[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Borough of West View 10-10-1967 by Ord. No. 1109 (Ch. 77 of the 1977 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide minimum standards to safeguard persons, to protect property and to promote the public welfare by regulating and controlling the design, construction, quality of materials, use, location and maintenance of grading excavations and fills.
Wherever used in this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings indicated:
- BUILDING PERMIT
- A permit required for the construction, erection or alteration of a structure or building, issued pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 116, Part 1, Building Permits; Floodplain Management, of the Code of the Borough of West View or any amendment or supplement thereto or replacement thereof.[Amended 2-2-1977 by Ord. No. 1191]
- Any act by which earth, sand, gravel, rock or any other similar material is cut into, dug, quarried, uncovered, removed, displaced, relocated or bulldozed and shall include the conditions resulting therefrom.
- Any act by which earth, sand, gravel, rock or other material is deposited, placed, pushed, dumped, pulled, transported or moved to a new location, and shall include the conditions resulting therefrom.
- The elevation of the existing ground surface at the location of any proposed excavation or fill.
- Excavation or fill or any combination thereof, and shall include the conditions resulting from any excavation or fill.
- A natural person, but shall also include a partnership or corporation.
- A lot, tract or parcel of land or a series of lots, tracts or parcels of land, joined together, where grading work is continuous and performed at the same time.
New grading, excavations and fills, or changes, additions, repairs or alterations made to existing excavations and fills, shall conform to the provisions of this chapter, except that this chapter shall not apply to:
The mining, quarrying, excavating, processing or stockpiling of rock, sand, aggregate or clay unless such work affects the support of adjacent or contiguous property or structures.
The depositing of rubbish or other material at any dump operated by the Borough.
No person shall commence or perform any grading, excavation or fill without first having obtained a grading permit from the Borough Manager. A separate grading permit shall be required for each site. One permit may cover both an excavation and any fill made on the same site.
A grading permit will not be required, however, in the following situations, but in all other respects the provisions of this chapter shall apply:
An excavation which does not exceed three feet in vertical depth at its deepest point, measured from the natural ground surface, nor cover an area of more than 1,000 square feet. This exception shall not affect the applicability of this chapter to or the requirement of a grading permit for any fill made with the material from such excavation.
A fill which does not exceed 10 cubic yards of material on any one site or a fill which does not exceed three feet in vertical depth at its deepest point, measured from the natural ground surface, nor cover an area of more than 1,000 square feet, provided that the surfaces of such fills do not have a slope at any point steeper than five horizontal to one vertical.
An excavation below finished grade for basements and footings of a building, swimming pool or underground structure authorized by a building permit, and an excavation for a driveway between a building site and the street. This exception shall not affect the applicability of this chapter to or the requirement of a grading permit for any fill made with the material from such excavation. A grading permit shall not be required for the temporary stockpiling on the same site of the material from such excavation.
Every applicant for a grading permit shall file a written application therefor with the Borough Manager.
Such application shall:
Describe the land on which the proposed work is to be done by lot, block, tract or street address, or similar description which will readily identify and definitely locate the proposed work.
Be accompanied by plans and specifications prepared by a registered engineer or surveyor.
Such plans and specifications shall include a contour map showing:
The present contours of land and the proposed contours of land after completion of the proposed grading.
A plot plan showing the location of the grading, boundaries, lot lines, neighboring streets and alleys, buildings, trees over 10 inches in diameter two feet above the ground and sufficient dimensions and other data to show the location of all work.
A description of the type and classification of the soil.
Details and location of any proposed drainage structures and pipes, walls and cribbing.
The nature of fill material.
Such other information as the Borough Manager may require to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
Plans shall be submitted in triplicate.
State the estimated dates for the starting and completion of the grading work.
State the purpose for which the grading application is filed.
The Borough Manager may waive the requirement for any or all plans and specifications listed above if he finds that the information on the application is sufficient to show that the work will conform to the provisions of this chapter.
[Amended 12-12-1977 by Ord. No. 1211]
Before issuing a grading permit, the Borough Secretary shall collect a permit fee as follows:
Every grading permit shall expire by limitation and become null and void if the work authorized by such permit has not been commenced within six months or is not completed within one year from the date of issue, provided that the Borough Manager may, if the permit holder presents satisfactory evidence that unusual difficulties have prevented work being started or completed within the specified time limits, grant a reasonable extension of time, and provided further, that the application for the extension of time is made before the date of the expiration of the permit.
Where, in the opinion of the Borough Manager, the work as proposed by the applicant is likely to endanger any property or any street or alley, he shall deny the grading permit. In determining whether the proposed work is likely to endanger property, streets or alleys, or create hazardous conditions, the Borough Manager shall give due consideration to:
The Council shall consider promptly appeals from the provisions of this chapter or from the determinations of the Borough Manager, and the Council shall make determinations of alternate methods, standards or materials when, in its opinion, strict compliance with the provisions of this chapter is unnecessary. Any applicant or permit holder shall have the right to appeal to any court of competent jurisdiction from any decision or determination of the Council.
The Borough Manager shall, when requested, make the inspections hereinafter required and shall either approve that portion of the work which has been completed or notify the permit holder wherein the same fails to comply with the provisions of this chapter. Where it is found by inspection that the soil or other conditions are not as stated or shown in the application, the Borough Manager may refuse to approve further work until approval is obtained for a revised grading plan conforming to existing conditions.
Plans for grading work, bearing the stamp of approval of the Borough Manager, shall be maintained at the site during the progress of the grading work and until the work has been approved.
The permit holder shall notify the Borough Manager in order to obtain inspections in accordance with the following schedule and at least 24 hours before the inspection is to be made:
Initial inspection — when work on the excavation or fill is about to be commenced.
Rough grading — when all rough grading has been completed.
Drainage facilities — when drainage facilities are to be installed and before such facilities are backfilled.
Special structures — when excavations are complete for retaining and crib walls and when reinforcing steel is in place and before concrete is poured.
Final inspection — when all work, including the installation of all drainage and other structures, has been completed.
If at any stage of the work the Borough Manager shall determine by inspection that the nature of the formation is such that further work as authorized by an existing permit is likely to endanger property, streets or alleys, or create hazardous conditions, the Borough Manager may require, as a condition to allowing the work to be done, that such reasonable safety precautions be taken as the Borough Manager considers advisable to avoid such likelihood of danger. Safety precautions may include but shall not be limited to specifying a flatter exposed slope and the construction of additional drainage facilities, berms, terracing, compaction or cribbing.
No excavation shall be made with a cut face steeper in slope than one horizontal to one vertical, except under one or more of the following conditions:
The excavation is located so that a line having a slope of one horizontal to one vertical and passing through any portion of the cut face will be entirely inside the property lines of the property on which the excavation is made.
The material in which the excavation is made is sufficiently stable to sustain a slope of steeper than one horizontal to one vertical, and a written statement of a civil engineer, licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and experienced in erosion control, to that effect is submitted to the Borough Manager and approved by him. The statement shall state that the site has been inspected and that the deviation from the slope specified above will not result in injury to persons or damage to property.
A retaining wall or other approved support is provided to support the face of the excavation.
The Borough Manager may require an excavation to be made with a cut face flatter in slope than one horizontal to one vertical if he finds the material in which the excavation is to be made is unusually subject to erosion, or if other conditions exist which make such flatter cut slope necessary for stability and safety.
Excavations shall not extend below the angle of repose or natural slope of the soil under the nearest point of any footing or foundation of any building or structure, unless such footing or foundation is first properly underpinned or protected against settlement.
Before commencing any excavation which will in any way affect an adjoining property or structures thereon, the person making or causing the excavation to be made shall notify in writing the owners of adjoining buildings not less than 30 days before such excavation is to be made that the excavation is to be made. Adjoining properties and structures shall be protected as provided in the Building Code of the Borough of West View.
No fill shall be made which creates any exposed surface steeper in slope than 1 1/2 horizontal to one vertical, except under one or more of the following conditions:
[Amended 2-2-1977 by Ord. No. 1191]
When the fill, in the opinion of the Borough Manager, is located so that settlement, sliding or erosion of the fill material will not result in property damage or be a hazard to adjoining property, streets, alleys or buildings.
When a written statement from a civil engineer, licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and experienced in erosion control, certifying that he has inspected the site and that the proposed deviation from the slope specified above will not endanger any property or result in property damage is submitted to and approved by the Borough Manager.
The Borough Manager may require that the fill be constructed with an exposed surface flatter than 1 1/2 horizontal to one vertical if he finds that under the particular conditions such flatter surface is necessary for stability and safety.
Whenever a fill is to be made of materials other than clean soil or earth, the grading permit shall be subject to the following additional limitations and requirements:
The fill shall be completed within a reasonable length of time, the said time limit to be determined by the Borough Manager and to be specified on the grading permit.
Clean soil or earth shall be placed over the top and exposed surfaces of the fill to a depth sufficient to effectively conceal all materials, other than clean soil or earth, with the fill. Where the nature of the fill requires, the Borough Manager may require clean soil or earth to be placed over the top and exposed surfaces of the fill to a depth sufficient to conceal all materials at the end of each day's operations.
No grading permit shall be issued for the filling of materials other than clean soil or earth until a faithful performance bond in the amount of at least 10% more than the Borough Manager's estimated cost of adequately covering such fill with clean soil or earth has been furnished to the Borough. Such bond shall be executed by a corporate surety, as well as by the principal, and shall be subject to the approval of the Borough Solicitor as to form. The bond shall inure the benefit of the Borough and shall be conditioned upon the faithful performance of the work required under the terms and conditions of the grading permit to the satisfaction of the Borough Manager. In lieu of said bond, a cash deposit in the said amount may be made with the Borough Treasurer, or with a bank or trust company approved by the Borough Solicitor, which shall act as escrow agent.
All fills shall be compacted to provide stability of material and to prevent undesirable settlement. The fill shall be spread in a series of layers, each not exceeding 12 inches in thickness, and shall be compacted by a sheepsfoot roller or other approved method after each layer is spread. The Borough Manager may require tests or other information if, in his opinion, the conditions or materials are such that additional information is necessary.
Adequate provisions shall be made to prevent any surface waters from damaging the cut face of an excavation or the sloping surface of a fill. Slopes of more than 10 feet in vertical height shall be separated by level berms of at least four feet in width. Berm ditches shall be constructed where necessary to prevent erosion. All drainage provisions shall be of such design as to carry surface waters to the nearest practical street, storm drain or natural watercourse approved by the Borough Manager as a safe place to deposit and receive such waters. The Borough Manager may require such drainage structures or pipes to be constructed or installed as, in his opinion, are necessary to prevent damage and to satisfactorily carry off surface waters.
The owner of any property on which an excavation or fill has been made shall maintain in good condition and repair all retaining walls, cribbing, drainage structures, fences and other protective devices.
The top or bottom edge of slopes shall be at least three feet from property or right-of-way lines of streets in order to permit the normal rounding of the edge without encroaching on the abutting property. Where walls or slopes at property lines are steeper than one to one and six feet or more in height, they shall be protected by a substantial fence three feet or more in height. Before a grading permit is issued, a bond may be required to guarantee the protection of steep slopes.
The owner of a property shall be responsible to protect and clean up lower properties of silt and debris washing from his property as a result of the regrading of his property.
In order to prevent the denuding of the landscape, wherever practicable, large trees and other natural features constituting important physical, aesthetic and economic assets to existing or impending suburban development shall be preserved.
If upon final inspection of an excavation or fill it is found that the work authorized by the grading permit has been satisfactorily completed in accordance with the requirements of this chapter and any other requirements imposed, a grading certificate covering such work and stating that the work is approved shall be issued to the permit holder by the Borough Manager.
The Borough Manager shall have the power to revoke any grading certificate whenever he finds that the work covered by the certificate has been materially extended or altered without a permit so to do, or that any retaining walls, cribbing, drainage structures, fences or other protective devices shown on the approved plans and specifications submitted with the application for a permit have not been maintained in good order and repair.
Before such revocation, the Borough Manager shall first give written notice to the permit holder and to the owner of the property involved, specifying the defective condition and stating that unless such defective condition is remedied satisfactorily, the grading certificate may be revoked. If the defective condition is remedied, the certificate shall not be revoked.
The Borough shall make diligent effort to inspect work done under this chapter. However, the Borough disclaims hereby any responsibility or liability on its part for faulty workmanship or negligence on the part of the applicant, and the granting of a permit or grading certificate hereunder shall in no manner or form be construed to mean an acceptance of said work on the part of the Borough, nor a guaranty or warranty that such work shall be performed by the applicant without negligence, defect or fault on said applicant's part.
[Added 2-2-1977 by Ord. No. 1191]
No person shall construct, enlarge, alter, repair or maintain any grading, excavation or fill or cause the same to be done contrary to or in violation of any provision of this chapter.
When written notice of a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter has been served by the Borough Manager on any person, such violation shall be discontinued immediately.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to a fine of not more than $300, plus costs of prosecution, and in default of the payment of the fine and costs, imprisonment for not more than 30 days, for each and every offense; and whenever such person shall have been notified by the Borough Manager by service of summons in a prosecution or in any other way that he is committing such violation of this chapter, each day that he shall continue such violation after such notification shall constitute a separate offense, punishable by a like fine or penalty. Such fines or penalties shall be collected as like fines or penalties are now by law collected.
[Amended 2-2-1977 by Ord. No. 1191]
In case any work is performed by any person in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, the proper officer of the Borough, in addition to other remedies, may institute in the name of the Borough any appropriate action or proceeding, whether by legal process or otherwise, to prevent such unlawful work and to restrain or abate such violation.