Township of Independence, NJ
Warren County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Independence 9-12-1983 by Ord. No. 83-8; amended in its entirety 6-13-2000 by Ord. No. 00-5 (Ch. 88 of the 1984 Code). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 175.

§ 186-1 Purpose.

[Amended 3-11-2003 by Ord. No. 03-4]
A. 
The purpose of this chapter is to set standards for the design and location of driveways in order to promote the safety, public health, convenience, general welfare, lessen soil erosion, improve emergency vehicle access and preserve Township roads and road structures.
B. 
This chapter also sets standards and guidelines for the design elements for driveways in excess of 250 feet in length, and driveways with slopes of 8% or greater. Additionally, this chapter sets guidelines for the final driveway approval process to enable the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.
C. 
Finally, it is the intent of this chapter to exercise exclusive jurisdiction by the Township of Independence over all driveways into Township streets and to exercise concurrent jurisdiction with the County of Warren and State of New Jersey Department of Transportation when any such portion of a driveway is located within the jurisdiction limits of a county or state highway. Therefore, all references contained herein to "Township road," "road," "street" or "public road" shall be construed to mean Township, county or state street or highway.

§ 186-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMMON DRIVEWAY
A jointly owned roadway which provides entry to more than one dwelling or place of business from a public road or street.
[Amended 3-11-2003 by Ord. No. 03-4]
DRIVEWAY
A privately owned roadway which provides entry to a dwelling or place of business from a public road or street. An entrance from a public road to a farm field which does not contain a dwelling is specifically excluded from this definition.
PAVEMENT
The combination of a surface course and a base course and, where allowed herein, a base course of designated thickness placed on a compacted subbase or subgrade.

§ 186-3 Permit required; fees.

No driveway shall be constructed or existing driveway altered or additional homes connected to existing driveways to an existing or future street or road right-of-way without first obtaining a driveway permit in accordance with the following:
A. 
An application for a driveway permit shall include a plan of the proposed driveway in accordance with § 186-4. The applicant shall also deposit with the municipality a fee in the amount of $250 to cover the estimated cost of the professional review of the application by the Municipal Engineer and other professionals and a fee in the amount of $50 to cover the administration costs of the Township. For driveways with slopes over 12% an additional fee of $300 shall be deposited with the application to defer the costs associated with the increased complexities of design and construction. Where the review and inspection costs exceed the initial escrow deposit, the applicant shall pay the additional amount prior to the issuance of a certificate of approval (CA).
[Amended 3-11-2003 by Ord. No. 03-4]
B. 
Permits shall be reviewed and issued by the Township Engineer.
C. 
The Building Subcode Official shall not issue a building permit until he has been notified by the Township Engineer that a driveway permit for the subject building has been issued.
D. 
Major and minor subdivisions shall not be exempt from permit requirements, nor exempt where the driveway construction is by the owner, subdivider, or his successor.

§ 186-4 Construction requirements.

