[HISTORY: Adopted by the Bloomfield Council 12-5-2005 by Ord. No. 05-37. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Soil Ordinance of the Township of Bloomfield."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- An excavator.
- Any person who, within any period of 12 months, shall move more than 300 cubic yards of soil on any lot.
- Any parcel of land or portion thereof, the boundary lines of which can be ascertained by reference to the maps or records in the office of the Township Tax Assessor or in the office of the Essex County Register.
- MAJOR SOIL PERMIT
- Any permit for the moving of soil which does not meet the definition of a minor soil permit.
- MINOR SOIL PERMIT
- A permit for the moving of less than 100 cubic yards of soil, proposing no retaining wall in excess of two feet in height at any point, and requiring no exception from the requirements of this chapter.
- To dig, excavate, remove, deposit, place, fill, grade, regrade, level or otherwise alter or change the location or contour, transport or supply; provided, however, that nothing in this definition shall be construed to apply to:
- A. Digging, excavating and removing of soil from a lot which is to be displaced by a building foundation, swimming pool or other structure pursuant to a validly issued building permit.
- B. Backfilling of foundations and other structures.
- C. Plowing, spading, cultivation, harrowing or disking of soil or any other operation usually and ordinarily associated with the tilling of soil for agricultural or horticultural purposes.
- Any person having title to any lot or having such other interest or estate therein as will permit exercise of effective possession thereof or dominion thereover.
- Any earth, sand, clay, loam, gravel, humus, rock or dirt without regard to the presence or absence therein of organic matter.
- Any soil that, in its natural state, constitutes the top layer of earth and is composed of 2% or more, by weight, of organic matter and has the ability to support vegetation.
The Township Council does hereby find and declare that:
Unregulated and uncontrolled relocation, filling, excavation and removal of soil on a large scale by developers and excavators in and upon lands in the Township has resulted in conditions detrimental to the public health, safety and general welfare, substantially hampering and deterring the efforts of the Township to effectuate the general purpose of municipal planning.
Continuation of the unregulated and uncontrolled relocation, filling, excavation and removal of soil will result in serious and irreparable damage to the public welfare by reason of consequent soil erosion by water and wind; inadequate and improper surface water drainage; a decrease in or destruction of the fertility of the soil; removal of lateral support of abutting streets, lands and premises; creation of dust storms and places for mosquito breeding; creation of dangerous depressions or pits; deterioration of property values; rendering of lands unfit or unsuitable for their most appropriate use; and creation of other factors and elements hampering and deterring the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious development of the Township.
No owner of any lot in the Township shall cause, allow, permit or suffer any soil, in and upon any lot in the Township, to be moved by any developer or excavator until such developer or excavator has first obtained a soil permit therefor as required by Subsection B of this section.
No developer and no excavator shall move or cause, allow, permit or suffer to be removed any soil in and upon any lot in the Township unless and until such developer or excavator has obtained a soil permit therefor issued by the Township Clerk in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
No soil-moving permit shall be required for any soil moving approved pursuant to the Municipal Land Use Law as a part of a site plan application or for grading within a roadway right-of-way or for installation of other improvements to be dedicated to the public and approved as a part of a subdivision application.
An application for a soil-moving permit shall be filed with the Township Planning and Zoning Coordinator and shall be accompanied by the fee prescribed in § 484-8. Application shall be made in duplicate, on forms prescribed by the Township and supplied by the Township Planning and Zoning Coordinator. The application shall set forth the following:
The identity and location of the applicant.
The description and location of the lands in question, including metes and bounds.
The identity and location of the owner of the lands.
The purpose or reason for moving the soil.
The kind and quantity, in cubic yards, of soil to be moved.
In case of removal, the place to which the soil is to be removed and the kind and quantity of soil to be removed.
The proposed date of completion of the work.
The anticipated cost of the proposed soil moving and any method of retention.
A declaration as to whether the applicant seeks a major soil permit or minor soil permit.
In the event that the applicant seeks exceptions pursuant to § 484-14, the applicant shall set forth the exceptions so sought. In addition, the applicant shall attach to the application a written statement setting forth the reason for the seeking of each such exception.
