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If your project proposes to disturb a wetland, waterbody, or their buffers, as described in 235-17., you will likely need a wetlands Conditional Use Permit (CUP), and go before the Conservation Commission. If there is any doubt on whether your project will have an impact to a wetland/waterbody/etc., you must hire a Certified Wetlands Scientist (CWS) to review the project and delineate any wetlands.
The Conservation Commission is an advisory board that make comments and recommendations on applications, which are provided to the Planning Board.
If you are proposing cutting within the Shoreline Protection Overlay District (SPOD), within the vegetative buffer that is 50ft from the reference line:
235-19.F. (1)(b):Within this area, dead, diseased, unsafe, noxious or fallen trees or saplings may be removed, provided that dead and living trees that provide dens and nesting places for wildlife are encouraged to be preserved.
235-19.F.(1)(c): Existing trees of less than four inches in diameter measured at 4.5 feet above the ground may be removed, and larger trees may be pruned, provided that a well-distributed stand of trees is maintained and that disturbance of the soil and forest floor is minimized.
235-19. F.(2)(6): No stumps can be removed within 50 feet of the shoreline, although they can be ground down.
Outside of the 50 foot vegetative buffer within the SPOD, the City has no restrictions on tree cutting, however, you may need to file an intent-to-cut with the State of New Hampshire if you plan to cut 1000 MBF or 20 cords for harvest. If you have questions about tree cutting, contact the Conservation Technician in the Laconia Planning Department.
If you are proposing logging or cutting within a wetland, vernal pool or waterbody, or their protective buffers, per 235-17. F.:
(1): Logging operations which:
(a) Utilize best management practices as described in Best Management Practices for Erosion Control on Timber Harvesting Operations in New Hampshire; and
(b) Comply with all applicable state laws including obtaining and filing an intent-to-cut form according to RSA 79:10, and filing a complete Notification of Forest Management Activities Having Minimum Wetlands Impact according to RSA 482-A:3, or obtaining a State Wetlands Board permit according to RSA 482-A.
If you are not conducting a logging operation, you will need a wetland Conditional Use Permit in order to cut trees, under 235-17.H. (1) “Activities that alter or remove soils or vegetation including clearing, dredging, draining or filling.” Contact the Conservation Technician in the Planning Department for more information
If you are proposing to cut trees in a conservation open space within a development:
Conservation open spaces consist of significant of unique stands of trees in good health, defined under 235-40 as,
"trees that are six inches or greater in diameter at breast height, in good health, of a noninvasive species and/or present a significant visual impact on the surrounding area or landscape."Dead, diseased and dying trees can be removed from conservation open spaces, but the condition of the tree should be confirmed by a trained arborist or forester, unless obvious (i.e. tree is clearly dead and falling over). Permission should be obtained from the City, as well as the homeowners association that you live in.
Pervious means that the surface is permeable and water can pass through, such as crushed stone, patio pavers, decking, and permeable pavement.
Impervious means that the surface is impermeable and that water cannot pass through, forcing it to runoff, such as asphalt, concrete, brick, and rooftops.
Per 235-13: GREEN SPACE: Land area with landscaped or natural vegetation, including those vegetated areas located under upper story decks, porches and overhangs that are a minimum of seven feet from the ground at the lowest elevation.
Minimum green space requirements can be found in 235 Attachment 3, Table III- Table of Dimensional Requirements, here.
The percentage of green space can be calculated by totaling the square footage of impervious surface, dividing it by the total square footage of the property, multiplying by 100, and then subtracting the final percentage of impervious area from 100. Ex: 1500 sq ft (impervious) / 4,356 sq ft (total sq ft of property) = .344 sq ft .344 sq ft x 100 = 34.4% (percent of property that is impervious). 100% (entire property) - 34.4% (percent of property that is impervious) = 65.6% total green space.
Conservation Easement: A voluntary, legal agreement between the City and private landowner that permanently limits the use of land in order to protect its conservation values. If you are interested in learning more, or potentially looking to have a conservation easement on your property, please contact the Conservation Technician.
Conservation Open Space: Per, 234-40.B.(6)(f)[c]: Land in cluster developments with the designation of conservation open space is required for significant or unique environmentally sensitive areas, including but not limited to wetlands, wildlife habitat, endangered flora/fauna, stream beds and water bodies, significant stands of trees, scenic vistas, archeological sites and graveyards. Land area within conservation open space shall permanently remain in its natural state except for maintenance and access to archeological sites and graveyards.
The following are permitted uses, per 235-40.B.(4)(b):
[a] Recreational vehicle access crossings.
[b] Pedestrian trail systems.
[c] Buffer area: perimeter, wetlands waterbody, shoreline.
Current Use: A program under the NH Department of Revenue (RSA 79-A) to incentivize property owners to conserve their undeveloped land (typically at least 10 acres in size) by receiving a tax break. For more information see the Assessor’s page, here.
For contact information for the various departments and programs within NHDES, please refer to their website, here.