Township of Lower, NJ
Cape May County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Lower as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and debris — See Ch. 185.
Construction equipment and sites — See Ch. 242.
Commercial excavations — See Ch. 297.
Land development — See Ch. 400.
[Adopted by Ord. No. 86-21 (Sec. 12-1 of the 1975 Code)]
[Amended by Ord. No. 2002-5]
A. 
No person, firm, corporation or partnership shall tear up, excavate, open, perform work of any other nature on any road or street under the control of the Township of Lower without first having obtained and being in possession of a valid permit to do such work issued by the Township Clerk's office with approval of the Director of Public Works and paying a fee of $10 per square yard; the minimum permit fee shall be $10; maximum of $50 to be opened and after posting a sufficient security. The Lower Township Municipal Utilities Authority shall be exempt from the payment of the fees set forth herein for repair and maintenance of the LTMUA water and sewer system. All other fees and provisions of this section shall apply.
[Amended 10-3-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-21]
B. 
Any permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall become null and void unless work is commenced pursuant to the permit, within six months of issuance of said permit, unless the applicant has sought and received an extension from the Director of Public Works for commencement of the work.
C. 
In addition to obtaining a permit from the Township as outlined above, the applicant must likewise, where required by law, obtain all necessary permits or licenses from the public utilities whose lines, property or equipment may be affected by the opening, excavation or construction.
D. 
Subsequent to acquiring the necessary permits, the applicants must give 24 hours notice to the public work's office before commencement of any street opening, excavation or construction.
All applicants for a road opening, excavation or construction shall prepare and file with the Township Clerk an application obtained from the Clerk's office for review and approval of the Director of Public Works. The application shall be accompanied by a plan or drawing describing the portion of the road or street to be opened or excavated, indicating the dimensions of the opening, the purpose for the opening, and the expected duration of the opening or excavation.
A. 
During the period of time that the road or street is under construction, excavated or opened, it shall remain, wherever safely reasonable, open to traffic, and the applicant shall assist the Township in providing for continuous vehicular access. In the event detouring is necessary, it shall be coordinated with and approved by the Director of Public Works.
B. 
While under construction or excavation, the applicant shall be responsible for providing barricades or other safety devices or warnings as reasonably required by the Director of Public Works so as to inform motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians of any construction or excavation. The applicant shall also promptly notify the Police Department of any excavation or construction site and provide the Police Department with the name, address, and phone number where the applicant or his representative may be reached.
C. 
The contractor shall be responsible for maintaining safe working conditions at the site of construction or excavation. The provisions of the "Construction Surety Code," as promulgated by the Commissioner of Labor and Industry under the Authority of the Construction Safety Act, P.L. 1962, c. 45,[1] shall be adhered to. Excavated materials shall be placed three feet back from the edge of the trench. Where conditions do not allow for the sloping of the trench sides, the contractor shall brace and support the trench in accordance with recognized practice.
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 34:5-166 et seq.
A. 
The applicant shall be responsible for the immediate refilling of any excavation or construction site and the restoring of any road, street or alley in accordance with the following specifications.
B. 
The following standards shall govern the excavation, refilling and restoration of any road, street or alley:
(1) 
Location of existing utilities. Prior to any excavation, the contractor shall bear the responsibility of notifying all utility firms that have service lines in the construction area for marking at least one week prior to the start of construction. The utility companies shall be requested to mark out the location of all utility lines.
(2) 
Pavement cutting. Pavement shall be cut with pneumatic hammers or mechanical pavement cutters, saws or other methods approved by the Director of Public Works.
(3) 
Trench excavation.
(a) 
The trench in which any utilities and/or appurtenances are to be constructed shall be excavated in open cut from the surface except where otherwise stated in writing and in all cases in such a manner and to such depth and width as will give suitable room for bracing the supporting, pumping and draining.
(b) 
The maximum trench width at the top of the pipe shall be two feet plus the outside diameter of the pipe. The contractor may, where it will not interfere with the work or adjacent structure or property, and only after receiving approval from the Township Director of Public Works, slope the sides of the excavation beyond the width specified above. The sides of the trench may only be sloped from a point starting two feet above the top of the pipe.
