Substitute House Bill No. 5498
          Substitute House Bill No. 5498

              PUBLIC ACT NO. 98-228


AN ACT CONCERNING REGULATION OF FOREST PRACTICES.


    Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and House of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section  1.  Section  23-65k  of  the  general
statutes  is  repealed   and   the   following  is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    (a)  ANY  OF  THE TOWNS OF BERLIN, BROOKFIELD,
CHESTER,   DEEP   RIVER,   EAST   HADDAM,   ESSEX,
GLASTONBURY,  GRANBY, HADDAM, KENT, LYME, NEWTOWN,
OLD LYME, OLD SAYBROOK, REDDING, STAFFORD, SOMERS,
WARREN,   WASHINGTON  OR  WILLINGTON  MAY,  ACTING
THROUGH ITS LEGISLATIVE BODY, AUTHORIZE ITS INLAND
WETLANDS  AGENCY  AS DEFINED IN SECTION 22a-38, TO
ADOPT  SUCH  REGULATIONS,  CONSISTENT   WITH   THE
REGULATIONS  ADOPTED  BY THE COMMISSIONER PURSUANT
TO SECTION 23-65j, AS ARE NECESSARY TO PROTECT THE
FOREST  LAND  WITHIN  ITS JURISDICTION, EXCEPT FOR
STATE-OWNED FOREST LAND MANAGED BY THE  DEPARTMENT
OF  ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS
SECTION, THE INLAND WETLANDS AGENCY SHALL SERVE AS
THE  SOLE MUNICIPAL AGENT FOR REGULATION OF FOREST
PRACTICES.  ANY   MUNICIPALITY   NAMED   IN   THIS
SUBSECTION  SHALL HAVE ONE YEAR FROM THE EFFECTIVE
DATE OF REGULATIONS ADOPTED  BY  THE  COMMISSIONER
FOR  THE  REGULATION OF FOREST PRACTICES TO COMPLY
WITH THE TERMS OF THIS  SECTION.  NO  MUNICIPALITY
WHICH  REGULATES  FOREST PRACTICES PURSUANT TO THE
AUTHORITY  OF  THIS  SECTION  SHALL   REJECT   ANY
APPLICATION WITHOUT HAVING SUCH REJECTION REVIEWED
BY A  FORESTER  CERTIFIED  BY  THE  DEPARTMENT  OF
ENVIRONMENTAL  PROTECTION  RETAINED  BY THE AGENCY
FOR THAT PURPOSE.  UPON  WRITTEN  REQUEST  OF  THE
APPLICANT,  A FORESTER CERTIFIED BY THE DEPARTMENT
SHALL  REVIEW  AND  MAKE  RECOMMENDATIONS  TO  THE
INLAND  WETLANDS  AGENCY  ON  ANY  APPLICATION  TO
CONDUCT FOREST  PRACTICES.  THE  COSTS  ASSOCIATED
WITH ANY REVIEW PROVIDED FOR IN THIS SECTION SHALL
BE BORNE BY THE APPLICANT  PROVIDED  IN  NO  EVENT
SHALL  THE  TOTAL  OF  FEES  AND COSTS PAID BY THE
APPLICANT IN CONNECTION  WITH  AN  APPLICATION  TO
CONDUCT  FOREST  PRACTICES EXCEED THE STANDARD FEE
WHICH WOULD BE CHARGED BY  THE  DEPARTMENT  FOR  A
SIMILAR APPLICATION.
    (b)  ANY  MUNICIPALITY NOT NAMED IN SUBSECTION
(a) OF THIS SECTION WHICH HAS, AS  OF  JANUARY  1,
1998, A PROGRAM OF REGULATION FOR FOREST PRACTICES
MAY APPLY TO  THE  COMMISSIONER  FOR  APPROVAL  TO
ADMINISTER  A  MUNICIPAL  PROGRAM OF REGULATION IN
ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS  OF  THIS  SECTION.
