City of Northampton, MA
Hampshire County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Northampton 4-5-2001 (Ch. 14, § 14-22, of the 1977 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
General penalty — See Ch. 1, § 1-17.
Enforcement — See Ch. 40.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 281.
Wetlands protection — See Ch. 337.

§ 168-1 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to regulate activities which the Commonwealth of Massachusetts allows cities and towns to regulate and prohibit under MGL c. 40, § 21, Paragraph 17, as the same may be amended from time to time. This chapter is enacted in order to regulate, rather than prohibit, such activities, by requiring those persons, corporations or other legal entities who engage in such activities to obtain a permit from the Earth Removal Enforcement Officer of the City of Northampton.

§ 168-2 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the following definitions:
CASUAL REMOVAL OF EARTH MATERIALS
The removal of topsoil, stone, gravel, soil, loam, sand or other earth material by use of hand tools.
EARTH REMOVAL ACTION
The removal of more than 10 cubic yards of topsoil, stone, gravel, soil, loam, sand, or other earth material.
GLACIAL STONE
Stone which was deposited by glaciers, which is already in small (less than six feet by six feet) pieces.
HEAVY-IMPACT REMOVAL OF EARTH MATERIALS
The removal of topsoil, stone, gravel, soil, loam, sand, or other earth materials by means of hydraulic drilling, hammering, ball dropping or other means of heavy-impacting extraction technology.
A. 
Any person, corporation or entity, who attempts to obtain a permit under this chapter which permit is denied by the Earth Removal Enforcement Officer.
B. 
Any person, corporation or other entity that is subjected to a fine, or cease-and-desist order, by the Earth Removal Enforcement Officer.
C. 
Any person, corporation or entity that owns land located within 500 feet of any boundary of land where earth removal action requiring a permit occurs.
REMOVAL
Removal from the crust of the earth.
YEAR
A calendar year, beginning on January 1 and ending on December 31.

§ 168-3 Activities not requiring permit.

A. 
The following activities do not require a permit from the Earth Removal Enforcement Officer:
(1) 
Casual removal of earth materials as defined in § 168-2.
(2) 
Earth removal actions (of less than 10 cubic yards of earth) in the aggregate on one acre of land in one year.
(3) 
Earth removal action which is in accordance with a valid special permit issued by the Northampton Planning Board, as provided by Chapter 350, Zoning.
(4) 
Earth removal action which is completed in accordance with a valid permit issued by the Northampton Department of Public Works.
(5) 
The transfer of material resulting from an allowed earth removal action from one part of a lot to another part of the same lot.
(6) 
The removal of material necessarily excavated in connection with lawful construction of a building, structure, street, driveway, sidewalk, path or other appurtenance, provided that the quantity of material removed does not exceed that actually displaced by the portion of such building, structure, street, driveway, sidewalk, path or other appurtenances below finished grade.
(7) 
Earth removal action conducted on municipal property, or completed by municipal employees of the City of Northampton.
(8) 
Earth removal action under a permit issued by any agency or department of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the federal government.
(9) 
Earth removal action for construction in accordance with a legally issued building permit.
(10) 
Earth removal action which does not require the use of hydraulic hammering or heavy-impacting extraction technology.
(11) 
Removal of glacial stone, rock, sand, topsoil and other earth materials with backhoes and front-end loaders in operations existing at the time of the enactment of this chapter.
B. 
The Earth Removal Enforcement Officer may, in his/her discretion, issue a certificate indicating that an activity in Subsection A(1) through (11) above is exempt from the provisions of this chapter.

§ 168-4 Activities requiring permit.

Activities which are not exempt and which require a permit from the Earth Removal Enforcement Officer include:
A. 
Any earth removal action that requires the use of heavy-impacting extraction technology or other heavy-impact removal of earth materials.
B. 
Any earth removal action which requires the use of hydraulic drilling, hammering or ball dropping.

§ 168-5 Permit issuance standards.

A. 
The Earth Removal Enforcement Officer shall issue a permit if he finds that the permittee's earth removal actions will not:
(1) 
Endanger the general public health, safety or convenience.
(2) 
Constitute a nuisance.
(3) 
Result in detriment to, or depreciation of, neighboring properties.
(4) 
Interfere with use by owners or occupants of neighboring properties in the normal use and enjoyment of their properties by reason of noise, dust, traffic or drainage conditions.
(5) 
Extend within 300 feet of a public way.
B. 
The Earth Removal Enforcement Officer may issue a permit if he/she finds that any one of the above conditions listed in Subsection A(1) through (5) exists but that such condition can be remedied by imposition of conditions listed in § 168-6 of this chapter.

§ 168-6 Permit conditions.

Conditions which may be imposed by the Earth Removal Enforcement Officer on permits issued:
A. 
Hours of operation for earth removal actions.
B. 
Amount of earth material which can be removed in one year.
C. 
Production of a site plan which shows the area from which earth materials will be removed, including topographical plans which show how the property will be regraded so as not to have a detrimental effect on surrounding lots.
D. 
Regulation of the amount of traffic in and out of the property where earth removal action is occurring so as not to have a detrimental effect on surrounding parcels of land.
E. 
Issuance of a performance bond to guarantee compliance with any condition imposed under the permit issued by the Earth Removal Enforcement Officer.

§ 168-7 Violations and penalties.

A. 
Each and every removal of earth materials of 10 cubic yards by any person, corporation or other entity, without a permit issued by the Earth Removal Enforcement Officer as required under § 168-4 of this chapter shall be a separate violation of this chapter subject to the fines as set forth in Chapter 40, Enforcement.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
B. 
The Earth Removal Enforcement Officer, may, in his/her discretion, issue a cease-and-desist order for second and subsequent violations of this chapter.

§ 168-8 Enforcement.

The Earth Removal Enforcement Officer shall be the Building Commissioner serving ex officio in this capacity. The Earth Removal Enforcement Officer shall have authority to issue tickets for violations of this chapter.