Borough of Fox Chapel, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Any developer proposing to undertake an environmental disturbance shall meet the following minimum standards in order to minimize the adverse environmental impacts associated with the proposed disturbance in accordance with the expressed purposes of this part.
A. 
Any proposed encroachment on lakes, ponds, watercourses or floodplains shall be regulated as per the Borough of Fox Chapel Floodplain Regulations (see Chapter 350).
B. 
Waterfalls, as identified on the Fox Chapel Flood and Slope Map, shall remain undisturbed.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Said document is on file in the Borough office.
C. 
No filling, piping or diverting shall be permitted in wetlands, ponds or lakes.
D. 
Erosion, sedimentation and stormwater runoff from any property shall be controlled as per the Borough of Fox Chapel Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (Chapter 380), and the Grading and Excavating Ordinance (§ 363-19), and the Stormwater Management Ordinance (Chapter 375), and in accordance with the regulations of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). A DEP erosion and sedimentation control plan may be required for any environmental disturbance, regardless of the size of the area involved, as part of the notice of proposed environmental disturbance.
E. 
Unless supported by information satisfactory to the Borough, steep slopes and very steep slopes shall be protected as follows:
(1) 
Very steep slopes: No environmental disturbance of any kind shall be permitted on these areas, except as otherwise provided in this part.
(2) 
Steep slopes, where any portion of the steep slope contains soils identified on the Fox Chapel Borough Geological Hazard Maps[2] as having a high landslide-prone risk (i.e., those areas shaded red on said maps): No environmental disturbance of any kind shall be permitted in the steep slope areas containing the high-risk, landslide-prone soils.
[2]
Editor's Note: Said document is on file in the Borough office.
(3) 
Steep slopes, where any portion of the steep slope contains soils identified on the Fox Chapel Borough Geological Hazard Maps as having a moderate landslide-prone risk (i.e., those areas shaded yellow on said maps): Disturbances not exceeding 25% of the steep slope areas containing the moderate-risk, landslide-prone soils may be permitted, provided the applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the EAC and Council that such disturbances will not adversely impact the stability of the soils.
(4) 
The provisions of this subsection will apply to the area of the subdivision in total as well as to each individual lot in the subdivision. The disturbance contemplated by the provisions of this Subsection E(1), (2) and (3) will not be permitted if the very steep slopes are on high or moderate landslide-prone soils, except that disturbances of very steep slopes involving low and moderate landslide-prone soils may be permitted, provided the area of disturbance does not exceed 15% or 1,750 square feet. For purposes of this Subsection E(4), "adverse environmental impacts" relate only to the disturbance of the very steep slope area, not to the entire area of disturbance. The factors listed in § 363-24 shall be considered in determining whether an adverse environmental impact will occur.
(5) 
The Borough may require a geotechnical report and a certification by a registered soils engineer regarding the feasibility of the proposed environmental disturbance, the stability of the finished slopes, measures to prevent landslides, soil erosion, sedimentation, stormwater runoff and potential impacts on adjacent properties. The consultant that prepares the reports must have credentials acceptable to the Borough, and the cost of the preparation of the reports must be borne by the applicant. After consideration of the reports by the EAC and Council, Council may grant the waivers in accordance with §§ 363-24 and 363-25 of this part.
F. 
Landslide-prone soils shall be further protected, and excavations, cuts and fills shall be regulated, as per § 363-19 of this part.
G. 
Trees and forests shall be protected as follows:
(1) 
No clear-cutting of a forest shall be permitted.
(2) 
Areas of unique tree stands and identified unique trees shall be preserved.
(3) 
Disturbance to the total area of forest canopy that is at least as high and dense as that of secondary forest shall be minimized.
H. 
Disturbance of existing biological communities on the site shall be minimized, such that:
(1) 
The terrestrial area left as successional vegetation after development on high site index land shall approximate at least 50% of that before development.
(2) 
The composite existing terrestrial productivity and diversity on a site after development shall approximate at least 50% of that before development.
(3) 
Except where clearly infeasible or in conflict with other Borough objectives of higher priority, the most mature ecological community on a site after development must be as mature as that before development.
NOTE: The terms and requirements in Subsections G and H above are defined in § 363-14 of this part and explained in the Fox Chapel Borough Natural Resources Plan, June 1981, pages 95 to 131.
I. 
In addition to any other requirements set forth in this part, excavating, landfill or similar disturbance to the land surface geology in excess of 100 cubic yards shall only be permitted in accordance with the following:
(1) 
The disturbance is on a lot or parcel on which a structure currently exists.