Such other pertinent data as the Township may require.
The application for a soil permit shall be accompanied by the following:
In the case of a minor soil permit, three copies of a topographical map of the lot in question. In the case of a major soil permit, nine copies of a topographical map of the lot in question. Said map shall be prepared and certified and sealed by a licensed professional engineer. The map shall be prepared at a scale not to exceed 30 feet to the inch if the property in question consists of more than one acre and shall not exceed 20 feet to the inch if the property consists of one acre or fewer. The topographical map shall include the following:
The present grades at two-foot intervals and the present elevations at the corners of the lot.
The proposed grades at two-foot intervals and proposed elevations at the corners of the lot and corners of proposed buildings, using a designation different than those used for the present grades.
The grades and elevation of all streets, curbs, manholes, inverts and other appurtenances not underground within 50 feet of the lot.
All easements and utility lines on the lot, including the elevations of manholes, inverts and other appurtenances not underground.
The present grades at two-foot intervals of all adjacent properties to a distance of at least 15 feet from the lot in question, including the location of any structures within such 15 feet.
The location and size of proposed structures, with first floor and basement elevations of all proposed buildings.
The quantity of fill for which the soil-moving permit is sought, together with the calculations used to arrive at such determination of quantity. The quantity shall be calculated by accepted earthmoving computations, such as the end area method. The quantity of soil to be moved shall be certified as accurate by a licensed professional engineer or licensed land surveyor.
Details of retaining walls and other structures proposed for support of soil, together with elevations of proposed grade above and below any retaining wall and at the top of the wall. Such retaining walls shall be of a design approved by the Township Engineer.
The elevations of proposed driveways and walkways.
The location, elevation and detail of swales and other means for the disposition of surface water.
A notation as to the method of restoration of disturbed areas and the method and ground cover to be used for stabilization of slopes created by the soil moving.
All elevation shall be computed based on United States Coast and Geodetic Survey datum.
In the case of a minor soil permit, three copies of a topographical map of the lot in question. In the case of a major soil permit, nine copies of a topographical map of the lot in question. Such profile shall be prepared and certified and sealed by a licensed professional engineer. The drawing shall be prepared at a scale of not more than 20 feet to the inch. At least three sections shall be provided, one each at the property side line and one through the middle of the property. Additional sections shall be provided in the event that the required sections are more than 50 feet apart. The Township may require yet additional sections if, in its determination or that of its agents, the drawings are inadequate to show the effect of the soil moving. The cross sections shall contain the following information:
The location and size of existing and proposed structures, including elevations. With reference to buildings, the basement elevation and first-floor elevation shall be shown, but otherwise it shall not be necessary to show any portion of the building five feet above the higher of the proposed or existing grade.
The existing grade from the front property line to the rear.
The proposed grade from the front property line to the rear.
Any proposed cut shall be shown as a shaded area, and the area of the proposed fill shall be shaded by diagonal lines.
A set of colored photographs of the property in question. The following photographs shall be required: one taken from the center line of the street toward the center of the frontage of the property in question; one from each corner or jog in the boundary line of the perimeter of the property taken toward the center of the property. Each such photograph shall be eight inches by 10 inches and shall be numbered and dated. Along with the photographs, the applicant shall submit a map of the property, drawn to scale, showing the number of the photograph taken at each location, each such location and providing a directional arrow for the direction in which the photograph was taken.
On any application in which there is a retaining wall proposed of any height, the applicant shall submit an unqualified certification from a licensed professional engineer that the retaining wall proposed, and its design, is adequate and appropriate to retain the soil proposed to be retained and for the purposes intended as shown on the plan.
In the case of a minor soil permit, three copies of a tree inventory map, and tree removal plan as required by Chapter 535, Trees. In the case of a major soil permit, nine copies of a tree inventory map and tree removal plan as required by Chapter 535, Trees. Said map shall be prepared by and certified and sealed by a licensed professional engineer. The tree inventory map shall show each tree on the property in question which is four inches in caliper or greater, measured at a height of three feet above the ground, and shall depict the species and size of each such tree. The tree removal plan shall be submitted and reviewed in accordance with Chapter 535.
