[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Geneva 4-25-1997 by L.L. No. 3-1997 (Ch. 49 of the 1972 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
In accordance with Article 9 of the Town Law and the Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York, the Town Board of the Town of Geneva has the authority to enact local laws for the purpose of promoting the health, safety or general welfare of the Town of Geneva including the protection and preservation of the property of its inhabitants. By the same authority the Town Board of the Town of Geneva may include in any such local laws, provision for the appointment of any municipal officers or employees to effectuate and administer such local laws.
In order that site preparation and construction activities may be in compliance with the provisions of this chapter, this chapter is hereby adopted and shall be known and may be cited as the "Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Local Law of the Town of Geneva."
Upon the filing of this chapter with the Secretary of State, all site preparation and construction activities requiring a permit under this chapter shall be in compliance with the provisions set forth herein.
It is the purpose of this chapter to protect public health, safety and welfare in the Town of Geneva by regulating site preparation and construction activities, including excavation, filling, grading and stripping, so as to prevent problems related to erosion, sediment or drainage. In relation to this purpose the chapter is intended:
To preserve the quality of the natural environment from such adverse effects of site preparation and construction as:
Pollution of lakes, ponds and watercourses from silt or other materials.
Unnecessary destruction of trees and other vegetation.
Excessive exposure of soil to erosion.
Unnecessary modification of natural topography or unique geological features.
Failure to restore sites to an attractive natural condition.
To protect people and properties from such adverse effects of site preparation and construction as:
To protect the Town of Geneva and other governmental bodies from having to undertake, at public expense, programs of repairing roads, flood-protection facilities and other public facilities.
To ensure that site preparation and construction are consistent with the Comprehensive Development Plan of the Town of Geneva.
The provisions of this chapter shall be held to be the minimum requirements adopted for the promotion of the public health, safety and welfare. Whenever the requirements of this chapter are at variance with the requirements of any other lawfully adopted rules, regulations or ordinances, the most restrictive or that imposing the higher standards shall govern.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AGRICULTURAL OPERATIONS
- All activities directly related to the growing or raising of crops or livestock for the sale of agricultural produce, including horticultural and fruit operations.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The person duly designated by the Town Board of the Town of Geneva as the Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Geneva.
- The gravitational movement of water or other liquids by surface runoff or subsurface flow.
- The wearing away of the land surface by action of wind, water, gravity or other natural forces.
- Any activity which removes or significantly disturbs rock, gravel, sand, soil or other natural deposits.
- Any activity which deposits natural or artificial material so as to modify the surface or subsurface conditions of land, lakes, ponds or watercourses.
- The alteration of the surface or subsurface conditions of land, lakes, ponds or watercourses by excavation or filling.
- The application of a layer of plant residue or other material for the purpose of effectively controlling erosion.
- Solid material, both mineral and organic, that is in suspension, is being transported, has been deposited or has been removed from its site of origin by erosion.
- SITE PREPARATION
- The activities of stripping, excavation, filling and grading, no matter what the purpose of these activities.
- All unconsolidated mineral or nonliving organic material of whatever origin which overlies bedrock.
- Any activity which removes or significantly disturbs trees, brush, grass or any other kind of vegetation.
- The natural surface layer of soil, unusually darker than subsurface layers, to a depth of at least six inches within an undisturbed area of soils.
- Any natural or artificial stream, river, creek, ditch, channel, canal, conduit, culvert, drainageway, gully, ravine or wash in which water flows in a definite direction of course, either continuously or intermittently, and which has a definite channel and bed and banks, and any area adjacent thereto subject to inundation by reason of overflow, flood or stormwater.
No site preparation shall commence until a soil erosion and sedimentation control permit has been issued for any activity requiring a permit as listed in § 129-7.
None of the following activities shall be commenced until a permit has been issued under the provisions of this chapter.
Site preparation in connection with the subdivision of land into two or more parcels or as regulated under Chapter 136, Subdivision of Land, of the Town of Geneva.