(2) 
The disturbance is on a lot or parcel for which a building permit has been issued for the construction of a structure.
(3) 
The disturbance is directly related to the installation of and immediately adjacent to the construction of approved infrastructure improvements or is related to maintenance work on ponds, lakes or similar impoundments or is related to grading to improve stormwater control or slope stability.
(4) 
The disturbance does not relate to the establishment of borrow or fill sites, except in conjunction with and directly related to earthmoving activities approved pursuant to Subsection I(1) or (2) above.
A. 
No smoke shall be emitted from any source associated with the proposed environmental disturbance of a visible gray opacity greater than No. 1 on the Ringlemann Smoke Chart, as published by the United States Bureau of Mines.
B. 
There shall be no emission of dust, dirt, fly ash, fumes, vapors or gases which can cause any damage to human health, to animals or other wildlife, to vegetation, or to property, or which can cause any soiling or staining of persons or property at a point beyond the boundaries of the land on which the proposed environmental disturbance occurs, or which will tend to destroy or injure aquatic life.
C. 
No odorous gases or other odorous matter shall be emitted in such quantities as to be offensive beyond the boundaries of the land on which the proposed environmental disturbance occurs.
D. 
No highly flammable or explosive liquids, solids or gases shall be stored in bulk above the ground.
E. 
No materials or wastes shall be deposited upon the land in such form or manner that they may be transported off the land by natural causes or forces, nor shall any substance which can contaminate a stream or watercourse or otherwise render such stream or watercourse undesirable as a source of water supply or recreation, or which will tend to destroy or injure aquatic life, be allowed to enter any stream or watercourse.
F. 
No direct or sky-reflected glare, whether from floodlights or from high-temperature processes such as combustion or welding or otherwise, shall be visible at the lot line. There shall be no emission or transmission of heat or heated air so as to be discernible at the lot line.
G. 
The opportunities for use of solar energy shall be maximized as follows:
(1) 
The length, width and shape of blocks shall be determined with due regard to opportunities for solar energy utilization.
(2) 
The Borough shall encourage flexibility in lot layout so that the siting of structures takes maximum advantage of solar energy, e.g., the orientation of structures with their long access generally in the east-west direction, the location of buildings on warm southwest-facing slopes, and the modification of the requirement in the Borough of Fox Chapel Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (Chapter 380) regarding side lot lines at right angles to the road line.
(3) 
Roads shall be logically related to topography so that their design and layout enhance opportunities for utilization of solar energy.
(4) 
No new solid shade-making object may be placed in the solar skyspace of any point on another property at which the placement of a structure is permitted by the Zoning Ordinance (Chapter 400).
H. 
All stormwater runoff shall be managed in accordance with the provisions of the Stormwater Management Ordinance (Chapter 375).
A. 
Preconstruction protection.
(1) 
Filing.
(a) 
Upon filing of a notice of proposed environmental disturbance, the applicant shall delineate the area of disturbance by staking and marking the area with a continuous red ribbon attached to wood stakes, not trees. Each tree within that area and 25 feet beyond which is six inches in dbh (diameter at breast height) or greater shall be identified with a red ribbon, which shall be numbered and indexed in correlation with the site plan filed with the notice of proposed environmental disturbance. (The trees, contours and other topographic features shown on the site plan must be based on an actual field survey by a registered surveyor, copies of the field notes and a certification relative thereto being required.) Trees which are to be removed shall be indicated as such in the field by a second yellow ribbon and on the site plan by a clearly discernible symbol. The EAC may, with or without the advice of the Borough Arborist, require that the applicant prune and/or root-feed any specimen or unique tree in order to preserve and protect the tree(s) during construction. All red ribbons shall be removed before any trees are cut, such that only yellow ribbons will remain on the trees to be cut.
(b) 
Concurrent with the submission of the application, the applicant shall clear all woody undergrowth from the area of the proposed footprint of the construction so that the proposed footprint shall be clearly visible.
(c) 
The limits of disturbance for all other appurtenant work (driveways, utilities, etc.) must be accurately shown on the site plan and delineated on the ground with a continuous red ribbon.
(2) 
Construction.
(a) 
The site plan shall clearly delineate and dimension those areas in which building materials will be stored during construction as well as those areas where topsoil and/or fill soil will be temporarily stored. In addition, the site plan shall clearly delineate and dimension where workers' vehicles and construction equipment will be parked, as well as show any access roads to the construction site.
(b) 
No vehicles shall be parked anywhere on any lot other than on a properly constructed access road. Unless approved otherwise, access roads shall be constructed with a twelve-inch base using No. 4 stone sufficient to support the loads contemplated during construction. If in the opinion of the Building Inspector conditions warrant, a geotextile fabric shall be placed under the stone.
