Township of Liberty, NJ
Warren County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Liberty 4-4-1994 by Ord. No. 6-94. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Land use procedures and fees — See Ch. 72.
Except in connection with excavation or grading incidental to construction or alteration of a building or improvements on premises for which a building permit has been issued, no person shall excavate for removal of soil or otherwise remove soil for sale or for use other than on the premises from which the soil shall be taken unless a site plan has been approved by the Planning Board in accordance with the following requirements.
A. 
Application requirements.
(1) 
An application to the Planning Board shall be accompanied by a map or maps showing existing contour lines at two-foot intervals, an aerial photograph of the site, proposed contour lines at two-foot intervals after removal of the soil, and existing structures on the subject premises and within 200 feet of the property, the location of topsoil storage areas, methods of controlling silting of downstream properties and the elevation of the water table if it is within 15 feet of the proposed final contour, or certification that the water table is not within 15 feet of the proposed final contour. The determination of the water table shall be certified by a professional engineer, which certification shall show the procedure used and the date such tests were made. The maps shall also show all existing trees six inches or more in diameter measured 4 1/2 feet from ground level, and the plan for replacing the same number of such trees with trees having a diameter of 2 1/2 inches measured 4 1/2 feet from the top of root level.
(2) 
The application shall also indicate the total number of cubic yards to be removed and the length of time within which the proposed operation shall be completed.
B. 
Review by Planning Board.
(1) 
In considering and reviewing the application and arriving at its decision, the Planning Board 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:
(a) 
Soil erosion by water and wind.
(b) 
Surface water drainage.
(c) 
Soil fertility.
(d) 
Lateral support of abutting streets and lands.
(e) 
Public health and safety.
(f) 
Land values and uses.
(g) 
Contours, both existing and proposed.
(h) 
Existing contours and topographic character of the land prior to the removal of any soil, and the proposed contours which will result following the removal of soil in accordance with the soil removal application.
(i) 
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 an industrial activity.
(j) 
The effect of tree removal.
(k) 
Effects on water resources such as streams and wetlands.
(l) 
The intent and purpose of the zone plan and Zoning Ordinance[1] and the effects upon the neighborhood.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 105, Zoning.
(2) 
In the event that, after considering and reviewing the application, the Board finds that the proposal would result in the creation of a lake, pond, hole, pit or similar type of depression, and further in the event that the nature of the operation would be a wet mining operation, then, and in that event, in addition to the above-referenced factors, these factors alone may be sufficient basis for the denial of the application.
A. 
The owner or person in charge shall so conduct the operation 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, including boulders, and graded to conform to the contour lines and grades as required and shown on the approved plan.
B. 
Arable soil within eight inches of the surface shall not be removed from the premises, but promptly on completion of operations, or as otherwise directed by the Planning Board, 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 eight inches of the top is not arable soil, not less than four inches of arable soil must be spread thereon promptly when the operation is completed in each such area. Provisions must be made for adequate drainage after the topsoil is replaced. In addition to the above, a landscaping plan showing the means by which the site shall be revegetated shall be prepared and submitted for approval.
C. 
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 Construction Official or other designated official to the owner of such accumulation.
D. 
All operations shall be conducted in strict accordance with any state law or other ordinances of the township and the terms and conditions of any approval granted for such operations. No operation shall be permitted within 100 feet of any stream or wetland unless it can be shown that soil removal would not alter the quantity or quality of the water nor adversely affect the rate of water flow and that the final finished grade requires soil removal within said 100 feet distance.
E. 
The operation shall be so conducted as not to constitute a nuisance to adjoining owners or the township, and in no event shall said operation create any extra hazardous or unsafe conditions with regard to any person or persons.
F. 
Upon completion of an operation or of excavation from an area delineated on the approved plan, said area shall be properly leveled off, cleared of debris and graded to conform to the contours and grades as approved by the Planning Board and trees and other vegetation planted in accordance with the plan approved by the Planning Board. All roads which may have been damaged shall be returned to their original condition.
G. 
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 Planning Board.
H. 
No soil shall be removed which is within 15 feet of the water table, and no soil shall be removed which is below the grade established and shown on the approved map.
I. 