[Amended 3-11-2003 by Ord. No. 03-4]
A construction plan prepared by a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of New Jersey or a plan prepared by the owner containing sufficient detail and determined to be acceptable by the Township Engineer shall be submitted with the application in a scale of one inch equals 30 feet showing provisions for compliance with the following:
A. 
All driveways shall be constructed and maintained in such a manner as to prevent erosion of the soil from them and its deposition upon the street or road and in gutters, catch basins, inlets, drains or culverts.
B. 
All driveways constructed or altered shall be constructed in such a manner as not to interfere with the drainage along the existing pavement or traveled way nor shall runoff from a driveway discharge onto the traveled way unless it can be demonstrated by the applicant's professional in writing that all measures have been taken to limit such runoff to the absolute minimum. Where curbs are installed, water may not be discharged more than two feet beyond the curb. Under no circumstances shall the driveway be allowed to extend beyond the edge of the existing pavement or traveled way thereby creating a hump or uneven driving surface on the pavement or traveled way.
C. 
All driveways shall meet the abutting roadway at a horizontal angle of 90°.
D. 
Whenever possible, all driveways shall be designed in profile, grade, and location to permit a minimum sight distance in accordance with the following table. Roads which are not posted for speed limits shall be considered to be 50 mph, unless in the opinion of the Township Engineer the applicant's engineer can demonstrate in writing that the horizontal geometric considerations or location dictate otherwise. The sight distance measurement shall be from a sight point four feet above the ground on the center line of the driveway and 10 feet behind the curbline of the thoroughfare, and if no curbline exists, a minimum of 10 feet from the edge of the road. A clear sight triangle shall be established connecting the sight points described above, and shall be graded and otherwise kept free of trees, shrubbery, fences, structures, etc., in order to maintain clear vision between sight points. All driveways, including exit or entrance driveways, shall be located to afford maximum safety to the traffic on the Township road.
Allowable Speed on Township Road
(mph)
Required Sight Distance
(feet)
25
240
30
275
35
315
40
350
45
420
50
475
NOTE: In no instance shall the sight distance be less than 200 feet.
(1) 
All applicants shall take the required action to obtain the required sight distance, immediately after receipt of initial driveway permit approval and during the commencement of the drives construction. In no instance will a temporary or a permanent certificate of approval be granted until the required sight distance has been obtained. If, in the opinion of the Township Engineer, the required sight distance on the approved plan appears different than that in the field, the Engineer may require a statement by the applicant's engineer on his engineer's letterhead attesting that the required sight distance has been met.
(2) 
Any and all actions taken to obtain the required minimum sight distance shall be done in a lasting and permanent manner.
(3) 
Any trees within the site triangle shall be removed.
E. 
Driveways at corner lots shall be located at least 50 feet from the edge of pavement of the intersecting roadway.
F. 
The slope of the driveway shall not exceed 6% either upwards or downwards for a distance of at least 20 feet from the curb or gutter line. The Township Engineer may require additional precautions when the slope of the driveway is between 10% and 15% in the first 100 feet from the curb or gutter line. Changes in vertical grades shall be made with smooth vertical curves not less than 12 feet in length.
G. 
Where driveways are at a higher or lower elevation than the street and any portion of the driveway exceeds a grade of 8%, the following shall be performed:
(1) 
The driveway shall be paved with two-inch compacted thickness of bituminous concrete, Type FABC-1, two-inch thick on a base of soil aggregate, Type 5A or 2B, or dense-graded aggregate, four-inch thick; pavers, concrete or bricks may be substituted for the bituminous concrete on a base material approved by the Engineer.
(2) 
Where the driveway crosses a ditch or swale, the Township Engineer may require either maintaining the existing swale or installing a suitably sized pipe, or both.
H. 
Driveway length is measured along the center line of the driveway from the dwelling to the road surface edge.
I. 
All driveways shall be paved for the first 25 feet from the edge of pavement with two-inch compacted thickness of bituminous concrete, Type FABC-1, on four-inch base of soil aggregate, Type 5A or 2B; dense-graded aggregate; pavers, concrete, or bricks may be substituted for the bituminous concrete on an approved base material.
J. 
Consideration shall be given to the effect of increased runoff on downstream properties. Also, the driveway design shall include provisions for storm drainage within the driveway and where it crosses existing roadside ditches or drainage structures. The Township Engineer may require that measures be taken to limit runoff rates from the proposed driveway to values prevailing before development.
K. 
Driveways less than 250 feet in length shall have the minimum cleared and graded width of 14 feet and a minimum cartway width of 10 feet.
L. 
Driveways of 250 feet or more in length shall be a cleared and graded width of 14 feet and shall have a minimum cartway width of 10 feet. Horizontal curves shall have a minimum outside radius of that will accommodate a fire engine apparatus. For the purpose of this design, the American Association of State Highway Officials SU design vehicle shall be utilized.
M. 
The development of new common driveways shall be expressly prohibited.
N. 
Multifamily, commercial and industrial driveway pavement widths shall be designed to accommodate commercial vehicles and higher traffic volumes, but in no event shall exceed a maximum width of 35 feet. These driveways shall have Planning Board approval when they are part of a new application.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The title of the Planning Board was changed to “Land Use Board” 2-13-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-07. See Ch. 255, Land Development, Art. II.
O. 
Common driveways shall have deeded provisions for maintenance, parking, and snow removal, however, the Township will not be responsible for enforcement of this provision.
P. 
Driveways of 250 feet or more in length shall have facilities suitable for fire engine turnaround consisting of the following:
(1) 
K-turn with fifty-foot depth, to accommodate a fire engine apparatus within 200 feet but not less than 75 feet of the dwelling. This design shall follow the criteria of § 186-4L; or
(2) 
Looped driveway of fourteen-foot width and fifty-foot or more center-line radius.
Q. 
Reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), also commonly known as "millings," may be substituted for dense-graded aggregate as prescribed below. This chapter does not authorize such millings to be used in lieu of FABC where required or authorize use of millings in residential subdivisions. The use of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), also known as "millings," may be substituted for the pavement requirements of driveways outside of the right-of-way subject to the following provisions:
(1) 
The material shall conform to NJDOT Standard Specifications Article 901.10(b) and shall further contain no foreign matter. The source of the millings shall be from milled pavements where a portion of a surface course or base course has been removed and no portion of the milled area shall have been outside an existing pavement structure. This shall mean that the millings shall be from what is commonly known as main line pavements and shall not have as a source any millings from trench removal or complete pavement removal.
(2) 
The depth of the millings shall be no less than eight inches.
(3) 
The millings shall be placed when the ground and air temperatures are above 70° and expected to remain so for several days. No millings shall be placed later than September 30th.
(4) 
The millings shall be placed by a convenient method and shall be rolled with a roller conforming to the requirements of NJDOT Specifications 404.09 i.e., steel wheel rollers, static weight of not less than 10 tons and/or vibratory rollers with a static weight of not less than 6 1/2 tons.
R. 
No new driveway shall be constructed with a plan profile greater than 15%. In instances where proposed grades are in excess of 15%, a confirmation from the Independence Emergency Services, rescue squad and fire department that they can gain access to the proposed homesite will be required prior to the issuance of a driveway permit. In addition, a certification from an engineer licensed in the State of New Jersey that measures have been taken to limit runoff rates (volumes and velocities) from the proposed driveway to values prevailing prior to development based on plans that have been reviewed, revised and/or prepared by him or her will be required.
S. 
No new driveway shall be located less than five feet of a property side line.
T. 
The construction of any driveway or home in the municipality that is part of a major subdivision is subject to the standards promulgated by the New Jersey Soil Conservation Committee and administered by the Warren County Soil Conservation District. The enforcement of this provision shall be the responsibility of the Warren County Soil Conservation District, a permit from whom is required prior to the issuance of a building permit by the Townships' Construction Code Official.

