Township of Radnor, PA
Delaware County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Radnor 2-25-1974 by Ord. No. 1564 as Ch. 69 of the 1974 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 125.
Sewers — See Ch. 235.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 245.
Street excavations — See Ch. 250, Art. VI.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 255.
Zoning — See Ch. 280.

§ 175-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Radnor Township Grading Ordinance."

§ 175-2 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide minimum standards to safeguard persons, to protect property and to promote the public welfare by regulating and controlling the design, construction, quality of materials, use, location and maintenance of grading, excavations and fills.

§ 175-3 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BUILDING PERMIT
A permit issued by the Building Inspector pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 125, Building Construction, for the construction, erection or alteration of a structure or building.
EXCAVATION
Any act by which earth, sand, gravel, rock or any other similar material is cut into, dug, quarried, uncovered, removed, displaced, relocated or bulldozed, and includes the conditions resulting therefrom.
FILL
Any act by which earth, sand, gravel, rock or any other material is deposited, placed, pushed, dumped, pulled, transported or moved to a new location, and includes the conditions resulting therefrom.
GRADE
The elevation of the existing ground surface at the location of any proposed excavation or fill.
GRADING
Excavation or fill or any combination thereof, and includes the conditions resulting from any excavation or fill.
GRADING PERMIT
Any permit required under § 175-5 hereof.
PERSON
A natural person, but also includes a partnership or corporation.
SITE
A lot, tract or parcel of land, or a series of lots, tracts or parcels of land joined together, where grading work is continuous and performed at the same time.

§ 175-4 Scope of provisions.

New grading, excavations and fills or changes, additions, repairs or alterations made to existing excavations and fills shall conform to the provisions of this chapter, except that this chapter shall not apply to work in a public street or alley[1] or in a Township park, playground or recreation area or on other public property.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 250, Streets and Sidewalks, Art. V.

§ 175-5 Permits required; exceptions.

[Amended 5-28-1974 by Ord. No. 1572]
No person shall commence or perform any grading, excavation or fill without first having obtained a grading permit from the Township Engineer, and in the case of an excavation or fill involving 10,000 cubic yards or more, except where a subdivision is involved as defined in § 255-6 of the Code of the Township of Radnor, the written approval of the Board of Commissioners is required. A separate grading permit shall be required for each site. One permit may cover both an excavation and any fill made on the same site. A grading permit will not be required, however, in the following situations, but in all other respects the provisions of this chapter shall apply:
A. 
An excavation which does not exceed three feet in vertical depth at its deepest point measured from the natural ground surface nor cover an area of more than 1,000 square feet. This exception shall not affect the applicability of this chapter nor the requirement of a grading permit for any fill made with the material from such excavation.
B. 
A fill which does not exceed 10 cubic yards of material on any one site or a fill which does not exceed three feet in vertical depth at its deepest point measured from the natural ground surface nor cover an area of more than 1,000 square feet, provided that the surfaces of such fills do not have a slope at any point steeper than five horizontal to one vertical.
C. 
An excavation below finished grade for basements and footings of a building or an underground structure authorized by a building permit. Also, an excavation for a driveway between a building site and the street, if placed on grade, provided its surface area is less than 1,500 square feet. This exception shall not affect the applicability of this chapter nor the requirement of a grading permit for any fill made with the material from such excavation. A grading permit shall not be required for the temporary stockpiling on the same site of the material from such excavation.
[Amended 10-13-1992 by Ord. No. 92-19][1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection D, regarding single-family house sites, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 10-13-1992 by Ord. No. 92-19.

§ 175-6 Permit application.

