[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Stanhope 2-25-1986 by Ord. No. 1986-2. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Mayor and Council of the Borough of Stanhope find and determine that the unregulated and uncontrolled relocation, filling, excavation and removal of soil on a large scale or for sale or for use other than on the premises has or may result in conditions detrimental to the public safety, health and general welfare, substantially hampering and deterring the efforts of the borough to effectuate the general purpose of municipal planning.
The chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Borough of Stanhope Soil Removal Chapter."
As used in this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
- APPROVED PLAN
- A plan for soil removal approved either by the Zoning Board of Adjustment as a special use and by the Borough Council pursuant to the provisions of this chapter or, in the case of nonconforming use, by the Planning Board and the Borough Council pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
- ARABLE SOIL
- Soil that, when dry, contains not less than 4% by weight of organic matter, the balance of which is mineral matter.
- BOROUGH COUNCIL
- The Mayor and Council of the Borough of Stanhope.
- A soil removal permit.
- Includes dirt, stone, gravel, sand, humus, clay, loam and mixtures of any of these; this shall include rock and refer to the quarrying of rock.
- The arable soil within eight inches of the surface.
No person shall excavate for the removal of soil or otherwise remove soil in contravention of this chapter or for sale or for use other than on the premises from which the soil shall be taken, except in connection with excavation or grading incidental to construction or alteration of a building on such premises for which a building permit has been issued, except in accordance with an approved plan for which a permit has been first obtained. No application for a permit shall be made pursuant to this chapter until a special use permit has been obtained from the Zoning Board of Adjustment, except as otherwise provided in § 118-4.1.
In the case of soil removal operations presently in existence as nonconforming uses, the owner or operator shall, within 60 days of adoption of this chapter, file an application for a permit under this chapter with the Planning Board. The Planning Board shall consider the application and make its recommendations to the Borough Council within 65 days from the date of the filing of the application.
An application to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a special use permit or to the Planning Board pursuant to § 118-4.1 shall be accompanied by:
A map showing existing contour lines at two-foot intervals.
An aerial survey, which may be waived if, in the opinion of the Borough Engineer, such a survey is not practical.
Proposed contour lines at two-foot intervals after removal of the soil.
All existing structures on the subject premises and within 200 feet thereof.
All existing roads and drainage within 200 feet of the property.
The location of topsoil storage areas.
Methods of controlling the silting of downstream properties.
The elevation of the water table if it is within eight feet of the proposed final contour, or certification that the water table is not within eight feet of the proposed final contour. The determination of the water table is to be by an approved method and shall be certified by a professional engineer, which certification shall also show the date the tests were made.
The maps shall also show all existing trees two and one-half (21/2) inches in diameter measured four and one-half (41/2) feet from ground level and the plan for replacing the same number of trees with trees having a diameter of two and one-half (21/2) inches measured four and one-half (41/2) feet from the top of root level.
The application shall also indicate the total number of cubic yards to be removed and the length of time within which the proposed operation shall be completed, which shall normally not be for longer than five years. Where a total project is not capable of being completed within five years, it shall be broken down into two sections, one of which shall be completed within five years and the other within such further period not exceeding five years, as the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment may recommend or specify and the Borough Council approve.
In considering and reviewing the application and arriving at it's decision, the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment and Borough Council shall be guided by and take into consideration the public health, safety and general welfare and the general purposes of municipal planning, and particular consideration shall be given to the following factors:
Soil erosion by water and wind.
Surface water drainage.
Lateral support of abutting streets and lands.
Public health and safety.
Land values and uses.
Contours, both existing and proposed.
Existing contours and topographic character of the land prior to the removal of any soil and the proposed contours which will result subsequent to the removal of soil in accordance with the soil removal application.
Whether the proposed removal of soil is necessary and incidental to the development of the property for its intended use or whether the proposed removal constitutes primarily a commercial activity.
Effects of tree removal.
Effects on water resources such as streams and wetlands.
In the event that, after considering and reviewing the application, the resultant effect would be a creation of a lake, pond, hole, pit or similar-type depression and, further, in the event that the nature of the operation would be a wet-mining operation, then and in that event, in addition to the above-referred-to factors, these factors alone may be sufficient basis for the denial for the permit.