(4) 
Length of trench to be opened.
(a) 
No trench shall be excavated more than 100 linear feet in advance of pipe laying unless authorized by the Director of Public Works.
(b) 
The length of trench to be opened or the area of the surface to be disturbed or unrestored at any one time shall be limited by the Director of Public Works with regard to expeditious construction and to the convenience and comfort of the persons residing in the neighborhood or frequenting the streets in question. New trenching will not be permitted when earlier trenches need backfilling or labor is needed to restore the surfaces of the streets to a safe and proper condition.
(5) 
Backfilling trenches.
(a) 
The trench or other excavation shall be carefully backfilled with such excavated material. No rock or frozen earth shall be put in the trench until the backfill has reached at least two feet above the top of the utility pipe. Backfill to a height of two feet above the top of the utility pipe shall be made with earth which shall be free from stones or rock fragments of a size larger than one inch in diameter. Below this level, the backfill shall be placed in layers not more than six inches thick and shall be compacted with approved flat-faced tampers. All backfill more than two feet above the top of pipes shall be compacted as follows:
[1] 
By approved vibratory soil compactors, if the backfill material is predominately sand or sand and gravel but contains more than 12% by weight of the material that will pass the two-hundred-mesh sieve.
[2] 
By approved vibratory compactors or puddling if the materials is predominately sand or sand and gravel and contain not more than 12% by weight of the material that will pass the two-hundred-mesh sieve.
[3] 
By approved flat-faced mechanical tampers if the backfill material is not predominately sand or sand and gravel.
[4] 
Backfill around inlets, manholes and other subsurface structures shall be compacted by flat-faced mechanical tampers.
(b) 
In Subsection B(5)(a)[1] and [2] above, approved flat-faced mechanical tampers may be substituted for the vibratory soil compactors where the shoring and bracing of the trenches or other special conditions make the use of vibrating compactors impractical. Where mechanical tampers or vibrating soil compactors are used in accordance with the foregoing provisions, the backfill shall be placed and compacted in layers not more than six inches thick, loose measurements. Where trenches are puddled in accordance with the foregoing provisions, the backfill shall be placed in successive lifts, not more than four feet thick, and each lift shall be thoroughly puddled before the next lift is placed. The application of water shall be continuous until all puddling of each lift is evidenced by a constant head without further addition of water. If more than a six-inch depth of trench remains unfilled after the final puddling, the remaining backfill shall be tamped or vibrated as specified in Subsection B(5)(a)[1] and [2] above. The surface of the trench backfill shall be rounded to allow for compression and shall be finally compacted by a three-wheel, then ten-ton roller and have a load of not less than 330 pounds per inch of width of rear wheels. Rock in pieces weighing more than 50 pounds shall not be put in the trench. All sheeting shall be withdrawn unless ordered left in place by the Township Director of Public Works. As the trench is refilled, the sheeting and timbering shall be removed in such a manner as to avoid the caving of the trench. The vacancy left by the sheeting shall be carefully refilled by ramming or as otherwise directed. All materials excavated, if suitable, shall be used for backfilling trenches or other excavations or deposited in embankments. None shall be wasted without permission of the Township Director of Public Works. Surplus and waste materials shall be removed from the site. Broken pavement, large rocks and all objectionable material are to be kept segregated from the clean surplus material and trucked to a separate disposal site from that of the clean material. When a bulldozer or payloader is used in backfilling a trench, the contractor shall station a man at the side of the trench to carefully inspect and supervise the backfilling operation.
(c) 
The method of backfilling and compaction shall be established at the discretion of the Township Director of Public Works, depending upon the quality of the backfill material encountered at the site, and is not necessarily limited to the above-described methods. Any changes required by the Director of Public works will not be more stringent than those methods outlined herein.