THE  COMMISSIONER  MAY  APPROVE SUCH PROGRAM IF HE
FINDS  THAT  SUCH  PROGRAM  WAS  IN  EXISTENCE  ON
JANUARY   1,   1998,  AND  WAS  AT  THAT  TIME  IN
COMPLIANCE WITH  THE  STANDARDS  PROVIDED  BY  THE
CONNECTICUT  RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT
FORESTRY COMMITTEE.
    (c)  AT  LEAST  ONE  MEMBER OR STAFF MEMBER OF
THE  INLAND  WETLANDS  AGENCY  SHALL  COMPLETE   A
TRAINING  PROGRAM  ON FOREST PRACTICES WHICH SHALL
BE DEVELOPED BY THE COMMISSIONER. THE COMMISSIONER
SHALL  ANNUALLY MAKE SUCH PROGRAM AVAILABLE TO ONE
PERSON FROM EACH TOWN WITHOUT COST TO THAT  PERSON
OR   THE   TOWN.   EACH   INLAND  WETLANDS  AGENCY
AUTHORIZED  TO  REGULATE  FOREST  PRACTICES  SHALL
PRESENT  A  SUMMARY OF THE TRAINING PROGRAM TO THE
MEMBERS OF THE  AGENCY  AT  LEAST  ONCE  ANNUALLY.
FAILURE  TO  HAVE THE TRAINING REQUIRED UNDER THIS
SUBSECTION SHALL NOT AFFECT THE  VALIDITY  OF  ANY
ACTION OF THE AGENCY.
    (d)   [Municipalities   may   regulate  forest
practices in a manner consistent with the purposes
of  sections  23-65f  to  23-65o,  inclusive.] Any
municipal  ordinance  or   regulation   concerning
[commercial  forest  practices  which  is  not  in
effect  on  the  effective  date  of   regulations
adopted   pursuant   to   section  23-65j]  FOREST
PRACTICES, ADOPTED IN ACCORDANCE  WITH  SUBSECTION
(a) OF THIS SECTION, shall not be effective unless
such ordinance or regulation has been submitted to
the    commissioner    for   approval,   and   the
commissioner  has  approved  said   ordinance   or
regulation  as  consistent  with  the  purposes of
sections  23-65f   to   23-65o,   inclusive,   and
regulations  adopted  thereunder AND FURTHER FINDS
THAT THE MUNICIPALITY SUBMITTING SUCH  REGULATIONS
HAD  IN  EFFECT  ON  JANUARY 1, 1998, A PROGRAM OF
REGULATION  FOR  FOREST  PRACTICES  WHICH  WAS  IN
COMPLIANCE  WITH  THE  STANDARDS  PROVIDED  BY THE
CONNECTICUT RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND  DEVELOPMENT
FORESTRY  COMMITTEE.  No  municipal  ordinance  or
regulation governing commercial  forest  practices
which  is  in  effect  on  the  effective  date of
regulations adopted  pursuant  to  section  23-65j
shall  be  valid  after the expiration of one year
following the effective date  of  such  department
regulations  unless  such  ordinance or regulation
has  been  submitted  to  the   commissioner   for
approval,  and  the commissioner has approved such
ordinance or regulation  as  consistent  with  the
purposes  of sections 23-65f to 23-65o, inclusive,
AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT,  and  regulations  adopted
thereunder. The commissioner shall provide written
notification to the municipality of  the  approval
of  a  municipal  ordinance  or  regulation or the
reasons  such  ordinance  or  regulation  is   not
approved.   Such  written  notification  shall  be
issued  within  sixty  days  of  receipt  by   the
commissioner   of   the  ordinance  or  regulation
adopted by the municipality. THE COMMISSIONER  MAY
REQUIRE MODIFICATIONS TO SUCH MUNICIPAL ORDINANCES
OR REGULATIONS WITHIN ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY  DAYS  OF
ANY  MODIFICATIONS  TO  REGULATIONS ADOPTED BY THE
COMMISSIONER UNDER SECTION 23-65j.
