Borough of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights 6-12-2012 by Ord. No. 2278. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Penalties — See Ch. 204.
Soil removal — See Ch. 228.
Soil stabilization — See Ch. 232.
Stormwater control — See Ch. 234.
Subdivisions and site plan review — See Ch. 238.
Zoning — See Ch. 275.

§ 231-1 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to prevent the unregulated and uncontrolled relocation, filling, excavation and removal of soil by developers and excavators which may result in a detriment to the public safety, health and general welfare of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights. The continuation of the unregulated and uncontrolled relocation, filling, excavation and removal of soil and filling with unsuitable material may cause serious and irreparable damage to the public welfare by reason of the consequent: soil erosion by water and wind; inadequate and improper surface water drainage; decrease in or destruction of the fertility of soil; removal of lateral support of abutting streets, land and premises; creation of dust storms and mosquito breeding places; creation of dangerous depressions or pits; deterioration of property values; rendering of lands unfit or unsuitable to their most appropriate uses; and creation of other factors and elements hampering and deterring the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious physical development of the Borough.

§ 231-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the respective meanings:
DEVELOPER
Any person who, either directly or through an agent or independent contractor, engages or intends to engage in land subdivision or construction of two or more dwelling houses, business or industrial buildings for the purpose of sale to or occupancy by another person or persons.
EXCAVATOR
Any person who moves soil.
LOT
Any parcel of land or portion thereof, the boundary lines of which can be ascertained by reference to the maps or other records in the office of the Tax Assessor of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights or in the office of the Bergen County Clerk. For the purposes of this chapter, a "lot" shall also be deemed to be any contiguous parcels of land under common ownership, which ownership can be ascertained by reference to the maps or other records in the office of the said Tax Assessor or in the office of the Bergen County Clerk.
MAJOR SOIL PERMIT
Any soil permit other than ministerial for the moving of soil within any period of 12 consecutive months.
MINISTERIAL PERMIT
A permit for the moving of soil, as required by § 231-5 of this chapter, between zero and 400 cubic yards of soil within any period of 12 consecutive months. If two or more applications in any twelve-month consecutive period require the movement of soil in excess of 400 cubic yards in the aggregate, said application shall be classified as a major soil moving application and shall be required to comply with § 231-6 of this chapter.
MOVE
To dig, excavate, remove, deposit, place, fill, grade, regrade, level or otherwise alter or change the location or contour; or to transport; or to supply. This term shall not be construed to include plowing, spading, cultivating, harrowing or discing of soil or any other operation usually and ordinarily associated with the tilling of soil for agricultural or horticultural purposes, landscaping and gardening by homeowners or agents of homeowners, provided that it does not substantially alter existing drainage patterns.
OWNER
Any person seized in fee simple of any lot or having such other interest or estate therein as will permit exercise of effective possession thereof or dominion thereover.
SOIL
Any earth, sand, clay, loam, gravel, humus, rock, or dirt, without regard to the presence or absence therein of organic matter, including any synthetic substance used as a substitute or in conjunction with soil.
SUITABLE FILL
The developer shall provide the Borough Engineer with sufficient documentation, including certified manifests, that the fill is suitable to a particular location. Suitable materials shall include but not be limited to materials such as earth, clay, gravel, stone, dirt, recycled concrete, etc.
TOPSOIL
Soil that, in its natural state, constitutes the top layer of earth, and is composed of 2% or more, by weight, of organic matter and has the ability to support vegetation.
UNSUITABLE FILL
The developer shall provide the Borough Engineer with sufficient documentation, including certified manifests, that the fill is not in part or in whole composed of the following unsuitable materials. The unsuitable materials are materials such as peat moss, organic material, vegetation, leaves, tree stumps, wood chips, sawdust, chemical waste, tires, wooden logs, etc.

§ 231-3 Soil moving permit required.

No developer and no excavator shall move, allow, permit or suffer to be moved any soil in or upon any lot in the Borough unless and until a soil moving permit therefor shall first have been issued in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

§ 231-4 Application for soil moving permit.

All applications for soil moving permits shall be made through the office of the Zoning Enforcement Officer.

§ 231-5 Application for ministerial soil moving permit.