§ 186-5 Submission of plans.

[Amended 3-11-2003 by Ord. No. 03-4]
The application for a driveway permit shall be accompanied by two copies of a plan prepared by a licensed engineer or property owner showing plan and profile and typical cross section of the proposed driveway. The plan shall be neatly drawn in a manner satisfactory to the Township Engineer, to a scale of not less than one inch equals 30 feet, and shall show the following information:
A. 
A plat or site plan shall show the driveway for its entire length and the road for a distance of at least 200 feet in either direction. The plan shall show the pavement lines, gutter line, drainage structures, utility poles, trees or bushes or other features along the road. The plan shall show the location of the driveway dimensioned in feet from a side line of the property and dimensioned in feet from the nearest utility pole and shall show the number of the pole. The plan shall also show the width and construction material of the driveway (cross section) and shall show necessary drainage improvements and clearing required to achieve the sight distance required in § 186-4D. Cross sections along the driveway and/or along the road may be required by the Township Engineer at his discretion.
B. 
A profile of the driveway beginning at the center line of the public road, showing existing and proposed grades and elevations along the center line of the driveway for its entire length. Elevations shall be referenced to a datum point which shall be shown on the plan.
C. 
Details, as necessary, of any drainage structures, gutters, cross sections and construction shall be shown.

