[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Washington 4-20-1998 by Ord. No. 98-7. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Township of Washington shall permit leaf mulching/leaf composting only to the extent set forth in this chapter. However, this chapter shall not apply to any governmental entity conducting leaf mulching/composting within the geographic boundaries of Washington Township or any homeowner composting leaves generated on their own property.
No person shall own or operate a leaf composting facility within the township except as set forth in § 81-1 or as follows: said facility is located on agricultural or horticultural land or operated by a recognized academic institution. In either case, said land must qualify as either eligible for farmland assessment or as defined in N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.12. Any other leaf-mulching operation not covered under this section or permitted under § 81-1 above shall not be permitted. In both cases under this section, said facility will only be permitted with the approval of the Township Committee or its designee. There shall be no commercial composting in Washington Township in which compost is sold for use off the site.
Only leaves source separated at the point of generation and stored/recycled for composting or mulching may be delivered and used for leaf mulching. This provision shall not apply to the Township of Washington Public Works/Road Department. There shall be no transfer operations conducted at any approved site. All leaves must come from within the geographic boundaries of Washington Township. There shall be a limit of 800 cubic yards of leaves accepted per site per acre during the season set forth below. Leaves accepted for mulching must be spread and turned in accordance with law. Leaves accepted for composting must be placed in an appropriate configuration as prescribed by law and in accordance with accepted practices within 24 hours of delivery. All leaf composting facilities must be constructed and operated in accordance with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) rules and regulations.
Leaves must be delivered unbagged or in a biodegradable paper bag and any leaves already in an anaerobic state of decomposition shall not be accepted nor any leaves collected during any previous leaf season or before or after the season set forth below.
Leaves collected between September 1 and November 30 of each calendar year will be eligible for mulching/composting and must be delivered to the facility no later than December 10 of each year; otherwise, the leaves will not be accepted pursuant to § 81-3B above.
All facility operators shall be required to inspect all incoming loads for contamination/commingling with municipal solid waste and any other unacceptable waste. Unacceptable material/waste shall be deposited in an enclosed container and disposed of at an approved solid waste facility within seven calendar days from its segregation.
The facility(ies) must be in the County of Warren Solid Waste Plan. If the facility(ies) is in the plan, the facility(ies) in question must be licensed by the Township Committee on an annual basis by the filing of an application on a form approved by the township setting forth all of the information sought in this chapter as to facility(ies) operations, the location of the facility, the name, address and phone number(s) of the operator of the facility, the written contingency plan for operation (as set forth below), hours of operation, block and lot number of the site and approximate number used for the facility and any and all other material as set forth on said application form.
The license fee for composting shall be $500 per year and shall cover all costs incurred by the township for the issuance and oversight of said license. The license shall run from January 1 through December 31 of each calendar year. Any application submitted after July 1 for the remainder of the calendar year shall be subject to a license fee of $250. Said fee is waived for farmers mulching leaves for their own field(s).
No facility shall operate within the township without a license. The Township Committee shall annually review each application for a license (initial or renewal) to determine whether or not the facility is being operated in accordance with this chapter and state and/or federal law. Denial of an initial license or denial of a reviewal of an existing license by the Township Committee may be appealed to a court of competent jurisdiction within 45 calendar days of such Township Committee decision.
Any composting or mulching facility(ies) shall operate between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between April 1 and December 15, but shall only accept leaves during the period set forth in § 81-3B above. This shall not apply to farmers mulching leaves in their own field(s).
The facility operator shall submit annually, with his application for a license, a written contingency plan to the township regarding potential problems at the facility, including but not limited to odors, mechanical breakdowns, unacceptable loads and inclement weather. Said plan must include a mechanism under which the operator can stop delivery of leaves if he/she is unable to comply with applicable municipal, state and/or federal law. The plan shall also contain a mechanism for rejecting loads of unacceptable quality or which contains trash and/or nonbiodegradables. No stockpiling of leaves shall be permitted.
No aspect of the facility operation shall result in malodorous emissions off-site nor shall same result in the presence of air contaminants in such quantities and duration as are, or tend to be, injurious to human or animal health, welfare or property or would unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property. A supply of pulverized limestone shall be readily available for immediate use at the site should odor problems develop. Noise control shall be implemented such that sound levels generated by the operation of the facility shall not exceed the standards set forth by N.J.A.C. 7:29 et seq., as amended and supplemented from time to time.
The Township Committee or any designee (including law enforcement officials) of the township and the Warren County Board of Health shall have unrestricted access to the areas of any facility where mulching/composting is permitted (occurring under the provisions of this chapter) for the express purpose of inspecting the property and insuring the terms of this chapter are being met and shall be permitted to take samples of soils to insure there is no negative, deleterious affect on soil, groundwater or other water quality.
A buffer zone of at least 50 feet between the composting facility and the property line must be maintained, and at least 250 feet must be maintained between composting activities and any sensitive neighboring uses, such as but not limited to single-family residences.
Areas of the facility which are subject to vehicular usage shall be suitably compacted and, where necessary, surfaced so as to provide ample vehicular support to prevent the tracking of soil onto public thoroughfares and the generation of dust.
Notice of an application for an initial license must be served on all landowners within 200 feet of the facility, either personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested. This notice is only to be served before the initial license is granted and is not essential for any license renewals.
The Township Zoning Officer, township law enforcement officers and any other township designee shall serve as the enforcing agent(s) of the provisions of this chapter.
Failure to obtain a license or a violation of any terms of this chapter shall constitute a violation. Such violation shall result in a fine of not more than $1,000 or up to 90 days of community service, or both. Every day a violation occurs or continues to occur shall be considered a separate offense and subject to a separate penalty. Conviction of a violation shall constitute reasonable cause for summary revocation of the township license with appeal to a court of competent jurisdiction within 45 calendar days of the revocation. An appeal of a conviction shall not, in and of itself, provide a stay of the imposition of the revocation.