[Amended 3-12-2013 by Ord. No. 2297]
The procedure for applying for and issuance of a ministerial soil movement permit shall be as follows:
A. 
Applications for ministerial soil permits shall be filed with the Borough Clerk and Building Inspector and shall be accompanied by the fee prescribed in § 133-26.1 of Chapter 133 entitled "Fees."
B. 
Applications shall be made in triplicate on forms prescribed by the Zoning Enforcement Officer. In addition to any other requirements which the Zoning Enforcement Officer may require on data pertinent to the application, the application shall show the following:
(1) 
The identity and location of the applicant.
(2) 
The lot and block number of the lot or lots involved.
(3) 
The identity and location of the owner of the land.
(4) 
A location/topographic survey of the site showing both existing and proposed elevations.
(5) 
The purpose or reason for the moving of the soil.
(6) 
The estimated quantity in cubic yards of soil to be moved.
(7) 
A statement as to how the moving of the soil will affect all trees with a diameter of six inches or more.
(8) 
The proposed date of completion of the work.
C. 
The Zoning Enforcement Officer, upon receipt of the application, shall forward one copy of same to the Borough Engineer. A copy of the application shall be kept on file. The Borough Engineer shall make a field investigation and shall recommend to the Building Inspector that the permit be issued or denied, giving reasons for the denial.
D. 
The Borough Engineer shall classify any ministerial soil application as a major soil application if he/she finds the application will present unusual drainage or erosion of soil problems or adversely affect the development of the abutting lot or lots.

§ 231-6 Major soil moving permit applications.