Every applicant for a major soil permit shall give all property owners within 200 feet of the extreme limits of the property, as their names appear on the Township tax records, at least 10 days' written notice of the hearing on the application. The notice shall be given in person or by registered or certified mail and shall state the time and place of the hearing, as fixed by the Township Planning and Zoning Coordinator; a brief description of the property; and that a copy of the application and map has been filed with the Township Planning and Zoning Coordinator for public inspection.
In addition to the requirements of Subsection A of this section, the applicant shall also cause notice of the hearing to be published in the official newspaper, designated as such by the governing body, at least 10 days prior to the hearing.
Prior to the hearing, the applicant shall submit the following:
A certification or an affidavit, signed and sworn to by the applicant, affirming that the applicant has notified all the property owners, as required by Subsection A of this section, in person or by registered or certified mail.
The application fee for a minor soil permit shall be $500. A fee of $75 shall be paid in connection with each revision.
The application fee for a major soil permit shall be $1,500. A fee of $150 shall be paid in connection with each revision. For the purpose of computing such fee, the statement set forth in the application of the number of cubic yards to be moved shall be deemed prima facie correct.
The Township Clerk shall forward all applications for minor soil-moving permits and major soil-moving permits to the Township Engineer. The Township Engineer shall inspect the property prior to any soil moving and submit a written report to the Township Planning and Zoning Coordinator regarding his review of the application within 30 days after the filling of the application, together with his recommendation for the amount of the performance guarantee required by Chapter 484, § 484-15. Upon receipt of the Township Engineer's report, the Township Planning and Zoning Coordinator shall schedule a hearing date before the Planning Board and forward a copy of the application for the major soil-moving permit, together with all submissions made at the time of application and required by the Township Engineer, to the members of the Township Planning Board.
Notwithstanding anything contained in this chapter to the contrary, in determining whether an applicant is eligible for a minor soil permit or must apply for a major soil permit, the total amount of soil that an applicant has applied to remove within a three-year period will be used, and when an applicant requests that he be permitted to remove any amount of soil that will result in his having applied to remove a cumulative total in excess of 100 cubic yards within said three-year period, he shall be required to acquire a major soil permit, irrespective of the fact that such applicant shall not have requested permission to remove in excess of 100 cubic yards in any one permit application. In addition, any time such an applicant shall have applied for and received a major soil permit, he shall be required to apply for and secure either a major or minor soil permit, as applicable, for any work done subsequently not specifically covered by the major soil permit and shall be subject to having to secure an additional major soil permit should said applicant once again apply for a series of minor permits which result in requests totaling in excess of 100 cubic yards since the last major soil permit, within a three-year period. Additionally, notwithstanding anything contained in this chapter to the contrary, in the event that the Township Engineer determines that an application for a minor soil permit, as defined in this chapter, deserved farther review based upon its impact on the lot in question or surrounding properties, he may reject the application for a minor soil permit and direct the applicant to apply for a major soil permit.
The Township Engineer is hereby authorized to approve applications for minor soil-moving permits, and upon such approval, the Township Planning and Zoning Coordinator shall issue such a permit and forward a duplicate copy to the Township Manager. The Township Engineer's written decision with reference to any minor soil-moving permits shall be rendered within 30 days after receipt of a complete application by the Township Planning and Zoning Coordinator.
Within 90 days after the Township Planning and Zoning Coordinator has received a complete application for a major soil-moving permit, the Township Planning Board shall conduct a hearing and grant or deny the permit, with or without conditions. The Township Planning and Zoning Coordinator shall then issue the permit in accordance with the decision of the Township Planning Board. A copy of the permit shall be forwarded to the Township Manager, Township Engineer and Construction Official.
In considering and reviewing applications for minor and major soil permits, the Township Planning Board and Township Engineer shall be guided by the general purposes of municipal planning and the following standards:
In development of land, natural grades should be preserved wherever possible, and soil moving shall only be permitted when good and sufficient reason appears for such soil moving.
