[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Liberty 11-7-1983; amended in its entirety 10-7-2003 by Ord. No. 6-2003. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Driveway Ordinance of the Township of Liberty."
The purpose of this chapter is to set standards for the design, location and construction of driveways and driveway openings in order to promote the safety, public well-being, convenience and general welfare of the Township through, among other things, the lessening of soil erosion, ensuring emergency vehicle access, promotion of traffic safety and preservation of Township roads and road structures.
It is also the intent of this chapter to exercise exclusive jurisdiction by the Township of Liberty over all driveways into Township streets and to exercise concurrent jurisdiction with the County of Warren and State of New Jersey Department of Transportation when any such portion of a driveway is located within the jurisdiction limits of a county or state highway. Therefore, all references contained herein to "Township road," "road," "street" or "public road" shall be construed to mean Township, county or state street or highway.
No driveway shall be constructed or existing driveway altered or additional homes connected to existing driveways to an existing or future street or road right-of-way without first obtaining a driveway permit in accordance with the following:
An application for a driveway permit shall include a plan of the proposed driveway in accordance with § 53-6, prepared by a licensed engineer in the State of New Jersey. The applicant shall also deposit with the municipality a fee in the amount of $500 to cover the estimated cost of the professional review of the application by the Municipal Engineer and other professionals and a fee in the amount of $50 to cover the administration costs of the Township. Where the review and inspection costs exceed the initial escrow deposit, the applicant shall pay the additional amount prior to the final release of the driveway permit and issuance of a certificate of approval (CA).
[Amended 5-6-2004 by Ord. No. 04-03]
Permit applications shall be reviewed and permits issued by the Township Engineer.
The Building Subcode Official shall not issue a building permit until the official has been notified by the Township Engineer that a driveway permit for the subject building has been issued.
Major and minor subdivisions shall not be exempt from permit requirements; nor exempt where the driveway construction is by the owner, developer, or his successor.
The paving of an existing driveway is exempt from this chapter. However, if physical modifications or alterations are made to an existing driveway, which would create a negative effect on adjoining properties or on public rights-of-way within the municipality, a driveway permit may be required if deemed necessary by the Township Engineer.
A construction plan prepared by a licensed professional engineer in the State of New Jersey, or a plan prepared by the owner containing sufficient detail in accordance with this chapter and determined to be acceptable by the Township Engineer, shall be submitted with the application at a drawing scale of one inch equals 30 feet showing provisions in compliance with the following:
All driveways shall be constructed and maintained in such a manner as to prevent erosion of the soil from them and its deposition upon the street or road and in gutters, catch basins, inlets, drains or culverts.
All driveways constructed or altered shall be constructed in such a manner as not to interfere with the drainage along the existing pavement or traveled way, nor shall runoff from a driveway discharge onto the traveled way. Where curbs are installed, water may not discharge more than two feet beyond the curb. Under no circumstances shall the driveway be allowed to extend beyond the edge of the existing pavement and traveled way thereby creating a hump or uneven driving surface on the pavement or traveled way.
All driveways shall meet the abutting roadway at a horizontal angle of 90°.
All driveways shall be designed in profile, grade and location to permit a minimum stopping sight distance in accordance with the following requirements:
For the purposes of this subsection, sight distance should be considered to be "stopping sight distance" per AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) recommendations.
Roads which are not posted for speed limits shall be considered to be 50 mph (State of New Jersey driving laws should be considered to be the bottom line), unless in the opinion of the Township Engineer, the applicant's Engineer can demonstrate in writing that the horizontal geometric considerations, location, acceptable design criteria and driver expectancy considerations dictate otherwise.
Driveway entrances onto county and state roads shall comply with county and state sight distance requirements.
Design criteria shall be based on AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) recommendations with regard to driver expectancy and perception, roadway alignment, vertical grade of approach to intersection, driver reaction time and driver braking time.
The following equations shall be utilized for calculating stopping sight distances for driveway intersections with local rural roads:
[Amended 5-6-2004 by Ord. No. 04-03]
The sight distance measurement shall be from a sight point 3.5 feet above the ground on the center line of the driveway and from eight to 15 feet behind the curbline or edge of pavement) of the major road. The sight distance should be to an object in the road measuring 3.5 feet in height and with a minimum of 0.5 feet of grade clearance to view the object.