[Amended 3-12-2013 by Ord. No. 2297]
The procedure for applying for the issuance of a major soil moving permit shall be as follows:
A. 
On forms prescribed and supplied by the Planning Board, the applicant shall set forth, in duplicate, to the Planning Board, with a copy to the Planning Board Engineer and Zoning Enforcement Officer, all of the following:
(1) 
The identity and location of the applicant.
(2) 
The description of the lands in question, including lot and block number of the lot or lots involved.
(3) 
The name and address of the owner of the lands.
(4) 
The purpose or reason for moving the soil and whether it will be done in connection with a proposed subdivision; if so, the date of filing the application for subdivision.
(5) 
A detailed statement of the method or process to be employed for the excavation and the proposed time period for removal.
(6) 
The kind and quantity in cubic yards of the soil to be removed.
(7) 
In case of removal or replacement of soil, the place to which the soil is to be moved, the place from which the soil is to be removed, the quantity of soil to be removed and the transportation route to be used in the Borough.
(8) 
The proposed date of the completion of the work.
(9) 
A certificate that stakes have been placed by a licensed engineer or land surveyor of the State of New Jersey at each corner of the lot or lots from which soil is to be removed and, further, that the said engineer or surveyor has placed or caused to be placed grade stakes at the existing elevation points designated on the topographical map pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, clearly marked to indicate the soil cuts or fill.
(10) 
A statement as to how the moving of the soil will affect all trees with a diameter of six inches or more.
B. 
Signatures. Said application shall bear the signature of the applicant and the endorsement of the owner or owners of said lands signifying approval of the application, consent to the applicant to perform the proposed work and consent to the Borough, in the event of failure of the applicant to do so, to cause the proposed work to be completed or otherwise terminated in keeping with the purposes and objectives of this chapter.
C. 
Topographical map. Accompanying the application shall be eight prints of a topographical map of the lot upon which the proposed soil moving operations are to be conducted and of all surrounding lands within 100 feet of the perimeter of said lot, but not beyond the far side of an abutting street right-of-way, prepared and certified by a licensed professional engineer or land surveyor of the State of New Jersey, on a scale of not less than one inch to 100 feet, with reference to United States Coast and Geodetic Survey data, showing, both as to the lot and as to all of the surrounding lands, and containing all of the following:
(1) 
The dimensions of the lot, including distance and bearings, and the lot and block number of the lot and of each lot in the surrounding lands as shown on a Tax Assessment Map of the Borough.
(2) 
The existing elevations of all lands on a one-hundred-foot grid layout.
(3) 
The existing elevations of all buildings, structures, streets, streams, bodies of water and watercourses, natural or artificial.
(4) 
All existing surface and subsurface water drainage conditions and provisions therefor.
(5) 
All wooded areas and all trees having a diameter of six inches or more at the base.
(6) 
The limits of the area or areas within the lot or lots in question within which the soil moving operations are to be conducted, and the existing elevations of said limits at intervals of not more than 100 feet.
(7) 
The proposed final elevations at each point where existing elevations shown on said map are to be changed as a result of completion of the proposed work.
(8) 
Proposed slopes and lateral supports at the limits of the area upon completion of the soil moving operations.
(9) 
Proposed provisions and facilities for surface water drainage and, where applicable, channels of any streams, bodies of water and watercourses, natural or artificial, including detailed cross sections showing proposed channel widths, bank slopes, grade and method of erosion control.
(10) 
Accurate cross sections showing the locations and quantities in cubic yards of soil to be moved.
(11) 
All proposed elevations in enclosed rectangular boxes; and all existing elevations to be indicated without any kind of enclosure.
(12) 
Such other pertinent data as the Planning Board may, by resolution, require.
(13) 
All easements and restrictions of record which may affect the subject lot or lots.
(14) 
If said moving application is in conjunction with a site plan or subdivision plan, the developer shall submit a complete site plan or preliminary subdivision plan according to the applicable ordinance.
D. 
Inspection of site.
(1) 
The Planning Board Engineer shall make an inspection of the site from which soil is to be moved and shall make such engineering studies as may be required to determine the effect of the removal of soil from the location as it relates to:
(a) 
Soil erosion by wind and water.
(b) 
Surface and subsurface water drainage.
(c) 
Soil fertility.
(d) 
Lateral support of abutting streets and lands.
(e) 
Public health and safety.
(f) 
Such other factors as may bear upon or relate to the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious physical development of the Borough.
(2) 
The Planning Board Engineer shall also inspect the aforesaid site to determine whether stakes have been placed on each corner thereof and whether grade stakes have been placed at the existing points designated on the topographical map pursuant to the provisions of Subsection C hereof.
(3) 
The Planning Board Engineer shall have the right to inspect any fill material on site, and if the Planning Board Engineer finds, in his or her sole discretion, that the fill material is not suitable, the Planning Board Engineer may require the developer to engage an independent soils engineer, acceptable to the Planning Board Engineer, to provide an analysis of the material. In the event the material is found to be unsuitable, the Planning Board Engineer shall have the authority to order the fill removed and replaced.
E. 
Hearing. The Planning Board shall, within 60 days after receipt of the complete application, fix a date for a hearing for the purpose of considering the application and shall give to the applicant, either personally or by certified mail, notice of the time and place of said hearing. The applicant shall, at least 10 days prior to the date appointed for said hearing, serve written notice, either in person or by registered mail, upon such persons as are shown on the municipal tax records to be the owners of such lots within 200 feet of the property in question. The applicant shall at the hearing present to the Planning Board satisfactory proof in affidavit form of the service of said notices.
F. 
Factors to be considered in determining application. In considering the application, the Planning Board shall be guided by the general purpose of the municipal plan and shall take into consideration the following factors:
(1) 
Soil erosion by wind and water.
(2) 
Surface and subsurface water drainage.
(3) 
Soil fertility and soil-bearing capacity.
(4) 
Lateral support of abutting streets and lands.
(5) 
Public health and safety.
(6) 
Land values and uses.
(7) 
Such other factors as may bear upon or relate to the coordinated adjusted and harmonious physical development of the Borough.
(8) 
Proposed complete site or preliminary subdivision plan.
G. 
Decision. The Planning Board shall review and consider the application, which must be complete, including all of the requirements of the provisions of this chapter and the material factors brought up at the public hearing and the reports of other reviewing authorities of the Borough, and shall either grant or deny the issuance of said soil permit. If the Planning Board denies the permit, the reason for, the denial shall be stated. The Planning Board also can issue a permit with stipulations and conditions. The Planning Board shall act within 60 days of the hearing date on which the application was presented completely. The failure of the Planning Board to either deny or grant the permit within the aforementioned time period shall be considered an automatic approval unless the Planning Board, with the consent of the applicant, extends the time limit for a period not to exceed an additional 60 days.
H. 
Appeal. In the event of a denial, the applicant may, not later than 30 days after the date of such denial, appeal to the Borough Council. The Borough Council may, by a majority vote of the members present, sustain or, by a two-thirds vote of its entire membership, overrule the Planning Board recommendations.

