Borough of Pennsburg, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Pennsburg 9-11-2007 by Ord. No. 6-07. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 34.
Drainageways and watercourses — See Ch. 40.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 94.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 96.

§ 53-1 Short title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Pennsburg Borough Grading Ordinance."

§ 53-2 Purposes.

The purposes of this chapter are to regulate the modification of the natural terrain, the alteration of drainage, and to provide for certain erosion and sediment control measures within the Borough of Pennsburg and to assure and safeguard health, safety, ecology and the general welfare in the Borough of Pennsburg.

§ 53-3 Scope.

From and after the effective date of this chapter, any grading, paving, earth disturbance and alteration of drainage within the Borough of Pennsburg shall be in conformity with this chapter. In the event of a conflict between this chapter and the Borough of Pennsburg Stormwater Management Ordinance,[1] the Borough of Pennsburg Stormwater Management Ordinance shall take precedence.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 94, Stormwater Management.

§ 53-4 Severability.

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by the decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of the chapter.

§ 53-5 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
ALLUVIAL SOILS
An agonal great group of soils, developed from transported and relatively recently deposited material (alluvium), characterized by a weak modification (or none) of the original material by soil-forming processes.
CUT and/or FILL
Process of earthmoving by excavating part of an area and/or using excavated material for embankments or fill areas.
A. 
The wearing away of the land surface by running water, wind, ice, chemical or other geological agents.
B. 
Detachment and movement of soil or rock fragments by water, wind, ice or gravity.
FLOODPLAIN
The flat or nearly flat land adjacent to a stream or river that experiences occasional or periodic flooding; the floodplain includes the floodway.
FLOODWAY
That portion of the floodplain including the watercourse channel and adjacent land areas which must be reserved to the one-hundred-year recurrent interval flood without cumulatively increasing the flood elevation more than one foot.
A. 
The slope of a road, driveway, channel or natural ground.
B. 
The finished surface of a canal bed, roadbed, top of embankment or bottom of excavation; any surface prepared for the support of construction, like paving or laying a conduit.
C. 
To finish the surface of a canal bed, roadbed, top of embankment or bottom of excavation.
RUNOFF (HYDRAULICS)
That portion of the precipitation on a drainage area or watershed that is discharged from the area in stream channels; types include surface runoff, groundwater runoff or seepage.
SEDIMENT
Solid material, both mineral and organic, that is in suspension, is being transported, or has been moved from its site or origin by air, water, gravity or ice, and has come to rest on the earth's surface either above or below sea level.
SLOPE
Degree of deviation of a surface from the horizontal, usually expressed in percent or degrees.
SOIL DRAINAGE
A condition of the soil, referring to the frequency and duration of periods when the soil is free of saturation.
WATERCOURSE
A natural or man-made drainage route or channel for the flow of water.

§ 53-6 General requirements.

Whenever the landscape is to be permanently disturbed as to either contours, soil or slope characteristics, or vegetation or any ground cover is to be permanently removed, a plan is required showing how resulting erosion and sediment shall be controlled. This plan shall include, but not be limited to, the following information in accordance with Chapter 102 of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Soil Erosion Control Manual:
A. 
The amount of site alteration and/or disturbance proposed;
B. 
Development schedule;
C. 
Erosion and sediment control practices (both temporary and permanent) and the operation and maintenance arrangements; and
D. 
The Borough of Pennsburg Stormwater Management Ordinance.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 94, Stormwater Management.

§ 53-7 Activities requiring grading permit.

The following activities require a grading permit:
A. 
Modifying, disturbing, blocking, diverting or otherwise affecting the natural overland or subsurface flow of stormwater.
B. 
Construction, erection or installation of any drainage dam, ditch, culvert, drainage pipe, bridge or any other structure or obstruction affecting the drainage of the premises.
C. 
Paving, filling, stripping, excavating, grading or regrading of any land.
D. 
The installation of swimming pools, both in-ground and aboveground.
E. 
The installation of a new retaining wall or the expansion of an existing retaining wall.
F. 
Disturbing the landscape, vegetation or any ground cover by any proposal involving a disturbance area in excess of 750 square feet; however, any earth disturbance that occurs in a floodplain area or in areas designated for stormwater management shall require a grading permit regardless of the size of the area of disturbance.

