MALTA: Town modifies buffer zones

The code requires a 100-foot buffer on each side of any New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Classified stream, Class D or higher, and a 50-foot buffer on each side of any unclassified perennial stream. Strict guidelines are listed for the cutting of trees and vegetation within the identified stream buffers.

Additionally, the new section of the code identifies the allowable uses within the buffer areas to include the following: utility rights of way, biking or hiking paths, and limited tree clearing. The code defines limited tree clearing as "no more than one third of the crown canopy may be cut over any 10-year period, with the exception of the removal of diseased, rotten, or damaged vegetation, or of other vegetation that presents safety or health hazards." The cutting must be approved by the town's code enforcement officer.

Section III also provides clear language regarding steep slopes. In an effort to decrease the potential for erosion the code states "there shall be no construction, disturbance of soil, cutting or development, on slopes with a grade in excess of 15 percent.""

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