Site preparation within wetlands regulated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation under the Freshwater Wetlands Act of the State of New York.
Site preparation within any high-density area (R-1 or R-2) as identified in the Official Zoning Map of the Town of Geneva, and as established in the Zoning Laws of the Town of Geneva where more than 500 square feet of ground surface is to be disturbed for any reason, including the construction of any principal or accessory structure or use (including single-family residences), roads or driveways.
Editor's Note: The Zoning Map is on file in the town offices.
Site preparation requiring site plan or special use permit approval as regulated in Chapter 165, Zoning, of the Town of Geneva.
Stripping or grading which affects more than 15,000 square feet of ground surface within any parcel or any contiguous area.
Excavation or filling which exceeds a total of 20 cubic yards of material within any parcel or contiguous area.
The following activities are exempted from permit requirements:
Outside of the high-density areas and the floodplain overlay district, excavations for the basement and footings of single-family houses on a single lot and for septic tank systems, wells and swimming pools attendant to single-family homes on a single lot, not excepting, however, those excavations that are part of an activity required to obtain permits under § 129-7 or which exceed the limits for excavation as identified in § 129-7 herein.
Activities subject to permits under Chapter 165, Zoning, of the Town of Geneva for commercial excavation, if any such activities are regulated therein.
Household gardening and activities related to the maintenance of landscape features on existing developed lots, excepting such activities as are required to obtain permits under § 129-7.
Governmental activities to the extent such activities are exempted by law and limited to government properties.
Before any site preparation requiring a permit under § 129-7 of this chapter is commenced, three copies of a permit application shall have been filed with the Code Enforcement Officer, and this application shall have been approved and a permit shall have been granted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall have the authority to review and approve, approve with modifications and conditions or disapprove all permits applied for pursuant to this chapter, except for the applications involving an activity which will otherwise require Town Planning Board review and approval as:
Site development plan approval (see Chapter 123) or special use permit approval as required in Chapter 165, Zoning, of the Town of Geneva. For applications involving such activities, the Planning Board shall have review and approval authority and shall coordinate this permit approval with the underlying Planning Board review process.
The Code Enforcement Officer or Town Planning Board may, upon its discretion, refer any permit application hereunder to the Town Engineer and/or other agencies or officials for guidance and recommendations.
All permits hereunder shall be granted or denied within 60 days of the filing of the application thereof; unless the applicant and the Town Planning Board mutually consent to a time extension or, when applicable, the Town Planning Board shall follow the general procedures used by the Planning Board under the time frames specified for the review of subdivision applications in Chapter 136, Subdivision of Land, of the Town of Geneva or those provided for the review of site development plans in Chapters 123, Site Plan Review, and 165, Zoning, of the Town of Geneva.
The town may require as a condition of granting a permit pursuant to this chapter the provision of a performance bond or other surety instrument in a form and amount acceptable to the Geneva Town Board.
Any permit granted pursuant to this chapter shall be valid for a period of six months.
Major modifications of the terms of approved permits shall follow the same application, review and approval procedures as those set forth in this section for the original permit.
It shall be the responsibility of the Code Enforcement Officer to inspect sites as frequently as necessary to assure compliance with the terms of approved permits and the provisions of this chapter and to submit written notification of any violations of these terms or provisions to the Town Board and/or Planning Board.
If at any time during the effective period of a permit or upon its expiration the terms of the permit are violated, the town may revoke the permit and may require that the performance guaranty be forfeited to the town. If the applicant shall be unable to complete the project or any phase thereof within the specified time, the applicant shall, as soon as possible prior to the specified date of completion, present, in writing, a request for an extension of time, setting forth therein the reasons for the request, which extension may be granted in the discretion of the Code Enforcement Officer. Extension may be granted in three-month increments not to exceed six months of extension.