(6) 
Care of existing structures. Care shall be taken not to move, without the consent of the Township Director of Public Works, sewers, drains, culverts, poles, water or gas pipes, etc., or structures near them that may be encountered during the construction. They shall be securely hung, braced or supported in place by the contractor at his own expense. All utility poles adjacent to the excavation shall be protected and braced during construction. Whenever it is necessary to interfere with said structures, the contractor shall maintain services at his own expense and repair all damages. He shall leave them in as good condition as he found them.
(7) 
Dewatering. The contractor shall furnish sufficient pumping equipment and shall provide, at his own expense, satisfactory drainage whenever needed in the trench and other excavation during the progress of the work. All water pumped and bailed from the trench or other excavation shall be conveyed in a proper manner to a suitable point of discharge. The flow in all sewers, drains, and watercourses encountered in the work, in gutters alongside of or across the work, shall be entirely provided for, both temporarily and permanently, as required, by the contractor and at his expense.
(8) 
Street restoration.
(a) 
The trench restoration in the street will consist of a six-inch gravel base course; four-inch bituminous stabilized base course, Mix I-2, and FABC 1 Type surface course, Mix I-5, two inches thick. Gravel base course and bituminous stabilized base course shall be applied immediately upon completion of the purpose for the opening.
(b) 
The six-inch gravel base course shall be Soil Aggregate Type I-5 as noted in Section 900, Article 901.9, of the Standard Specifications of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, as amended.
(c) 
The materials for bituminous stabilized base course shall conform to Section 900, Article 903. Bituminous surface course shall conform to Section 900, Article 903, of the Standard Specifications of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, as amended.
(d) 
The final surface course shall not be placed for at least 30 days after initial compaction and placement of the stabilized base course. The final surface course shall be completed no more than 60 days after initial compaction and placement of the stabilized base course.
(e) 
The method of construction of the six-inch gravel base course, the four-inch bituminous stabilized base course, Mix I-2 and the two-inch FABC-1 surface course, Mix I-5, shall conform to the requirements of Section 300 and Section 400 of the Standard Specifications, as amended. The bituminous stabilized base course shall be constructed in two lifts as required by said specifications.
(f) 
All work shall be inspected by the Director of Public Works. The contractor shall notify the Township Director of Public Works 24 hours in advance of performing any work under street restoration.
(g) 
Any capital improvement/repaving/reconstruction on any street or roadway within the Township of Lower shall be the subject of a five-year road/street opening moratorium after the completion of said construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, repaving or overlay has lapsed, except in the event of an emergency or hardship as described below. It is understood the five-year period as described herein shall commence on December 31 of the year in which said road was constructed, reconstructed, resurfaced, repaved or overlaid and run for a period of five years thereafter.
[Added 6-18-2018 by Ord. No. 2018-08]
(h) 
Emergency opening.
[Added 6-18-2018 by Ord. No. 2018-08]
[1] 
In emergency situations during normal business hours, the applicant shall notify the Director of Public Works and the Police Department of the emergency prior to the opening of the street. Application must be made as soon as possible thereafter with the payment of the required fees. During nonbusiness hours, weekends and holidays, the applicant shall notify the Police Department of the emergency prior to excavating the street. On the next business day, the applicant shall make application for the emergency street opening, explaining the reason for the emergency and pay the appropriate fees.
[2] 
In the event that an entity shall be required to open a street as a result of an emergency, said emergency opening shall be reviewed by the Director of Public Works and if the Director shall determine that no such emergency existed, then the entity so opening the street shall have a fine imposed upon such entity in the amount of $2,500 for the first nonemergency opening, a fine of $5,000 for a second nonemergency opening, and a fine of $10,000 for a third nonemergency opening.