§ 53-8 Activities requiring no grading permit.

The following activities require no grading permit:
A. 
Improvements, such as erection of retaining walls, driveway repaving, minor regrading or activities on a property which do not adversely affect the natural overland or subsurface flow of stormwater, drainage of any premises, or adversely disturb the landscape as determined by the Borough Engineer.
B. 
New single-family home construction on a lot created before the effective date of this chapter.
C. 
Normal agricultural operations, but not including sod farming.

§ 53-9 Application for permit.

A. 
Any person, firm or corporation proposing to engage in an activity requiring a grading permit hereunder shall apply by the submission of a plan.
B. 
The applicant should, before submitting a preliminary plan for review, consult the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance[1] which regulates the development of land within the Borough. The applicant should also consult the Zoning Ordinance[2] and all other applicable ordinances which regulate the development of land in the Borough of Pennsburg. The applicant is encouraged to consult with the surrounding municipalities which can be affected by or can affect the proposed land development.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 96, Subdivision and Land Development.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 110, Zoning.
C. 
A separate plan shall be required for each grading permit.
D. 
Five copies of the proposed plan, including specifications and development schedules, shall be submitted to the Building Inspector/Zoning Officer for a grading permit. One copy shall be forwarded to each of the following: Pennsburg Borough Planning Committee and Borough Engineer.
E. 
The plan for a grading permit shall be accompanied by a fee established in the Pennsburg Borough Schedule of Fees and collection procedures for all applications.

§ 53-10 Data required on plan.

The application for a permit shall be accompanied by the following:
A. 
An area plan, or plans, describing existing and proposed features of the area surrounding the site of the work including topography, existing vegetation, watercourses, wetlands, man-made features, the affected watersheds and other pertinent natural features. This may be in the form of a recent USGS map with the property and required features located thereon.
B. 
A topographical survey of the site at a suitable scale of no less than one inch equals 50 feet and contour interval of no more than one foot zero inches, prepared by a registered surveyor or registered engineer, including also a boundary line survey, the location and description of vegetative cover, existing features, wetlands, and any other pertinent existing natural or man-made features.
C. 
An improvements plan at the same scale as Subsection B showing and describing all changes to the site including cuts, fills, structures, paving and utilities. (This may be combined with Subsection B on simple projects).
D. 
A written description of soil erosion and sediment control measures (with appropriate plans and specifications), in accordance with standards and specifications of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Montgomery County Conservation District and Borough ordinances, including, without limitation, retention and detention basins or other control measures necessary to limit the rate of stormwater runoff to comply with the requirements hereof.
E. 
A time schedule indicating the anticipated starting and completion dates of the development sequence, the expected date of completion of construction of each of the measures referred to in Subsection D of this section and the time of exposure of each area prior to the completion of such measures.

§ 53-11 Special requirements.