A permit shall be issued after approval of the application by the Borough Council. It shall show the total number of yards of soil authorized to be removed, as calculated by the Borough Engineer based upon the contour maps submitted, and also the duration or terms of the permit based upon the applicant's estimate of the time necessary to complete the proposed operation as provided for in § 118-4.2.
If a permit is issued for the removal of earth and soil as provided herein, the owner or person in charge shall so conduct the operations that there shall be no sharp declivities, pits or depressions and in such manner that the area shall be properly leveled off, cleared of debris and graded to conform to the contour lines and grades as required and shown on the approved plan. No soil shall be removed nor shall any operation be conducted so as to violate any of the regulations contained in this chapter after a permit is granted.
Arable soil within four inches of the surface shall not be removed from the licensed owner's premises, but, promptly on completion of operations or as otherwise directed by the Borough Council, the arable soil so retained shall be respread on the surface as uniformly as possible and, according to the specification of the Borough Engineer, seeded with perennial grasses and legumes, limed and fertilized. If the soil within four inches of the top is not arable soil, arable soil must be spread thereon promptly when the operation is completed in each area. Provisions must be made for adequate drainage after the topsoil is replaced. No topsoil shall be removed from the borough.
The following regulations shall be observed:
Soil removed shall not be deposited or in any way thrown or placed upon adjoining property or public roads. Any soil or material resulting from any operation accumulating on any adjoining property or public road shall be removed therefrom immediately upon notice by the Borough Engineer to the permittee of the accumulation.
All operations shall be conducted in strict accordance with any state law, other ordinances of the borough and the terms and conditions of any permit granted for the operations. No operation shall be permitted within 100 feet of any stream or wetland, as defined in the Land Use Ordinance Chapter, unless it can be shown that soil removal would not alter the quantity or quality of the water nor adversely affect the rate of water flow and that the final finishing grade requires soil removal within the one-hundred-foot distance.
The operation shall be so conducted as not to constitute a nuisance to adjoining owners or the borough, and in no event shall the operation create any extra hazardous or unsafe condition with regard to any person or persons.
Upon completion of any operation or of excavation from an area delineated on the approved plan, the area shall be properly leveled off, cleared of debris, graded to conform to the contours and grades as approved by the Borough Council and trees planted in accordance with the plan approved by the Borough Council. A final map shall be submitted containing and complying with all requirements as set forth in this section.
Soil shall not be removed except in accordance with the approved plan, which plan may, upon application, be amended from time to time by the Board of Adjustment or Planning Board and Borough Council, as the case may be.
No soil shall be removed which is within eight feet of the water table unless approved by the Borough Council, and no soil shall be removed which is below the grade established and shown on the approved map.
No trash, garbage, junk or debris may be stored in any licensed area, and no safety hazards will be permitted, either during or after the completion of operations. All burning of combustible debris resulting from the soil operation shall be subject to the regulation set by the Fire Department or any regulation of a higher authority in effect and shall be undertaken so as not to create a smoke, nuisance or air pollution safety hazard.
Each permittee shall annually furnish a progress report to the Borough Engineer, the first of which shall be submitted nine months after issuance of the permit, which shall consist of a sketch map at a scale of one inch to 100 feet, showing contours every two feet, retained arable soil, equipment, the areas where soil was removed, the location of water supply and disposal facilities and drainage facilities prepared and certified by a licensed professional engineer. All topography shall be made by aerial photographic methods and a photograph submitted with the original application and each progress report.
In order to minimize the possibility of mudslides or drainage of silt, the area of operations for excavation shall not exceed a total of five acres at any one time without a replacement of topsoil and reseeding of the premises unless otherwise permitted by the Borough Council for good cause shown.
Upon the completion of work in any specific area, all respreading of arable soil and reseeding/liming/fertilizing as required by this section and § 118-6 of this chapter shall be completed within 60 days thereafter, except that, if the completion of work in an area occurs during the winter months when it would not be practicable to respread topsoil and reseed same, the work shall be completed within the additional time as may be specified by the Borough Council.
