[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Hamilton as Ch. 170 of the 1994 Code of Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Council of the Township of Hamilton finds and determines that the unregulated and uncontrolled grading of land, relocation, filling, excavation and removal of soil on a large scale for the sale of or use other than on the premises has resulted or may result in conditions detrimental to the public safety, health and general welfare, substantially hampering and deterring the efforts of the Township of Hamilton to effectuate the general purpose of municipal planning. The Land Development Ordinance, Chapter 550 of the Code of the Township of Hamilton, specifically prohibits mining within the Township of Hamilton.
The Council of the Township of Hamilton determines that the mining of existing sand banks, sand pits, clay banks, clay pits, gravel pits or other mineral deposits may now or in the future constitute a hazard to public health, safety and welfare, and pollution of the environment and that it is, therefore, vitally important that the Township protect the interests of its citizens from dust, noise, pollution, the danger of deep pits and to conserve needed topsoil in the Township.
As used in this chapter, the following words, terms and phrases shall have the following meanings:
- ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
- The Director of Community Planning and Compliance of the Township of Hamilton, Mercer County, New Jersey.
- The legal or beneficial owner or owners of a lot or of any land proposed to be included in a proposed development, including the holder of an option or contract to purchase, or other persons having an enforceable proprietary interest in such land.
- ESTABLISHED GRADE
- The contour of the land as it exists prior to the proposed excavation or operation.
- EXCAVATE or MOVE
- To dig, remove, move, deposit, fill, grade, regrade or level the soil or otherwise alter or change the contour of land or to transport soil to or from such operation. This shall not be construed to include plowing, spading, cultivating, harrowing or any other operation usually and ordinarily associated with tilling of the soil for agricultural or horticultural purposes.
- LAND or LOT
- A designated parcel, tract or area of land established by a plat or otherwise as permitted by law and to be used, developed or built upon as a unit.
- A process involving the removal of sand, clay, soil, gravel, humus, peat and other organic or mineral materials.
- OPERATIONAL FACE
- The end of a working excavation, determined at the end of each and every workday.
- An individual, firm, association, partnership or corporation, or any group of two or more of them, or anyone acting in behalf of said person.
- PROPERTY OWNER
- The person owning fee interest or the person in whose name the legal title to the property appears by deed duly recorded in the office of the County Clerk of Mercer County, or the person in possession of the property or buildings under claim of or exercising acts of ownership over the same for himself or as the executor, administrator or guardian of the property.
- Subsoil and topsoil.
- All soil usually found lying beneath the top layer of soil, be it sand, silt, gravel, clay, boulders, stone, aggregate, dirt, other mineral deposits, or a combination of one or more of the foregoing.
- The cessation or abandonment of mining operations.
- Arable soil. Topsoil shall be a mealy loam which is comparatively free from objectionable weeds. Topsoil shall have a minimum organic content of not less than 2.75% by weight. Topsoil shall contain no stones, clumps or similar objects larger than one inch in any dimension and shall have a pH value of not less than 5.8 nor more than 6.5. The gradation of the topsoil shall consist of the following limits: sand, 40% to 80%; silt, 10% to 30%; and clay, 10% to 30%. All topsoil shall be capable of supporting vegetation.
- WOODED AREAS
- Areas containing numerous trees having attained a diameter of four inches at a height of four feet, diameter breast height, from the ground, as determined by the administrative officer.
The only materials which may be removed under this chapter are sand, gravel and soil.
No person shall conduct any nonconforming mining operation or permit any mined premises, the operation of which has been terminated, to remain in the Township of Hamilton, except as may be in conformity with the provisions of this chapter.
The following are exceptions to this chapter and shall not be construed to be operations as covered under provisions of this chapter:
On-site excavations for purposes of construction not exceeding 500 cubic yards, confined within an area of 3,600 square feet.
On-site excavation and grading for yards, sidewalks, drainage ditches, sewage disposal systems or other minor yard improvements.
New streets, roadways and driveways where regulated by other ordinances.
Excavations made by Hamilton Township, the County of Mercer or the State of New Jersey for public improvements, such as streets, highways, drainage, sewers or other similar projects. It is intended to include in this exception private contractors working under contract for any of these governmental units.
Underground utility lines within the bounds of the public right-of-way.
Excavation in connection with development approved by the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Township of Hamilton under its site plan review or subdivision approval authority; provided, however, that such excavation is necessary for the reasonable development of the approved premises.
On or before March 1 of each and every calendar year in which any person conducts or will conduct any mining, said person shall file an application and pay a fee for operation in the Township of Hamilton, such fee to be set in the manner and amount set forth herein.