§ 231-7 Fees and escrows.

The fees payable under this chapter shall be as prescribed in § 133-26.1 of Chapter 133 entitled "Fees."

§ 231-8 Performance bond.

[Amended 3-12-2013 by Ord. No. 2297]
A. 
In the event the appropriate board or the governing body recommends approval of the soil movement permit application, the Secretary of that board or the Borough Clerk shall forthwith give notice to the applicant of the action of the approving authority, including the amount of the performance bond required as hereinafter set forth in this subsection. In the event that the applicant fails to post the required performance bond within 60 days of said notice, then the recommendation of the approving authority shall be automatically rescinded.
B. 
No soil removal permit shall be issued unless the applicant therefor shall have posted with the Borough a performance bond in form and with surety acceptable to the Borough in such amount as the granting authority, with the advice of the Borough Engineer or the Planning Board Engineer, shall determine, conditioned upon full and faithful performance by the principal within the time specified in the application of all the proposed work in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and of the soil moving permit issued pursuant hereto.
C. 
The amount of said bond shall be determined at the rate of not less than $0.10 per cubic yard and not in excess of $0.50 per cubic yard of the amount of soil to be moved; provided, however, that in no event shall said bond be less than the principal amount of $2,000. The granting authority may request additional bonds for improvements shown on the soil moving application or plan, such as but not limited to the following: retaining walls, planting, drainage erosion, control damages to haul route, etc. In ascertaining the rate upon which to compute the amount of the bond, the granting authority shall take into consideration such factors as may bear upon the facility with which the proposed work may be performed, including but not limited to the type and character of the soil, the extent of the area over which the soil moving operations are to be conducted, the extent and depth of the various cuts and fills, the extent to which the area of operations is wooded, the proximity of the proposed operation to streets, buildings, structures, natural or artificial streams or watercourses and general drainage conditions.
D. 
Before the holder of any soil removal permit shall proceed before the Planning Board with any application for any amendment or alteration of the terms and conditions of any outstanding soil removal permit, there shall be submitted to the Planning Board the written consent of the surety on said bond approving said application for amendment or alteration and consenting to the extension of the bond coverage thereto.
E. 
Applications for the release of any bonds posted in accordance with the terms of this chapter shall be accompanied by an affidavit executed by a licensed professional or civil engineer or land surveyor of the State of New Jersey stating that the soil moving operation has been completed in accordance with the application and all plans, maps and other data filed therewith and in accordance with all resolutions and conditions therein adopted by the granting authority.

§ 231-9 Form of permit; contents; expiration.

[Amended 3-12-2013 by Ord. No. 2297]
A. 
The soil movement permit shall be in such form as may be prescribed by the Planning Board. It shall be signed by the Secretary of the Planning Board or the Chairman of the Planning Board, and it shall contain any special conditions set forth in the recommendation.
B. 
The soil movement permit shall be dated as of the date it is actually issued, and the term of said permit shall not exceed one year.
C. 
All permits shall automatically expire on the termination date unless application for renewal has been made and approved, in writing, extending such permit.

§ 231-10 Unlawful acts.

No person, firm or corporation to whom or to which a soil movement permit has been issued shall:
A. 
Conduct or maintain on the premises any sand, gravel or similar kind of pit, any sand or gravel washing or screening machinery or equipment, any business or industry not permitted in the district in which said premises are located and classified by the current Zoning Chapter of this Code[1] or any endeavor or enterprise other than the grading or regrading of said premises in accordance with the provisions of said permit and, where applicable, the necessary disposal of soil incidental to said grading or regrading.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 275, Zoning.
B. 
Conduct or maintain any soil moving operations without first having made adequate provisions by means of road oil or otherwise for the laying of dust incidental to the use of vehicles, machinery and equipment on the lands described in the soil moving permit.
C. 
Neglect to dispose of on or before the completion date stated in the application any partially or wholly excavated boulders or other incombustible debris resulting from the soil moving operations by burial or removal and any partially or wholly excavated stumps, felled or uprooted trees or other combustible debris resulting from the soil moving operations by combustion or removal from the premises.
D. 
Conduct any soil moving operations beyond the expiration date as set forth in the soil removal permit or extended expiration date as may duly be granted by the granting authority.

§ 231-11 Movement and storage of topsoil.