Clear sight triangles shall be established connecting the sight points described above and shall be maintained in order to provide clear vision between sight points.
All applicants shall take the required action to obtain the required sight distance, immediately after receipt of initial driveway permit approval and during the commencement of the driveway construction.
Any and all actions taken to obtain the required minimum sight distance shall be done in a lasting and permanent manner.
Issuance of a temporary or a permanent certificate of occupancy shall be subject to compliance with the provisions of this section and approval of the driveway construction.
Driveways at corner lots shall be located at least 50 feet from the edge of the pavement of the intersecting roadway.
The slope of the driveway shall not exceed 6% either upwards or downwards for a distance of at least 20 feet from the curb or gutter line. The Township Engineer may require additional precautions when the proposed vertical grade of the driveway is between 10% and 15% in the first 100 feet from the point 20 feet or more from the curb line or gutter line. Changes in vertical grades shall intersect with smooth vertical curves not less than 12 feet in length.
Where driveways are at a higher or lower elevation than the street and any portion of the driveway exceeds a vertical grade of 8%, the following shall be performed:
The driveway shall be paved with a minimum of two inches compacted thickness of bituminous concrete, type FABC — 1, over a minimum of four inches compacted thickness of soil aggregate, type 5A or 2B (or dense graded aggregate), Masonry pavers or concrete may be substituted for the bituminous concrete, outside of the public road right-of-way and on an acceptable base material. The Township Engineer shall approve the substituted construction materials.
Where the driveway crosses a ditch or swale, the Township Engineer may require either maintaining the existing swale or installing a suitably sized pipe or a combination of the two methods.
Driveway length is measured along the center line of the driveway from the dwelling to the road surface edge.
All driveways shall be paved for 25 feet from the existing edge of pavement, with a minimum of two inches compacted thickness of bituminous concrete, type FABC – 1, over a minimum of four inches compacted thickness of soil aggregate, type 5A or 2B (or dense graded aggregate). Masonry pavers or concrete may be substituted for the bituminous concrete, outside of the public road right-of-way and on an acceptable base material. The Township Engineer shall approve the substituted construction materials.
Consideration shall be given to the effect of increased runoff on downstream properties. The Township Engineer may require that measures be taken to limit runoff rates from the proposed driveway to values prevailing before development.
Driveways less than 200 feet in length shall have the minimum pavement width of 10 feet.
Driveways of 200 feet or more in length shall be cleared and graded to a minimum width of 14 feet and shall have a cartway at a minimum width of 10 feet (paved if required). Horizontal curves shall be aligned to have a minimum center line radius, which will accommodate emergency vehicles (i.e., fire truck and rescue squad). The minimum design standard to be utilized for turning movements is the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials SU design vehicle.
A maximum of three single-family dwellings may be served by a common driveway, subject to the approval of the municipal agency having jurisdiction over the subdivision application, which proposes to create the lots that will share the driveway.
Any portion of a driveway utilized by more than two dwellings shall have a minimum paved cartway width of 16 feet and be graded to a minimum width of 20 feet.
Common driveways shall have deeded provisions for maintenance, parking, and snow removal; however, the Township shall not be responsible for enforcement of this provision.
Driveways of 250 feet or more in length shall have facilities suitable for emergency vehicle (i.e., fire truck and rescue squad) turnaround and for the passing of larger vehicles consisting of the following: A turn-off area at a minimum width of 12 feet and length of 30 feet shall be provided along the driveway not less than 75 feet from the dwelling. The turn-off area shall be paved with soil aggregate type 5A or 2B at a minimum compacted thickness of four inches.
Multifamily, commercial and industrial driveway widths shall be designed to accommodate commercial vehicles and higher traffic volumes but in no case shall exceed a maximum width of 35 feet.
Driveway allotment and adjacent driveway openings.
The maximum number of driveway openings permitted from a commercial or industrial lot to any one public road (the term "public road" is any road set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:55D-35, and said driveway point of access must front on such a public road as so defined) shall be limited as follows:
The maximum number of driveway openings permitted from a residential lot to any one public road (the term "public road" is any road set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:55D-35 and said driveway point of access must front on such a public road as so defined) shall be one.
Adjacent driveway openings. A minimum clear distance of 50 feet shall separate any two driveways (on the same premises or on adjoining lots) entering upon a single public road, as measured along the public road right-of-way line.
