[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Stillwater 4-17-1973 (Ch. XIV of the 1971 Revised General Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Township Committee of the Township finds and determines 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 Township to effectuate the general purpose of municipal planning.
[Amended by Ord. No. 55]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Stillwater Township Soil Removal Chapter."
The following shall apply:
- APPROVED PLAN
- A plan for soil removal approved either by the Zoning Board of Adjustment as a special use and by the Township Committee pursuant to the provisions of this chapter or, in the case of nonconforming use, by the Planning Board and Township Committee, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
- ARABLE SOIL
- Soil that, when dry, contains not less than 4% by weight of organic matter and the balance of which is mineral matter.
- A soil removal permit.
- Includes dirt, stone, gravel, sand, humus, clay, loam and mixtures of any of these, but this shall not include rock or refer to the quarrying of rock.
- The arable soil within eight inches of the surface.
[Amended 3-19-1991 by Ord. No. 91-5]
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 in the case of tracts of five acres or less for a use on the premises from which the soil shall be taken, except in accordance with an approved plan for which a permit has been first obtained from the Township Committee and for which an annual license has also been issued. Excepted from the provisions of this chapter is excavation or grading incidental to construction or alteration of a single-family residence on premises for which a building permit has been issued.
Nonconforming uses. In the case of existing soil removal operations or such operations which are protected as nonconforming uses, applications for a permit shall be filed with the Planning Board; in all other cases application shall be made to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a variance pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70d, and, if granted, the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall proceed to consider an application made pursuant to this chapter.
Information to accompany application. An application to a municipal agency for a favorable recommendation for the issuance of a permit pursuant to this chapter shall be accompanied by:
Twelve copies of a map showing existing contour lines at two-foot intervals.
An aerial survey, which may be waived if, in the opinion of the Township 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.
Location of topsoil storage areas.
Methods of controlling 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.
Evidence that application has been made to the Sussex County Soil Conservation Service for approval of a soil conservation plan.
A letter of interpretation, letter of exemption, or copy of any application made to New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for any permit concerning a proposed regulated activity in or around any freshwater wetlands.
If a corporation or partnership, a list of the names and addresses of all stockholders or individual partners owning at least 10% of its stock of any class as required by N.J.S.A. 40:55D-48.1 et seq.
A receipt showing that all fees have been paid and that there are no taxes due and owing on the property.
The maps shall show all existing trees 2 1/2 inches in diameter, measured 4 1/2 feet from ground level, and a plan for replacing the same number of trees with trees having a diameter of 2 1/2 inches measured 4 1/2 feet from the top of root level.
The application shall indicate the applicant's estimate of the total number of cubic yards to be removed, together with the calculations relating thereto, and the length of time within which the proposed operation shall be completed, which shall normally not be longer than five years. Where a total project is incapable of being completed within five years it shall be broken down into two or more sections, one of which shall be completed within five years and the others within such further period not exceeding five years as the municipal agency may recommend or specify and the Township Committee may approve.
Factors considered in approving permits.
In considering and reviewing the application and arriving at its decision the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment and Township Committee 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 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 the above referred to factors and these factors alone may be a sufficient basis for the denial for the permit.
Issuance of permits; extension; expiration.
A permit shall be issued only after favorable recommendation by a municipal agency and approval by the Township Committee. The permit shall show the total number of yards of soil authorized to be removed as calculated by the Township Engineer based on the contour maps submitted within the ensuing five-year period. Said permit shall expire after the elapse of five years unless extended as hereinafter provided.
Upon expiration of the period for which a permit was issued, as hereinabove provided, if the soil removal operation has not been completed, and if the licensee desires to complete the operation in accordance with the plan as previously approved, the licensee shall file an application with the Township Clerk for extension of the permit for an additional period not to exceed five years, which application shall be accompanied by a copy of the plan as originally approved, a statement of the applicant's engineer showing that all soil removal has been done in accordance with the approved plan and a filing fee of $900. Upon receipt of such application the Township Committee shall cause an inspection of the site to be made by the Township Engineer, who shall submit a report of his findings as to the licensee's compliance with this chapter and the approved plan, which report shall also set forth any special conditions or requirements that the Township Committee deems necessary in the public interest, which the Township Committee may impose as conditions to the issuance of the extended permit. The Township Committee may also request reports from the Planning Board, Environmental Commission, Board of Health and Police Department as to any previous problems resulting from the soil removal operation or as to any particular areas of concern resulting from the continuation of the operation.
