[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of North Versailles 10-21-1985 by Ord. No. 833 (Ch. 9, Part 1, of the 1987 Code of Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 2-22-1994 by Ord. No. 923]
It shall be unlawful for any person to undertake, cause, endeavor or in any manner to excavate, drill, cut, fill and/or grade any land within the Township of North Versailles without an approved permit having first been issued by the designated permit officer or as otherwise excepted in § 160-4.
[Amended 2-22-1994 by Ord. No. 923]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The natural rock layer, hard or soft, in place at ground surface or beneath unconsolidated surface deposits.
- DESIGNATED PERMIT OFFICER
- That person authorized to issue grading and building permits; as of the date of this chapter, that person is the Building Inspector.
- To penetrate the surface of the earth with any implement whatsoever for the purpose locating, testing or removing natural gas; it shall include an activity in manner of drilling, taking cores, taking samples or penetrating the surface of the earth to remove something or test for the presence of natural gas beneath the surface of the earth. It shall not include drilling for water or taking geological core samples.
- EARTH MATERIAL
- Any rock, natural soil or fill and/or any combination thereof.
- ENGINEER, GEOLOGIST
- A person who holds a degree in geology from an accredited college or university, and who has training and experience in the field of engineering and geology.
- ENGINEER, PROFESSIONAL
- A person licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to practice engineering and who is knowledgeable in civil engineering.
- The detachment and movement of soil or rock fragments by water, wind, ice or gravity, including such processes as gravitational creep.
- The mechanical removal of earth material.
- Any act by which earth, sand, gravel, rock or any other material is deposited, placed, pushed, dumped, pulled, transported or moved to a new location and shall include the condition resulting therefrom.
- The deposition of earth material.
- GOVERNING BODY
- The Commissioners of the Township of North Versailles.
- Any excavating or filling of earth material or combination thereof.
- A danger or potential danger to life, limb or health, or an adverse effect or potential adverse effect to the safety, use or stability of property, waterways, public ways, structures, utilities and storm sewers including stream pollution. (See § 160-6.)
- Any permit required under these regulations.
- Any person, persons, partnership, business, corporation or any other legal entity.
- A lot, tract or parcel of land, or a series of lots, tracts, or parcels of land which are adjoining, where grading or filling work is being performed.
- SOILS ENGINEER
- A person registered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a professional engineer and who has training, expertise and experience in soils engineering.
- SOIL SURVEY
- The unpublished and operational soil survey for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and the accompanying text, Soil Survey Interpretations of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, as prepared by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, et al. When applicable, "Soil Survey" shall mean Soil Survey, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, when this publication is completed.
- SOLID WASTE
- All parts or combinations of ashes, garbage, refuse, radioactive material, combustible and demolition materials and industrial waste such as food processing wastes, wood, plastic, metal scrap, etc.
The following procedures shall govern the application and issuance of such permits. Applications shall be made to the designated permit officer on forms supplied by the Township. The following is the minimum information which must be set forth in each application, and the permit officer shall have absolute authority to demand and receive further information from any applicant:
Name and address of the applicant and the owner of the site where the work will be performed, and the relationship between them.
The name and address of the contractor performing the work, a copy of the contract and the total contract price.
Identification of all work to be covered by the permit for which application is made.
Plans and specifications prepared, signed and sealed by a professional engineer, surveyor or architect giving a reasonable plan of the site and proposed soil erosion controls, if any. The permit officer may waive the preparation, approval and signature by a professional engineer, surveyor or architect only when it is self-evident that the proposed work is simple, clearly shown on the plans submitted, and creates no potential nuisance or hazard to adjacent property, and does not include the construction of a fill upon which a structure may be erected. Such plans shall include a description of the site proposed for grading by giving an accurate location by lot, block, tract, street address, longitude and latitude, coordinates, a location map or other similar information; a contour map showing the present contours of the land and the proposed contours of the land after completion of the proposed grading, and a plan showing cross sections of the proposed cut or fill which show the method of benching for both cut and/or fill shall be supplied. In addition, a plot plan shall show the location of the grading, boundaries, lot lines, neighboring streets or ways, buildings, surface and subsurface utilities and waterways. In addition, plans may include a description of the type and classification of the soil from the Soil Survey or better; details and location of any proposed drainage structures and pipes, walls, and cribbing shall be set forth; seeding locations and schedules, debris basins, diversion channels shall be described and located; nature of fill material and such other information as the permit officer may need to carry out the purposes of this chapter shall be divulged. All plans shall be dated and bear the name and seal of the professional engineer who prepared the same; the name of the applicant; and the name of the owner of the land. Plans shall be submitted in triplicate, one set of which shall be of a reproducible nature.