License fee. Along with the application there shall be deposited with the administrative officer a license fee as set forth in Chapter 215, Fees, of the Township Code.
Permit fee. There shall be no permit fee when 500 cubic yards or less of soil are to be removed. All excavation in excess of 500 cubic yards shall carry a permit fee as set forth in Chapter 215, Fees, of the Township Code per cubic yard of material removed. This fee is in addition to the above license fee.
Said fee shall be payable to the Township quarter-annually, as follows: Soil removed during the first quarter period shall be payable in advance and shall be based upon the estimated amount of soil to be removed during the quarter, in accordance with map and other exhibits filed with the application and as determined by the Township Engineer. The initial advance payment for the first quarter shall be subject to adjustment upon determination and certification of the actual volume of soil removed for said period by the Township Engineer.
All following quarter-annual payments shall be based upon the volume of soil removed during the previous quarterly period, as determined and certified by the Township Engineer.
The applicant shall by the 10th of each month furnish the administrative officer with a certification by a licensed professional engineer of the quantity of soil removed during the previous month, said certification to be accompanied by all receipts for soil removed. Nothing in this provision is to be construed to mean that the certification so requested and furnished shall be determinative of or exclusive evidence of the quantity of soil removed. All payments after the initial quarterly payment in advance shall be due and payable upon certification. Failure to make payment in accordance with this provision shall be grounds for revocation.
For all applications concerning sites greater than 10 acres, a phasing program developed by the applicant shall be submitted to and subject to the approval of the administrative officer. Each phase shall be considered a distinct mining operation, the parameters of which are defined by area and time. Phases shall not in any way overlap. No one phase is to exceed five acres, and at no time shall work proceed in any one phase until work in all preceding phases is deemed complete by the administrative officer. A phase is deemed complete and the use terminated when final grading, site cleanup and site rehabilitation is performed per § 572-13. Consecutive phases must share at least one common boundary.
Application for a mining permit shall be filed with the administrative officer and shall be accompanied by the fee prescribed in § 572-7. Ten copies of the application shall be made, and the application shall set forth the following under oath:
The name and address of the applicant.
The name and address of the owner, if other than the applicant.
The interest of the applicant in the lands in question.
The description and location of the land in question, including the Tax Map, block and lot numbers.
The purpose or a description of the type of mining operation involved, including the material actually excavated, which is the final product of said mining operation.
The location, kind and quantity, in cubic yards, of soil to be removed during the license year; the location, kind and quantity, in cubic yards, of soil proposed to be removed over the overall life of the entire site.
The place to which the soil is to be moved and what roads within the Township are to be used to transport soil.
The proposed dates of commencement and completion of the work, said completion date in no event to exceed seven years from the date of approval of the application.
The name, address and telephone number of the person having direct charge or supervision over the soil removal operation.
A statement certified by a professional engineer shall be provided, describing equipment used directly or indirectly in the mining operation and whether or not said mining operation is conducted above or below any groundwater level.
At the time the application is filed, the applicant shall furnish 10 copies of a topographical map and cross sections of the lands in question. Both the topographic map and cross sections shall be prepared and certified by a licensed professional engineer or licensed land surveyor. The topographic map shall be prepared at a scale of not more than 100 feet to the inch with minimum contour intervals of one foot and shall show the following:
The present grades on a one-hundred-foot-grid layout.
The proposed finished grades.
The quantity, in cubic yards, of the soil to be removed.
The grades of all streets and lots within 200 feet of the property in question.
Existing floodplains, brooks, streams or bodies of water within 500 feet of the property in question.
The location and depth to water surface of any and all wells and septic systems within 1,000 feet of the site.
Proposed slopes and lateral supports.
Present and proposed surface water drainage.
All property boundaries.
Designated area for soil storage.
All man-made structures on the site and within 200 feet of the site.
All existing trees on the site with a four-inch caliper or greater.
Cross sections shall be made every 10 feet starting beyond the limits of excavation. Each cross section shall show the present grades, limits or proposed excavation and proposed finished grades.
Approvals as may be required by all federal, state, county or regional authorities, including but not limited to Soil Conservation District approval and Department of Environmental Protection approval.
Environmental impact statement, including plans for reclaiming the site as required in § 572-13. The statement should also include the following:
An inventory of existing environmental conditions at the project site and in the surrounding region, which shall describe air quality, water quality, water supply, hydrology, geology, soils, topography, vegetation, wildlife, aquatic organisms, ecology, demography, land use, aesthetics, history and archaeology; for housing, the inventory shall describe water quality, water supply, hydrology, geology, soils and topography.