    (e)  ANY  FORM  USED BY A MUNICIPALITY FOR THE
REGISTRATION AND APPROVAL  OF  A  FOREST  PRACTICE
SHALL  BE  CONSISTENT  WITH  FORMS APPROVED BY THE
COMMISSIONER.
    (f)   AN  INLAND  WETLANDS  AGENCY  AUTHORIZED
UNDER SUBSECTION (a) OR (b) OF  THIS  SECTION  MAY
REQUIRE  A  REASONABLE  FILING FEE TO BE DEPOSITED
WITH THE AGENCY FOR  ANY  APPLICATION  TO  CONDUCT
FOREST  PRACTICES. THE AMOUNT OF SUCH FEE SHALL BE
SUFFICIENT  TO  COVER  THE  REASONABLE   COST   OF
REVIEWING  AND  ACTING ON APPLICATIONS, INCLUDING,
BUT  NOT  LIMITED  TO,  THE  COST   OF   CERTIFIED
MAILINGS,  PUBLICATIONS  OF  NOTICES AND DECISIONS
AND  MONITORING   COMPLIANCE   WITH   REGISTRATION
CONDITIONS  OR  AGENCY ORDERS PROVIDED SUCH FEE IS
NO GREATER THAN THE COMPARABLE FEE CHARGED BY  THE
COMMISSIONER.
    (g)  EACH INLAND WETLANDS AGENCY AUTHORIZED TO
REGULATE FOREST PRACTICES SHALL ANNUALLY REPORT TO
THE  COMMISSIONER  INFORMATION  ON  REGISTRATIONS,
ORDERS AND OTHER ACTIONS OF SUCH AGENCY ON A  FORM
FURNISHED  BY  THE  COMMISSIONER. SUCH INFORMATION
SHALL  INCLUDE,  BUT  NOT  BE  LIMITED   TO,   THE
FOLLOWING:    (1)    REGISTRATIONS   ISSUED;   (2)
REGISTRATIONS DENIED; AND (3) ENFORCEMENT  NOTICES
AND ORDERS.
    (h)  THE  COMMISSIONER  SHALL  REGULATE FOREST
PRACTICES IN ACCORDANCE  WITH  THE  PROVISIONS  OF
SECTION  23-65j  WITHIN  A MUNICIPALITY WHICH DOES
NOT REGULATE FOREST PRACTICES IN  ACCORDANCE  WITH
THIS SECTION.
    (i)  ON  OR  AFTER  THE  EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE
MUNICIPAL REGULATIONS ADOPTED UNDER SUBSECTION (a)
OF  THIS  SECTION,  NO  FOREST  PRACTICE  SHALL BE
CONDUCTED  UPON  ANY  FOREST   LAND   WITHIN   THE
MUNICIPALITY   EXCEPT   IN  ACCORDANCE  WITH  SUCH
REGULATIONS.
    (j)  IF  A  FOREST PRACTICE IS BEING CONDUCTED
ON A PARCEL OF REAL PROPERTY  WHICH  EXTENDS  INTO
TWO  OR  MORE  CONTIGUOUS  TOWNS, THE COMMISSIONER
SHALL HAVE SOLE JURISDICTION  OVER  SUCH  PRACTICE
UNLESS  EACH SUCH TOWN HAS A PROGRAM OF REGULATION
APPROVED UNDER THIS SECTION. IF  THE  COMMISSIONER
DETERMINES THAT THERE IS ANY CONFLICT BETWEEN SUCH
PROGRAMS, THE STATE REGULATIONS SHALL GOVERN  SUCH
PRACTICE.
