[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of East Amwell 9-25-2003 by Ord. No. 03-15. Amendments noted where applicable.]
East Amwell has a long history of protecting the natural environment, preserving farmland and respecting the carrying capacity and constraints of the land. With these planning objectives in mind, it is the purpose of this ordinance to protect soil as a necessary and valuable resource in the Township. Soil is an essential component of farming and therefore key to farmland productivity. It is a vital part of woodland habitat, where it provides the ecological underpinnings for a healthy and diverse population of flora and fauna. Soil removal can also impact neighbors in such areas as drainage and runoff. Therefore, this ordinance intends to protect the soil of the Township from being lost due to soil erosion, stripping, regrading, exportation or any other mechanism by which the Township may suffer a net loss of soil.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- All unconsolidated mineral or organic material, of whatever origin, that overlies bedrock and which can be readily excavated.
- SUBSOIL SOIL
- The deepest level of soil material in which soil formation processes are active. It lies above the parent material, but below the surface soil.
- Weathered rock material immediately below the subsoil, from which it is assumed that the overlying subsoil was formed. Substratum lies directly above bedrock.
- SURFACE SOIL
- The soil ordinarily moved in tillage or its equivalent in uncultivated soil, often referred to as the plowed layer.
- The top layer of the soil profile, above the surface soil and distinguished from other soils as a presumed fertile soil or soil material, or one that responds to fertilization, ordinarily rich in organic matter.
In addition to the standards of this chapter, soil removal and relocation of any material above the substratum shall be in accordance with the Code of the Township of East Amwell, § 92-73, Article VI, Design and Performance Standards, for soil erosion and sediment control.
No change in excess of two feet shall be made in the elevation or contour at any point of any lot or site without prior approval by the Planning Board, Zoning Board or Township Engineer as part of a development approval or the authorized administrative entity as part of a building permit, if the subject construction does not require a development approval.
No topsoil, surface soil and subsoil shall be removed from the site without a valid permit or development approval.
Topsoil, surface soil and subsoil shall not be removed from the municipality.
Large rocks and boulders (greater than three-foot minimum diameter at any point) indicative of the rocky landscape of the Sourland Mountains shall not be removed from the Sourland Mountain Zone.
Topsoil removed during the course of construction shall be redistributed so as to provide at least five inches of cover to all nonimpervious areas of the site and shall be seeded or planted so as to remain in place.
Under an approved plan, stripping of vegetation, grading or other soil disturbance shall be done in a manner that will minimize soil erosion.
Whenever feasible, natural vegetation shall be retained and protected.
Whenever possible, the extent of the disturbed area shall be minimized.
Proposed changes to the contour of the land shall follow the natural contour of the land to the greatest extent possible. Any proposed grading that would change the elevation of the land more than two feet at any point shall require site plan review and Planning or Zoning Board approval.
Topsoil shall not be used as fill material.
The following are exempt from the provisions above:
Land disturbance of 5,000 square feet or less associated with the construction of a single-family dwelling, unless such development is a part of a proposed subdivision, site plan, zoning variance or building permit application involving two or more building units.
Land disturbance of 5,000 square feet or less of the surface area of land for the accommodation of construction which may or may not require a building permit.
C Use of land for gardening primarily for home consumption.
Percolation tests and/or soil borings.
Agricultural use of lands when operated in accordance with a farm conservation plan approved by the Hunterdon County Soil Conservation District or when it is determined by the Hunterdon County Soil Conservation District that such use will not cause a net loss of soil in the Township.
The soil erosion and sediment control plan or any major amendment shall be approved by the approving authority in the manner and form according to the regulations hereafter set forth. In the case of subdivisions, such review and approval shall be part of the subdivision review process. In all other instances, review and approval shall be made within 30 days of submission of a complete application unless, by mutual agreement in writing between the Township and the applicant, this period is extended for an additional period. Failure of the Township to make a decision within such a period or extension thereof shall constitute certification of the soil erosion and sediment control plan.
The applicant shall be provided with a written notice of such decision by the Township Engineer. A copy of the decision, including the name of the applicant, the location by street address and block and lot number and the proposed land use, shall be sent to the Hunterdon County Soil Conservation District, together with any other information required by the District. The Planning Board, in approving the soil erosion and sedimentation control plan, may impose lawful conditions or requirements designated or specified on or in connection therewith. These conditions and requirements shall be provided and maintained as a condition to the establishment, maintenance and continuance of any use or occupancy of any structure or land.
Any person, persons or corporations who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by one or more of the following: a fine not exceeding $1,250, a term of imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not to exceed 90 days. Each day that a violation of any provision of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense.