Borough of Hellertown, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Hellertown 10-16-2006 by Ord. No. 697. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 204.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 378.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 390.
Shade trees — See Ch. 416, Art. I.
Zoning — See Ch. 450.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Soil Erosion, Sedimentation and Grading Control Ordinance," implementing Title 25, Rules and Regulations, Part 1, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Protection, Subpart C, Protection of Natural Resources, Article II, Water Resources, Chapter 102 — Erosion Control.
The purposes of this chapter are to regulate the modification of the natural or existing terrain and the alteration of drainage and to provide for certain erosion and sediment control measures within the Borough of Hellertown to assure and safeguard health, safety, ecology and the general welfare in Hellertown Borough.
From and after the effective date of this chapter, any subdivision and/or land development approved under the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance or Zoning Ordinance, any new construction, installation of a new structure and/or activity qualified under §§ 360-6 and 360-7 herein shall be in conformity with this chapter, subject to compliance with and in conjunction with the Northampton County Conservation District (NCCD) soil and erosion control regulations and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations, all of which are incorporated into this chapter. In the event of a conflict between this chapter and floodplain regulations, NCCD or DEP regulations, the after-mentioned regulations shall take precedence over this chapter.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context.
An azonal group of soils, developed from transported and relatively recently deposited material (alluvium), characterized by a weak modification (or none) of the original material by soil-forming processes.
The process of earthmoving by excavating part of an area and/or using excavated material from embankment or fill areas.
The wearing away of land surface by running water, wind, ice or chemical or other geological agents.
The detachment and movement of soil or rock fragments by water, wind, ice or gravity.
The slope of a road, channel or natural ground.
Construction which requires the excavation of topsoil and subsoil for the installation of a foundation which is either independent or attached to an existing structure.
That portion of the precipitation from a drainage area or watershed that is discharged from the area in stream channels or in sheet flow; types include surface runoff, groundwater runoff or seepage.
Solid material, both mineral and organic, that is in suspension, is being transported or has been moved from its site of origin by air, water, gravity or ice and has come to rest on the earth's surface, either above or below sea level.
The degree of deviation of a surface from the horizontal, usually expressed in percent or degrees.
A condition of the soil, referring to the frequency and duration of periods when the soil is free of saturation.
Material immediately underlying topsoil, consisting of but not limited to, either singly or in combination, clay, silt, sand, gravel or crushed rock, but not including bedrock or other impervious surface, as more fully defined and set forth in the most recently adopted and approved Northampton County Soil Survey exclusive of the A Horizon.
The topmost layer of ground cover containing humus in some concentration capable of supporting plant growth, as more fully defined and set forth in the most recently adopted and approved Northampton County Soil Survey under the designation of the A Horizon, but not including subsoil, as heretofore defined.
A natural drainage route or channel for the flow of water.
Within the Borough, whenever any subdivision or land development proposes any new construction or installation of a new structure or other activity which results in application to the Northampton County Soil Conservation District and submission of a soil and erosion control plan is proposed, a copy of said plan and final approval and/or permits as may be granted shall be submitted to the Borough before any activity, construction, grading or relandscaping of the affected tract is undertaken. The Borough and/or Borough's representative shall also be provided with a copy of said application, final approval and/or permit, such as will allow full and complete review of the proposal as completed. The Borough and/or Borough's representative shall have full and complete authority to inspect the activities undertaken at said site, including the full right of ingress and egress to the property, and shall have the authority to terminate, stop or suspend activities or conduct not in compliance with such approvals and/or permits as may be issued.
Whenever any subdivision and/or land development approved under the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance or Zoning Ordinance proposes any new construction and/or installation of a new structure and/or any change in use which causes the landscape to be disturbed as to either contours, soil or slope characteristics, or vegetation or any ground cover is to be permanently removed, except as hereinafter excluded under § 360-7 and § 360-8 and except as otherwise subject to review and approval by the Northampton County Soil Conservation District, as provided under § 360-5, a plan shall include the following:
The area of site alteration proposed.
The development schedule.
Erosion and sediment control practices, both temporary and permanent, and the operation and maintenance arrangements.
Except for those activities exempted by § 360-8, the following activities require a grading permit, which shall be prerequisite to issuance of a building permit, when applicable:
Modifying, disturbing, blocking, diverting or otherwise adversely affecting the natural overland or subsurface flow of stormwater.
Constructing, erecting or installing any drainage dam, ditch, culvert, drainpipe or bridge or any other structure or obstruction affecting the drainage of any premises.
Paving, filling, stockpiling, stripping, excavating, grading or regrading any land, except those activities which specifically do not require a permit in § 360-8.
Distributing the landscape, vegetation or any ground cover by any proposal involving an area in excess of 1,000 square feet.
The following activities require no grading permit:
Improvements, such as driveway paving, minor regrading or activities on a property which are under 1,000 square feet of total disturbed area and do not:
Adversely affect the natural overland or subsurface flow of stormwater;
Adversely affect the drainage onto any premises; or
Adversely disturb the landscape of any premises.
Farming, gardening, lawn installation or lawn restoration.
Work within the ultimate right-of-way of a public street or alleyway to be offered for dedication or previously ordained by the Borough, county, commonwealth, or any park, playground, recreation area or open space dedicated to and accepted by the Borough, county or commonwealth.
Any person, firm or corporation proposing to engage in an activity requiring a grading permit hereunder shall apply by the submission of a plan.
The applicant should, before submitting a preliminary plan for review, consult the Zoning Ordinance and the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, which regulate the development of the land in Hellertown Borough.
A separate plan shall be required for each grading permit.
Three copies of the proposed plan, including specifications and development schedules, shall be submitted to the Borough for a grading permit. The Borough shall forward one copy to the Hellertown Borough Manager, one copy to the Code Enforcement Officer and one copy to the Borough Engineer.
The plan for a grading permit shall be accompanied by a fee established in the Borough's Schedule of Fees and Collection Procedures for all applications and other matters pertaining to the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance and this chapter.
The plan for a grading permit shall include:
A map or maps describing the topography of the area, the proposed alteration to the area and the erosion and sedimentation control measures and facilities; and
A narrative report describing the project and giving the purpose and the engineering assumptions and calculations for control measures and facilities.
The maps and narrative shall include but not be limited to a general description of the project, noting stormwater handling, accelerated erosion control, sedimentation control, anticipated beginning and ending dates for the project and the training and experience of the person preparing the plan, along with the method of calculation of runoff, the factors considered in such calculations and provisions for safe disposal. The map should describe and locate topographic features, including boundary lines of the project area, acreage, contours at appropriate intervals to adequately describe the topography, the location of the project relative to the highways or other identifiable landmarks and streams, lakes, ponds or other bodies of water within or in the vicinity of the project, the upstream drainage area(s) of the project site and any other physical features, including scale and North arrow. The map shall also specify soil types as would be noted in a soil survey by name, depth and textural, along with proposed changes to the land surface and vegetative cover, which will note contours of finished areas, types of temporary and permanent control measures and facilities and their location and dimensions. The narrative shall include the description of the maintenance program for the control facilities and appropriate design considerations and calculations for both temporary and permanent control measures and facilities.
Upon the review of the plan and a recommendation by the Borough Engineer, the Borough shall issue the necessary grading permit.
Except for those activities exempted by § 360-8, the following standards shall apply to all activities permitted or allowed under §§ 360-5 and 360-7 of this chapter:
Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter or any condition of the grading permit, the permittee is responsible for the prevention of damage to other property or personal injury which may be effected by the activity requiring a grading permit.
No person, firm or corporation shall modify, fill, excavate, pave, grade or regrade land in any manner so close to a property line as to endanger or damage any adjoining street or alley or any other public or private property without supporting and protecting such property from settling, cracking, erosion, sediment, flooding or any other physical damage or personal injury which might result.
Notwithstanding any other item or provision of this chapter, no person, firm or corporation shall cause or allow to be removed greater than 50% of the existing topsoil from any site, and in no event shall the topsoil existing on any site be reduced to less than a depth of six inches as measured from the underlying subsoil, except as may be modified by the Borough by issuance of a conditional permit, which permit shall be issued to modify the terms of this chapter only based upon sound engineering practices.
No person, firm or corporation shall deposit or place any debris or any other material whatsoever or cause such to be thrown or placed in any drainage ditch or drainage structure in such a manner as to obstruct free flow.
No person, firm or corporation shall fail to adequately maintain in good operating order any drainage facility on his premises. All drainage ditches, culverts, drainpipes and drainage structures shall be kept open and free flowing at all times.
