CHAPTER 5

CONSERVANCY DISTRICTS, EASEMENTS, AND PROTECTED AREAS

7-5-1: GENERAL PURPOSE:

The purpose of this chapter is to identify various easements and protected areas which are required or otherwise regulated by other provisions of this code and to establish various regulations which apply to some or all of these easements and protected areas.

In addition, it is the intent of this chapter to further the appropriate use and conservation of land and water resources, to protect the health and welfare of all present and future residents, not only of the village, but also of the surrounding areas, from the problems of erosion, flooding, sedimentation, water pollution, exhaustion of aquifers, stripping of forest cover and to guide development so as to make maximum use of the capabilities of the land, including preservation of green areas, open space, wildlife cover of locally endangered species of flora and fauna, and to avoid all possible damage to the natural environment and the ecology of the village. The village notes that in the greater Chicago metropolitan area this type of ecological community is fast disappearing.

7-5-2: EASEMENTS IDENTIFIED:

The following easements and protected areas are established, required, or regulated through various other provisions of this code:

(A)       Lowland Conservancy District:  See section 7-5-3 of this chapter. 

(B)       Upland Conservancy District: See section 7-5-4 of this chapter. 

(C)       Drainage And Detention Easements: These easements are intended to provide adequate areas to ensure proper drainage through developments. See chapter 3 of this title as well as section 6-4-4 of this code.

(D)       Public Utility Easements: See section 6-4-4 of this code.

(E)       Scenic Corridor Easements: These easements are intended to provide scenic buffers between roads and developments. See subsection 6-4-4(C) of this code. A scenic corridor easement shall be depicted on each final plat of subdivision and each final plat of a planned unit development, and said easement shall constitute an easement in favor of the village of Long Grove, the terms of which are as follows:

1.         All significant native vegetation shall be preserved and maintained, and shall not be mowed, cultivated, sprayed or in any way disturbed.

2.         Nonnative vegetation may be excised, controlled, or destroyed, in accordance with the approved plans and specifications or with the prior written approval of the CSC.

3.         Existing woodlands and hedgerows within the scenic corridor shall not be destroyed.

4.         If no significant natural vegetation exists and where suitable topsoil is available, berms may be constructed in accordance with the approved plans and specifications for the subdivision or planned unit development. Nonnative flowering plants and evergreen trees may be utilized, if approved by the plan commission or the CSC. It is the intent that the vegetation, whether it be native or otherwise, shall constitute a suitable screen between the development of the lot upon which the scenic corridor exists and the adjacent road right of way to ensure that visual evidence of human occupancy is minimal.

(F)       Other Protected Areas: The plan commission, in cooperation with developers, has employed as a planning tool woodland conservancy easements primarily in planned unit developments (PUD). These areas are designed to protect wooded lots to minimize the loss of or damage to trees and vegetation. On the final plat, each lot has delineated a building pad in which construction is permitted. Areas which are wooded and to be protected are designated as woodland conservancy. These areas are not to be disturbed except to the extent necessary to permit access from the right of way to the building pad. Similarly, other site-specific protected areas have been established such as walking path easements and wildlife travel path easements. The various provisions which apply to these protected areas are generally found on the face of the final plat, the ordinance granting final PUD approval, and/or in the approved covenants and restrictions, such as in the Royal Melbourne PUD.

7-5-3: LOWLAND CONSERVANCY DISTRICT:

(A)       Specific Purpose: The primary purpose of the lowland conservancy district is to preserve prime wetlands, aquifer recharge, soils with poor bearing capacity, wildlife areas, shorelands, flood control areas, flood plains, aesthetic areas, recreation and existing agricultural areas in flood plains. It shall be a primary objective that conservancy district areas remain in their natural undisturbed condition.

(B)       Definition: The "Lowland Conservancy District" shall be defined as the greater of all land lying below the highest flood of record as set forth in the hydrologic investigations, atlas series HA 208 Q 71, published by the U.S. geological survey, Washington, D.C.; the flood plain topographic maps of Buffalo Creek, Indian Creek and Kildeer Creek, prepared by U.S. department of agriculture, soil conservation service; or soil types as identified in the soil survey of Lake County, Illinois, published by the U.S. department of agriculture, in cooperation with the Illinois agricultural experiment station, or as these sources may be revised from time to time.

(C)       Soil Types; Soil Legend Symbols:

1.         Soil Types: Soil types included in the lowland conservancy district have the following characteristics:

(a)        Seasonal water table at depth of less than two feet (2') from the surface of the ground for a period of more than two (2) months during the year.

(b)        Soils classified as poorly to very poorly drained according to the USDA soil conservation service.

(c)        Limitations severe enough to question the economic feasibility of these soils for urban development. Improper development of these soil areas will cause harmful effect to the public.