    Sec.   2.   Section   23-65l  of  the  general
statutes  is  repealed  and   the   following   is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    If    the    Commissioner   of   Environmental
Protection OR, IN A MUNICIPALITY IN WHICH THERE IS
AN  INLAND  WETLANDS AGENCY AUTHORIZED TO REGULATE
FOREST PRACTICES,  SUCH  AGENCY,  finds  that  any
person  has  violated  any  provision  of sections
23-65f to 23-65o, inclusive, AS  AMENDED  BY  THIS
ACT,  [he]  THE COMMISSIONER OR THE AGENCY, AS THE
CASE MAY BE, may issue an order to such person  to
take  the  necessary  steps  to  comply  with said
sections. Each order to comply issued  under  this
section  shall  be  sent by certified mail, return
receipt requested, to the subject  of  such  order
and  shall  be  deemed  issued upon deposit in the
mail. Any person who is aggrieved  by  such  order
may,  within  thirty days from the date such order
or decision is issued, request  a  hearing  before
the  commissioner  OR  THE AGENCY, AS THE CASE MAY
BE. The commissioner OR THE AGENCY shall not grant
any  request for a hearing at any time thereafter.
After such hearing, the commissioner OR THE AGENCY
shall  consider  the  facts presented to [him] THE
COMMISSIONER OR THE AGENCY by such  person,  shall
consider  the rebuttal or other evidence presented
to or by [him] THE COMMISSIONER OR THE AGENCY, and
shall  then  revise  or  resubmit the order to the
person, or inform the  person  that  the  previous
order  has  been  disapproved  or that it has been
reaffirmed and remains in effect. The commissioner
OR  THE AGENCY may, after the hearing provided for
in this section, or any time after the issuance of
his  order,  modify  such  order  by  agreement or
extend the time  schedule  therefor  if  [he]  THE
COMMISSIONER OR THE AGENCY deems such modification
or extension advisable or necessary, and any  such
modification  or extension shall be deemed to be a
revision  of  an  existing  order  and  shall  not
constitute  a new order. There shall be no hearing
subsequent  to  or  any  appeal  from   any   such
modification or extension.
    Sec.   3.   Section   23-65m  of  the  general
statutes  is  repealed  and   the   following   is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    If  any  person  fails to comply with sections
23-65f to 23-65o, inclusive, AS  AMENDED  BY  THIS
ACT,   including   any   regulation,  certificate,
authorization or order adopted or issued  pursuant
to    said    sections,    the   Commissioner   of
Environmental Protection may request the  Attorney
General  to  bring,  OR  AN INLAND WETLANDS AGENCY
AUTHORIZED TO REGULATE FOREST PRACTICES MAY BRING,
an  action  in the superior court for the judicial
district of Hartford-New Britain at  Hartford*  to
enjoin  such  person  to  comply  fully  with said
sections, including any  regulation,  certificate,
authorization,   or   order   adopted   or  issued
thereunder,  or  any  part  thereof.  All  actions
brought  by  the  Attorney  General  OR  AN INLAND
WETLANDS AGENCY pursuant  to  this  section  shall
have  precedence in the order of trial as provided
in section 52-191.
    Sec.   4.   Section   23-65n  of  the  general
statutes  is  repealed  and   the   following   is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    Any  person  who  violates  any  provision  of
sections 23-65f to 23-65o, inclusive,  AS  AMENDED
BY THIS ACT, shall be assessed a civil penalty not
to exceed five thousand dollars, to  be  fixed  by
the  court, for each offense. Each violation shall
be a separate and distinct  offense  and,  in  the
case   of   a  continuing  violation,  each  day's
continuance  thereof  shall  be  deemed  to  be  a
separate   and   distinct  offense.  The  Attorney
General, upon complaint  of  the  Commissioner  of
Environmental  Protection,  OR  AN INLAND WETLANDS
AGENCY AUTHORIZED TO  REGULATE  FOREST  PRACTICES,
shall  institute  a  civil  action to recover such
penalty.