The owner of any property on which any work has been done pursuant to a grading permit granted under this chapter shall continuously maintain and repair all graded surfaces and erosion control devices, retaining walls, drainage structures or means and other protective devices, plantings, and ground cover installed or completed.
All graded surfaces shall be permanently seeded, sodded and/or planted or otherwise protected from erosion within 30 days, weather permitting, and shall be tended and/or maintained until growth is well established. The disturbed area and duration of exposure shall be kept to a minimum, using temporary erosion and sediment control measures immediately as outlined in the PA DEP Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Manual.
All trees to remain and which are in or adjacent to an area of grade change shall be protected with suitable fencing, unless the necessity for removal is established. Precautions shall be taken to prevent the unnecessary removal of trees.
When required, adequate provisions shall be made for dust-control measures as are deemed acceptable by the Borough.
All plans and specifications submitted for a grading permit shall include provisions for both interim (temporary) and ultimate permanent erosion and sediment control. The design, installation and maintenance of erosion and sediment control measures shall be accomplished in accordance with standards and specifications established by the County Soil Conservation District, as adopted from standards and specifications of the United States Soil Conservation Services and as outlined in the then-applicable and current handbook of administrative regulations or guidelines, as may be amended adopted and enacted by the County Soil Conservation District.
Technical standards for the design and installation of erosion and sediment control measures are available from the County Conservation District office or website ( and other government agency offices.
Standards and specifications adopted for the purposes of this chapter and by the County Conservation District include, but are not limited to, the following basic conservation measures:
Temporary cover on critical areas.
Permanent grass and legume cover for critical areas on prepared seedbed.
Permanent grass and legume cover for critical areas on unprepared seedbed.
Temporary diversion.
Permanent diversion.
Grassed waterway or outlet.
Grade stabilization structure.
Debris basin.
Drainage, mains or laterals.
A quality-control program is critical for fills; therefore, whenever fill material is to be used, the person, firm or corporation shall be responsible for testing to determine its dry density as per ASTM D1556. It is recommended that the density of any load-bearing layer supporting or to be incorporated in a road surface, detention basin or erosion swale shall be not less than 90% of the maximum density.
The inspection procedure shall follow the general procedure as stated in § 360-14.
Compaction test reports shall be kept on file at the site and shall be subject to review all times.
The degree of compaction required shall be determined by the Borough following the guidelines in this section.
Except for those activities exempted by § 360-8, the following standards shall apply:
Inspections shall be the conducted by the Borough or a qualified person acceptable to the Borough of Hellertown, including, but not limited to, the County Conservation District staff.
Inspections will be carried out on a random basis, except as stated below; however, a set of approved plans shall be on file at the site and authenticated by a registered professional engineer.
Any and all approved plans shall be available on the site at all times and shall be subject to inspection and inquiry.
Engineering design notes shall accompany all plans which involve structural or mechanical measures and shall serve as supporting evidence that structures meet design standards and specifications specified herein.
A final inspection shall be conducted by the Borough and/or the Borough's representative to certify compliance with this chapter. Satisfactory compliance with this chapter shall be necessary before issuance of an occupancy or use permit.
Permittees shall bear all costs of inspections required or permitted hereunder and shall deposit with Hellertown Borough such sums as the Borough Council shall determine to guarantee payment of the costs of such inspections. The costs of inspections shall be in accordance with the established schedule of fees and collection procedures for matters pertaining to this chapter.
The fee for a grading permit shall be fixed by resolution of the Borough Council from time to time.
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 plus costs of prosecution and, in default of payment thereof, to undergo imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days. Each day that a violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense.
In addition to the penalties as set forth in § 360-16, any movement of the landscape, vegetation or any ground cover performed in violation of this chapter shall be restored to its previous condition, including replacement of excavated earth, removal of illegally placed fill and restoration of grades and planting.
The denial of a permit under this chapter may be appealed by any party in interest, including the applicant, the Borough or any other interested or affected party filing an appeal to be heard by the Borough Council. The Borough shall provide public notice and a public hearing on the applicant's appeal. The decision of the Borough Council shall be communicated to the applicant personally or mailed to applicant's last known address not later than 15 days following the decision. Any aggrieved party has a right to appeal the decision of the Borough Council to the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas within 30 days of receipt of the written decision of Borough Council.