2.         Soil Legend Symbols And Names: The lowland conservancy district is classified by the following soil legend symbols and names, including, but not necessarily limited to:

Soil Legend Symbols

Soil Name

67 103

Harpster silty clay loam Houghton muck

W103

Houghton muck, wet

107

Sawmill silty clay loam

153

Pella silty clay loam

232

Ashkum silty clay loam

330

Peotone silty clay loam

W330

Peotone silty clay loam, wet

465

Montgomery silty clay

513

Granby load fine sand

(D)       Permitted Uses:

1.         Agriculture as now practiced.

2.         Flood overflow and movement of flood water.

3.         Wildlife management.

4.         Vegetation management for the perpetuation or restoration of native species.

5.         Nature preserve.

6.         Wilderness areas and wildlife refuges.

7.         Passive recreation such as nature trails.

(E)       Procedure For Permitted Uses: Permitted uses shall require a review and recommendation by the CSC and issuance of a permit by the village board. An application for a permitted use shall include sufficient detail to demonstrate that the permitted use will not:

1.         Interfere with the flow or storage of flood water;

2.         Increase the runoff of the area;

3.         Interfere with the absorption of ground water;

4.         Present a potential pollution hazard to ground or surface water;

5.         Disturb the natural ecology of the area.

(F)       Special Uses:

1.         Excavation of ponds.

2.         Installation of dams.

3.         Any other uses which can be demonstrated to be of clearly overriding public benefit and would not frustrate the purposes of this chapter.

(G)       Procedure For Special Use: Application for a special use shall be made to the plan commission. If the plan commission makes a recommendation for the issuance of a special use permit, the village board may, if it deems it necessary or advisable, also require the review and recommendation of the CSC. An application for a special use shall include sufficient detail to demonstrate that the special use will not:

1.         Interfere with the flow or storage of flood water;

2.         Increase the runoff of the area;

3.         Interfere with the absorption of ground water;

4.         Present a potential pollution hazard to ground or surface water;

5.         Disturb the natural ecology of the area.

(H)       Prohibited Uses And Modification:

1.         Disturbing of native vegetation. No native vegetation shall be removed, treated with herbicides, destroyed or otherwise damaged except where otherwise provided in this code.

2.         Floodway alteration.

3.         No manmade structures of any kind shall be constructed in the lowland conservancy except for necessary public improvements which are part of the approved plans and specifications for a subdivision or planned unit development or except as permitted by an approved special use.

4.         No materials shall be utilized or stored which shall have the potential for polluting either surface or ground water.

5.         The flood plain shall not be filled nor shall its grade be altered in any respect except as permitted by storm water management commission.

7-5-4: UPLAND CONSERVANCY DISTRICT:

(A)       Specific Purpose: The primary intent of the Upland Conservancy District is to preserve woodlands, steep scenic lands, major recharge areas for existing aquifers, aesthetics of the area, recreation areas and areas of educational value, areas from potential ground water pollution; also to guide development away from soils having severe limitations. It shall be the objective that at all times the areas of significant forest cover and slopes in excess of twelve percent (12%) (7 degrees) remain as much as possible in their natural condition.

(B)       Definition: "Upland conservancy areas" shall mean those areas having the following characteristics:

1.         A forest area with canopy trees six inches (6") in diameter or greater measured at breast height (DBH) covering one-quarter (1/4) acre or more, or a stand of eight (8) or more trees with a cumulative DBH of eight inches (8") or more. Canopy trees shall consist of the following species and their cultivars: American basswood, ash, beech, birch (paper), box elder, buckeye, cherry, cottonwood, elm, locust, hackberry, hickory, linden, maple, northern catalpa, oak, pine, walnut, willow. Where the canopy trees consist of more than seventy percent (70%) of the following species: box elder, silver maple, and/or black locust, then only half such area shall be considered in calculating the upland conservancy; or

2.         Areas with more than one-quarter (1/4) acre having a slope greater than twelve percent (12%) (7 degrees), based on a field survey; or

3.         Areas of morley silt loam (194E) or morley silt loam eroded (194E2) greater than twelve percent (12%) (7 degrees), based on an on-site field determination.

(C)       Permitted Uses:

1.         Forestry and wildlife management.

2.         Nature preserve.

3.         Vegetation management for the perpetuation or restoration of native species.

4.         Passive recreation such as nature trails.

(D)       Prohibited Uses: Forest cover, contours of the terrain, and general ecology of the area shall not be disturbed except as specifically permitted under the terms of this chapter.

(E)       Reasonable Use Limitation: In upland conservancy areas up to a maximum of forty percent (40%) of the protected area on a given lot or parcel may be disturbed or otherwise utilized for the use and enjoyment of the owner provided that no less than sixty percent (60%) of the protected area shall be left undisturbed.