The Borough Council may modify or waive any of the above conditions or regulations where the applicant can show undue hardship by reason of topography, grade or other special conditions or when the modifications would clearly be in the public interest. The Borough Council shall, in all cases, submit the proposed modifications to the Planning Board for report and recommendation thereon prior to taking final action.
Hours of operation shall be limited from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, except in emergencies when authorized by the Borough Council. There shall be no operation of any kind or character on Sundays or legal holidays, except in emergencies when authorized by the Borough Council.
While working an area, the working face of the excavation shall not exceed 60º from the horizontal, nor shall a sixty-degree angle have a vertical height exceeding 30 feet, except that, when soil conditions permit a greater angle and/or height or require a lesser angle and/or height from the horizontal, as determined by the Borough Engineer, such greater or lesser specifications may be required or permitted. Any face not currently being worked on shall not exceed 30º from the horizontal. Where an excavated area adjoins a public road which has been dedicated to the public, no excavation shall be made below the level of the road for a distance of 100 feet back from the center line of the road, except in instances where, on the low side of the road, the removal of material would not substantially alter the general terrain characteristics. Where an excavated area is within 50 feet from any building, the finished grade thereof shall not exceed 10% or be less than 2%. Care should be taken so that there shall be no diversion of surface water either during the operation or after the project is complete.
Upon application for a permit pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the applicant shall pay a fee in the amount of $100 to cover the cost of the initial review of the proposed soil removal operation. Any costs, including the costs of legal, engineering or other expert advice, incurred by the borough in reviewing any application for a soil removal permit or in connection with the inspection of a proposed soil removal operation, which, in the aggregate, exceed $450, shall be reimbursed to the borough by the applicant prior to the issuance of a permit. Upon the issuance of a permit, the applicant shall pay a fee of $350 to cover the periodic field checks by the Engineer during the first year of operation.
Monthly thereafter, a permittee shall reimburse the borough for the cost of all periodic inspection fees as well as for any extraordinary cost or expenses necessitated as the result of unforeseen difficulties or exigencies or necessitated by or resulting from any violation of any provision of this chapter.
Before any work is done for which a permit is required and during the period covered by the permit, the applicant shall file and maintain a bond, in form and with surety approved by the Borough Attorney, in an amount as, in the opinion of the Borough Engineer, shall be sufficient to insure the faithful performance of the work to be undertaken pursuant to the conditions of the permit and the terms thereof. The bond shall be in the amount of not less than $3,000 per acre of land which is actually being worked in accordance with the approved plan. The bond shall cover the respreading of topsoil as required by the provisions of § 118-6 and also final provisions for drainage of the site and grading to final contour.
The amount of any performance bond or guaranty may be reduced by the Borough Council by resolution when portions of the improvements or works have been completed, upon recommendation of the Borough Engineer.
When all required performance has been completed, the obligor shall notify the Borough Council, in writing, by certified or registered mail, of the completion thereof and shall send a copy thereof to the Municipal Engineer. The Borough Council shall authorize the Municipal Engineer to inspect the site to determine that all requirements of the approved plan have been complied with. The Municipal Engineer shall thereupon file a report, in writing, with the Borough Council, which shall be detailed and shall indicate either approval, partial approval or rejection. If the work covered by the bond or performance guaranty or any portion thereof shall not be approved or shall be rejected by the Municipal Engineer, the report shall contain a statement of reasons for such nonapproval or rejection. Where the rejection indicates partial approval of the improvements or works, it shall indicate the costs of the work for which approval is rejected. The Borough Council shall accept or reject the work, grant partial approval or withhold approval on the basis of the report and shall notify the obligor, in writing, by certified or registered mail, of the contents of the report and the action of the Borough Council with relation thereto not later than 90 days after receipt of notice from the obligor of the completion of the work. Where partial approval is granted, the obligor shall be released from all liability pursuant to his performance guaranty bond, except for that portion adequately sufficient to secure the work not yet approved.
After reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard before the Borough Council, the permit of any person may be revoked or suspended for the period as the Borough Council may determine for any violation of the terms hereof or the terms and conditions of any approved plan and permit granted hereunder.
This chapter shall take effect upon adoption and publication according to law.
[Added 6-30-1998 by Ord. No. 1998-8]
Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof.