Town of West Seneca, NY
Erie County
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of West Seneca: Art. I, 12-10-1956; Art. II, 5-1-1967. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Environmental Conservation Commission — See Ch. 10.
Building construction — See Ch. 55.
Environmental quality review — See Ch. 67.
Excavations in streets — See Ch. 70.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 92.
Public improvement construction — See Ch. 93.
Sewers — See Ch. 97.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 103.
Swimming pools — See Ch. 106.
[Adopted 12-10-1956]

§ 68-1 Declaration of policy.

[Amended 9-12-1994]
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Town Board to provide for the proper use of land to prevent all manner of excavations which create pits, holes or hollows in the earth, leaving it in a hazardous or dangerous state, or cause soil erosion which depletes the land of its natural vegetative cover and supply of organic material, renders such land unproductive and unsuitable for agricultural purposes and undesirable for building homes, resulting in lower land values. By this Article, the Town Board seeks to remove the danger to health and life caused by deep excavations remaining in the ground, the stripping of topsoil and removal of existing or natural land surfaces thereby resulting in damage to agricultural crops through dust storms in dry weather, by exposure of the bare earth to wind action and in wet periods by pools of water, which Article will promote the safety, health and general welfare of the people of the town.

§ 68-2 Scope.

No excavation for purposes other than the construction of a wall, driveway, sidewalk, building or part thereof or as permitted by § 68-10 of this Article shall be commenced except in conformity with the provisions of this Article.

§ 68-3 Application for permit.

[Amended 9-10-1973; 9-12-1994]
Before any excavation for purposes other than the construction of a wall, driveway, sidewalk, building or part thereof, farming or a public use is commenced and topsoil, earth, sand, gravel, rock or other substance is removed from the ground, the owner, lessee or agent of the premises shall obtain a written permit therefor from the Town Board, except that where operations are being carried on at the time this Article becomes effective, a period of 30 days shall be allowed for obtaining a permit before operations continue. However, all such excavations shall be subject to all provisions of this Article from the date of its adoption. For that purpose, each applicant shall file with the Town Clerk of the Town of West Seneca, New York, a verified application for such permit, containing a detailed statement of the proposed work, together with a plan prepared by a duly licensed engineer or land surveyor of the State of New York, setting forth in detail the following information:
A. 
All information as required on the application form prepared by the Town Board, including a detailed statement of the proposed work and a three-dimensional sketch of the proposed excavation and exact condition of the plot or premises before the work is commenced and proposed condition of said plot or premises after the work is completed.
(1) 
The plan shall be drawn to a scale of not less than one inch equals 100 feet and set forth all streets adjoining the property, the location and dimensions of the premises upon which it is proposed to excavate, the location, size and use of any buildings, cross section of the property, giving elevations thereof at intervals of fifty-foot squares and also at each break in the grades, and the elevation of the premises as compared to the elevation of any abutting highways.
(2) 
For areas where only topsoil is to be removed, the plan shall show the provisions that have been made for draining or otherwise preventing the collection of water on any portion of said plot which is not restored to original grade.
(3) 
The owner is to provide an environmental study addressing air pollution, noise pollution, visible site pollution and results in safety to local residents.
B. 
A duly acknowledged consent in writing of the owner or lessee of the premises and mortgagee, if any, including his or their addresses.
C. 
Receipted tax bills or a certificate from the Receiver of Taxes of the Town of West Seneca and the County Treasurer of Erie County, showing payment of all taxes and assessments to date against the property described in the application.
D. 
A certificate signed by the Superintendent of Highways and the Town Engineer of the Town of West Seneca that such proposed excavation and the finished grades of said property as shown on said map will not interfere with the drainage of or endanger any road, street or highway of the State of New York, the County of Erie or in the Town of West Seneca or other property of said state, county or town.

§ 68-4 Notice and hearing regarding application.

[Added 7-8-1957; amended 9-10-1973]
A. 
Except when the application for a permit for topsoil removal is for the purpose of grading the land to be in conformity with the surrounding area, upon compliance by the applicant with the provision of § 68-3, the Town Board shall, by notice published in the official newspaper of the Town of West Seneca, advertise a public hearing, at which time all persons shall be heard.
B. 
The person or persons or corporation seeking the permit shall give written notice specifying the location and nature of the proposed excavation, the time, date and location of the proposed hearing, to all property owners as shown on the latest assessment roll whose property is located in whole or in part within a distance of 500 feet from any boundary of the premises on which the proposed permit would be exercised, and shall file with the Town Clerk at least five days prior to the public hearing an affidavit setting forth that such notice was given by registered mail, naming the names and addresses of the persons notified. Notices of the proposed hearing must be mailed not less than 10 nor more than 20 days prior to the date of the hearing.
C. 
The requirements of this Article must be fulfilled by applicants for new permits as well as applicants for renewal of existing permits or permits granted in prior years.

§ 68-5 Sandbanks and pits.

A. 
No sandbanks and gravel pits shall be operated and no pit excavations shall be made:
(1) 
Within 20 feet of any property line; however, the Town Board may, within its discretion, allow excavations closer than 20 feet to any property line, provided that the applicant submits to the Town Board a duly acknowledged consent in writing of the owner, lessee and mortgagee, if any, of the adjoining property affected, consenting to such excavation and stating the distance agreed upon between the parties.
(2) 
Within 100 feet of the edge of any highway right-of-way line.
B. 
Said excavations shall be leveled on the bottom by refilling or grading, if necessary, all sides being left with a slope from top to bottom of one and one-half (1 1/2) feet horizontal for each one foot of drop; provided, that where the material being removed is rock, in lieu of sloping all sides of the excavation as hereinbefore provided, a permanent fence or barricade designed to effectively prohibit access to the excavation may be erected on all sides bordering streets, highways and neighboring properties, and at the conclusion of operations a permanent fence or barricade must be erected and maintained on all sides of such excavation; and further provided that where the pit or excavation is below the water level, leaving an artificial lake or pond or an accumulation of water in excess of two feet in depth, a permanent fence or barricade must be erected and maintained on all sides of such lake, pond or accumulation.

§ 68-6 Topsoil stripping and removal.

No stripping or removal of topsoil shall be made within 10 feet of any property line, and upon completion of the work the premises, if below grade, shall be graded to the level of the abutting highway or the original grade if the same was below the level of the highway. Dustdown or its equal shall be spread to prevent dust from flying, and there shall be left upon the surface of the land from which topsoil is removed not less than five inches of topsoil. All areas from which topsoil is removed shall, during the period between April 1 and May 15 or August 15 and October 1, be prepared into a loose, level seedbed, limed, fertilized and seeded in the following steps:
A. 
Apply ground limestone at the rate of three tons per acre.
B. 
Apply 5-10-10 fertilizer at the rate of 600 pounds per acre.
C. 
Disk area to work limestone and fertilizer into the soil to a depth of at least three inches.
D. 
Smooth area with a smoothing harrow.
E. 
Sow the following seed mixture at the rate of 24 pounds per acre:
Seed Pounds
New York State broadleaf trefoil 7
Timothy 5
Kentucky bluegrass 2
Rye grass 10 24
F. 
Brush in seed lightly.
G. 
Roll firm with ground roller.

§ 68-6.1 Earth removal and excavation.

[Added 9-12-1994]
No removal of earth from the existing or natural land surface shall be allowed without obtaining a permit as herein set forth.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to do any site work in conjunction with development, including but not limited to stripping, grading, earth moving or filling, without securing a permit.
B. 
No person shall pave, fill, strip or change the existing grade of any land nor shall any person disturb, modify, block, divert or affect the natural overland or subsurface flow of stormwater nor shall any person reconstruct, erect or install any dam, ditch, culvert, drainpipe, bridge or other structure or obstruction affecting the drainage of any premises.

§ 68-7 Bond or cash deposit.

A. 
Before the issuance of a permit for a sandbank, gravel pit or a pit excavation, the applicant and the owner of record of the premises shall execute and file with the Town Clerk a bond, approved by the Town Board of the Town of West Seneca in an amount to be fixed by said Board, but not less than $2,000 for topsoil removal nor less than $15,000 for all others, with a surety company as surety and conditioned in this Article, the observance of all state, county and municipal ordinances and laws and the indemnification of the Town of West Seneca and/or the Superintendent of Highways for any damage to town property. In the event of a default, such bond shall be forfeited to the Town of West Seneca.
[Amended 9-12-1994]
B. 
Said bond shall remain in full force and effect until a certificate of completion has been issued by the Town Board, certifying to the fact that all provisions of this Article and conditions of the permit have been fully complied with. Application for such certificate shall be made by the permittee, owner, lessee or his agent on forms provided by the Town of West Seneca and shall be accompanied by a map drawn to scale showing a cross section of the affected property, giving elevations thereof as provided in § 68-3A(1) of this Article, prepared by a duly licensed engineer or land surveyor of the State of New York after the completion of operations, who shall also certify that there is not less than five inches of topsoil remaining upon the ground from which topsoil has been removed and that such area has been seeded in compliance with § 68-6 hereof.
C. 
In lieu of such bond a cash deposit or deposit of negotiable securities may be made with the Supervisor of the Town of West Seneca.

§ 68-8 Fees.

The Town Clerk, when authorized to do so by the Town Board, shall issue permits and shall charge and collect for each such permit:
A. 
Sandbank and gravel pits, pits and excavations. A minimum fee of $50 for any pit operation not exceeding 500 cubic yards per year. A minimum fee of $200 for an excavation volume of over 500 cubic yards per year and not to exceed 20,000 cubic yards. For excavations exceeding 20,000 cubic yards, the minimum fee shall be $200 plus $0.01 for each additional cubic yard or fraction thereof. In lieu of said one-cent fee for each additional cubic yard or fraction thereof, the applicant may pay annually to the Town of West Seneca the sum of $1,000 (together with the minimum fee of $200), which payment shall be made on the 15th day of May of the calendar year.
[Amended 9-12-1994]
B. 
Topsoil removal. Fifty cents per cubic yard, with a minimum fee of $100.
[Amended 5-10-1999]

§ 68-9 Expiration of permits.

[Amended 9-12-1994]
Permit for sandbanks, gravel pits, pits and excavations and topsoil removal shall expire by limitation one year from the date of issuance unless extended by the Town Board. No permit or permits shall be granted for removal of more than four acres of topsoil from any one tract of land until full compliance with this article is made under any existing permit for the same tract, except for the preparation of the ground and seeding as provided in § 68-6 hereof.

§ 68-10 Exceptions.

Nothing contained in this article shall require a person to obtain a permit for or prevent a person from removing topsoil from one part of his lands to another part of the same premises when such removal is necessary as an accessory use or is made for the purpose of farming or improving said property.

§ 68-11 Penalties for offenses.

[Amended 5-6-1974]
Any person or persons, association or corporation committing an offense against this article or any section or provision thereof is guilty of a violation punishable by a fine not exceeding $250 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 days for each such offense, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

§ 68-12 Variances.

Where there are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in the way of carrying out the strict letter of this article, the Town Board shall have the power to vary and modify the application of such article so that the spirit of the article shall be observed, public safety and welfare secured and substantial justice done.
[Adopted 5-1-1967]

§ 68-13 Procedure.

Upon the direction of the Town Board, the Superintendent of Highways of the Town of West Seneca is hereby authorized and directed to fill in excavated lands and property if, after a hearing, the existence of such lands and property is deemed by the Town Board to constitute a hazard to public safety and if, after giving 30 days' notice by registered mail addressed to the owner of record of such lands and property at the address shown on the last preceding assessment roll, such excavated lands and property are not filled in by or on behalf of such owner.

§ 68-14 Costs.

The cost incurred by the town in carrying out the terms of this article shall be assessed against such lands and property in accordance with the provisions of § 157 of the Highway Law.