Township of Pine, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Pine 4-5-1971 by Ord. No. 72; amended in its entirety 8-5-2002 by Ord. No. 304. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 44.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 56.
Sewers — See Ch. 68.
Standard details — See Ch. 70.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 72.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 78.
Zoning — See Ch. 84.
Fees — See Ch. A144.

§ 48-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Township of Pine Grading, Excavating and Fill, and Retaining Wall Ordinance.

§ 48-2 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide minimum standards to safeguard persons, to protect property, to maintain the present level of ecology and to promote the public welfare by regulating and controlling the design, construction, quality of materials, use, location and maintenance of grading, excavation and fill, and retaining wall systems.

§ 48-3 Definitions.

A. 
Wherever used in this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings indicated:
ADMINISTRATOR
A Township of Pine Code Enforcement Officer or designee as the individual designated from time to time by the Board of Supervisors to act for the Township of Pine under this chapter.
BUILDING PERMIT
A valid permit issued by the Township of Pine, pursuant to the provisions of the Building Code.
EXCAVATION
Any act by which earth, sand, gravel, rock, coal or any other similar material is cut into, dug, quarried, uncovered, removed, displaced or relocated and shall include 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 shall include the conditions resulting therefrom.
GRADE
The elevation of the ground surface above sea level at the location of any proposed excavation or fill.
GRADING
The excavation or fill or any combination thereof and shall include the conditions resulting from any excavation or fill.
GRADING PERMIT or PERMIT
Any permit required by this chapter for the cut of an existing grade, the filling to increase the height of the existing grade, or the installation or replacement of a retaining wall(s).
PAVING
The application of such material as will produce a dust-free, all-weather, hard surface.
PERSON
A natural person or persons but shall also include a partnership or corporation and its heirs, successors and assigns.
RETAINING WALL
A structure constructed of natural or man-made materials designed to hold back soil so that the elevation of ground at the base of the structure is different than the elevation of the ground at the top of such structure.
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.
SLOPE
The difference in grade between two points. It is often referred to as the "difference in elevation per hundred feet of horizontal distance." A "ten-percent slope" means a change in elevation of 10 feet vertically per 100 feet horizontally.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Pine.
B. 
By reference, all definitions in the Zoning and Subdivision of Land Ordinances[1] and amendments are incorporated herein.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 84, Zoning, and Ch. 78, Subdivision and Land Development.

§ 48-4 Conformance required.

New grading (excavations or fills) or changes, additions, repairs or alterations made to existing grading (excavations or fills) and/or the installation of new or the replacement of existing retaining walls shall conform to the provisions of this chapter.

§ 48-5 Permit required.

No person shall commence or perform any grading (excavation or fill) or the installation of a new retaining wall in excess of four feet in height, or replacement of an existing retaining wall in excess of four feet in height without first having obtained a grading permit from the Administrator. A separate grading permit shall be required for each site. One permit may cover an excavation and any fill and/or the installation of a new retaining wall or replacement of an existing retaining wall 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 five feet in vertical depth at its deepest point measured from the natural ground surface. This exception shall not affect the applicability of this chapter to or the requirement of a grading permit for any fill made with the material from such excavation, unless such fill is within the exception of Subsection B herein.
B. 
A fill which does not exceed five feet in vertical depth at its deepest point measured from the natural ground surface, provided that the surfaces of such fills do not have a slope at any point steeper than 2 1/2 horizontal to one vertical.
C. 
An excavation for basements and footings of a building, swimming pool or underground structure authorized by a building permit and excavation of a building site where plot plans are attached to the building permit; provided, however, that a grading permit is required for excavation of a building site when conditions, such as excessive cut or fill, make such permit necessary. This exception shall not affect the applicability of this chapter to or the requirement of a grading permit for any fill made with the material from such excavation unless such fill is within the exception of Subsection B herein. A grading permit shall not be required for the temporary stockpiling on the same site of the material from such excavation, however such temporary stockpiling shall not create excessively steep slopes.
D. 
A single-family house site where the maximum slope between property lines or the maximum excavation or fill, exclusive of the situations referred to in § 48-5C hereof, do not exceed the slopes or quantities set forth in the following table:
Single-Family House Site
(area to be graded in square feet)
Maximum Slope
Without Permit
(feet vertical per
100 feet horizontal)
Maximum Excavation or Fill Without Permit
(cubic yards)
Less than 12,000
12
100
From 12,000 to 30,000
15
200
Over 30,000
20
250

§ 48-6 Application.