No soil moving shall be permitted to result in any increase of velocity or change in direction of surface water runoff without such water being appropriately managed on site so as to not adversely affect other properties.
No soil moving shall be permitted which shall result in the removal or destruction of trees in violation of the standards established under the Tree Removal Ordinance of the municipality, Chapter 535, Trees. In all respects, the applicant shall provide a method for protection of trees acceptable to the Township, provide welling or mounding where appropriate and provide for mitigation in the event of tree removal.
No soil moving shall be permitted if an applicant merely proposes to raise or lower the general level of a lot in relation to adjacent properties.
No soil-moving permit shall be issued if the proposed soil moving would have any reasonably conceivable detrimental impact upon any person, surrounding property or the municipality.
All proposed structures shall be situate on a lot so as to require the least amount of soil moving as is practical.
In connection with the construction of any building requiring soil moving, the following additional standards shall apply:
The basement floor elevation shall be set no higher than the average elevation of the natural grade within the area of the proposed building.
Construction disturbance of the land shall be limited to a perimeter of 15 feet from the sides and rear of the foundation, except for driveway access to the building.
In the event that a level area for construction of the building must be created by soil moving, the area shall be created by a cut on the uphill side and fill on the downhill side. Such cut and fill must be adequately retained, and a certification by the applicant's engineer that the proposed method of soil retention is adequate must be submitted without qualification or exception. No construction shall begin on the lot until the land where the building is to be located shall be prepared for construction and all necessary cut and fill, together with the approved method of retaining the soil, has been completed on the lot. In this regard, no foundation footing shall be constructed until the building site has been properly prepared. Additionally, all buildings and structures shall be designed with footings extending to stable soil with proper lateral supports.
No slope created by soil moving shall be permitted to exceed a grade which rises or falls one foot vertically for every two feet horizontally.
The following exceptions to the standards established in § 484-13 of the Code of the Township of Bloomfield shall be permitted:
In the event that the elevation of any building established by § 484-13 shall create a situation where driveway access would exceed a slope of 18%, configured in the most gradual manner possible, an applicant may obtain relief to raise the floor elevation of the building to achieve such grade.
In the event that the grading of the disturbed area on a one-on-two slope at a point 15 feet from any building as required by § 484-13 cannot practically be accomplished and meet acceptable engineering design standards for retaining the soil, an applicant may obtain relief to extend the fifteen-foot disturbance area to an extent beyond 15 feet as may be minimally required to meet acceptable engineering design standards for a retaining wall or other structure designed to retain the soil.
In any other case, the applicant may seek exception to the provisions of this chapter based upon a showing of hardship.
In granting any such exception, the applicant shall only be permitted to move as much soil and disturb as little land area as is reasonably possible beyond the standards. No relief granted under this section shall be granted if the applicant has created his own hardship by the particular design of a structure or in any other manner.
An exception to the standards contained in this chapter may only be granted by the Township Council after a hearing which shall be conducted with notice to adjacent property owners.
No major soil permit shall be issued unless and until the applicant therefore shall have posted with the Planning Board a performance bond, in form and with surety approved by the Township Attorney, and in such amount as the Township Engineer shall determine. The bond shall be conditioned upon full and faithful performance by the applicant, as principal, within the time specified in the application, of all the proposed work in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and of the soil permit issued pursuant thereto. Said bond shall not be deemed canceled or released except as provided in § 484-18.
At the request of the Township Engineer, every developer or excavator to whom a major soil permit has been issued shall file with the Township Engineer a topographical map, in duplicate, prepared and certified by a licensed professional engineer or a licensed land surveyor, showing the contours of the area at a point when approximately 1/3 of the soil has been moved and again at the point when approximately 2/3 of the soil has been moved.
Every developer or excavator, upon completion of the work for which a major soil permit has been issued, shall forthwith file with the Township Engineer.
A written notice of the fact of such completion and the date thereof.