In addition to the requirements of § 53-10, and where deemed necessary by the Borough Engineer or the Building Inspector/Zoning Officer, the applicant shall submit with the plan a detailed drainage study prepared by a registered professional engineer qualified in hydrology in the Commonwealth. This study shall include:
A. 
A plan of the property showing the location of all present and proposed ditches, streams, pipes and other drainage structures, and proposed cuts and/or fills. In addition to showing present elevations and dimensions, and location and extent of all proposed grading and/or drainage, the plan shall clearly indicate all woodlands, buildings, parking areas and driveways. Further, the plan shall indicate the present and proposed sources, storage and disposition of water being channeled through or across the premises, together with elevations, gradients and maximum flow rates. The plan shall describe the work to be performed and disposition of cut and/or fill, the materials to be used and the manner or method of performance, including provisions for protecting and maintaining existing drainage facilities, whether on public or private property. The applicant shall also supply the supporting data for the plan as developed by the engineer.
B. 
Calculations to determine runoff, which shall be based on the Soil-Cover Complex Method, a description of which is available from the U.S.D.A. Soils Conservation Service and outlined in the currently effective "Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Manual" as published by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Resources.
(1) 
The design criteria for storm sewer piping on inlet systems within a subdivision being developed shall be designed for a twenty-five-year frequency storm; culverts across roadways shall be designed for a fifty-year frequency storm; open watercourses and swales shall be designed for a one-hundred-year frequency storm as prescribed in accordance with the following:
(a) 
The coefficient of runoff used for all areas upstream of any drainage structure shall be computed on the basis of existing land use and the projected land use described and shown on the Pennsburg Borough Comprehensive Plan, and adjacent municipalities' comprehensive plans, where applicable.
(2) 
The following provisions apply to the carrying and disposal of stormwater runoff:
(a) 
All drainage facilities shall be designed to carry surface water in such a manner as to prevent erosion or overflow.
(b) 
The applicant shall agree to the granting and recording of easements covering the installation and maintenance of drainage facilities.
(c) 
The rate of runoff shall be no greater during and after the range of design storms (from the two-year to the one-hundred-year storm) when the development began in accordance with those provisions set forth in the Borough of Pennsburg Stormwater Management Ordinance.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 94, Stormwater Management.
(d) 
The rate of runoff shall be in accordance with those provisions set forth in the Borough of Pennsburg Stormwater Management Ordinance.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 94, Stormwater Management.
C. 
A soils investigation report, if load-bearing fill is proposed, which shall consist of test borings, laboratory testings and engineering analysis to correlate surface and subsurface conditions with the proposed grading plan. The results of the investigation shall be presented in a report by a registered professional soils engineer and shall include data regarding the nature, distribution and supporting ability of existing soils and rocks on the site, conclusions and recommendations to insure stable soil conditions and groundwater control, as applicable. Pennsburg Borough may require such supplemental reports and data as are deemed necessary by the Borough Engineer. Recommendations included in such reports and approved by the Borough Engineer shall be incorporated in the plan or specifications. In addition:
(1) 
Fills toeing out on natural slopes steeper than four horizontal to one vertical shall not be made unless a report is received which is deemed acceptable by the Borough Engineer and approved by the Borough Council. The report shall be made by a registered professional soils engineer certifying that he has investigated the property, made soils tests and that, in his opinion, such steeper slopes will safely support the proposed fill.
(2) 
Natural and/or existing slopes exceeding five horizontal to one vertical shall be benched or continuously stepped into competent materials prior to placing all classes of fill.

§ 53-12 Approval of permit.

Upon the approval of the plan by the Borough Engineer, the Building Inspector/Zoning Officer shall issue the necessary grading permit in letter form.

§ 53-13 Expiration of permit.

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 Borough 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.

§ 53-14 Standards for issuance of grading permit.