A project description, which shall specify what is to be done and how it is to be done during construction and operation.
A listing of all licenses, permits or other approvals as required by law and the status of each.
An assessment of the probable impact of the project upon all topics described in Subsection M(1).
A listing of adverse environmental impacts which cannot be avoided.
Steps to be taken to minimize adverse environmental impacts during construction and operation, both at the project site and in the surrounding region.
Alternatives to all or any part of the project with reasons for their acceptability or nonacceptability.
A reference list of pertinent published information relating to the project, the project site and the surrounding region.
Soil borings. The applicant shall obtain soil borings and groundwater determinations at the rate of one for every one acre of land uniformly distributed over the site. The borings shall extend to a point at least 10 feet below the lowest proposed point of excavation. The results of the test borings shall be witnessed and certified by a licensed professional engineer and submitted with the application. The applicant shall notify the administrative officer at least 48 hours prior to his commencement of the boring, and the administrative officer or his representative shall be permitted to be present to witness the borings or verify any information obtained therefrom. The persons performing said borings shall cooperate in obtaining such additional information as the Township Engineer shall reasonably request and shall take such additional borings at the time as he may direct.
The owner of the mined premises shall notify the administrative officer in writing within 30 days of the termination of all mining operations or any phase thereof.
At such time, an as-built plan shall be provided with the information set forth in § 572-9K. In addition, the use associated with said phase or phases of the operation shall be deemed permanently terminated at that time.
Upon written request by the administrative officer, the owner of the mined premises shall file a statement under oath with the administrative officer, stating that the mining operation of a premises or portion of same has been terminated. In the event same is not filed within 30 days after delivery of said request pursuant to this section, the mining operation of said premises or portion thereof shall henceforth be deemed terminated. The said written request may be hand-delivered or mailed, certified mail, return receipt requested, to any of the following addresses: the actual address of the owner of the premises, the address appearing on the most recent information submitted to the administrative officer pursuant to § 572-9B, or to the registered agent if the owner is a corporation.
Appearance. Permitted excavations shall be operated in a neat and orderly manner, free from junk, trash, trade waste or unnecessary debris. Buildings shall be maintained in a sound condition, in good repair and appearance. Weeds shall be cut as frequently as necessary to eliminate fire and health hazards. Salvageable equipment stored in a nonoperating condition shall be suitably garaged.
Control of operations. Permitted excavations shall be operated so as to reduce dust to a minimum. Unless otherwise specified, operations shall be conducted in accordance with the following standards:
Access roads shall be maintained in a dust-free condition. In order to minimize dust, access roads shall be paved in accordance with Township specifications. Access roads shall be thusly improved to a width of 24 feet from public thoroughfares to a point not more than 100 feet from the point at which haul vehicles are being loaded. Areas used for the movement of haul vehicles and mobile equipment closer than 100 feet to the point at which haul vehicles are being loaded shall be finished with a bituminous asphalt surface at least two inches thick and a base of stone macadam designed to prevent failure of the road.
The Township shall require the operator of any mining operations to enter into an agreement whereby the operator or contractor shall repair and maintain any Township roads which suffer damage as a result of the mining operation or by its vehicles passing over Hamilton Township, county and state roads in connection with the mining operations.
Bulldozing, digging, scraping and loading of excavated materials shall be done in a manner which reduces to the minimum level possible the raising of dust.
Speed limits of vehicles used by operators shall at all times be observed. Continual violations shall be considered cause for suspension of a mining permit.
Any operable equipment stored overnight shall be rendered inoperable.
Traffic control. If more than 50 truckloads of material are to be removed from the site during any weekday and if more than 25 truckloads of material are to be removed from the site during any Saturday, the applicant is required to provide a special police officer to direct traffic at all authorized site entrances.
Noise and vibration. Noise and ground vibration shall be reduced to a minimum. To achieve this, loading points shall not be located closer than 200 feet to any property line. In addition, a berm at least 10 feet in height and landscaped shall be placed between the property line and all mining activities.
Observation well. One cased observation well will be constructed on site and extend 200 feet below grade or to the potable water supply aquifer, whichever is at a higher elevation. Samples and measurements will be taken from the well and analyzed by a certified testing laboratory prior to the issuance of the special permit and when required to demonstrate no degradation to the groundwater quality or change to the groundwater elevation. In addition, monthly samples shall be similarly taken and certified to the administrative officer to determine that water level quality is not being adversely affected by the mining operation.
Protection of streams and water-bearing strata. All permitted excavations shall be conducted in a manner so as to keep adjacent streams, percolation ponds or water-bearing strata free from undesirable obstruction, silting, contamination or pollution of any kind. To accomplish this, the following may be required and shall be documented by detailed drawings and specifications prepared by a licensed professional engineer and shall be submitted at the time of application:
Settling ponds or levees or other barrier and drainage structures in order to prevent silting of any river, creek, stream or natural or artificial drainage channel.
Levees or other devices in order to prevent flooding of excavations and lands beyond the excavations which may become subject to flooding by reason of the excavation.
No excavation below the water table.
Restricted excavation in the natural or artificial drainage channel or floodplain when such excavation may result in the deposit of silt therein.
No excavations within 500 feet of any private or public water supply wells or any disposal system.
Modification of requirements. If at any time during the excavation operation groundwater, springs or other water or drainage conditions are encountered whereby a change in the plan with respect to the proposed finished grade, drainage facilities or other changes are desired or necessary in order to not result in conditions adversely affecting the property or adjoining property owners or Township roads or county roads or other public facilities, such changes, additions or requirements as imposed by the administrative officer shall be complied with, subject to the concurrence and approval of the Township.
Finished grades. The owner or person in charge will so conduct the operations that the removal of said soil shall not be below the finished elevations shown on the approved plan. All finished grades on the premises shall be no lower than the highest elevation in the center line of any public road abutting the premises and no lower than the highest elevation at any point on the property line of the premises.
Setback of cut slopes from property lines. Unless specifically approved by the administrative officer, open cut slopes shall in no case be closer than 200 feet to any exterior property line or closer than 200 feet to any buildings or closer than 200 feet to the top of the bank of any stream channel or closer than 200 feet to the right-of-way of any street, roadway or alley which is an existing public right-of-way or Township-, county- or state-maintained road or official plan line or future width line of a county road, unless otherwise approved by the administrative officer.
All mining operations shall maintain a protective buffer zone, which shall consist of a strip of land a minimum of 25 feet in width along the perimeter of the property line and within the two-hundred-foot setback. The buffer zone shall remain undisturbed throughout the mining operation and shall include a ten-foot-high landscaped berm. Under no circumstances shall any future mining take place within 200 feet of a public road and/or below the grade of said road.
Throughout the existence of the mining operation, whenever the mining operation has a common property line with developed property in another use, there shall be installed and maintained or cultivated either:
Natural woody vegetation screens to a width of at least 25 feet along said common property line; or
A screen of evergreen shrubs or trees maintained at a height of at least six feet to a width of at least 10 feet along said common property line. Evergreen shrubs or trees shall be a minimum of five feet to six feet in height at time of planting and shall include, but not be limited to, the following plant species:
The administrative officer shall approve all items to be installed or cultivated and may submit the landscape proposal to the Environmental Commission for review.
Blasting. Blasting shall not be permitted in conjunction with any permit issued under this chapter.
Liability insurance. Every operator or owner shall deliver to the administrative officer a public liability insurance policy in limits fixed by the Township Engineer and form approved by the Township Attorney against liability arising from any such operation or activities incidental thereto during the period of such operation. The insurance policy shall name the Township of Hamilton as co-beneficiary.
Erosion on roads. The owner or operator shall construct and maintain an earth bank or berm and do whatever is necessary to prevent any erosion that may occur from being carried onto public roads and watercourses or property of others during the extent of the removal operation.
Fences. In the case of any open excavation more than 10 feet deep, there shall be a fence approved by the administrative officer with suitable lockable gates completely enclosing the portion of the property on which the excavation is located, and such fence shall be located at all points 40 feet or more distant from the edge of such excavation.
Survey monuments and setback lines. The property lines shall be adequately defined by survey monuments and easily visible markers so that requirements for keeping the excavation back from property lines can be checked by visual observation.
Bench marks. Bench marks and reference points as approved by the Township Engineer shall be established, indicating existing grades, so that amount, depth and extent of excavations can be monitored on a daily basis.
Pooled water. Except in an approved detention or retention basin, pooled water shall not be permitted to remain on the site longer than 48 hours.
There shall be stockpiled on the site the equivalent of not less than six inches of topsoil necessary as final cover over the current phase of the operation, which must be composed solely of the site's original top layer of soil or its equivalent as determined by the Township Engineer.
The administrative officer shall require that stored soil and other denuded areas be seeded according to recommendations by the Township Engineer.
The excavator shall minimize compaction of all soil intended to support plant growth.