A topographical map, in duplicate, prepared and certified by a licensed professional engineer or a licensed land surveyor, which shall contain and show the following:
The map shall be drawn to the same scale as the topographical map submitted with the application and shall show the final grades on a one-hundred-foot grid layout.
In the event that any retaining walls were constructed on site, the applicant shall submit an unqualified certification from a licensed professional engineer that the retaining wall or walls was constructed under his supervision and that the walls were properly constructed and are adequate to support and retain the soil proposed to be retained.
The Township Engineer shall not recommend to the Planning Board that the applicant's performance bond posted pursuant to § 484-15 be canceled or released until after all conditions set forth in the original permit have been met. The Township Engineer shall notify the Planning Board within 31 days of the filing of said topographical map of his approval or disapproval thereof and of any objections he may have to the cancellation or release of the applicant's performance bond.
No developer or excavator shall move topsoil in or upon any lot unless provisions are made for the storage of the topsoil within the boundary lines of said lot.
Except as hereinafter otherwise provided in this section, all topsoil so stored shall be uniformly replaced over the entire area or surface of the lot on or before the completion date set forth in the soil permit, so that the final grade or grades of the replaced topsoil shall be in accordance with the proposed final grades shown on the topographical map.
No developer or excavator shall remove any topsoil to any point beyond the boundary lines of the lot, unless and until topsoil, not inferior in quality to that to be removed, shall first have been replaced uniformly to a depth of not less than six inches, measured from the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map, over the entire surface or area of the lot. The requirement of this subsection shall not apply to those areas of the lot that shall have been, since the date of filing of said topographical map, permanently covered by a building or structure, street, pavement, curb, sidewalk, driveway or other paved area or by any body of water or waterway.
In no event shall the developer or excavator remove from the lot more topsoil than that comprising the surplus or excess remaining after the replacement of the topsoil as aforesaid.
No developer or excavator shall, at any time in the course of the work, dig or excavate more than six inches below the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map unless:
The major soil permit specifies otherwise and the performance bond, referred to in § 484-15 hereof, makes specific provision for replacement, on or before the completion date set forth in the soil-removal permit, of soil of sufficient quantity and kind to restore the final grades to those shown on the topographical map; or
After issuance of the major soil permit, the developer or excavator, before digging or excavating below the maximum level, shall apply to the Township Planning Board for an amendment of the application and topographical map then in effect. Such amendment may be granted upon such terms as the Planning Board may deem necessary to assure to the purposes and objectives of this chapter.
No developer or excavator shall deposit soil upon, fill in or raise the grade of any lot without first making provisions for:
The use in said work of soil or other materials as will not result in deviation from the proposed final grades or the uniformity thereof by reason of abnormal shrinkage or settlement.
The collection and storage upon the lot of the original topsoil, so that said topsoil shall not be buried beneath soil or other material of inferior quality.
The uniform replacement of the topsoil stored over the entire area or surface of the fill soil or other material, so that the final grades of the replaced topsoil shall be in accordance with the proposed final grades shown on the topographical map.
In the event that such storage and replacement as provided in Subsection A(2) and (3) of this section is not practicable, then provision shall be made for the uniform placement, over the entire area or surface of the fill soil or other material, of a layer of topsoil not inferior in quality to that of the original topsoil, to a depth of not less than six inches, measured from the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map, excepting only those portions thereof as shall be or shall have become permanently covered by a building or structure, street, pavement, curb, sidewalk, driveway or other paved area or by any body of water or waterway.
In the removal of soil, only such streets of the Township shall be used for transportation as may be designated for that purpose by the Township Engineer. The permittee shall keep such streets free from dirt resulting from such soil removal work.
For the purpose of administering and enforcing this chapter, any duly authorized officer, agent or employee of the Township shall have the right to enter into and upon any lands, in or upon which soil moving or removal operations are being conducted, to examine and inspect such lands.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished as provided in § 1-15, General penalty, of this Code. A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues. In addition, no certificate of occupancy shall be issued to any person for any property where there exists a violation of this chapter. The Township Engineer shall be authorized to issue said penalties in the event a violation occurs.