A. 
Every applicant for a grading permit shall file a written application therefor with the Administrator. 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 professional engineer, including a contour map showing the present contours of the land and the proposed contours of the land after completion of the proposed grading at a scale of not greater than 50 feet to one inch and at a contour interval of not less than two feet and a plan showing cross sections of the proposed cut or fill on fifty-foot intervals which show the method of benching both cut and/or fill; however, under no circumstances shall there be less than two cross sections for each property involved under said permit; a plot plan showing the location of the grading, boundaries, lot lines, neighboring streets and ways, existing and proposed buildings, existing waterlines and sewers or drains, existing utility lines, trees over 12 inches in diameter measured at breast height (DBH) above the ground and sufficient dimensions and other data to show the location of all work; description of the type and classification of the soil; details and location of watercourses; area and details of paving and any proposed drainage structures and pipes, retaining walls and cribbing; details of bridges and/or culverts required to cross over watercourses; nature of fill material; and such other information as the Administrator may require to carry out the purposes of this chapter. All plans shall be dated and shall bear the name and seal of the registered professional engineer who prepared the same, the name of the applicant and the name of owner of the land. Plans shall be submitted in triplicate.
(3) 
State the estimated dates of the starting and completion of the grading work.
(4) 
State the purpose for which the application is filed.
(5) 
State the estimated cost of the work contemplated by the requested permit.
(6) 
If a retaining wall(s) is/are proposed, then details of such retaining wall(s) shall be submitted with the application.
B. 
The Administrator may waive the requirement of any or all plans and specifications listed in Subsection A(1) to (6) 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.

§ 48-7 Fees.

Before issuing a permit, the Administrator shall collect a permit fee in the amount as set forth in the Pine Township fee schedule.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. A144, Fees.

§ 48-8 Bond required.

Before issuance of a permit, the applicant shall post a bond, with corporate surety or other approved security as set forth in this section, in an amount of 110% of the estimated cost of the work to guarantee the completion of said work, including surface treatment, drainage, and site restoration contemplated by the permit. In the event that the applicant will move or grade more than 50,000 square feet or more than 30,000 cubic yards, then a formal security agreement shall be required by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Pine. Said agreement will be prepared by the Township Solicitor and must be approved by the Township prior to the issuance of the requested permit. No grading shall commence and no grading permit shall be issued until the formal agreement, if required, is signed by both parties and, in all cases, the security is posted.

§ 48-9 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 administrator may, if the permit holder presents satisfactory evidence in writing that unusual difficulties have prevented the work 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.

§ 48-10 Denial of permit.

Where, in the opinion of the Administrator, the work as proposed by the applicant is not in compliance with the provisions of this chapter or is likely to endanger any person, any property or any street or way, he shall deny the grading permit. In determining whether the proposed work is likely to endanger property or streets or alleys or streams or create hazardous conditions or damage the ecology of the area, the Administrator shall give due consideration to, but shall not be limited 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, rock or other minerals and the extent of removal, if any.

§ 48-11 Appeals.

The applicant may appeal the decision of the Administrator to the governing body, which may consider alternate methods, standards or materials proposed by the applicant. Any request for modifications of the applicable stormwater management standards, specifically the standards governing allowable peak rate of stormwater runoff, shall be determined in accordance with the procedure for a no-harm evaluation as contained in the Zoning and Subdivision of Land Ordinances.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 84, Zoning, and Ch. 78, Subdivision and Land Development.

§ 48-12 Inspections.

The Administrator shall make inspections 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 Administrator may refuse to approve further work until approval is obtained for a revised grading plan conforming to the existing conditions and shall be authorized to issue a stop-work order until such unauthorized condition is resolved.