The purpose for which the grading application is filed. The duty of the applicant to the permit officer shall be to provide information and reports from governmental agencies, and scientific and/or engineering journals, if available, and professional engineers and/or engineering geologists, if necessary. This information and these reports must be of sufficient detail to insure that the proposed grading will not create a hazard and that there will be a minimum of soil erosion on the site to be graded.
A geological report may be requested to include a detailed description of the geological conditions of the site, and include conclusions and recommendations that will demonstrate the relationship of the geological conditions to the proposed development, including hazardous conditions, water resources, mineral resources and environmental impact. A soil conservation report may be required to include existing site description as to topography, drainage, cover and soils, major resource problems as to soil limitations, erosion and sediment potential, surface runoff changes and recommendations to minimize soil limitations, erosion and sediment, and surface water disposal problems.
A separate grading permit shall be required for each site.
If there is no stated contract price for said work, the reasonably anticipated cost of said work and the total cubic yards of earth to be excavated and/or filled shall be set forth.
Any or all of the above data may be required by the permit officer; such other information as reasonably may be required by the permit officer shall be provided.
A grading permit will not be required in the following situations at the discretion of the permit officer:
Where grading is limited to mining, quarrying or stockpiling of coal, rock, sand, aggregate or clay that satisfies requirements and regulations of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Where grading is limited to solid waste disposal areas or sanitary landfills operated in accordance with the requirements, rules and ordinances adopted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Allegheny County Department of Health.
Where excavation does not exceed five feet in vertical depth, does not result in cut and/or fill slope steeper than four horizontal to one vertical and does not exceed an area of 1,000 square feet for areas recognized by the Soil Survey or better source as containing landslide-prone soils. Better sources recognizing landslide-prone soil areas may be relied upon as set forth in the Pennsylvania Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey, or by a professional engineer experienced in geology or an engineering geologist.
Where excavation does not exceed 10 feet in vertical depth, does not result in a cut or fill slope steeper than three horizontal to one vertical and does not exceed an area of 2,500 square feet in areas of soils not recognized by the Soil Survey or better as landslide-prone.
Where grading does not exceed new construction authorized by a building permit properly issued by the governing body. Grading under the authorization of a building permit should follow the standards and requirements of this chapter.
Where soil excavated under the authorization of a building permit properly issued by the governing body is temporarily stockpiled on the same site as excavation; provided, however, that if the material from such excavation is thereafter to be used for fill purposes for which a grading permit is required, such permit must be obtained prior to such use in accordance with the requirements of this chapter. In addition, if excavated material is stockpiled on a site for a period longer than 120 days, then a permit shall be necessary when disposing of the fill material.
If a fill is to be made within the Township, it must identify all sources of and the nature of all material being used to make the fill. If an excavation or cut is to be made in the Township, applicant must designate where all the material is to be deposited. If material is to be excavated and deposited within the Township, two permits are required (one for each site).
[Amended 2-22-1994 by Ord. No. 923]
Whenever the governing body, upon the recommendation of its permit officer, determines that any existing or proposed excavation, embankment or fill has or may become a hazard, the owner of the property upon which the excavation, embankment, or fill is located, or other person or agent in control of said property, upon receipt of notice in writing from the permit officer, shall within the reasonable period specified therein repair, reconstruct or remove such excavation, embankment, or fill so as to eliminate the hazard.
If after such notification, the property owner has not made the necessary repairs within the time adopted, then the governing body may direct government employees to make the required repairs and the cost thereof shall be borne by the property owner by suit and/or lien filed as provided by law.
In determining whether a hazard may endanger property, streets or alleys, or create hazardous conditions, the permit officer shall give due consideration to possible saturation by rains, earth movements, runoff surface waters and subsurface conditions such as the stratification and faulting of rock, aquifers, springs and the nature and type of the soil, rock and fill material.
Whenever the permit officer determines in his sole discretion that any danger, nuisance or hazard exists by virtue of the operations being undertaken pursuant to this chapter, he shall have authority to stop the work being done. This shall include but not be limited to accumulations of dirt and mud or other substances on streets, any windblown or airborne substances, or a nuisance in any manner in and about a work site. The permit officer shall have the authority to inspect and determine the existence of dangerous, noxious or nuisances and shall have the authority to abate the same and order the work to discontinue until appropriate precautions are made.