While working an area, the working face of the excavation shall not exceed 60° from the horizontal, nor shall a face 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 road which has been dedicated to the public, no excavation shall be made below the level of the road for a distance of 100 feet from the right-of-way of said 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. No finished grade shall exceed 10% or be less than 2%. Care should be taken that there shall be no diversion of surface water either during the operation or after the project is complete.
J. 
No trash, garbage, junk or debris may be stored on the subject property and no safety hazards will be permitted, either during or after completion of the operation. All burning of combustible debris resulting from said soil operation shall be subject to the regulations set by the Liberty Township Fire Department, or any regulation of a higher authority in effect, and be undertaken so as not to create a smoke, nuisance or air pollution hazard.
Each operator shall annually furnish a progress report to the Township Engineer, the first of which shall be furnished nine months after approval of the application. Said report shall consist of a sketch map at a scale of one inch to 100 feet showing contours at two-foot intervals, retained arable soil, equipment, the areas where soil was removed and the location of water supply and disposal facilities, and it shall be prepared and certified to by a licensed professional engineer.
Hours of operation shall be limited to the following: 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, except in emergencies when authorized by the township.
In order to minimize the possibilities of mud slides 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 for good cause shown.
Upon the completion of work in any specific area, all respreading of arable soil and reseeding as required by this chapter shall be completed within 60 days thereafter; except if the completion of work occurs in the winter months when it would not be feasible to respread topsoil and reseed the same, such work shall be completed within such additional time as shall be specified by the township.
Any of the conditions or regulations specified herein may be modified or waived by the Planning Board under the following conditions:
A. 
Where the applicant can show undue hardship by reason of topography, grade or other special conditions.
B. 
Where clear evidence is presented that imposition of such conditions would be detrimental to the public interest.
C. 
Where it is shown that the intended purpose of the township in establishing such requirements may be achieved through other means.
D. 
Where it can be demonstrated that the financial costs to the applicant or owner in order to meet such requirements would impose an undue burden or hardship in relation to the information value of the data to the Board. This waiver may be considered, provided that the volume of material to be removed from the site is equal to or less than 75 cubic yards in any two-year period.
[Amended 9-8-1997 by Ord. No. 97-10]
Upon application to the Planning Board or the Board of Adjustment pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the applicant shall pay a fee to cover the costs of application as well as a review fee to cover costs of the initial review of the proposed soil removal operation, as stipulated in Chapter 72, Land Use Procedures and Fees, for a major site plan. Upon approval of any application, the applicant shall pay an annual permit fee as follows:
A. 
Up to and including 500 cubic yards: $150.
B. 
Above 500 cubic yards: $150, plus a sum computed at a rate of $0.10 per cubic yard multiplied by the number of cubic yards to be removed.
A. 
Upon approval of the application, 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 approval and the terms thereof. The bond shall be in an amount of not less than $6,000 per acre of land which is actually being worked in accordance with the approved plan. Said bond shall cover the respreading of topsoil as required by the provisions of this chapter and also final provisions for drainage and revegetation of the site and grading to final contour. This bond may be increased from time to time where, in the opinion of the Township Engineer, conditions and price increases warrant such increases.
B. 
The amount of any performance bond or guaranty may be reduced when portions of the improvements or works have been completed, upon recommendation of the Township Engineer.
C. 
When all required performance has been completed, the obligor shall notify the Township Committee or its designee in writing by certified or registered mail of the completion thereof and shall send a copy thereof to the Township Engineer. The Township Committee or its designee shall authorize the Township Engineer to inspect the site to determine that all requirements of the approved plan have been carried out. The Township Engineer shall thereupon file a report in writing with the Township Committee which shall be detailed and shall recommend 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, said report shall contain a statement of reasons for such nonapproval or rejection. Where said rejection indicates partial approval of said improvements of works, it shall indicate the costs of the work for which approval is denied. 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 said 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 sufficient to secure the work not yet approved.
After reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard before the Township Committee, an application may be revoked or suspended for such period as the Board may determine for any violation of the terms hereof or the terms and conditions of any plan approved hereunder.
In addition to an action on the bond or guaranty, or the revocation of approval 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 approval shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment not exceeding 90 days, or both, in the discretion of the Judge before whom such conviction is had. Each day that a violation continues shall be considered a separate and distinct violation hereof.