[3] 
A full width curb-to-curb restoration will be required on all streets constructed, reconstructed, resurfaced, repaved or overlaid by the Township within the previous five years of an opening necessitated by emergency or moratorium waiver opening. The restoration shall consist of six-inch-thick dense graded aggregate base course and a six-inch-thick bituminous stabilized base course, Mix I-2, or equivalent as determined by the Director, brought flush with existing grade, within the excavated area. A full width, curb-to-curb, milling two inches in depth to extend 50 feet beyond the limit of excavations shall be performed after proper settlement in the trench area. The allowable time for trench settlement shall be 45 days unless directed otherwise by the Director. The final surface course shall be a two-inch-thick bituminous concrete surface course, Mix I-5, or equivalent as determined by the Director of Public Works.
[4] 
Trench restoration may be permitted under extraordinary circumstances and at the sole discretion of the Township of Lower and the Director of Public Works for openings having minimum impact on the integrity, longevity and serviceability of the street in question.
(i) 
Moratorium waiver. In the event a property owner experiences a hardship condition which requires a street opening permit to be issued contrary to the sections contained in this article, the Township of Lower may grant relief if and only if the following conditions are satisfied:
[Added 6-18-2018 by Ord. No. 2018-08]
[1] 
The property owner shall submit a letter to the Township Clerk detailing the hardship necessity to open the street in lieu of waiting the prescribed period of time.
[2] 
Upon receipt of the letter, a public meeting date will be set for the Township Council to review the situation and justification presented for formal action.
[3] 
The letter detailing the pertinent information necessary to review the request, such as property street address, block and lot, reason for the request, and type and size of street opening proposed.
[4] 
The Township shall consider the request at a public meeting and review all objections, if any. Approval or denial of the request shall be through formal adoption of a resolution.
[5] 
If Council grants a moratorium waiver request authorizing excavation of a roadway under moratorium necessitated by utility main improvements, final restoration will require a minimum of full cartway width extending intersection to intersection. The applicant will be required to mill the existing roadway to a depth of two inches extending from intersection to intersection for the full width of the roadway (curbline to curbline) and install a two-inch-thick lift of bituminous concrete surface course, Mix I-5, for the entire length. All edges shall be coated with an asphalt tack coat prior to a two-inch lift of bituminous concrete surface course being placed on the roadway.
[6] 
Authorized street excavations for utility main improvements on any roadway deemed to be in good condition, as determined by the Director of Public Works, may require resurfacing the entire roadway as described in this section and as directed by the Director.
[Amended by Ord. No. 95-5; Ord. No. 2002-5]
A. 
Every application shall be accompanied by a maintenance bond in the amount of $85 per square yard of excavation or construction. If no bond is provided, a certified check payable to the Township or a cash deposit in the same amount or a minimum of $700 shall be provided with the application.
B. 
A public utility company or construction company, in lieu of giving a separate bond for each project, may annually once in January of each year post a bond for $10,000 to cover the work performed by said company during the ensuing calendar year. In the event that construction, excavation or road openings exceed the posted bond amount, additional bonds and/or cash security will be required.
C. 
The purpose of depositing the maintenance bond, surety bond or cash is to guarantee to the Township of Lower that any construction, excavation or road opening will be performed and completed in an acceptable fashion consistent with the provisions of this article. In the event that the Township Director of Public Works determines that the excavation, construction or restoration and refilling has not been performed consistent with the requirements of this article, he shall be entitled, after reasonable notice to the applicant to correct such deficiencies, to take the maintenance bond, surety bond or cash posted by the applicant and utilize it to correct any deficiencies and have the area restored to its proper condition.
A. 
Every application for construction, excavation or opening of a road or street under the control of the Township of Lower shall be accompanied by a certificate of insurance demonstrating that the applicant possesses personal injury liability insurance in the amount of $500,000 and property damage liability insurance in the amount of $250,000. Said insurance shall be maintained by the applicant during the period of construction or excavation.
B. 
The applicant shall also agree in writing to indemnify and hold harmless the Township of Lower, its agents, servants and employees from any damage or liability sustained by any person or property arising out of the negligence of the applicant or its agents, servants and employees during the source of any construction, excavation, restoration or refilling of any road or street under the control of the Township of Lower. Said agreement shall require the applicant, in the event a claim is made against the Township of Lower, its agents, servants and employees arising out of the applicant's construction activities, to provide the Township of Lower with a legal defense and to pay any and all attorneys fees or costs incurred by the Township of Lower in connection with any claims, suit or litigation.