§ 186-6 Issuance of certificate of approval; bond.

[Amended 3-11-2003 by Ord. No. 03-4]
A. 
The Building Subcode Official shall not issue a certificate of occupancy until he has been notified by the Township Engineer that the driveway has been issued a certificate of approval.
B. 
If due to inclement weather conditions it is not feasible in the judgment of the Township Engineer to complete the driveway, the permittee may submit a bond, in the form of a certified check or other cash bond, thereby allowing the Township Engineer to release a temporary certificate of approval (TCA), which would allow the Building Subcode Officer to issue a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO). The guarantee shall be held to insure that the driveway will be completed within one year. The bond amount will be based upon 120% of the cost of the remaining improvements as determined by the Engineer, but in no case shall be less than $1,000.
C. 
Upon submission and approval of the bond by the Township Attorney, the Building Subcode Official may issue a temporary certificate of occupancy. Upon final completion of the driveway or approval by the Township Engineer, a final certificate of occupancy will be issued. The bond will be released by the Treasurer when directed in writing by the Engineer.
D. 
In the event that the driveway is not completed within one year after the temporary certificate of occupancy has been issued and if the permittee, upon 10 days' notice, does not complete the improvements required by the approved plans under this chapter, the Township may complete the driveway using the funds available from the bond via a private paving and or excavating contractor.

§ 186-7 Violations and penalties. [1]

Any person or persons or firm or corporation who does not obtain a permit or who violates any provision of this chapter which results in unsightly conditions or damage to or obstruction of any street or road, gutter, storm drain, catch basin, inlet or culvert shall be responsible for all expenses incurred by the Township in repairing such damage or removing the obstruction and shall also be subject to a minimum fine of $100 and a maximum penalty of one or more of the following: a fine not exceeding $2,000, imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days. Except as otherwise provided, each and every day in which a violation of any provision of this chapter exists shall constitute a separate violation.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 186-8 Waiver of requirements.

[Amended 3-11-2003 by Ord. No. 03-4]
A. 
Upon written request and submission of a $200 nonrefundable review fee from an applicant for a driveway permit, the Township Engineer, acting as agent for the Township Committee, may review a waiver of the sight distance requirements of § 186-4D or any other provisions of this chapter. The waiver will be considered for individual cases and upon a showing of hardship or inability to comply with existing requirements, provided that the protection to the applicant and the public sought by the waiver requirements are not significantly reduced, and provided that such a waiver may be granted without detriment to the applicant or the public in general. Furthermore, no waiver or relief may be granted which would create substantial public danger or substantial public inconvenience and would not substantially impair the provisions of this subsection or the standards promulgated by the New Jersey Conservation Committee and administered by the New Jersey Soil Conservation Committee. The Engineer shall review the request from the applicant, in triplicate, which shall contain the following:
(1) 
A written description, detailing the reasons a waiver is needed, to be considered only when no complying alternative can be found.
(2) 
Upon receipt of all the required information, the Engineer will review and inspect the proposal and report all findings to the applicant and Township Committee within 10 days.
(3) 
Strict enforcement of the terms and sections of this chapter may be waived by the Township Committee upon receipt of the Township Engineer's findings whenever such enforcement would not be in the best interests of the Township or would place undue hardship upon the applicant.

§ 186-9 Water on Township roads.

No person, firm or corporation shall divert, direct, pump or discharge water onto the surface of any Township road or Township right-of-way, wherein said road will cause unsafe traveling conditions and/or cause the road surface to deteriorate and/or cause erosion and or icing of the same.

§ 186-10 Enforcement official.

The Township Engineer of the Township of Independence or his designee is hereby designated to enforce this chapter.