(F)       Procedure For Each Proposed Subdivision Or Planned Unit Development (PUD):

1.         Plan Commission Determination: The plan commission shall examine the land and determine if any part of it falls within the classification of the Upland Conservancy District. The commission reasonably requires such topographic maps, aerial photographs, soil survey of Lake County, Illinois, as published by U.S. Department of Agriculture, or such other background material.

2.         Plan Commission Examination Of Property: The plan commission, in conjunction with the developer, shall examine the property and determine the number and location of residential sites which the property can reasonably sustain without damage to its ecological integrity. The plan commission may, at its reasonable discretion, reduce the number of residential sites below that permitted by the basic underlying zoning classification if, in the opinion of the plan commission, such reduction is necessary to achieve the objectives of this classification.

3.         Final Plat: The final plat shall indicate specific residence locations (building pads) and shall bear the notation that no construction activity shall take place outside the designated sites.

4.         Construction Fences Required: Further, it shall be required during the period of construction that sufficient fences be erected and maintained to prevent all construction activity from infringing on the designated natural areas. It shall be the responsibility of the owner to see that such fences shall be maintained and such areas kept free of all construction activity for the entire duration of the construction period.

5.         Minimum Lot Size: For developments which contain all three (3) upland conservancy characteristics (see section 7-5-3), each lot must be three (3) acres or greater. All such lots shall have a building pad for the building, driveway, patios and other uses. Such pads shall not exceed ten thousand (10,000) square feet on a three (3) acre lot. As to each lot, an extra five hundred (500) square feet shall be permitted for each acre the lot exceeds three (3) acres. The septic tank areas shall, where feasible, use widely spaced trenches to preserve the canopy trees, understory growth and ground cover. All on-site disposal systems shall be Type I aeration systems with a four (4) hour backup battery power source or the system most suitable for the specific site as determined by a licensed septic system designer and approved by the village building department or village engineer.

6.         Afforestation: If an upland conservancy area is disturbed, afforestation shall be required. Afforestation shall require the following for each five thousand (5,000) square feet of disturbed area:

(a)        One 3-inch native hardwood tree;

(b)        Two (2) 2-inch native hardwood trees;

(c)        Ten (10) 5-foot canopy or ornamental whips (bare root or potted);

(d)        Ten (10) 3-foot shrubs (bare root or potted); and

(e)        Ground cover - prairie mix or woodland flower and ground cover mix.

(f)         If the trenching preserves large trees between the trenches, the amount of afforestation may be commensurately reduced.

(g)        All afforestation plans shall be submitted to the CSC for review and recommendation and subsequent approval by the village board.

7-5-5: SOIL CLASSIFICATION SURVEY:

For all new developments, such as, but not limited to, subdivisions or planned unit developments, as a condition precedent to preliminary approval, the developer shall furnish to the village a soil classification study of the entire development site clearly depicting all lowland or upland conservancy soils. The soil classification survey shall be prepared by, or under the supervision and control of, an Illinois certified soil classifier, subject to the review and approval of the village engineer. The survey shall either classify soils on the entire site, or shall indicate the specific contours or boundaries of each soil type. The survey must be reasonably current and contain all necessary data.

7-5-6: CONSERVANCY DISTRICT ENCROACHMENTS:

(A)       When it is essential to the reasonable use of a lot or parcel that an improvement such as a driveway or utility line encroach upon or traverse a conservancy district, the location of the improvements shall be subject to the prior review and approval of the plan commission at time of final plat approval and be so delineated to the extent reasonably possible on the final plat.

(B)       If for some reason the encroachment was not identified and delineated by the plan commission during the final plat process, then such an encroachment may be thereafter permitted upon application of the owner, after review and upon recommendation of the CSC, and final approval by the village board. Encroachments shall be no greater than twenty feet (20') wide and shall be located whenever possible to minimize the size of the encroachment.

(C)       Once the location and nature of these permitted encroachments are reviewed and approved by the plan commission or the CSC and final approval has been obtained, the configuration of the encroachment may be altered as reasonably necessary for the enjoyment of the lot subject to the prior review and recommendation of the CSC and subsequent approval of the village board subject to the following:

1.         The reconfiguration must be reasonably necessary for the reasonable use of the lot; and

2.         The reconfiguration must not result in an overall reduction of the square footage of the conservancy district; or

3.         The reconfiguration will result in other ecological benefits such as preservation of native vegetation such as a mature oak; or

4.         Such other conditions which the village board determines warrants the reconfiguration and the village board further finds that the reconfiguration will result in an overall enhancement to the ecology of the area.