A. 
All work shall be performed between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. In emergency situations, with a determination of an emergency being in the sole discretion of the Township Director of Public Works, this requirement may be waived under those terms and conditions to be set by the Township Director of Public Works.
B. 
When any work is done on a weekend by a contractor, the inspection would be done by the Township and must be paid for by the applicant at those rates to be set by the Township.
A. 
Any person, firm, corporation or partnership violating any provision of this article shall be subject to a fine in an amount not less than $200 nor more than $500.
B. 
Any person, firm, corporation or partnership violating any provision of this article shall not obtain a permit under this article for a three-year period.
[Adopted by Ord. No. 98-6 (Sec. 12-2 of the 1975 Code)]
In any public street, highway, avenue, alley and lane in the Township, curbs and sidewalks shall be set or reset, laid, relaid, altered, repaired and maintained at the expense of the abutting property owner, except as otherwise set forth herein.
A. 
Sidewalk construction or reconstruction may be paid for wholly from governmental funds rather than at the cost of the adjoining property owner only in areas of the Township designated and approved for a rehabilitation project wholly funded by governmental agencies other than the Township and involving construction or reconstruction of all surface improvements in one or more contiguous Township blocks. Such a construction or reconstruction project shall be so funded as to not involve any direct cost to municipal taxpayers as a general municipal improvement and shall be designated by the Township Engineer as required in connection with securing uniformity of appearance, ease of construction and related considerations involving the satisfactory completion of such a rehabilitation project.
B. 
The Township Council may also provide for the repair or reconstruction of sidewalks on the streets or roads of the Township at public expense in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:65-9.1 et seq. upon the following conditions being satisfied:
(1) 
When any sidewalk, previously constructed or reconstructed as a local improvement, is dilapidated or in need of repair or reconstruction, and where such condition is not attributable to the acts or negligence of the abutting property owner or his predecessor in title nor of anyone for whose acts or negligence the property owner is chargeable; and
(2) 
When the abutting property owner or his predecessor in title shall have paid within 20 years then past, or shall pay in full with interest, all the assessment for the laying or relaying of the sidewalk in front of his property (to the extent that installments on such assessments are then due); and
(3) 
The authority for such repair or reconstruction is approved by resolution by at least 2/3 of the entire membership of the Township Council reciting that such repairs or reconstruction of the sidewalk is in the best interest of the residents of the Township.
Whenever a property owner desires that any curb or sidewalk in a public street, highway, avenue, alley or lane be set, reset, laid, relaid, altered or repaired in the Township, application by the owner of the abutting land or his contractor for a permit shall first be made to the Township specifying the grade, dimensions, mix, materials and the method of construction or repair to be used. The Township, or such officer or agent as the Township delegates, shall examine the specifications and register its approval or disapproval. Upon approval, a permit shall be issued. All work shall be done in strict compliance with such specifications, failing which, appropriate actions shall be taken by the Township.
Whenever the Township Council deems it necessary for the construction, repair, alteration or relaying of any curb or sidewalk in the Township, it shall by resolution specify the improvements to be made. After the resolution has been adopted by the Township Council, written notice shall be served upon the owners of the lands abutting the public street, highway, avenue, alley or lane requiring the necessary specified work on the curbs or sidewalks to be done by such property owner within a period of not less than 30 days from the date of service of the notice.
A. 
If the owner of the land is a nonresident of the Township, the notice may be served upon him personally, or upon his agent in charge of the property, or upon the occupant thereof, or mailed to the nonresident owner at his last known post office address.
B. 
If the owner is unknown or if, for any reason, service cannot be made as set forth in this section, the notice shall be published in a newspaper circulating in the Township, at least once and not less than 30 days before the improvement is made by the Township. Notices to the owner or owners of several distinct parcels of real estate may be inserted in the same publication.
C. 
