Reforestation exemptions for land use changes
(1) The State Board of Forestry shall review its rules governing changes in land use and adopt or amend rules as necessary to assure that only bona fide, established and continuously maintained changes from forest uses are provided an exemption from reforestation requirements. The board shall set specific time periods for the completion of land use conversions. Among other factors, the board shall condition exemptions from reforestation requirements upon:
(a) Demonstrating the intended change in land use is authorized under local land use and zoning ordinances, including obtaining and maintaining all necessary land use or construction permits and approvals for the intended change in land use;
(b) Demonstrating progress toward the change in land use within the time required for planting of trees, and substantial completion and continuous maintenance of the change in land use in a time certain;
(c) Allowing an exemption for only the smallest land area necessary to carry out the change in land use, and requiring that additional land area within the harvest unit remains subject to all applicable reforestation requirements; and
(d) Allowing an exemption only to the extent that the proposed land use is not compatible with the maintenance of forest cover.
(2) The board may require that, prior to commencing an operation where a change in land use is proposed, a bond, cash deposit, irrevocable letter of credit or other security be filed with the State Forester in an amount determined by the State Forester sufficient to cover the cost of site preparation and reforestation for the area subject to an exemption from reforestation due to a change in land use, and shall require that provisions be made for the administration and collection on such bond or security deposit in the event that the change in land use is not established or continuously maintained within a time certain.
(3) Nothing in this section is intended to exempt any change in land use from, nor affect the applicability and administration of, any planning, zoning or permitting requirements provided under state or local laws or regulations. [1991 c.919 §8]
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