[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Woolwich 6-18-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-10. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Environmental Commission — See Ch. 16.
Building construction — See Ch. 68.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 103.
Grading plans — See Ch. 109.
Site plan review — See Ch. 149.
Soil removal — See Ch. 153.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 157.
Steep slopes — See Ch. 158.
Street excavations — See Ch. 159.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 163.
Topsoil — See Ch. 173.
Zoning — See Ch. 203.
The purpose of this chapter is to designate riparian zones and to provide for land use regulation therein in order to protect the streams, lakes, and other surface water bodies of Woolwich Township and to comply with N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.25(g)3, which requires municipalities to adopt an ordinance that prevents new disturbance for projects or activities in riparian zones as described herein. Compliance with the riparian zone requirements of this chapter does not constitute compliance with the riparian zone or buffer requirements imposed under any other federal, state or local statute, regulation or ordinance. Further, nothing contained in this chapter shall supersede the protections afforded to landowners under the state's Right to Farm Act (N.J.S.A. 4:1C-1 et seq.) and the Township's Right To Farm Ordinance (§ 203-18 of the Woolwich Township Municipal Code).
The definitions of the words and/or terms utilized in this chapter shall be as defined or described in the Water Quality Management Planning Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:15, the Stormwater Management Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:8, and/or the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13, as they exist as of the effective date of this chapter and as they may be amended over time. The following definitions are exactly as the NJDEP defines them as of the date of this chapter:
- ACID-PRODUCING SOILS
- Soils that contain geologic deposits of iron sulfide minerals (pyrite and marcasite) which, when exposed to oxygen from the air or from the surface waters, oxidize to produce sulfuric acid. Acid-producing soils, upon excavation, generally have a pH of 4.0 or lower. After exposure to oxygen, these soils generally have a pH of 3.0 or lower. Information regarding the location of acid-producing soils in New Jersey can be obtained from local Soil Conservation District offices.
- A person, corporation, government body or other legal entity applying to the Planning Board, Board of Adjustment or the Construction Office proposing to engage in an activity that is regulated by the provisions of this chapter and that would be located in whole or in part within a regulated riparian zone.
- CATEGORY ONE WATERS or C1 WATERS
- Shall have the meaning ascribed to this term by the Surface Water Quality Standards, N.J.A.C. 7:9B, for the purpose of implementing the antidegradation policies set forth in those standards, for protection from measurable changes in water quality characteristics because of their clarity, color, scenic setting and other characteristics of aesthetic value, exceptional ecological significance, exceptional recreational significance, exceptional water supply significance, or exceptional fisheries resources.
- The placement of impervious surface, the exposure or movement of soil or bedrock, or the clearing, cutting or removing of vegetation.
- INTERMITTENT STREAM
- A surface water body with definite bed and banks in which there is not a permanent flow of water and which is shown on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Geographic Information System (GIS) hydrography coverage or, in the case of a special water resource protection area (SWRPA) pursuant to the Stormwater Management Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:8-5.5(h), C1 waters as shown on the USGS Quadrangle Map or in the County Soil Surveys.
- LAKE, POND or RESERVOIR
- Any surface water body, shown on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Geographic Information System (GIS) hydrography coverage or, in the case of a special water resource protection area (SWRPA) pursuant to the Stormwater Management Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:8-5.5(h), C1 waters as shown on the USGS Quadrangle Map or in the County Soil Surveys, that is an impoundment, whether naturally occurring or created in whole or in part by the building of structures for the retention of surface water. This excludes sedimentation control and stormwater retention/detention basins and ponds designed for treatment of wastewater.
- PERENNIAL STREAM
- A surface water body that flows continuously throughout the year in most years and is shown on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Geographic Information System (GIS) hydrography coverage or, in the case of a special water resource protection area (SWRPA) pursuant to the Stormwater Management Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:8-5.5(h), C1 waters shown on the USGS Quadrangle Map or in the County Soil Surveys.
- RIPARIAN ZONE
- The land and vegetation within and directly adjacent to all surface water bodies, including, but not limited to, lakes, ponds, reservoirs, perennial and intermittent streams, up to and including their point of origin, such as seeps and springs, as shown on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's GIS hydrography coverage or, in the case of a special water resource protection area (SWRPA) pursuant to the Stormwater Management Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:8-5.5(h), C1 waters as shown on the USGS Quadrangle Map or in the County Soil Surveys. There is no riparian zone along the Atlantic Ocean or along any man-made lagoon or oceanfront barrier island, spit or peninsula.
- SPECIAL WATER RESOURCE PROTECTION AREA or SWRPA
- A three-hundred-foot area provided on each side of a surface water body designated as a C1 water or tributary to a C1 water that is a perennial stream, intermittent stream, lake, pond or reservoir, as defined herein and shown on the USGS Quadrangle Map or in the County Soil Surveys, within the associated HUC 14 drainage, pursuant to the Stormwater Management Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:8-5.5(h).
- SURFACE WATER BODY(IES)
- Any perennial stream, intermittent stream, lake, pond or reservoir, as defined herein; in addition, any regulated water under the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:13-2.2, or state open waters identified in a letter of interpretation issued under the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:5C-5.1, and any subsequent amendments thereto.
- THREATENED OR ENDANGERED SPECIES
- A species identified pursuant to the Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act, N.J.S.A. 23:2A-1 et seq., the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq., or the Endangered Plant Species List, N.J.A.C. 7:5C-5.1, and any subsequent amendments thereto.
- TROUT MAINTENANCE WATER
- A section of water identified as trout production in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Surface Water Quality Standards at N.J.A.C. 7:9B.
Except as provided in §§ 145-4 and 145-5 below, riparian zones adjacent to all surface water bodies shall be protected from avoidable disturbance and shall be delineated as follows:
The riparian zone shall be 300 feet wide along both sides of any Category One water (C1 water) and all upstream tributaries situated within the same HUC 14 watershed.
The riparian zone shall be 150 feet wide along both sides of the following waters not designated as C1 waters:
Any trout production water and all upstream waters (including tributaries);
Any trout maintenance water and all upstream waters (including tributaries) within one linear mile as measured along the length of the regulated water;
Any segment of water flowing through an area that contains a documented habitat for a threatened or endangered species of plant or animal, which is critically dependant on the surface water body for survival, and all upstream waters (including tributaries) within one linear mile as measured along the length of the regulated water; and
Any segment of water flowing through an area that contains acid-producing soils.
For all other surface water bodies, a riparian zone of 50 feet wide shall be maintained along both sides of the water.
If a discernible bank is not present along a surface water body, the portion of the riparian zone outside the surface water body is measured landward as follows:
Along a linear fluvial or tidal water, such as a stream, the riparian zone is measured landward of the feature's center line.
Along a nonlinear fluvial water, such as a lake or pond, the riparian zone is measured landward of the normal water surface limit.
Along a nonlinear tidal water, such as a bay or inlet, the riparian zone is measured landward of the mean high-water line.
Along an amorphously shaped feature such as a wetland complex, through which water flows but which lacks a discernible channel, the riparian zone is measured landward of the feature's center line.
The applicant or designated representative shall be responsible for the initial determination of the presence of a riparian zone on a site and for identifying the area of the riparian zone on any plan submitted to Woolwich Township in conjunction with an application for a construction permit, subdivision, land development or other improvement that requires plan submissions or permits. This initial determination shall be subject to review and approval by the Municipal Engineer, governing body or its appointed representative and, where required by state regulation, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
To the extent allowed by the Stormwater Management Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:8) and the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:13), new disturbances for projects or activities in the riparian zone established by this chapter may be allowed through the Zoning Board Component of Woolwich Township's Joint Land Use Board review and approval of a variance, provided the disturbance is proposed to be located on a preexisting lot (existing as of the effective date of this chapter) when there is insufficient room outside the riparian zone for the proposed use otherwise permitted by the underlying zoning; there is no other reasonable or prudent alternative to placement in the riparian zone, including obtaining variances from setback or other requirements that would allow conformance with the riparian zone requirements; and upon proof, by virtue of submission of appropriate maps, drawings, reports and testimony, that the disturbance is:
Necessary to protect public health, safety or welfare;
To provide an environmental benefit;
To prevent extraordinary hardship on the property owner peculiar to the property; or
To prevent extraordinary hardship, provided the hardship was not created by the property owner, by not allowing a minimum economically viable use of the property based upon reasonable investment.
To the extent allowed under the Stormwater Management Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:8) and the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:13), and subject to review and approval by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to the extent required by those rules, the following disturbances for projects or activities in the riparian zone established by this chapter are allowed:
Redevelopment within the limits of existing impervious surfaces.
Linear development with no feasible alternative route.
Disturbance that is in accordance with the stream corridor restoration or stream bank stabilization plan or project approved by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Disturbance necessary to provide for public pedestrian access or water-dependent recreation that meets the requirements of the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7a, the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13, or the Coastal Zone Management Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7E.
Disturbance with no feasible alternative required for the remediation of hazardous substances performed with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection or federal oversight pursuant to the Spill Compensation and Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11a et seq., or the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq.
Normal farming, horticulture, silviculture, and ranching activities, including but not limited to: plowing, seeding, cultivating, and harvesting for the production of food and fiber, or soil and water conservation practices, when part of an established and/or ongoing farming, horticulture, silviculture, or ranching operation, on properties which have received or are eligible for a farmland assessment under the New Jersey Farmland Assessment Act, N.J.S.A. 54:4-23.1 et seq.
Any party aggrieved by the location of the riparian zone boundary determination under this chapter may appeal to the Township Engineer and/or Zoning Officer under the provisions of this chapter. The party contesting the location of the riparian zone boundary shall have the burden of proof in case of any such appeal.
Any party aggrieved by a determination or decision of the Township Engineer and/or Zoning Officer under this chapter may appeal to the Township Committee of Woolwich. The party contesting the determination or decision shall have the burden of proof in case of any such appeal.
Conflicts. All other ordinances, parts of ordinances or other local requirements that are inconsistent or in conflict with this chapter are herby superseded to the extent of any inconsistency or conflict, and the provisions of this chapter shall apply.
Interpretation. This chapter shall be so construed as not to conflict with any provision of New Jersey or federal law.
Notwithstanding that any provision of this chapter is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, all remaining provisions of the chapter shall continue to be of full force and effect.
The provisions of this chapter shall be cumulative with, and not in substitution for, all other applicable zoning, planning and land use regulations.
A prompt investigation shall be made by the Township Engineer and/or Zoning Officer of any person or entity believed to be in violation hereof. If, upon inspection, a condition which is in violation of this chapter is discovered, a civil action in the Special Part of the Superior Court, or in the Superior Court, if the primary relief sought is injunctive or if penalties may exceed the jurisdictional limit of the Special Civil Part, by the filing and serving of appropriate process. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to preclude the right of Woolwich Township, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 26:3A2-25, to initiate legal proceedings hereunder in Municipal Court. The violation of any section or subsection of this chapter shall constitute a separate and distinct offense independent of the violation of any other section or subsection or of any order issued pursuant to this chapter. Each day a violation continues shall be considered a separate offense, and the fine shall be up to $1,000 maximum.
This chapter shall take effect upon final adoption and publication in accordance with the law on the date it is filed with the County Planning Board after adoption.