The notice may be served upon all owners of property residing in the Township personally, or by leaving the notice at their usual place of residence with a member of the family above the age of 14 years. In the case of infants and incompetents, such notice shall be served upon their guardians, when real estate is held in trust, upon the trustee; when real estate is held by joint tenants, tenants in common, or by the entirety, upon any one such tenant.
D. 
Proof by affidavit of service of such notices shall be filed within 10 days after service with the Tax Collector, but failure to file such proofs shall not invalidate the proceedings if service has been made in accordance with the procedures set forth in this section.
If the condition of a sidewalk or curb becomes such that it is hazardous to public safety, then at his discretion, the Township Manager may order the hazard to be abated, requiring the abatement to be effected immediately.
A. 
The owners of lots, tracts and parcels of land fronting or abutting on any public street, highway, avenue, alley or lane on which the construction, repair, alteration or relaying of any curbs or sidewalks is required by the Township may, at their own cost and expense, construct such curbs and sidewalks and/or make such improvements or repairs in front of or abutting their properties when notified to do so by the Township, pursuant to resolution of the Township Council. If the owners of the lands affected do not comply with the requirements of the notice, the Township, upon filing due proof of service of publication of the notice in the office of the Township Clerk, shall cause the required work to be done by the Township or outside contractors, and the cost thereof shall become a lien upon the affected property in accordance with the procedure set forth in this section.
B. 
In the event that the Township causes this construction, repair, alteration or relaying of any curbs or sidewalks in accordance with the procedures set forth in the preceding Subsection A, the officer of the Township in charge of such improvements shall assess such cost upon the properties abutting the public streets, highways, avenues, alleys or lanes on which such improvements are made in proportion to their respective frontage thereon, and shall file a report thereof under oath with the Township Clerk. The cost of improvement, when it becomes a lien, shall be collected in the manner provided by law for the collection of other assessments or liens, and in addition the Township may, at its option, maintain an action against the owner of the lands to recover the amount in any court having competent jurisdiction.
C. 
The Township Council shall then examine the report and, if properly made, confirm and file it with the Tax Collector, which assessments shall then become a lien against such properties; provided, however, that before confirming the report the Township Council shall cause notice to be given to the affected property owners of a time and place fixed for examination of the report.
D. 
All such assessments shall bear interest from the time that such assessments are confirmed by the Township Council with the Tax Collector at the same rate and with the same penalties for nonpayment of assessments for local improvements in the Township, and from the confirmation thereof shall be a first paramount lien upon the real property assessed to the same extent and to be collected and enforced in the same manner as assessments for local improvements.
If any street, parkway or public highway to be improved is under the control of any Cape May County board or commission, the approval of the appropriate county body of the plans of improvement shall be obtained before such improvement is begun. The cost of such improvements shall also be assessed upon the real estate abutting the improvements, to the extent of the benefits received, in the same manner as set forth in the previous sections for sidewalk improvements.
A. 
The owner or tenant of any lands abutting any public highways of the Township shall be responsible for the removal of all grass, weeds and impediments therefrom within 15 days after notice to remove such grass, weeds and impediments.
B. 
In the event that any grass, weeds and impediments are not so removed in accordance with the provision set forth in Subsection A above, the Township may cause such removal at the direction of the Code Enforcement Officer, who shall certify the cost thereof to the Township Council. The Township Council shall then examine such certificate and, if found to be correct, shall cause the cost to be charged against the real estate abutting upon such sidewalk or gutter, and the amount so charged shall thereupon become a lien and tax upon such real estate to be added to and become part of the taxes next to be levied and assessed thereon and enforced and collected with interest by the Tax Collector in the same manner as other taxes.
The Township Council may, in each year, include in its budget or annual tax ordinance an appropriation for curb or sidewalk repairs, in addition to any existing general public works maintenance fund, out of which appropriation the cost of construction or repair of curbs and sidewalks during the year may be charged when it becomes necessary for the Township to make repairs or construction. All monies recovered or paid to the Township under the provisions of this section shall be credited to the account out of which the work was paid for.