The property owner or designated agent initiates a request for permit by filing with the Town Code Enforcement Officer three copies of an application. The application shall consist of, at a minimum, the application form available from the town, the checklist completed by the applicant and appropriate maps, plans and/or sketches depicting the proposed site and showing the nature and scope of the proposed activities.
The map, plan or sketch submitted as part of an application for a permit pursuant to this chapter shall indicate the following:
Boundaries of the subject parcel and other parcels adjacent to the site which may be materially affected by the action.
Existing features, including structures, roads, watercourses, utility lines, etc., on the subject parcel and on adjacent parcels where appropriate.
Existing vegetative cover, including wooded areas, grass, brush or other cover on the subject parcel and on adjacent properties where appropriate.
Limits or extent of excavation, filling and/or grading proposed to be undertaken.
The disposition of soil and top soil, whether on site or off site, and the locations of any stockpiles to be placed on site.
Temporary and permanent drainage, erosion and sedimentation control facilities, including ponds, sediment basins, swales, energy dissipation devices, silt fences and/or straw bale locations.
The location of proposed roads, driveways, sidewalks, structures, utilities and other improvements.
Final contours of the site in intervals adequate to depict slopes and drainage details on the site.
A time schedule indicating:
When major phases of the proposed project are to be initiated and completed.
When major site preparation activities are to be initiated and completed.
When the installation of temporary and permanent vegetation and drainage, erosion and sediment control facilities is to be completed.
The anticipated duration (in days) of exposure of all major areas of site preparation before the installation of erosion and sediment control measures.
Projects or applications for a permit pursuant to this chapter involving fewer than 400 cubic yards of cut or fill or fewer than 30,000 square feet of surface area disturbed by cut or fill shall require a sketch plan to an approximate scale. Projects or applications for a permit pursuant to this chapter involving more than 400 cubic yards of cut or fill or more than 30,000 square feet of surface area disturbed by either cut or fill will require a plan prepared by an engineer, architect or landscape architect licensed to practice said profession by the State of New York.
A separate estimate shall be prepared and submitted detailing the costs of providing temporary and permanent vegetation and drainage, erosion and sedimentation control facilities.
In granting a permit under this chapter the standards and considerations taken into account shall include the following:
Excavation, filling, grading and stripping shall be permitted to be undertaken only in such locations and in such a manner so as to minimize the potential of erosion and sediment and so as to minimize any threat to the health, safety and welfare of neighboring property owners and the general public.
Site preparation and construction shall be fitted to the vegetation, topography and other natural features of the site and shall preserve as many of these features as feasible.
The control of erosion and sediment shall be a continuous process undertaken as necessary prior to, during and after site preparation and construction.
The smallest practical area of land shall be exposed by site preparation at any given time.
The exposure of areas by site preparation shall be kept to the shortest practical period of time prior to the construction of structures or improvements or the restoration of the exposed areas to an attractive natural condition.
Mulching or temporary vegetation suitable to the site shall be used where necessary to protect areas exposed by site preparation, and permanent vegetation which is well adapted to the site shall be installed as soon as practical.
Where slopes are to be revegetated in areas exposed by site preparation, the slopes shall not be of such steepness that vegetation cannot be readily established or that problems of erosion or sediment may result.
Site preparation and construction shall not adversely affect the free flow of water by encroaching on, blocking or restricting watercourses, except as permitted by approved detention systems.
All fill material shall be of a composition suitable for ultimate use of the fill, free from rubbish and unsuitable construction debris, and carefully restricted in its content of brush, stumps, tree debris and soft or easily compressible material.
Fill material shall be compacted sufficiently to prevent problems of erosion, and where the material is to support structures, it shall be compacted to a minimum of 90% of standard proctor with proper moisture control.
Topsoil which is excavated from a site shall be stockpiled and used for the restoration of the site, and such stockpiles shall be seeded or otherwise treated to minimize the effects of erosion, if the pile is to remain for a period of more than 90 days.