A. 
Every applicant for a grading permit shall file a written application therefor with the Township Engineer. Such application shall:
(1) 
Describe the land on which the proposed work is to be done, by lot, block, tract or street address or similar description which will readily identify and definitely locate the proposed work.
(2) 
Be accompanied by plans and specifications prepared by a registered engineer or surveyor in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
[Amended 3-14-1994 by Ord. No. 94-08]
(a) 
The plans and specifications shall include:
[1] 
A contour map showing the present contours of the land and the proposed contours of the land after completion of the proposed grading.
[2] 
A plot plan showing the location of the grading, boundaries, lot lines, neighboring streets and alleys, buildings, trees over six inches in diameter two feet above the ground and sufficient dimensions and other data to show the location of all work. The plan shall also indicate the proposed location of tree protection, including a detail of such, which shall be installed and inspected by the Township Engineer or Township Arborist prior to issuance of the grading permit.
[Amended 8-19-1996 by Ord. No. 96-24]
[3] 
Description of the type and classification of the soil.
[4] 
Details and location of any proposed drainage structures and pipes, walls and cribbing.
[5] 
The nature of fill material and trees to be removed as a result of the proposed construction and such other information as the Township Engineer may require to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
[6] 
The location of all existing and proposed buildings, structures, and other improvements, including the location of any existing or proposed subdivision and land development.
[Added 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04]
[7] 
The proposed lowest floor elevation of any proposed building based upon North American Vertical Datum of 1988.
[Added 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04]
[8] 
The elevation of the one-hundred-year flood.
[Added 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04]
(b) 
All plans shall be dated and bear the names of the persons who prepared the same, the applicant and the owner of the land. Plans shall be submitted in triplicate.
(c) 
The preliminary plan required by Chapter 255, Subdivision of Land, may be substituted for the contour map and plot plan required by Subsection A(2)(a)[1] and [2] above.
(3) 
State the estimated dates for the starting and completion of the grading work.
(4) 
State the purpose for which the grading application is filed.
B. 
The Township Engineer may waive the requirement of any or all plans and specifications listed above if he finds that the information on the application is sufficient to show that the work will conform to the provisions of this chapter.
C. 
The Township Engineer may require that escrow funds be posted with the Township in the amount of 110% of the estimated cost of the project when public improvements or private improvements which effect Township facilities are proposed by the grading permit application.
[Added 3-14-1994 by Ord. No. 94-08]
D. 
When the Township Engineer requires inspection fees pursuant to the Shade Tree Ordinance (Chapter 263), the cost of these inspections shall be passed on to the applicant.
[Added 12-9-1996 by Ord. No. 96-31]

§ 175-7 Permit fees.

[Amended 2-27-1984 by Ord. No. 84-02; 3-14-1994 by Ord. No. 94-08; 12-13-1999 by Ord. No. 99-43]
Before issuing a grading permit, a permit fee shall be collected as follows:
Volume of Material
(cubic yards)
Permit Fee
Not more than 50
$100
51 to 1,000
$200
Each additional 1,000 or portion thereof
$200

§ 175-8 Expiration of permit; extensions.

Every grading permit shall expire by limitation and become null and void if the work authorized by such permit has not been commenced within six months or is not completed within one year from the date of issue, provided that the Township Engineer may, if the permit holder presents satisfactory evidence that unusual difficulties have prevented work from being started or completed within the specified time limits, grant a reasonable extension of time, and provided further that the application for the extension of time is made before the date of expiration of the permit.

§ 175-9 Denial of permit; appeals.

A. 
Where, in the opinion of the Township Engineer, the work as proposed by the applicant is likely to endanger any property or any street or alley, he shall deny the grading permit. In determining whether the proposed work is likely to endanger property or streets or alleys or create hazardous conditions, the Township Engineer shall give due consideration to possible saturation by rains, earth movements, runoff of surface waters and subsurface conditions such as the stratification and faulting of rock and the nature and type of the soil or rock.
B. 
The Board of Commissioners shall consider promptly appeals from the provisions of this chapter or from the determinations of the Township Engineer, and the Board shall make determinations of alternate methods, standards or materials when, in its opinion, strict compliance with the provisions of this chapter is unnecessary. Any applicant or permit holder shall have the right to appeal to any court of competent jurisdiction from any decision or determination of the Board of Commissioners.

§ 175-10 Inspections; imposition of additional conditions.

