Town of Groton, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Groton 3-18-1963 by Art. 24; amended in its entirety 11-19-1984 STM by Art. 20. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Planning Board — See Ch. 52.
Zoning — See Ch. 218.
Earth removal rules and regulations — See Ch. 239.
Soil erosion and sediment control — See Ch. 352, Art. I.

§ 134-1 Approval required.

[Amended 1-11-1988 STM, Art. 15]
The removal of soil, loam, sand, gravel or other earth materials from land located within the Residential-Agricultural, Residential-Business, Conservancy or Official Open-Space Districts, as defined in the Zoning Bylaw and shown on the Zoning Map of the Town of Groton, as from time to time amended,[1] is expressly prohibited subject to the following exceptions:
A. 
Removals otherwise authorized under provisions of law.
B. 
Removals conducted following approval by the Board of Selectmen for the use of the Town and all of the earth materials removed are so used.
C. 
Removals conducted on land owned by the Town but not for Town use, subject to the provisions of § 134-2.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 218, Zoning.

§ 134-2 Procedures and standards to be followed.

[Amended 1-11-1988 STM, Art. 15]
If the removal of soil, loam, sand or gravel or other earth removal from land located within the Residential-Agricultural, Residential-Business, Conservancy or Official Open-Space District, as defined in the Zoning Bylaw and shown on the Zoning Map of the Town of Groton, as from time to time amended,[1] is authorized or provided by law, such removal shall be subject to the standards, procedures and requirements of §§ 134-4 through 134-9 hereof; provided, however, that provisions of those sections shall not apply to removals conducted under § 134-1B or 134-3A.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 218, Zoning.

§ 134-3 Permits.

A. 
The removal of soil, loam, sand, gravel or other earth materials from land located within the Business or Manufacturing-Industrial District, as defined in the Zoning Bylaw and shown on the Zoning Map of the Town of Groton, as from time to time amended,[1] may be allowed by the issuance of a permit by the Board of Selectmen, subject, however, to the standards, procedures and requirements set forth in §§ 134-4 through 134-9 hereof.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 218, Zoning.
B. 
Existing operations. Permits for the removal of soil, loam, sand, gravel or other earth material from any parcel of land not in public use by operations in existence at the time of adoption of the original Earth Removal Bylaw of the Town of Groton by vote of the Town on March 18, 1963, and carried on continuously and legally under said bylaw, as amended from time to time, shall be issued subject to and in compliance with the following conditions:
(1) 
That no area shall be excavated so as to allow the accumulation of freestanding water.
(2) 
That no final finished slope shall be greater than a gradient of 30°.
(3) 
That such earth-removal shall be governed by earth removal regulations as may be promulgated from time to time by the Board of Selectmen.

§ 134-4 Application; public hearing.

A. 
Applications and fees. Written application must be made to the Board of Selectmen upon a form approved by it and the payment of a reasonable filing fee established by it to be adequate to defray the costs to the Town of such application, its administration, review and evaluation and the giving of notice of the public hearing. Such application shall include but not be limited to a removal plan for the entire area of proposed removal, including possible future applications, and a restoration plan approved by the Planning Board regarding appropriateness of future land use and compatibility of the restoration plan with that future use.
B. 
Public hearing. The Board of Selectmen shall fix a reasonable time for a hearing upon such application and shall cause the notice of the time and place thereof and of the subject matter, sufficient for identification, to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town once in each of two successive weeks, the first publication to be not less than 14 days before the day of the hearing, and shall also send notice thereof by registered or certified mail, at least 10 days before the day of the hearing, to the petitioner, to the owners of all land abutting the parcel as to which such permit is sought, including land across any public or private street or way or any body of water or watercourse from such parcel, as they appear on the most recent tax list, to the Earth Removal-Stormwater Advisory Committee, to the Planning Board, to the Conservation Commission and to all other persons and agencies deemed by the Board to be affected thereby. At the hearing, any party, whether entitled to notice thereof or not, may appear in person or by agent or by attorney.
[Amended 4-3-2007 ATM, Art. 24]

§ 134-5 Limitations on permits.

No permit may allow removal from a parcel of more than five acres in size; or be in force for a period in excess of two years, but this provision shall not be deemed to prohibit extensions of time, upon written application and after public hearing, notice of which has been given in accordance with the foregoing provisions, provided that no such extension shall be for a period in excess of two years; or be modified, except upon written application and after a public hearing, in accordance with § 134-4 above. The concurring vote of all members of the Board of Selectmen shall be necessary for the issuance of a permit.

§ 134-6 Permit issuance.

The Board of Selectmen may issue a permit for the removal of earth materials from those areas of the Town hereinbefore authorized, provided that the Board makes the following findings:
A. 
That such removal will not adversely affect the quality of ground- or surface water or the natural or engineered drainage in the Town.
B. 
That such removal will not create unreasonable or excessive noise, dust, fumes, pollution or other effects which are detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare or to the neighborhood.
C. 
That such removal operations will be conducted so as to minimize the area devoid of vegetation at all times and that such removal will not create an area with insufficient vegetative cover to prevent erosion of or further damage to the land.
D. 
That such removal will be consistent with the subsequent use of the land as specified in the application and as approved by the Planning Board.

§ 134-7 Conditions on exercise of permit.

As part of and as set forth in any such permit, the Board of Selectmen shall impose such reasonable restrictions and conditions on the exercise of the permit as it deems to be in the public interest, including but not limited to:
A. 
The extent of the time of the excavation.
B. 
The extent of the area and depth of the excavation.
C. 
The hours of operation.
D. 
The distance of the excavation from street and lot lines.
E. 
The type and location of temporary structures.
F. 
The reestablishment of ground levels and grades.
G. 
The provisions for temporary and permanent drainage.
H. 
The steepness of slopes excavated.
I. 
The disposition of boulders, tree stumps and other debris.
J. 
The routes for transporting the material through the Town.
K. 
The replacement of loam over the area of removal.
L. 
The planting of the area with suitable cover.
M. 
The proper screening of the area from public ways.
N. 
The handling, storage and/or disposal of hazardous or toxic substances on the premises.
O. 
The inspection of the premises at any time by the Board or its representatives.

§ 134-8 Rules and regulations.

The Board of Selectmen shall adopt rules and regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter for conducting its business and otherwise carrying out the purposes of this chapter.

§ 134-9 Surety and performance bond.

The Board of Selectmen shall require a surety and performance bond, cash or other adequate security to insure compliance with the terms, conditions, limitations and safeguards of such permit and such regulations and to indemnify the Town for any harm to any public well, road, wetland or other resource caused by such removal, the removal operations, the equipment used on the premises or by ancillary activities.

§ 134-9.1 Permit subject to Town Meeting approval; exceptions.

[Added 1-11-1988 STM, Art 15]
No permit for the removal of soil, loam, sand or gravel or other earth removal shall become effective until its issuance has been approved by a two-thirds vote at an Annual or Special Town Meeting. This provision shall not apply to removals conducted under § 134-1B or 134-3A or to extensions of time or renewals of existing permits under the provisions of § 134-5.

§ 134-10 Exemptions.

This chapter shall not apply to the removal of soil, loam, sand, gravel or other earth material incidental to and reasonably required in connection with the construction of any building and appurtenant walk or driveway for which a permit has been granted by the Board of Selectmen or other licensing body or the construction of a street that has been approved by the Planning Board, provided that the quantity of material removed does not exceed that displaced by the portion of building, walk, driveway, street or similar appurtenance below finished grade, or to removal in the course of customary use of the land for a farm, garden or nursery. The above exemptions do not cover removal of earth materials from the premises involving topographical changes or soil-stripping or loam-stripping activities, nor shall the tentative or final approval of a subdivision plan be construed as authorizing the removal of earth material from the premises, even though in connection with the construction of streets as shown on the plan.

§ 134-11 Earth Removal-Stormwater Advisory Committee. [1]

[Amended 4-3-2007 ATM, Art. 24]
The Earth Removal-Stormwater Advisory Committee (hereinafter referred to as the "Committee") shall be constituted and shall have the following powers and duties:
A. 
The Committee shall consist of five members, all residents of the Town. one member shall be chosen annually by and from the Planning Board to serve a one-year term. one member shall be chosen by and from the Conservation Commission to serve a one-year term. Three members shall be appointed initially for one, two and three years, respectively, and as their terms expire their successors shall be appointed for terms of three years. The terms of the members appointed by the Selectmen shall begin and end at the Annual Town Meeting nearest to the date of their appointment and the third anniversary thereof, respectively. Any member may be appointed to succeed himself.
B. 
The Committee shall file with the Board of Selectmen a written report, with recommendations, at or within 21 days of each hearing held pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, and no such permit may be granted until such report has been so filed or until such Committee has allowed 21 days to elapse after such hearing without filing a report.
C. 
The Committee shall from time to time file such reports relating to earth removal as the Selectmen may require or as the Committee shall deem necessary or desirable.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 134-11, Special permits, was repealed 4-26-2010 ATM by Art. 19. This article also renumbered former §§ 134-12 through 134-16 as §§ 134-11 through 134-15, respectively.

§ 134-12 Violations and penalties.

The Board may revoke or suspend at any time any permit issued hereunder for violation of any provisions or conditions of this chapter. Penalties for violation of any provision or conditions of this chapter shall be provided under MGL C. 40, § 21, Clause 17.

§ 134-13 When effective.

This chapter shall take effect upon its approval by the Attorney General, as provided by law.

§ 134-14 Construal of provisions.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as repealing or modifying any existing Town bylaw, rule or regulation but shall be in addition thereto.

§ 134-15 Severability.

The invalidity of any section or provision of this chapter shall not invalidate any other section or provision thereof.