[Amended 2-22-1994 by Ord. No. 923]
The permit officer shall issue a permit after he has determined that the proposed work meets all the applicable rules and regulations of this chapter, all other Township ordinances and any other applicable governmental regulations, if any. If, however, the permit officer has reason to believe that the area to be excavated or filled is a slide-prone area or has reason to believe that a slide may be precipitated by the work described in the application, the permit officer may demand that the applicant provide an evaluation by a soils mechanic engineer together with plans of operation. The Building Officer shall further have the authority at any time during which work is being performed pursuant to this chapter to order the cessation of all work in the event that information comes to the attention of the Officer that a landslide may be caused by the work being performed. The permit officer shall have sole discretion to define and delineate the scope and duration of any project and thus limit duration and scope of any permit. The permit officer may divide the proposed project into as many segments and permits as he sees fit in his sole discretion and to prescribe and mandate that a permit be obtained for each and every segment or area where work is to be performed.
After the issuance of a permit by the permit officer, no changes of any kind shall be made to the application, permit, or any of the plans, specifications or other documents submitted with the application without the written approval of the permit officer.
In addition to the permit, the permit officer shall issue a placard which shall be displayed on the premises during the time when work is in progress. This placard shall show the number of the permit and the date of its issuance and shall be signed by the permit officer.
Before issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall post a bond, corporate surety, or other approved security in the amount of 10% of the estimated cost of the grading work and erosion control facilities proposed in the permit to guarantee said work and facilities in a satisfactory manner and meeting the requirements of this chapter. No bond shall be required if another bond or other approved security is posted for construction and/or site improvements. The amount of the bond shall be determined in the sole discretion of the permit officer. When all requirements of this permit have been met and the work has been completed in a satisfactory manner, the full amount of security shall be returned to the person posting said security. This bond shall also be to guarantee that there is no damage to public roadways within the Township due to weight limitations or to any other conduct of the moving fill.
[Amended 2-22-1994 by Ord. No. 923]
The proposed work shall begin within three months after the date of issuance of the permit or the same shall automatically expire unless an extension is granted in writing by the permit officer. If at any time there is a continuous three-month period where no work is done on the work site, then the permit shall be deemed to have expired.
All work to be done under such permit shall be completed within one year from the time when the permit is granted. No permit shall be valid for more than a one-year period. If any work is to performed or desired to be performed beyond that period of time, then a new permit must be obtained.
During the permitted work period, the permit officer, his representative or other authorized Township official may inspect the premises to determine that the work is progressing in compliance with the information provided on the permit application and with all applicable municipal laws and ordinances. In the event the permit officer discovers that the work does not comply with the permit application or with all applicable laws and ordinances, or that there has been a false statement or a misrepresentation by any applicant, the permit officer may revoke the permit.
If at any time during the construction of the work, the permit officer has cause to believe that the applicant or anybody performing work pursuant to the application permit is causing damage, he shall have the absolute right to cause the cessation of work.
[Amended 2-22-1994 by Ord. No. 923]
Hereinafter, the Township Board of Commissioners shall have the absolute right to set and reset fees and charges by simple resolution, following advertisement in accordance with the law.
The permit officer in his sole discretion may request site inspections by the Township Engineer. On each occasion the applicant must pay an inspection fee of $50 to the Township of North Versailles. In default of payment for five days of demand, the permit officer may revoke the permit.
Any person aggrieved by any action of the permit officer may appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board. Such appeal must be filed, in writing, within 30 days after the determination by the permit officer. Upon receipt of such appeal, the Zoning Hearing Board shall set a time and place not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days for the purpose of hearing the appeal. Notice of the time and place of the hearing of the appeal shall be given to all parties at which time they may appear and be heard.
When the requirements of this chapter for obtaining a permit have been met, the permit officer shall approve the proposed plan and grant a grading permit to the applicant. Approved work may then start.
Maximum slope steepness of a cut should be three horizontal to one vertical for minimizing erosion and landslide hazard. However, a governmental review agency, professional engineer or engineering geologist may recognize the types of soil on the site to be graded from the Soil Survey or better. Maximum slopes can then be redetermined as follows:
Landslide-prone soils with slopes greater than 25% shall have cut slopes no steeper than three horizontal to one vertical. Soil Survey Map are:
Landslide-prone soils where slopes are less than 25% shall have cut slopes no steeper than two horizontal to one vertical. Soil Survey Map symbols are:
Soils which are not or have a low probability of being landslide-prone shall have a slope no steeper than 1 1/2 horizontal to one vertical. All Soil Survey Map symbols except the symbols listed above denote soils of low landslide probability.
Cut slopes which are steeper than those specified above may be allowed under a grading permit, provided one or both of the following is satisfied:
The material in which the excavation is made is sufficiently stable to sustain a slope steeper than the slope specified above for recognized soil conditions on the site. A written statement, signed and sealed by a registered professional engineer, stating that the steeper slope will have sufficient stability and that risk of creating a hazard will be slight, must be submitted to the permit officer.