Prior to, during and after site preparation and construction, an integrated drainage system shall be provided which at all times minimizes erosion, sediment, hazards of slope instability and adverse effects on neighboring property owners.
The natural drainage system shall generally be preserved in preference to modifications of this system, excepting where such modifications are necessary to reduce levels of erosion and sediment and adverse effects on neighboring property owners.
All drainage systems shall be designed to adequately handle anticipated flows both within the site and from the entire upstream drainage basin.
Sufficient grades and drainage facilities shall be provided to prevent the ponding of water, unless such ponding is proposed within site plans, in which event there shall be sufficient water flow to maintain proposed water levels and to avoid stagnation.
There shall be provided such measures as benches, berms, terraces, diversions and sediment, debris and retention basins, where necessary, to minimize erosion and sediment.
Drainage systems, planting and other erosion- or sediment-control devices shall be maintained as necessary to provide adequate protection against erosion and sediment and to insure long-term performance.
Surface drainage features will be preferred over subterranean systems utilizing catch basins and piping systems. Such surface drainage features shall utilize erosion-preventing surface material according to generally accepted engineering practices.
The Town Board may, from time to time, on its own motion, on petition or on recommendation of the Town Planning Board, and in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, amend, supplement or repeal the regulations or provisions of this chapter.
The Town Board may, from time to time and by resolution, establish appropriate fees for the review and processing of the permits under this chapter. Said fees may include recovery of town expenses for engineering review of any erosion-control plan. The fee schedule adopted shall be available from the Clerk of the Town of Geneva.
Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer or any officer of the Town of Geneva shall determine that Chapter 129, Soil Erosion, of the Geneva Code shall be required to be enforced, the costs incurred by said officer for consultation fees with engineers, attorneys or other professionals or costs incurred in enforcement of compliance with this Code, including but not limited to the costs of meeting the requirements of Article 6 of the Environmental Conservation Law (SEQR), shall be reimbursed by the real property owner before a building permit, certificate of occupancy, or other permit, may be issued, and if the real property owner fails to make such reimbursement, then said reimbursement costs levied pursuant to this chapter are hereby made a lien on the premises, and if the same is not paid within 30 days after it shall be deemed payable, the same shall be certified to the County Treasurer's office, which shall place the same on the real property tax roll for that year, with interest, and penalties allowed by law, and be collected as other town taxes are collected.
[Added 7-12-2001 by L.L. No. 6-2001]
If there is any damage due to a violation of this chapter or if any soil, liquid or other material is caused to be deposited upon or to roll, flow or wash upon any public property, private property or right-of-way in violation of this chapter, the person, firm, partnership, corporation or other party responsible shall be notified and shall cause the same to be removed from such property or way within 36 hours of notice. In the event of an immediate danger to the public health or safety, notice shall be given by the most expeditious means, and the violation shall be remedied immediately. In the event that it is not so remedied, the town shall cause such remedy as necessary, and the cost incurred by the town shall be paid to the town by the party who failed to so remedy and shall be a debt owed to the town, above and beyond any approved performance guaranty.
Any person, firm, partnership, corporation or other party who violates any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation and subject to a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $100 for the first offense. Any subsequent violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be a violation and, upon conviction, such person shall be subject to the penalties prescribed in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article III. The imposition of any such penalty for the violation of this chapter shall not excuse such violation nor permit the continuance thereof. The application of the above penalty or penalties for a violation of the provisions of this chapter shall not be held to prevent the removal of conditions prohibited by this chapter by such legal means as may be proper.
[Amended 12-23-1997 by L.L. No. 5-1997]
The continuation of an offense against the provisions of this chapter shall constitute, for each week the offense is continued, a separate and distinct offense hereunder.
The Code Enforcement Officer, as designated by the Town Board of the Town of Geneva, shall have the authority to issue appearance tickets when the provisions of this Code are violated.