map, should show the following:
A. Improvements Plan. Must depict the location of all improvements and impervious surfaces with a clear indication of their relationship to the Protected Hillside Zone, including, but not limited to, all structures, utilities, septic systems, driveways, terraces, tennis courts, pools, etc.
B. Grading Plan. Must show proposed contours and shall list the total amount of cut and fill and shall show the extent of all cut and fill operations.
C. Profiles. The Village reserves the right to request profiles and/or cross sections that will indicate proposed and existing grades.
(3) Geotechnical report. A geotechnical report by a qualified geotechnical engineer, that addresses all factors pertinent to site stability, both present and future, will be required by the Village, and shall include the following:
A. Present Stability Evaluation. An evaluation of the present stability of the site, based on field exploration that includes test borings, followed by lab testing and stability analysis.
B. Future Stability Evaluation. An evaluation of the effect of the planned construction on stability based on the findings in (1) above.
C. Recommended Strategies. Detailed strategies to insure that existing or potential instabilities will be mitigated.
(4) Vegetation management report. A vegetation removal and revegetation report shall be submitted by a registered landscape architect, and it will address the following:
A. Vegetation Inventory. A development plan showing the general limits of the various kinds of vegetation (wood lot, meadow, etc.), the locations of all trees nine (9) inch or greater in caliper fourteen inches above ground level (including their genus, species and condition) that are within fifty (50) feet of the limits of the area proposed to be disturbed; location and type of vegetation to be destroyed; location and type of vegetation to be removed due to health, safety and welfare requirements.
B. Landscape Plan. A landscape plan, prepared or approved in writing by a professional registered landscape architect trained and experienced in both the characteristics of plant material and proper procedures for installation, shall be submitted with each application for development within the Hillside Protection Zone.
(h) Required Hillside Control Measures. The following standards and procedures shall be applied by the Building Inspector and Planning Commission in reviewing an application for development in the Protected Hillside Zone:
(2) Gradients. The following standards will be applied to the Protected Hillside Zone:
A. Driveways. No driveways will exceed a maximum gradient of ten percent (10%).
B. Embankments. Fill areas may not exceed three feet horizontal to one foot vertical slope.
C. Excavations. Cut areas may not exceed a two and one half horizontal to one foot vertical slope.
(3) Septic systems. Leach beds shall not be located on slopes in excess of four feet horizontal to one foot vertical slope.
(4) Exception. An applicant may request an exception to the requirements of this sub-section when compliance would prevent reasonable development of the subject site. To request such an exception, an applicant shall submit an alternative method of meeting the intent of this Section, as stated in sub-section 1173.03 (a). To demonstrate such an alternative, the applicant shall submit sufficient documentation in the form of engineering plans, geotechnical reports and/or plans, schematic designs, financial information indicating the practicality of the proposed alternative, and any other information deemed necessary by the Village Engineer and/or the Planning Commission.
In evaluating this proposed exception, the Planning Commission, after considering a recommendation from the Village Engineer, shall determine that:
A. The proposed alternative substantially complies with all specific requirements and with the intent of the Hillside Protected Hillside Zone; and,
B. The exception, as proposed, shall have no adverse impact upon the subject site, the surrounding properties or upon the health, safety or general welfare of the community.
Prior to preparing the application materials required by this sub-section, the applicant may present to the Planning Commission preliminary plans, which indicate the general nature of the proposed alternative, in order to seek advice from the Commission to determine if such an alternative is reasonable to explore.
(i) Schedule of Fees and Deposits. At the time of filing the application for development within the Protected Hillside Zone, there shall be paid to the Treasurer a filing fee. There shall also, at such time, be deposited with the Treasurer and thereafter maintained on deposit an amount as determined by the Building Inspector based on his estimate of the costs to be incurred by the Village in reviewing the application for a Zoning Certificate and to insure payment by the applicant of expenses incurred by the Village in the processing of the application and all pertinent papers connected therewith.
(1) The cost and expense of any investigation which may be necessary by the Building Inspector, Village Engineer, hydrological and geotechnical engineers, botanists, biologists, landscape architects and the Law Director and such other Village officials to determine whether the proposed application is in accordance with law, the cost of any and all notices required, and all other necessary expenses shall be paid by the owner, applicant, developer or builder.
(2) The actual expenditures shall be paid by the applicant upon demand of the Treasurer. The unexpended balance of the deposit shall be refunded to the applicant upon completion of all administrative proceedings involved in connection therewith. No filing fee shall be refunded or returned. No Zoning Certificates shall be issued until any amounts required to be paid by the applicant have been paid.
(j) Appeals. If any person is aggrieved by any provisions of this Section or the final determination of the Planning Commission, said person may appeal to the Court of Common Pleas.
(k) Civil Penalty.
(1) In the event of a continued violation of the approved development in the Protected Hillside Zone, a public hearing on the matter shall be conducted by the Planning Commission. Written notice of such hearing shall be served upon the owner, developer, builder or occupant by registered mail and shall state:
A. The grounds of the complaint;
B. The time and place such hearing is to be held.
Such notice shall be served at least fifteen (15) days prior to the date set for the hearing. At any such hearing, the owner, developer, builder or occupant shall be given an opportunity to be heard and he may call witnesses and present evidence on his behalf.
If, after such hearing, the Planning Commission concludes that the issuance of additional corrective notices would be futile, any performance guarantees or cash deposits posted with the Village shall be forfeited, whereupon such security shall be used for completion of the approved development in the Protected Hillside Zone. Any additional costs incurred by the Village shall be certified to Council for certification to the County Auditor for placement as a lien upon the property under authority of Ohio R.C. 715.47.
(2) In the case of a real and present emergency, the Building Inspector shall refer the matter to the Law Director who shall institute an appropriate action at law. (Ord. 2012-21. Passed 7-11-12.)