A. 
The Township Engineer shall, when requested, make inspections hereinafter required and shall either approve that portion of the work which has been completed or notify the permit holder wherein the same fails to comply with the provisions of this chapter. Where it is found by inspection that the soil or other conditions are not as stated or shown in the application, the Township Engineer may refuse to approve further work until approval is obtained for a revised grading plan conforming to existing conditions.
B. 
Plans for the grading work shall be approved by the Township Engineer and shall be maintained at the site during the progress of the grading work and until the work has been approved.
C. 
The permit holder shall notify the Township Engineer in order to obtain inspections, in accordance with the following schedule, at least 24 hours before the inspection is to be made:
(1) 
Initial inspection. When work on the excavation or fill is about to be commenced.
(2) 
Rough grading. When all rough grading has been completed.
(3) 
Drainage facilities. When drainage facilities are to be installed and before such facilities are backfilled.
(4) 
Special structures. When excavations are complete for retaining and crib walls, and when reinforcing steel is in place and before concrete is poured.
(5) 
Final inspection. When all work, including the installation of all drainage and other structures, has been completed.
D. 
If at any state of the work the Township Engineer shall determine by inspection that the nature of the grading is not in accordance with the approved plans or is not functioning as designed and/or is likely to endanger property or streets or alleys or create hazardous conditions, the Township Engineer may require, as a condition to allowing the work to be done, that such reasonable safety precautions be taken as the Township Engineer considers advisable to avoid such likelihood of danger. Safety precautions may include but shall not be limited specifying a flatter exposed slope, construction or additional drainage facilities, berms, terracing, compaction or cribbing.
[Amended 4-29-1989 by Ord. No. 89-19]

§ 175-11 Standards for excavations.

A. 
No excavation shall be made with a cut face steeper in slope than one horizontal to one vertical, except under one or more of the following conditions:
(1) 
The excavation is located so that a line having a slope of one horizontal to one vertical and passing through any portion of the cut face will be entirely inside the property lines of the property on which the excavation is made.
(2) 
The material in which the excavation is made is sufficiently stable to sustain a slope of steeper than one horizontal to one vertical, and a written statement of a civil engineer, licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and experienced in erosion control, to that effect is submitted to the Township Engineer and approved by him. The statement shall state that the site has been inspected and that deviation from the slope specified above will not result in injury to persons or damage to property.
(3) 
A retaining wall or other approved support is provided to support the face of the excavation.
B. 
The Township Engineer may require an excavation to be made with a cut face flatter in slope than one horizontal to one vertical if he finds the material in which the excavation is to be made unusually subject to erosion or if other conditions exist which make such flatter cut slope necessary for stability and safety.
C. 
Excavations shall not extend below the angle of repose or natural slope of the soil under the nearest point of any footing or foundation of any building or structure unless such footing or foundation is first properly underpinned or protected against settlement.
D. 
Before commencing any excavation which will in any way affect an adjoining property or structures thereon, the person making the excavation or causing the excavation to be made shall notify, in writing, the owners of adjoining buildings, not less than 30 days before such excavation is to be made, that the excavation is to be made. Adjoining properties and structures shall be protected.

§ 175-12 Standards for fills.

A. 
No fill shall be made which creates any exposed surface steeper in slope than 1 1/2 horizontal to one vertical, except under one or more of the following conditions:
(1) 
The fill, in the opinion of the Township Engineer, is located so that settlement, sliding or erosion of the fill material will not result in property damage or be a hazard to adjoining property, streets, alleys or buildings.
(2) 
A written statement from a civil engineer, licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and experienced in erosion control, certifying that he has inspected the site and that the proposed deviation from the slope specified above will not endanger any property or result in property damage, is submitted to and approved by the Township Engineer.
B. 
The Township Engineer may require that the fill be constructed with an exposed surface flatter than 1 1/2 horizontal to one vertical if he finds that under the particular conditions such flatter surface is necessary for stability and safety.
C. 
Whenever a fill is to be made of materials other than clean soil or earth, the grading permit shall be subject to the following additional limitations and requirements:
(1) 
The fill shall be completed within a reasonable length of time, said time limit to be determined by the Township Engineer and to be specified on the grading permit.
(2) 
Clean soil or earth shall be placed over the top and exposed surfaces of the fill to a depth sufficient to effectively conceal all materials, other than clean soil or earth, within the fill. Where the nature of the fill requires, the Township Engineer may require clean soil or earth to be placed over the top and exposed surfaces of the fill to a depth sufficient to conceal all materials at the end of each day's operations.
(3) 
No grading permit shall be issued for the filling of materials other than clean soil or earth until a faithful performance bond in the amount of at least 10% more than the Township Engineer's estimated cost of adequately covering such fill with clean soil or earth has been furnished to the Township. Such bond shall be executed by a corporate surety, as well as by the principal, and shall be subject to the approval of the Township Solicitor as to form. The bond shall inure to the benefit of the Township and be conditioned upon the faithful performance of the work required under the terms and conditions of the grading permit to the satisfaction of the Township Engineer. In lieu of said bond, a cash deposit in said amount may be made with a bank or trust company, approved by the Township Solicitor, which shall act as escrow agent.
D. 
All fills shall be compacted to provide stability of material and to prevent undesirable settlement. The fill shall be spread in a series of layers, each not exceeding 12 inches in thickness, and shall be compacted by a sheepsfoot roller or other approved method after each layer is spread. The Township Engineer may require tests or other investigation if, in his opinion, the conditions or materials are such that additional information is necessary.