A. 
Notwithstanding any provisions of this chapter or any condition of the grading permit, the permittee is responsible for the prevention of damage to other property, or personal injury, which may be effected by the activity requiring a grading permit.
B. 
No person, firm or corporation shall modify, fill, excavate, pave, grade or regrade land in a manner so close to a property line as to endanger or damage any adjoining street, alley, or any other property from settling, cracking, erosion, sediment, flooding or any other physical damage or personal injury which might result.
C. 
No person, firm or corporation shall deposit or place any debris or any other material whatsoever, or cause such to be thrown or placed, in any drainage ditch or drainage structure in such a manner as to obstruct free flow.
D. 
No person, firm or corporation shall place any fill in any portion of any floodway within the Borough.
E. 
All new buildings, building additions, accessory buildings or other structures shall have a finished floor elevation not less than two feet above the one-hundred-year recurrence interval flood elevation as calculated and determined by the applicant and submitted for review and approval by the Borough Engineer.
F. 
No person, firm or corporation shall fail to adequately maintain, in good operating order, any drainage facility on his premises. All drainage ditches, culverts, drain pipes and drainage structures shall be kept open and free-flowing at all times.
G. 
The owner of any property on which any work has been done pursuant to a grading permit granted under this chapter shall continuously maintain and repair all graded surfaces and antierosion devices, retaining walls, drainage structures or means and other protective devices, plantings and ground cover installed or completed. The Borough is responsible for maintenance and repair within the right-of-way of Borough roads.
H. 
All graded surfaces shall be permanently seeded, sodded and/or planted or otherwise protected from erosion within 30 days, weather permitting, and shall be tended and/or maintained until growth is well established. The disturbed area and duration of exposure shall be kept to a minimum using temporary erosion and sediment control measures immediately as outlined in the currently effective "Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Manual" as published by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Resources.
I. 
All trees in an area of extreme grade change shall be protected with suitable tree wells, unless necessity for removal is established. Precautions shall be taken to prevent the unnecessary removal of trees.
J. 
When required, adequate provisions shall be made for dust control measures as are deemed acceptable by the Borough Engineer.
K. 
All plans and specifications submitted for a grading permit shall include provisions for both interim (temporary) and ultimate (permanent) erosion and sediment control. The design, installation and maintenance of erosion and sediment control measures shall be accomplished in accordance with standards and specifications of the United States Soil Conservation Service, and as outlined in the currently effective "Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Manual" (Chapter 102) as published by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Resources.
(1) 
Technical standards for this design and installation of erosion and sediment control measures are on file with Pennsburg Borough, the Office of the County Conservation District and other governmental agency offices.
(2) 
Standards and specifications adopted for the purposes of this chapter and by the County Conservation District include, but are not limited to, the following basic conservation measures:
(a) 
Temporary cover on critical areas.
(b) 
Permanent grass and legume cover for critical areas on prepared seedbed.
(c) 
Permanent grass and legume cover for critical areas on unprepared seedbed.
(d) 
Sodding.
(e) 
Installation of six inches of topsoil.
(f) 
Mulching.
(g) 
Temporary diversion.
(h) 
Permanent diversion.
(i) 
Grassed waterway or outlet.
(j) 
Grade stabilization structure.
(k) 
Debris basin.
(l) 
Drain.
(m) 
Drainage, mains or laterals.
L. 
A quality control program is critical for fills; therefore, wherever fill material is to be used, the person, firm or corporation shall be responsible for testing to determine its dry density as per ASTM D1556. The density of each layer shall be not less than 95% of maximum density as determined by ASTM D1557.
(1) 
Inspection procedures shall follow the general procedures as stated in § 53-13.
(2) 
Compaction test reports shall be kept on file at the site and be subject to review at all times.
(3) 
Degree of compaction required shall be determined by the Borough Engineer, following the guidelines in this section.

§ 53-15 Inspection procedures.

A. 
All inspections shall be the responsibility of the Borough Engineer or, in his absence, a qualified person acceptable to the Borough Engineer and Pennsburg Borough.
B. 
Inspections will be carried out on a random basis, except as stated below. However, a set of as-built plans shall be submitted to the Borough and on file at the site and authenticated by a registered professional surveyor. When it is deemed acceptable to the Borough Engineer, a designated qualified person may authenticate the as-built plans and will assume full responsibility for the quality of the work.
C. 
As-built plans shall be required at the following stages of construction:
(1) 
Stake-out of the building;
(2) 
After the foundation footer is in place and prior to the erection of the foundation walls; and
(3) 
After the completion of the finished grading of the entire lot and prior to the placement of any topsoil or landscaping. Grading shall take into consideration the requirement of a minimum of six inches of topsoil.
D. 
Any and all as-built plans shall be available on the site at all times and subject to inspection and inquiry.
E. 
Engineering check notes shall accompany all as-built plans which involve structural or mechanical measures and shall serve as supporting evidence that structures meet design standards and specifications specified herein.
F. 
A final inspection shall be conducted by the Borough Engineer to certify compliance with this chapter. Satisfactory compliance with this chapter shall be necessary before the issuance of any occupancy or use permit.