A. 
Whenever any developer or excavator shall move topsoil in or upon any lot, provision shall be made for the storage of said topsoil within the boundary lines of said lot.
B. 
Except as hereinafter provided, all of the topsoil so stored shall be uniformly replaced over the entire area or surface of the lot on or before the completion date set forth in the soil permit so that the final grade or grades of said replaced topsoil shall be in accordance with the proposed final grades shown on the topographical map.
C. 
No developer or excavator shall remove to any point beyond the boundary lines of the lot any topsoil whatsoever unless and until topsoil not inferior in quality to that to be removed shall first have been replaced uniformly to a depth of not less than six inches, measured from the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map, over the entire surface or area of the lot, excepting only such portions thereof as shall be or shall have become, since the date of filing of said topographical map, permanently covered by a structure or building, street pavement, curb, sidewalk, driveway or other paved area or by any body of water or waterway. In no event shall the developer or excavator remove from the lot more topsoil than that comprising the surplus or excess remaining after the replacement of the topsoil as aforesaid.

§ 231-12 Excavating below final grades restricted.

No developer or excavator shall, at any time, in the course of the work, dig or excavate more than six inches below the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map, unless:
A. 
The soil removal permit specifies otherwise and the performance bond, hereinbefore referred to, makes specific provisions for replacement on or before the completion date set forth in the soil removal permit of soil of sufficient quantity and kind to restore the final grades to those shown on the topographical map.
B. 
After issuance of the soil removal permit, the developer or excavator, before digging or excavating below said minimum level, shall apply to the granting authority and be granted an amendment of the application and topographical map then in effect, which amendment may be granted upon such terms as the granting authority may deem necessary to assure adherence to the purpose and objectives of this chapter.

§ 231-13 Final grades.

No developer or excavator shall deposit soil upon, fill or raise the grade of any lot without first making provision for:
A. 
The use in said work of soil or such other materials as will not result in deviation from the proposed final grade or the uniformity thereof by reason of abnormal shrinkage or settlement.
B. 
The collection and storage upon the lot of the original topsoil to the end that said topsoil shall not be buried beneath soil or other material of inferior quality and the uniform replacement of the topsoil so stored over the entire area or surface of the fill soil or other material so that the final grade or grades of said replaced topsoil shall be in accordance with the proposed final grades shown on the topographical map. In the event that such provision is not practicable, provision shall be made for the uniform placement over the entire area or surface of the fill soil or other material excepting only such portions thereof as shall be or shall have become permanently covered by a building or structure, street pavement, curb, sidewalk, driveway or other paved area or by any body of water or waterway, of a layer of topsoil not inferior in quality to that of the original topsoil, to a depth of not less than six inches measured from the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map.

§ 231-14 Exempt operations.

A. 
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect or apply to any person engaged in the moving of soil in and upon lands enrolled in the soil conservation program of the Northeastern Jersey Soil Conservation District of the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service,[1] and for which lands an approved farm plan has been established by said agency, provided that all soil moving operations in and upon such lands are performed in accordance with said approved farm plans.
[1]
Editor's Note: See now the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
B. 
No soil movement permit shall be required in connection with the construction or alteration of a building on any lot for the excavation and grading incidental thereto, provided that no soil is removed from the lot or transported onto the lot.
C. 
No soil movement permit shall be required for the movement of topsoil onto any developed lot for the purpose of landscape planting, provided further that the added depth does not exceed four inches.
D. 
No soil movement permit shall be required where the only soil which is disturbed or moved is limited to that which is excavated pursuant to the installation of a swimming pool or the foundation of a structure for which valid building permits have been issued, provided the topography and elevation of the property is not altered.
E. 
A permit shall not be required when soil is removed or added pursuant to the removal of a tree stump.

§ 231-15 Inspections.

[Amended 3-12-2013 by Ord. No. 2297]
For the purpose of administering and enforcing this chapter, any member of the granting authority, or duly authorized agent of the office of the Borough Engineer or Planning Board Engineer and Building Department of the Borough, shall have the right to enter into and upon any lands in or upon which soil moving operations are being conducted to examine and inspect such lands.

§ 231-16 Violations and penalties.

Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or any conditions attached to the issuance of any permit shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to penalty as provided in Chapter 204 of the Code entitled "Penalties."