No new driveway shall be constructed with a vertical grade exceeding 15%.
In cases where the vertical grades exceed 15% for a new driveway, prior to the issuance of a driveway permit, a written confirmation from the Township emergency services including but not limited to the rescue squad, Fire Department and Police Department must be obtained to confirm that safe access can be achieved to the new home site.
In addition, a professional engineer licensed in the State of New Jersey (engineer) must provide a certification that measures have been taken to control stormwater runoff rates (volumes and velocities) from the proposed driveway, as compared to those prevailing values prior to development based on plans and calculations that the engineer has reviewed, revised and/or prepared.
New driveways shall be located a minimum of five feet from property boundaries with the exception of the designated boundary which the driveway crosses to exit the property.
The construction of any driveway or home in the municipality that is part of a major subdivision is subject to the standards promulgated by the New Jersey Soil Conservation Committee and administered by the Warren County Soil Conservation District. The enforcement of this provision shall be the responsibility of the Warren County Soil Conservation District; a permit from whom is required prior to issuance of a building permit by the Township Construction Code Official.
Upon written request from an applicant for a driveway permit, the Township Engineer, acting as agent for the Township Committee, may review a waiver of the sight distance requirements of § 53-4D or any other provisions of this chapter. The waiver will be considered for individual cases and upon a showing of hardship or inability to comply with existing requirements, provided that the protection to the applicant and the public sought by the waiver requirements are not significantly reduced, and provided that such a waiver may be granted without detriment to the applicant or the public in general. Furthermore, no waiver or relief may be granted which would create substantial public danger or substantial public inconvenience and would not substantially impair the provisions of this subsection or the standards promulgated by the New Jersey Conservation Committee and administered by the Warren County Soil Conservation District. The Engineer shall review the request from the applicant in triplicate which shall contain the following:
A written description, detailing the reasons a waiver is needed, to be considered only when no complying alternative can be found.
The application for a driveway permit shall be accompanied by plans prepared by a licensed professional engineer in the State of New Jersey. The plans must indicate the plan view, profile and cross section/s of the proposed driveway. The plans shall be clearly drawn in a manner satisfactory to the Township Engineer, to a scale of not less than one inch equals 30 feet and shall include the following information:
A plat or site plan shall show the driveway for its entire length and the intersecting road for a minimum distance of 100 feet in either direction. The plan shall show the pavement limits, gutter line, drainage structures, utility poles, trees or bushes or other features along the road. The plan shall show the location of the driveway dimensioned in feet from a sideline of the property, five feet minimum and dimensioned in feet from the nearest utility pole and shall show the number of the pole. The plan shall also show the width and construction material of the driveway and shall show necessary drainage improvements and clearing required to achieve the sight distance required in § 53-4D.
A profile of the driveway beginning at the center line of the intersecting public road, showing existing and proposed grades and elevations along the center line of the driveway for its entire length. Elevations shall be referenced to an elevation datum (benchmark) which shall be shown on the plans.
Details as necessary of any drainage structures, gutters, cross sections and construction items shall be provided on the plans.
In the event that the construction of any particular driveway in the municipality is subject to the standards promulgated by the New Jersey Soil Conservation Committee and administered by the Warren County Soil Conservation District, such standards shall apply whenever such standards are more stringent, detailed or comprehensive than the standards contained herein.
The Building Subcode Official shall not issue a certificate of occupancy until he has been notified by the Township Engineer that the driveway has been issued a certificate of approval.
If due to inclement weather conditions it is not feasible in the judgement of the Township Engineer to complete the driveway, the permittee may submit a bond, in the form of a certified check or cash bond, thereby allowing the Township Engineer to release a temporary certificate of approval (TCA), which would allow the Building Subcode Officer to issue a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO). The guarantee shall be held to insure that the driveway will be completed within one year. The bond amount will be based upon the cost of the remaining improvements as determined by the Township Engineer, but in no case shall be less than $1,000.
Upon submission and approval of the bond by the Township Attorney, the Building Subcode Official may issue a temporary certificate of occupancy. Upon final completion of the driveway and approval by the Township Engineer, a permanent certificate of occupancy will be issued. The Township Treasurer will release the bond when directed in writing by the Engineer and authorized to do so by the Township Committee.