§ 175-13 Drainage.

Adequate provisions shall be made to prevent any surface waters from damaging the cut face of and excavation of the sloping surface of a fill. Slopes of more than 10 feet in vertical height shall be separated by level berms of at least four feet in width. Berm ditches shall be constructed when necessary to prevent erosion. All drainage provisions shall be of such design as to carry surface waters to the nearest practical street, storm drain or natural watercourse approved by the Township Engineer as safe for the deposit and receipt of such waters. The Township Engineer may require such drainage structures or pipes to be constructed or installed as, in his opinion, are necessary to prevent erosion damage and satisfactorily carry off surface waters.

§ 175-14 Maintenance of retaining walls and other protective devices.

The owner of any property on which an excavation or fill has been made shall maintain in good condition and repair all retaining walls, cribbing, drainage structures, fences and other protective devices.

§ 175-15 General requirements.

A. 
The top or bottom edge of slopes shall be at least three feet from property or right-of-way lines of streets in order to permit the normal rounding of the edge without encroaching on the abutting property. At property lines where walls or slopes are steeper than 1:1 and six feet or more in height, they shall be protected by a substantial fence three feet or more in height. Before a grading permit is issued, a bond may be required to guarantee the protection of steep slopes.
B. 
The owner of a property shall be responsible to protect and clean up lower properties of silt and debris washing from his property as a result of the regrading of his property.
C. 
In order to prevent the denuding of the landscape, wherever practicable, large trees and other natural features constituting important physical, aesthetic and economic assets to existing or impending suburban development shall be preserved.

§ 175-16 Issuance of grading certificate; revocation.

A. 
If upon final inspection of any excavation or fill it is found that the work authorized by the grading permit has been satisfactorily completed in accordance with the requirements of this chapter and any other requirements imposed, a grading certificate covering such work and stating that the work is approved shall be issued to the permit holder by the Township Engineer.
B. 
The Township Engineer shall have the power to revoke any grading certificate whenever he finds that the work covered by the certificate has been materially extended or altered without a permit so to do or that any retaining walls, cribbing, drainage structures, fence or other protective devices shown on the approved plans and specifications submitted with the application for a permit have not been maintained in good order and repair.
C. 
Before such revocation, the Township Engineer shall first give written notice to the permit holder and to the owner of the property involved, specifying the defective condition and stating that unless such defective condition is remedied satisfactorily, the grading certificate may be revoked. If the defective condition is remedied, the certificate shall not be revoked.

§ 175-17 Violations and penalties; remedies.

A. 
No person shall construct, enlarge, alter, repair or maintain any grading, excavation or fill or cause the same to be done, contrary to or in violation of any provision of this chapter.
B. 
When written notice of a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter has been served by the Township Engineer on any person, such violation shall be discontinued immediately.
C. 
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be liable, on conviction thereof, to a penalty not exceeding $1,000, plus costs of prosecution, for each and every offense, and in default of such fine and costs, to imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding 30 days. Whenever such person shall have been notified by the Township Engineer, by service of summons in a prosecution or in any other way, that he is committing such violation of this chapter, each day that he shall continue such violation after such notification shall constitute a separate offense, punishable by a like fine or penalty. Such fines or penalties shall be collected as like fines or penalties are now by law collected.
[Amended 7-20-1992 by Ord. No. 92-13]
D. 
In case any work is performed by any person in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, the proper officer of the Township, in addition to other remedies, may institute in the name of the Township any appropriate action or proceeding, whether by legal process or otherwise, to prevent such unlawful work and to restrain or abate such violation.