    Sec.   5.   (NEW)   (a)  The  Commissioner  of
Environmental Protection may revoke the  authority
of  a  municipality  to  regulate forest practices
pursuant  to  section  23-65k   of   the   general
statutes, as amended by this act, upon notice from
a municipality that it  intends  to  abandon  such
authority  or  upon  determination after a hearing
that such municipality has failed to  perform  its
duties  under  said  section  23-65k. Prior to the
hearing on revocation, the commissioner shall send
a   notice  to  the  inland  wetlands  agency,  by
certified mail, return receipt  requested,  asking
such  agency  to show cause, not later than thirty
days  after  receipt  of  such  notice,  why  such
authority  should  not  be  revoked. A copy of the
show cause notice  shall  be  sent  to  the  chief
executive   officer   of   the  municipality  that
authorized the agency. The commissioner shall send
a   notice  to  the  inland  wetlands  agency,  by
certified mail, return receipt requested,  stating
the  reasons for the revocation and any provisions
necessary for reinstatement,  in  accordance  with
subsection  (c)  of this section. Any municipality
aggrieved by a decision of the commissioner  under
this  section  to  revoke its authority under this
section may appeal therefrom  in  accordance  with
the  provisions  of  section  4-183 of the general
statutes. The commissioner shall have jurisdiction
over  the  forest  practices  in  any municipality
whose authority to regulate such forest  practices
has  been  revoked.  Any fees that would have been
paid to such municipality if  such  authority  had
been retained shall be paid to the state.
    (b)  If the commissioner revokes the authority
of a municipality to  regulate  forest  practices,
the municipality may apply to the commissioner for
reinstatement of such authority after a period  of
one  year  from  revocation.  The commissioner may
grant   reinstatement    if    the    municipality
demonstrates that it is capable for fulfilling its
duties  under  section  23-65k  of   the   general
statutes, as amended by this act.
    (c)   The   commissioner  shall  cause  to  be
published   notice   of    the    revocation    or
reinstatement  of  the authority of a municipality
to regulate forest practices  in  a  newspaper  of
general   circulation   in   the   area   of  such
municipality.
    (d)  The  commissioner  may  issue an order or
request to the Attorney General to bring an action
in the superior court for the judicial district of
Hartford-New Britain at Hartford  to  enforce  any
order,   registration,   ordinance  or  regulation
adopted under chapter 451a of the general statutes
if  the  municipality  fails  to do so on a timely
basis.
    Sec.    6.    (NEW)    The   Commissioner   of
Environmental Protection or any  person  aggrieved
by  any order, registration, ordinance, regulation
or action made by a  municipality  under  sections
23-65f   to  23-65o,  inclusive,  of  the  general
statutes, as amended by this act, may appeal  such
regulation,   order,   decision   or   action   in
accordance  with  section  4-183  of  the  general
statutes.  Notice  of  such appeal shall be served
upon  the   inland   wetlands   agency   and   the
commissioner.  The  commissioner  may  appear as a
party to any action brought by  any  other  person
not  later  than  thirty  days  from the date such
appeal is returned to the court.