A retaining wall or other approved support, designed by a professional engineer and approved by the permit officer, is provided to support the toe and face of excavation.
The top or bottom edge of slopes shall generally be set back from adjacent property lines or street right-of-way lines in order to permit the normal rounding of the edge without encroaching on the abutting property or street.
Guidelines for cuts in the Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, shall be followed. One or a combination of guidelines should be used to minimize hazard, depending on site conditions and proposed grading.
No fill shall be placed over trees, stumps or other material which could create a hazard. Instead, such materials may be buried in natural ground where no structures will be built or hazard created. Limbs can be chipped and mixed with the topsoil.
All fills should be compacted to provide stability of fill material and to prevent undesirable settlement or slippage.
Clean soil or earth should be placed over the top and exposed surfaces of the fill to a depth sufficient to conceal all materials used in the fill other than clean soil or earth. If the filling operation is intermittent, the top and exposed surfaces of the fill should be so covered at the completion of each lift.
Guidelines for minimizing erosion and sediment in the Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, should be followed. One or a combination of guidelines shall be used to minimize hazard, depending on site conditions and proposed grading; however, the administrator may approve grading plans not meeting guidelines of the Handbook if proposed grading will not constitute a hazard. Governmental and/or engineering reports should be used as evidence that proposed grading will not constitute a hazard.
Definition of retaining wall: A structure composed of concrete, steel or other approved building material constructed for the purpose of supporting a cut or filled embankment which would otherwise not comply with the requirements of the standards set forth in this chapter, and which is more than four feet in height as measured on the exposed vertical surface of the wall.
If a retaining wall is constructed to satisfy a requirement of this chapter, a building permit, as provided by other municipal regulations, shall not be required. The grading permit will apply to the retaining wall, and the requirements for inspection, etc., as stated herein will govern.
Retaining walls must be constructed in accordance with sound engineering practices. The plans submitted for approval shall bear the seal of a professional engineer.
The backfilling of retaining walls and the insertion of subterranean drainage facilities shall be done strictly in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and appropriate municipal specifications.
In general, where a wall is replacing an exposed slope, the vertical face of the wall shall be three feet back from the adjoining property.
A special exception to this requirement may be applied for and granted by the permit officer if it can he satisfactorily demonstrated that such a variance is necessary to insure normal use of the property, i.e., for a sideline driveway.
Compliance with this section may also be excused when the proposed retaining wall is a joint venture between adjacent property owners, and appropriate documents so stating are filed with the application for the permit.
To prevent damage, grading plans should follow vegetative control methods and ditch and conduit control methods set forth in the Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The permit officer may approve methods and materials recommended by governmental agencies and professional engineers when they are more suitable to the site in preventing damage. Drainage facilities shall be designed to accommodate the largest size storm that would occur on the average of every 20 years.
The owner, occupier or controller of any property on which an excavation or fill has been made shall maintain in good condition and repair the excavation or fill, all retaining walls, cribbing, drainage structures, fences, ground cover, and any other protective devices as may be a part of the permit requirements.
If, at any time subsequent to the completion of the grading work, the cut face or fill slope shall evidence signs of deterioration, erosion, or other evidence which might be detrimental to the properties above and below the grading site, the permit officer may direct the property owner or applicant to take necessary remedial steps in accordance with sound engineering practice to restore the grading to a safe condition, and to do so in a reasonable period of time.
Neither the issuance of a permit under the provisions of this chapter nor the compliance with the provisions herein with any condition imposed by the permit officer hereunder shall relieve any person from any responsibility for damage to persons or property resulting therefrom, or as otherwise imposed by law, nor impose any liability upon the Township of North Versailles for damages to persons or property.
[Amended 11-16-1987 by Ord. No. 857; 8-15-1988 by Ord. No. 867]
Any person who fails to comply with any or all of the requirements or provisions of this chapter or who fails or refuses to comply with any notice, order or direction of the permit officer or any other authorized employee of the Township shall be guilty of an offense, and, upon conviction, shall pay a fine to the Township of North Versailles of not less than $25, but no more than $1,000; and/or such person shall be imprisoned in the county prison for a period not to exceed 30 days. Each day during which any violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense. In addition to the above remedies, all other actions are hereby reserved, including an action in equity for the proper enforcement of this chapter. The imposition of a fine or penalty for any violation of, or noncompliance with, this chapter shall not excuse the violation or noncompliance or permit it to continue; and all persons shall be required to correct or remedy such violations and noncompliance within a reasonable time. Any excavation, filling, and/or grading not in compliance with this chapter may be declared by the Board of Commissioners to be a public nuisance and abatable as such.