In the event that the driveway is not completed within one year after the temporary certificate of occupancy has been issued, and if the permittee, upon 10 days' notice, does not complete the improvements required by the approved plans under this chapter, the Township may complete the driveway using the funds available from the bond via a private paving and or excavating contractor.
The paving of an existing driveway servicing an existing single-family dwelling for which a certificate of occupancy has been issued prior to the passage of this chapter shall be subject to this chapter, unless waived by the Township Committee under § 53-9 of this chapter.
Waiver of requirements. Strict enforcement of the terms and sections of this chapter may be waived by the Township Committee upon recommendation of the Township Engineer whenever such enforcement would not be in the best interests of the Township or would place undue hardship upon the applicant.
The Liberty Township Planning Board and Liberty Township Board of Adjustment are hereby established, constituted and appointed as driveway appeal boards to hear and decide driveway appeals pursuant to this chapter.
The Liberty Township Planning Board sitting as a driveway appeal board shall have the power to hear and decide appeals by any interested party where it is alleged by the appellant that there is an error in any order, requirement, decision or refusal made by the Municipal Clerk, Zoning Officer or engineer based on or made in the enforcement of this chapter. Such appeal shall be taken within 20 days by filing a notice of appeal with the Municipal Clerk, specifying the grounds of such an appeal. The officer from whom the appeal is taken shall immediately transmit to the Planning Board all the documents constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken. An appeal to the Planning Board shall stay all proceedings in furtherance of the action in respect to which the decision appealed from was made. Such appeal shall be heard with its usual rules of practice and procedure, where applicable.
Where by reason of exceptional narrowness, shallowness or shape of a specific piece of property, or by reason of exceptional topographic conditions, or by reason of other extraordinary or exceptional situations or conditions of such piece of property, the strict application of any subsection of this chapter would result in peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties to, or exceptional and undue hardship upon the developer of such property, the Liberty Township Planning Board, upon an application or appeal relating to such property, may grant a variance from such strict application of such subsection of this chapter so as to relieve such difficulties or hardship, provided however, that no variance or other relief may be granted hereunder which would create any substantial public danger or substantial public inconvenience. No variance or other relief may be granted under the terms of this subsection unless such variance or other relief can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of this chapter, nor the standards promulgated by the New Jersey Soil Conservation Committee and administered by the Warren County Soil Conservation District nor the intent or purposes of the land use procedures (Chapter 72) of Liberty Township.
The Liberty Township Board of Adjustment sitting as a driveway appeal board shall be empowered to grant the above described variance or other relief whenever the same is applied for in connection with the review of an application before the Board of Adjustment.
Notice of appeals pursuant to this subsection, if necessary, shall be given by the applicant in the manner prescribed by N.J.S.A. 40:55D-12 (the Municipal Land Use Law).
The fee for filing a driveway appeal pursuant to this subsection shall be $500. Where review costs exceed, or are anticipated to exceed, the initial escrow deposit, the applicant shall pay the additional amount prior to the final release of the driveway permit.
[Amended 5-6-2004 by Ord. No. 04-03]
No person, firm or corporation shall divert, direct, pump or discharge water onto the surface of any Township road or Township right-of-way, wherein said road will cause unsafe traveling conditions and/or cause the road surface to deteriorate and/or cause erosion of same.
The Township Engineer of the Township of Liberty or his/her designee is hereby designated to enforce this chapter.
Any person or persons or firm or corporation violating any provision of this chapter which results in damage to or obstruction of any street or road, gutter, storm drain, catch basin, inlet or culvert shall be responsible for all expenses incurred by the Township in repairing such damage or removing the obstruction, in addition to a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 90 days, or both. Each and every day that a violation continues after notification thereof shall constitute an additional, separate and specific violation.
Where existing streets adjoin or are included in major subdivisions and where the existing streets are required to be paved and improved, the Township shall have the right to waive any requirements as stated in §§ 53-4 and 53-5 of this chapter, provided that:
The Township Engineer has recommended that the paving and improvement requirements should be modified in the interest of public safety and welfare and has specified, in writing, the revised paving and improvement requirements.
The value of the work to be performed on existing streets under the above revised requirements is approximately equal to that under the Township specifications.
The developer has agreed to the revised paving and improvements on existing streets by the adoption of a resolution by the Township Committee.
The Township agrees to the revised requirements for paving and improvements on existing streets by the adoption of a resolution by the Township Committee.