After considering the report of the Township Engineer and any other reports received, the Township Committee may issue an extended permit for a period not to exceed five years. Any such extended permit may be further extended by submitting an application and following the same procedure as hereinabove set forth.
Upon expiry of a soil removal permit or of an extended permit without application having been made for a further extension prior to the expiration of such permit, such permit or extended permit shall become null and void.
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 Township Committee, the arable soil so retained shall be respread on the surface as uniformly as possible and seeded with winter rye or other suitable planting. 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 Township.
[Amended 3-19-1991 by Ord. No. 91-5]
Disposition of soil. 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 such operation accumulating on any adjoining property or public road shall be removed therefrom immediately upon notice by the Township Engineer to the permittee.
Terms and conditions. All operations shall be conducted in strict accordance with any state law, other ordinances of the Township and the terms and conditions of any permit granted for such operations.
Nuisance. The operation shall be so conducted as not to constitute a nuisance to adjoining owners or the Township, and in no event shall the operation create any extra-hazardous or unsafe conditions with regard to any person or persons.
Completion of operation. Upon completion of an operation or of excavation from an area delineated on the approved plan, the area shall be properly leveled off, cleared of debris and graded to conform to the contours and grades as approved by the Township Committee. A final map shall be submitted containing and complying with all requirements as set forth in Subsection H.
Removal of soil. 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 municipal agency and Township Committee, as the case may be. No soil shall be removed which is within eight feet of the water table except as otherwise shown on the approved plan or unless approved by the Township Committee, and no soil shall be removed which is below the grade established and shown on the approved map.
Excavated areas. While working an area, the working face of the excavation shall not exceed 60° from the horizontal, nor shall the sixty-degree angle have a vertical height exceeding 30 feet. Any face not currently being worked on shall not exceed 30° from the horizontal. Where an excavated area adjoins a public road or roads which have 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 such 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 5°. Where an excavated area adjoins abutting property or a public road, the finished slope shall not exceed 5°. Where an excavated area adjoins abutting property or a public road, the finished slope shall not exceed 5% for a distance of 50 feet back from the property line or public road. In any event, no finished grade shall exceed 10° or be less than 2°. Care shall be taken so that there shall be no diversion of surface water either during the operation or after the project is complete.
Storage of trash, garbage, etc. 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 regulations set by the Stillwater Township 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.
Annual report and inspection by Township Engineer. Every permittee shall annually furnish a progress report to the Township 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 equals 100 feet, showing contours every two feet, retained arable soil, equipment, the areas where the soil was removed, and 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 each annual report. The Township Engineer or his representative shall inspect the site and inform the Township Committee and the permittee of any matters not complied with under Township ordinances, together with a statement of such further matters as may be required in his judgment to comply with the Township ordinances.
Hours of operation. Hours of operation shall be limited to 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, except in emergencies when authorized by the Township Committee. There shall be no operation of any kind or character on Sundays or legal holidays, also except in emergencies when authorized by the Township Committee.
Respreading and reseeding of soil. 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 Township Committee for good cause shown.
Completion of work. Upon the completion of work in any specific area, all respreading of arable soil and reseeding as required by Subsection J 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 the same, such work shall be completed within such additional time as may be specified by the Township Committee.
Modification of regulations. The Township Committee 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 such modifications would clearly be in the public interest. The Township Committee shall, in all cases, submit such proposed modifications to the Planning Board for report and recommendation thereon prior to taking final action.
An application shall be submitted, in triplicate, to the appropriate municipal agency pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, and the applicant shall pay a fee in the amount of $350 to cover the cost of the initial review of the proposed soil removal operation. Any cost, including the cost of legal, engineering or other expert advice, incurred by the Township in reviewing any application for a soil removal permit or in connection with the inspection of a proposed soil removal operation shall be reimbursed to the Township by the applicant prior to the issuance of a permit. Upon issuance of a permit, the applicant shall pay a fee of $850 to cover the periodic field checks by the Engineer during the first year of operation.
[Amended by Ord. No. 55]
On or before November 1 of each year, every soil removal operator holding a permit issued pursuant hereto shall file application for an annual operating license for the next ensuing calendar year. Said application shall be accompanied by the following:
A letter from Township Engineer that inspection of the licensed premises has been made pursuant to the requirements of § 338-7H and setting forth the results of said inspection, including specification of any violations of this chapter or of any other law or ordinance.
Statement from the Tax Collector of the Township that all taxes levied and assessed against the licensed premises have been paid to date.
Payment of the annual operating license fee, which shall be $1,000.
If the report of the inspection of the Township Engineer indicates that there are any violations or problems in connection with the soil removal operation, the Clerk shall not issue the annual operating license but shall submit all papers to the Township Committee. The Township Committee may determine, on the basis of the papers submitted, to authorize issuance of the license or of a limited or conditional license or, in its discretion, may, in the case of serious violations, require the licensee to show cause why the operating license and permit should not be suspended or revoked in accordance with § 338-14.
Reimbursement to Township. In addition to the permit fee specified hereinabove and the annual operating license fee specified in Subsection A(3), a permittee shall be obliged to reimburse the Township for the cost of all extraordinary costs or expenses necessitated as a result of unforeseen difficulties or exigencies necessitated by or resulting from any violation of any provision of this chapter, including specifically all engineering fees, attorney fees and costs incurred by the Township in prosecuting any complaint in the Municipal Court for violation of the provisions of this chapter and Code or any costs or fees incurred by the Township in conducting a hearing or hearings for revocation or suspension of any permit or obtaining injunctive or other relief in the Superior Court or any appellate court.
[Amended by Ord. No. 47; 3-19-1991 by Ord. No. 91-5]
Before any work is done for which a permit and license are required and during the period covered by the same, the applicant shall file and maintain a bond in form and with surety approved by the Township Attorney in such amount as in the opinion of the Township 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 an amount of not less than $15,000 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 this chapter and also final provisions for drainage of the site and grading to final contour.
[Added 3-19-1991 by Ord. No. 91-5]
The amount of any performance bond or guarantee may be reduced by the governing body by resolution when portions of the improvements or works have been completed, upon recommendation of the Township Engineer.
[Added 3-19-1991 by Ord. No. 91-5]
When all required performance has been completed, the obligor shall notify the Township Committee, in writing, by certified or registered mail of the completion thereof and shall send a copy thereof to the Township Engineer. The Township Committee shall authorize the Township Engineer to inspect the site to determine that all requirements of the approved plan have been complied with. The Township Engineer shall thereupon file a report, in writing, with the Township Committee 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 Township 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 Township Committee shall accept or reject the work, grant partial approval or withhold approval on the basis of such report and shall notify the obligor, in writing, by certified or registered mail, of the contents of the report and the action of the Township Committee 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.
[Added 3-19-1991 by Ord. No. 91-5]
The obligor shall be responsible to reimburse the Township for all of the inspection fees of the Township Engineer incurred in making the inspections referred to in this chapter.
[Added 3-19-1991 by Ord. No. 91-5]
After reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard before the Township Committee, the permit of any person may be revoked or suspended for such period as the Township Committee may determine for any violation of the terms hereof or the terms and conditions of any approved plan and permit granted hereunder.
[Added 3-19-1991 by Ord. No. 91-5]
In addition to an action on the bond or guaranty, or the revocation of license provided for herein, any person who violates this chapter or any director or officer who permits or participates in a violation of this chapter or the conditions of the permit shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to the penalties provided for in Chapter 1, Article III of this Code.