The administrative officer shall require special soil erosion and sedimentation control measures during any period of inactive operations.
Rehabilitation of site. Before a permit is granted, a plan for rehabilitation, showing both existing and proposed final contours, shall be submitted and subject to the approval of the administrative officer. In addition, a performance guaranty shall be submitted and approved in accordance with § 572-14. After any operation the site shall be made reusable for a use permitted in the zoning district wherein the operation is situated. Where topsoil is removed, sufficient arable soil shall be set aside for retention on the premises after the operation. The area shall be brought to final grade by a layer of topsoil not less than six inches thick, capable of supporting vegetation. Fill shall be of suitable material approved by the Township Engineer.
Trees, stumps, brush, limbs, debris, trade waste or trash shall not be buried on the property, and any such material shall be removed from the property and shall promptly be suitably disposed of off the site at a properly licensed landfill or other designated site. The location of such disposal site shall be filed with the administrative officer in writing prior to such removal. The administrative officer shall specify the particular routes and roads which are to be utilized by the applicant's trucks when hauling the excavated material from and returning to the site.
As many trees as practicable shall be preserved; regrading around tree roots shall be avoided where practicable, pursuant to a plan approved by the administrative officer.
If in the judgment of the Township Engineer soil has been heavily compacted, it must be loosened to a depth of 18 inches.
Disturbance of wooded areas that may be adversely affected requires an approval of the administrative officer.
Upon termination of a mining operation, the surface of the premises shall be left in a condition which provides for adequate drainage so as to prevent water pockets or undue erosion. All grading and drainage shall be such that natural stormwater leaves the premises at the original flow rate and at the natural drainage points and that the area drained to any one point is not increased. All areas shall be adequately limed, fertilized and grass-seeded with New Jersey No. 4 grass or its equivalent approved by the Township Engineer or shall be planted with coniferous evergreens spaced approximately six feet on center and a minimum of five feet to six feet in height, provided that said planting of coniferous evergreens or grass seeding does not unreasonably interfere with the actual prospective use of said premises.
Seeding. The area of the operation shall be seeded:
Upon completion of operation; or
If the removal extends over more than one planting season (April 15 and September 15) the owner shall replace topsoil on and seed any parts of the property upon which the excavation has been completed to finished grade by each April 15 and September 15; the topsoil shall be tested by a certified testing laboratory with its recommendations to be followed as to liming, fertilizing and seeding to produce cover crop that will prevent soil erosion.
Acid soil (generally a pyrite-bearing material). In order to provide suitable conditions for growth of vegetation and to prevent the acidifying of drainage water with resultant damage and destruction to aquatic life in those areas underlain with acid formations with pH below 4.0, the following requirements shall be met:
Grading shall be such that a minimum of acid formation shall be exposed.
All exposed acid material shall be covered with a minimum of two feet of nonacid soil suitable for plant growth, including six inches of topsoil as defined herein.
Brooks and ditches with acid formation exposed shall be surfaced with trap rock or other suitable material to prevent water from flowing in contact with the acid material.
Before issuance of any permit, the owner(s) shall submit in cash an amount equal to 120% of the cost required that, in the opinion of the Township Engineer, will secure the rehabilitation of the site in accordance with the plan specified above. The form of guaranty shall be approved by the Township Attorney and shall run for the same time as the term of the special permit. In the event of default on the part of the owner or operator, the guaranty shall be used by the Township to pay the cost and expense of obtaining completion of all requirements.
The applicant and landowner shall enter into an agreement with the Township, which agreement shall embody all the requirements of this chapter and shall include, among other things, the period of time during which this permit shall be effective and the procedure to be followed for the renewal of said permit and any other matters affecting performance under this chapter. The permit shall not be transferable without the express approval of the administrative officer.
Issuance of a permit pursuant to this chapter shall confer upon the Township or its designees the right to enter upon the land and premises at any time in order to accomplish and establish the objectives, policies and procedures herein set forth.
Prohibited hours of operation shall include: all Sundays, legal holidays and hours other than specified above as determined by the granting authority.
No engines shall be started before or run after permitted hours.
Nothing herein contained shall relieve the holders of any mining permit or permits from complying with the terms and conditions of said permit or permits or an agreement pursuant to which said permit or permits were issued.
After reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard before the administrative officer, the permit of any person may be revoked or suspended for such period as the administrative officer may determine for any violation of the terms hereof or the terms and conditions of any permit granted hereunder.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to the penalties set forth in § 1-2, Violations; penalties, of the Code of the Township of Hamilton. Each day's continued violation shall be considered a separate offense.