§ 53-16 Costs of inspection.

Permittees shall bear all costs of inspection required or permitted hereunder and shall deposit with the Borough such sum as the Borough Council shall determine to guarantee payment of the costs of such inspections. The costs of inspections shall be in accordance with the established schedule of fees and collection procedures for matters pertaining to this chapter.

§ 53-17 Fees.

A fee, in an amount as established from time to time by resolution, is required upon initial submission of an application. Cost of all inspections (other than the initial inspection and the final inspection) will be billed to the applicant as inspections are completed at a rate, in an amount as established from time to time by resolution, per inspection. Payments shall be made within 30 days, and no occupancy permit will be issued until all payments have been made.

§ 53-18 Revocation or suspension.

Any permit issued under this chapter may be revoked or suspended by the Pennsburg Borough Council, after notice for:
A. 
Failure to carry out the control measures described in the application at the appropriate times as specified in the applicable time schedule or within such reasonable extension as may be granted by the Borough Council;
B. 
Violation of any other condition of the permit;
C. 
Violation of any provision of this chapter or any other applicable law, ordinance, rule or regulation relating to the work; and
D. 
Existence of any condition or the doing of any act consisting or creating a nuisance, hazard or endangering human life or the property of others.

§ 53-19 Performance bond.

The Borough Engineer, before issuing a permit for a project, may require cash bond or corporate surety bond in a form satisfactory to the Borough Council conditioned upon the faithful performance of the control measures and other conditions specified in the permit within the time specified, or within an extension thereof granted by the Borough Council, in the amount of the total estimated cost of all control measures and safeguards for adjoining properties. Said bond may be combined with a bond filed under the Pennsburg Borough Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.[1] Each bond shall be maintained and renewed annually and shall be executed by a surety or guaranty company qualified to transact business in the state.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 96, Subdivision and Land Development.

§ 53-20 Mud on public streets.

A. 
It shall be unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in such a way as to deposit mud, soil, silt, sediment, stones, muddy water, liquids from any trash or any other foreign materials of any kind onto public roads in the Borough.
B. 
The person(s) or entity operating the vehicle responsible for depositing such materials onto public streets shall cause them to be thoroughly cleaned up within two hours of written or verbal notice from the Borough or its agents.
C. 
If the person(s) or entity operating the vehicle cannot be identified, the person(s) or entity having control over the site from whence the materials originated shall cause them to be thoroughly cleaned up within four hours of written or verbal notice from the Borough or its agents.

§ 53-21 Remedies.

In case of any paving, filling, stripping, grading or regrading, and disturbing, modifying, blocking or diverting the natural overland or subsurface flow of stormwater, or any construction, erection and installation of any dam, ditch, culvert, drain pipe, bridge or any other structure or obstruction affecting the drainage of any premises, in violation of this chapter or any regulations made pursuant thereto, the proper Borough authorities, in addition to other remedies provided by law, may institute any appropriate action or proceedings to prevent such unlawful activity, to restrain, correct or abate such violation, to prevent the use of the applicable premises, or to prevent any illegal act, conduct, business or use in or about such premises. In addition, upon the failure of any permit holder to complete the control measures specified in his application, the Borough may, after revoking such permit, proceed to complete such measures itself and recover the cost thereof from the permittee or his surety.

§ 53-22 Appeals.

An applicant may file an appeal within 30 days from the date of any determination made by the Building Inspector/Zoning Officer under this chapter. The Borough Council shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and render final adjudication in all appeals from the determination of the Building Inspector/Zoning Officer in the administration of the provisions of this chapter.

§ 53-23 Violations and penalties.

Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provisions of this chapter, upon conviction thereof in an action brought before a District Justice in the manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 90 days. Each day that a violation of this chapter continues or each section of this chapter which shall be found to have been violated shall constitute a separate offense.