§ 48-13 Work to be maintained while awaiting approval.

Plans for grading work, approved by the Administrator, shall be maintained at the site during the progress of the grading work until the work has been inspected and approved.

§ 48-14 Notification of inspection.

The permit holder shall notify the Administrator in order to obtain inspections in accordance with the following schedule, and such notification shall be made by the permit holder at least 24 hours before the inspection is to be made:
A. 
Initial inspection: when work on the excavation or fill is about to be commenced.
B. 
Rough grading when all rough grading has been completed.
C. 
Drainage facilities: when drainage facilities are to be installed and before such facilities are backfilled.
D. 
Special structures (including retaining walls): when excavations are complete for retaining walls and/or crib walls and/or when reinforcing steel is in place and before concrete is poured.
E. 
Final inspection: when all work, including the installation of all drainage and other structures, and site restoration has been completed.

§ 48-15 Safety precautions.

If, at any stage of the work, the Administrator shall determine by inspection that the nature of the conditions on the site are such that further work as authorized by an existing permit is likely to endanger any property or streets or ways or to create hazardous conditions, the Administrator may require, as a condition to allowing the work to be done, that such reasonable safety precautions be taken as the Administrator considers appropriate to avoid such likelihood of danger. Safety precautions may include, but shall not be limited to, a less steep or exposed slope, construction of additional drainage facilities, berms, terracing, compaction, cribbing walls or retaining walls.

§ 48-16 Excavation standards.

A. 
No excavation shall be made with a cut face steeper in slope than 2 1/2 horizontal to one vertical, except under one or more of the following conditions:
(1) 
Formal permission is granted by the Board of Supervisors following submittal of a request for special consideration.
(2) 
A retaining wall in accordance with the provisions of this section or other approved support designed by a registered professional engineer is proposed and said design is approved by the Administrator and/or the Board of Supervisors.
B. 
The Administrator may require an excavation to be made with a cut face less or flatter in slope than 2 1/2 horizontal to one vertical if he finds that the material in which the excavation is to be made is unusually subject to erosion or if other conditions exist which, under applicable engineering practice, make such flatter cut slope necessary for stability and safety.
C. 
Excavations adjacent to any footing, foundation or structure shall not extend below the angle of repose or natural slope of the soil under the nearest point of the same unless such footing, foundation or structure 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 or causing the excavation to be made shall notify, in writing, the owners of adjoining property and structures 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 as provided in the Township of Pine Building Code[1] as is on file in the office of the Township and/or as required by the Administrator.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 44, Building Construction.

§ 48-17 Blasting; use of explosives.

A. 
Blasting to loosen material to be excavated may be utilized only under extraordinary site conditions where conventional means of excavation can not accomplish earth removal, and the approval of the Board of Supervisors has been obtained.
B. 
Blasting shall not be considered wherein conventional removal is possible, but blasting provides only an economic advantage.
C. 
Blasting may not be utilized when the Administrator deems that the proximity of adjacent property, structures, or natural features may be affected by a blasting operation.
D. 
Blasting may not be utilized when the Administrator deems that water wells in the proximity of the blasting site may be adversely affected by a blasting operation.
E. 
Should it be determined that a blasting operation is permissible, then the following standards shall apply:
(1) 
The person or firm responsible for the blasting operation shall be certified in the transportation, storage and use of explosives, and such certification shall be presented to the Township.
(2) 
The person(s) or firm responsible for the blasting operation shall fully comply with the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) Fire Prevention Code, latest edition, for the transportation, storage and use of explosives.
(3) 
Blasting shall only be conducted between sunrise and sunset, and only after notification of the Township and adjacent property owners.
(4) 
Blasting operations shall not be conducted within 800 feet of a public highway.
(5) 
Blasting operations shall not be conducted within 200 feet of a pipeline.
(6) 
Blasting operations shall not be conducted within 1,000 feet of a school or public building.
(7) 
Blasting operations shall not be conducted within 500 feet of a dwelling or structure unless prior written consent of the property owner and occupant of such dwelling or structure is obtained.
(8) 
Blasting shall be conducted in a manner so that flying rock or overburden is not ejected into the air by the blast so as to constitute a hazard or danger or do harm or damage to persons or property.
(9) 
Seismographic recording of all blasting operations shall be required and shall be submitted to the Township following each blast.
(10) 
Such other requirements deemed appropriate by the Administrator to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.

§ 48-18 Filling standards.

A. 
No fill shall be made which creates any exposed surface steeper in slope than 2 1/2 horizontal to one vertical, except under one or more of the following conditions:
(1) 
Special permission is granted, as a waiver or variance, to a subdivision of land, planned residential development or a land development plan.
(2) 
A retaining wall or series of retaining walls are proposed.
B. 
The Administrator may require that the fill be constructed with an exposed slope less than or flatter than 2 1/2 horizontal to one vertical if he finds that under the particular conditions such flatter slope 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 Administrator 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.
D. 
When the fill is other than clean soil or earth, the Administrator 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.
(1) 
No fill of any kind shall be placed over trees, stumps or other material which would create a nuisance or be susceptible to attracting rodents, termites or other pests.
(2) 
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 Administrator's estimated cost of adequately covering such fill with clean soil or earth and providing surface treatment and drainage 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 Administrator. In lieu of said bond, a cash deposit in said amount may be made with the Township.

§ 48-19 Retaining wall standards.

A. 
No new retaining wall shall be constructed in excess of four feet in height and no existing retaining wall shall be reconstructed if such existing retaining wall is in excess of four feet in height, unless such construction or reconstruction of a retaining wall is submitted as a part of a grading permit application.
B. 
No retaining wall shall be constructed so that the vertical face of the wall is in excess of eight feet in height.
C. 
If more than one retaining wall is proposed on separate elevations, then the retaining walls shall be setback or staggered from the face plane of an adjacent retaining wall by at least 25 feet of horizontal distance.
D. 
No more than two retaining walls may be used to retain any one slope.
E. 
The proposed retaining wall(s) shall be designed to withstand the forces of the earth or fill behind the retaining wall. All retaining walls over four feet in height shall be designed and bear the seal of a registered professional engineer.
F. 
Any proposed retaining wall shall be depicted on a drawing which is submitted with a grading permit application, such drawing shall:
(1) 
Bear the professional seal of the wall designer;
(2) 
Depict the proposed materials to be used for construction of the proposed retaining wall(s).
G. 
Walls exempted from this section shall include:
(1) 
An extension of a building designed to solely retain a section of earth so long as the extension is compatible with the design and constructed of similar materials as the building.
(2) 
Walls that are principally designed to abate sound generated from one area to an adjacent area
(3) 
Walls that are necessary for road or sidewalk installation.
H. 
Where the top of retaining walls are located within two feet of a walk, path, parking lot, or driveway, then such retaining walls shall have a guard of suitable construction of at least 42 inches in height.

§ 48-20 Ground cover.

A. 
In order to prevent erosion, the permittee shall be required to provide adequate surface treatment by installing ground covering of such kind and character as may be approved by the Administrator. The ground covering shall be either grass, or other approved variety of vegetation.
B. 
If a site for which grading is proposed contains woodlands, steep slopes, and/or specimen trees (as such are defined elsewhere in the Code of the Township of Pine), then a site restoration plan shall be submitted which shall show mitigation of such natural features as is required by the provisions of the Code of the Township of Pine relating to such woodlands, steep slopes, and/or specimen trees.

§ 48-21 Fill to be compacted.

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 Administrator may require tests or other information if, in his opinion, the conditions or materials are such that same is necessary. Where fills are placed on slopes of 5% or more, benching of the surface shall be required and indicated on the cross sections.

§ 48-22 Drainage.

Adequate provisions shall be made to prevent any surface waters from damaging the cut face of an excavation or the sloping surface of a fill. The Administrator shall require such drainage structures or pipes to be constructed or installed which are necessary to prevent erosion damage and to satisfactorily carry off surface waters. All drainage provisions shall be of such design so that the peak discharge from all stormwater outfalls on the site shall be in conformance with the applicable stormwater management performance standards for the stormwater management district in which the site is located.