7-5-7: CONSERVANCY DISTRICT BUFFER YARDS:

To protect the integrity of conservancy district areas it is necessary to establish buffer yards immediately adjacent thereto to regulate improvements. For the following uses, no such use shall be located within the following buffer yard setback areas immediately adjacent to conservancy district areas:

Use Or Activity

Buffer Yard Setback Distance

Foundations, building walls, and inground pools

20 feet

Septic tanks

10 feet

Wells

12 feet

Tile fields

6 feet

Decks, aboveground pools, and all patios which cannot support a vehicle or which do not have at least 10 feet overhead clearance

10 feet

Patios which can support a vehicle and which do have at least 10 feet overhead clearance

4 feet

 

7-5-8: BURNING:

Periodic burning of conservancy areas is encouraged when done in a safe manner and in accordance with applicable regulations. Persons desirous of burning conservancy areas should contact the village for recommended procedures and guidelines. CSC review and approval is not required for periodic burning.

7-5-9: MAINTENANCE, RENOVATION, RESTORATION, AND ENHANCEMENT:

Management of conservancy district, drainage and detention easements, and scenic corridor easements areas are permitted and encouraged. Conservancy district and scenic corridor easement areas may be periodically maintained, renovated, and replanted only in accordance with the specific provisions which govern these areas. Woodland conservancy areas may be maintained, renovated, replanted, and enhanced using generally accepted forestry management methods subject to the prior review and approval of the CSC. Nonnative species may be removed, and protected areas may be replanted with native species but any such activities require the prior review of the CSC and final approval by the village board.  Some areas which are designated conservancy district are of poor quality due to prior uses of the area such as various farming techniques or the existence of nonnative invasive or noxious vegetation.  Consequently, no permit is required for the removal of nonnative invasive or noxious vegetation such as, but not limited to, Canada thistle, purple loosestrife, reed canary grass, buckthorn, teasel, garlic mustard, and those other such plants which are on the approved list for removal at the village hall is permitted.   

7-5-10: ALTERATION OF GEOGRAPHICAL BOUNDARIES OR RECLASSIFICATION:

(A)       For all existing designated conservancy district easement areas as set forth in plats of subdivision or planned unit developments, there can be no subsequent modification except as herein provided. Amendments or deletions of the conservancy district areas will be considered by the village upon submittal by the property owner of a soil classification survey prepared by an Illinois certified soil classifier. If the survey establishes to the satisfaction of the village engineer, that all or portions of the conservancy district easement may be amended or deleted, the village engineer shall so report to the village board which may accept, modify, or reject the recommendation of the village engineer. The property owner shall be responsible for all professional expenses incurred by the village.

(B)       The geographical boundaries of scenic corridor easements are not subject to alteration except in those limited circumstances set forth in the specific sections dealing with these easements.

(C)       Drainage and detention easements are not subject to alteration unless it is shown to the satisfaction of the village board upon the recommendation of the village engineer that an engineering error was made and an alteration is necessary to permit adequate drainage.

(D)       Woodland conservancy easements which were established at the time of final plat approval may be shifted upon good cause shown to permit reasonable use of the lot upon which it is located, provided that the net result is that the total square footage devoted to woodland conservancy and the total DBH of the trees protected thereby is not diminished as a result of the alteration of the conservancy boundaries. New plantings may be required to offset any tree losses resulting from such an alteration. All requests for alteration to the woodland conservancy shall be reviewed by the plan commission or the CSC, as specified in the code, which shall issue its recommendation to the village board for final action.

7-5-11: FINAL PLAT EASEMENTS:

All easements, conservancy districts, and other protected areas shall be depicted on the final plat for each subdivision and planned unit development. The first page of each such plat shall list the names of each type of easement, conservancy district or protected area within the development and include a reference to the page of the final plat where the easement, conservancy district, or protected area is defined.  The easement, conservancy district, or protected area shall be perpetual easements in favor of the village of Long Grove and the lot owners within the respective subdivision or planned unit development subject to the applicable provisions of this chapter.

7-5-12: SIGNAGE REQUIRED:

All lots that are impressed with conservancy district easements, woodland conservancy easements and/or scenic corridor easements shall, prior to the time of issuance of a building permit, and before any construction begins, be posted by the owner on four inch by four inch (4" x 4") treated posts three feet (3') in the ground and extending three feet (3') above the ground at locations designated by the building commissioner with signs provided by the village. These signs shall be maintained at all times by the owner of the lot. The signs shall indicate in substance to all persons that the easement areas are not to be disturbed.

7-5-13: FENCING:

Subject to the prior review and approval of the CSC, rustic fences shall be permitted in conservancy district, scenic corridor, and woodland conservancy easements where congruent with lot lines to preserve area and foster greater privacy. The petitioner must demonstrate that:

(A)       The fence would protect the area from vehicles or other disturbances; or

(B)       The fence would help to preserve unusual feature of area; or

(C)       The fence would foster privacy and safety for natural wildlife or vegetation.

7-5-14: CONFLICT:

In the event of a conflict between the provisions of this chapter and those of any other section of this code, the more stringent provision shall govern.

 

 

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