    Sec.   7.   Section   23-65f  of  the  general
statutes  is  repealed  and   the   following   is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    As used in sections 23-65g to 23-65o:
    (1)  "Commercial  forest  practices" means any
forest practices performed by a person other  than
the   owner   of   the  subject  forest  land  for
remuneration,  or  which,  when  performed,  yield
commercial forest products;
    (2)  "Commercial  forest  products" means wood
products harvested from a tract of forest land  in
excess of fifty cords or one hundred fifty tons or
twenty-five thousand board feet, whichever measure
is appropriate, in any twelve-month period;
    (3)  "Commercial  forest  practitioner"  means
any  person  who  engages  in  commercial   forest
practices;
    (4)  "Commissioner"  means the Commissioner of
Environmental Protection;
    (5)   "Department"  means  the  Department  of
Environmental Protection;
    (6)  "Forest  land"  means  that  portion of a
parcel of land which constitutes  a  total  of  at
least  one  contiguous  acre  on which there is no
structure, maintained landscape area, accessway or
other  improvement  and  which  is (A) occupied in
random distribution  by  trees  having  a  minimum
diameter  of three inches as measured from a point
on the trunk which is four and one-half feet above
the  ground  such  trees comprising at least seven
and one-half square feet of  basal  area  and  the
crowns  of  such  trees  occupying  no  less  than
fifteen per cent of the total area; or  (B)  which
is  planted  with  at least five hundred trees per
acre and is not maintained for Christmas  tree  or
nursery stock production;
    (7)   "Forest  practice"  means  any  activity
which  may  alter  the  physical   or   vegetative
characteristics of any forest land [including, but
not  limited  to,  any   activity   involving   or
associated with the cutting of trees or harvesting
of  forest  products]  WHICH  IS   UNDERTAKEN   IN
CONNECTION  WITH  THE HARVEST OF COMMERCIAL FOREST
PRODUCTS  UNLESS  SUCH   HARVEST   IS   UNDERTAKEN
PURSUANT TO THE CONVERSION OF FOREST LAND TO OTHER
USES AND SUCH CONVERSION HAS BEEN APPROVED BY  THE
PLANNING   COMMISSION,   ZONING   COMMISSION,   OR
COMBINED PLANNING AND ZONING  COMMISSION  AND,  IF
APPLICABLE,  THE  INLAND  WETLANDS  AGENCY  OF THE
MUNICIPALITY WITHIN WHICH SUCH LAND IS LOCATED;
    (8)  "Forest  practitioner"  means  any person
who engages in forest practices;
    (9)   "Person"  means  any  individual,  firm,
partnership,  association,  corporation,   limited
liability  company, company, organization or legal
entity  of  any  kind,  including  any   political
subdivision  of  the state and including any state
agency;
    (10)  "Tree"  means  a  woody  perennial plant
usually having one self-supporting stem  or  trunk
which   has  a  definitely  formed  crown  and  is
normally expected to attain  a  mature  height  of
over twenty feet.
    Sec.  8.  Subsection  (f)  of section 23-65 of
the general statutes is repealed and the following
is substituted in lieu thereof:
    (f)  Any  person,  firm  or corporation, other
than a tree warden or his deputy, who desires  the
cutting  or  removal,  in whole or in part, of any
tree or shrub or part thereof within the limits of
any  public  road or grounds, may apply in writing
to the town tree warden, the borough  tree  warden
or  the  Commissioner  of  Transportation or other
authority having jurisdiction thereof for a permit
so  to  do.  Upon  receipt of such permit, but not
before,  he  may  proceed  with  such  cutting  or
removal.  Before  granting or denying such permit,
such  authority  may  hold  a  public  hearing  as
provided  in section 23-59, and when the applicant
is  a  public  utility  corporation,   the   party
aggrieved  by  such decision may, within ten days,
appeal  therefrom  to  the  Department  of  Public
Utility  Control,  which  shall  have the power to
review, confirm, change or set aside the  decision
appealed  from  and  its  decision shall be final.
This shall be in addition to the powers granted to
it   under   section   16-234,   provided,  if  an
application for  such  permit  has  been  made  to
either  a  tree  warden  or  the  Commissioner  of
Transportation or other authority  and  denied  by
him,  an  application  for  a  permit for the same
relief  shall  not  be  made  to  any  other  such
authority.  UPON  ANY APPROVAL OF SUCH A PERMIT BY
THE COMMISSIONER OF TRANSPORTATION, THE  PERMITTEE
SHALL NOTIFY THE TREE WARDEN FOR THE TOWN IN WHICH
THE TREE IS LOCATED  PRIOR  TO  CUTTING  ANY  SUCH
TREE.

Approved June 8, 1998