§ 48-23 Maintenance required.

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, ground cover and other protective devices as established by permit, and, further, the continued use of said area shall be contingent upon the maintenance and upkeep, satisfactory to the Township and subject to such further conditions as the Township may prescribe from time to time. The certificate of completion, therefore, may, at any time, be revoked by the Board of Supervisors, in accordance with the procedures set forth in § 48-26B and C, if the conditions of the permit are not being observed or if conditions exist that prejudice the health, safety and welfare of any person, persons or property.

§ 48-24 Protection of adjacent property and utilities.

A. 
Prevention of slides or washes. Materials shall not be permitted to roll, slide, flow or wash onto adjacent private or public property, and, where necessary, retaining walls, cribbing or benching shall be utilized to comply with this requirement.
B. 
Horizontal distance of excavation or fill slope from property or easement line. The horizontal distance from either the toe or top of the excavation or fill slope line shall be five feet or 1/2 of the vertical height of the fill or excavation from any adjoining property or easement line, whichever is greater, but such distance need not exceed 10 feet. The Administrator shall have the authority to modify this requirement in instances where it is demonstrated that such modification is needed to secure desirable interrelationships between properties.
C. 
Support and protection of public utilities and public streets. Protection from drainage resulting from the operation, shall be provided for all public and private utilities, whether on the surface, beneath the ground surface or overhead, and, when necessary, for the repair, replacement or relocation of such utilities. The surface and other facilities of public streets shall be fully restored by the holder of the permit, in the event of any damage. The owner shall correct and/or reimburse the Township of Pine for any damage to the utility or Township owned property involved before the Administrator issues the completion certificate and authorizes release of the posted security.
D. 
Fencing. Should, in the opinion of the Administrator, operations governed by this chapter create a hazard to persons or property unless adequately fenced, then the permittee shall construct such fences or guardrails as safeguards to persons using adjoining property (public or private or at the top of a retaining wall) as required by the Administrator.

§ 48-25 General requirements.

A. 
The top or bottom edge of excavations and fills shall be at least five 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. The top or bottom edge of excavation and fills shall be at least 50 feet from the nearest bank of any stream or body of water. A fence not less than four feet in height, or a design approved by the Administrator and meeting Township fence requirements may be required at the top of all cuts or fills. Before a grading permit is issued, a bond shall be required as provided in § 48-8 hereof, to guarantee protection during and restoration following the grading operation.
B. 
The owner of a property shall be responsible to protect and clean up lower properties of silt or debris washing from his property as a result of any grading or regrading of his property. The duties imposed under this subsection shall be in addition to those duties owed to other property owners by statute or by operation of law.
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.
D. 
All grading, excavation or fill shall be performed so that no unnecessary dust shall be raised. The Administrator may impose and enforce reasonable dust-control regulations and may revoke any permit issued under this chapter until proper dust-control regulations are met.

§ 48-26 Certificate of completion.

A. 
If, upon final inspection of an 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, a grading certificate of completion covering such work and stating that the work is approved shall be issued to the permit holder by the Administrator.
B. 
The Board of Supervisors shall have the power to revoke any grading certificate of completion upon the recommendation of the Administrator 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 for a permit have not been maintained in good order and repair.
C. 
Before such revocation, the Administrator 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, the certificate may be revoked. If the defective condition is remedied, the certificate shall not be revoked. Such conditions shall be corrected within 30 days of notice to the owner to correct the same.

§ 48-27 Violations and penalties.

A. 
No person shall construct, enlarge, alter, repair or maintain any grading, excavation or fill, or retaining wall, 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 Administrator on any person, such violation shall be discontinued immediately.
C. 
Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be liable on conviction thereof before a District Justice or other proper judicial officer to a penalty not exceeding $500 for each and every offense, and, whenever such person, firm or corporation shall have been notified by the Administrator 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.
D. 
In case any work is performed by any person in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, the proper office 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.