(c) 
All areas to be used for materials, spoil or parking shall be clearly identified on the site by acceptable signage prior to starting any earthmoving activity.
(3) 
Where grade changes are proposed, adequate measures to protect all vegetation and root systems adjacent to said grading from the adverse effects of changes to soil and drainage conditions shall be detailed with the notice of proposed land disturbance.
(4) 
No grade changes shall result in an alteration to drainage conditions which would adversely affect any vegetation, either on or off the property, which is intended to be retained following the completion of the site disturbance.
(5) 
All exposed earthen surfaces, soil stockpiles, etc., shall be immediately temporarily seeded and mulched and so maintained throughout the period of construction.
(6) 
In the event that the applicant feels that the above restrictions impose an unreasonable or impossible burden upon construction, a waiver may be requested in writing and may be granted by Borough Council if it feels that a waiver is warranted.
(7) 
Failure to comply with any of the foregoing requirements shall justify a stop-work order and/or the revocation of the building permit until all requirements are met and shall also be subject to the violation and penalty provision set forth in § 363-41 of this part.
B. 
Protection during construction.
(1) 
No topsoil shall be removed from any site unless there is a sufficient amount to provide at least four inches of topsoil cover over the entire site's exposed earth surfaces. More than four inches may be required if the Borough determines that a greater amount is needed for the long-term viability of certain plantings. (This requirement does not preclude the temporary stockpiling of soil off site, as hereinafter set forth.)
(2) 
All trees which are not proposed to be removed shall be protected by fencing which is a minimum of 48 inches in height, consisting of posts measuring at least two inches by four inches (nominal) in cross section with two one-inch by six-inch or two-inch by four-inch (nominal) continuous planks attached thereto. The fencing shall be positioned at or beyond the dripline of the tree, unless a lesser distance is approved by the EAC or the Building Inspector. No building materials, soil piles or vehicles of any type shall be permitted within the limits of the fencing (that is, beyond the limit of disturbance). The location of all such fencing shall be clearly shown and dimensioned on the site plan. No soil shall be stockpiled within the dripline of any tree six inches in dbh or greater. Where the temporary stockpiling of soil might, in the opinion of the EAC, have an adverse impact on the root system of any trees, such material must be stored off site. No earthmoving activities shall begin until the site has been inspected and approved by the Borough's Building Inspector.
(3) 
In the event that the bark of any tree shall be damaged during construction, the bark shall be cut back to a point where the bark at the edges of the injury is firmly attached to the trunk of the tree. If roots are cut during construction, they shall be immediately cleaned and covered with topsoil. In the event the bark damage shall be greater than one square foot in area or the root damage greater than 1/4 the circumference of the trunk, the injury shall be reported to the Tree Committee, which, upon the advice of the Borough Arborist, shall prescribe the remedial steps to be taken to preserve the tree so damaged. If the services of the Borough Arborist are required, the costs of the consultation and opinion shall be borne by the applicant. All excavations for utilities (i.e., service lines) shall be backfilled within 48 hours of installation and testing.
(4) 
All exposed earth surfaces shall be seeded and mulched as set forth in Subsection C(1)(a) and (b) immediately upon being disturbed.
(5) 
Failure to comply with any of the foregoing requirements shall justify the revocation of the building permit until all requirements are met and shall be subject to the penalty provisions set forth in § 363-41 of this part.
C. 
Post-construction protection.
(1) 
Topsoil removed by grading operations shall be redistributed and stabilized as quickly as possible following the completion of a project or project phase. All exposed earth surfaces shall be stabilized by the following methods or an approved equal:
(a) 
Seeding and mulching or planting on slopes of 8% or less.
(b) 
Sodding, hydroseeding or riprapping on slopes exceeding 8%.
(2) 
All construction debris shall be hauled away from the property, unless provisions are made acceptable to the Borough for the on-site disposal of such debris.
(3) 
Fences and barriers placed around woody vegetation during construction shall be removed if they could impede the growth and maintenance of such vegetation.
D. 
Other requirements. Any land disturbance activity which also requires the issuance of a building permit shall also be governed by the requirements of the Building Code. Where any conflict exists between this part and the Building Code, the more-stringent shall apply.
A. 
The Borough may require each developer proposing to do any excavation (cut or fill) to file, with his/her/its notice of proposed environmental disturbance, a report of a geological or soils engineer, registered as such with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, stating the engineer's professional opinion that the proposed excavation (including related work, such as placement of retaining walls) can be performed without risk of damage to the developer's land, any structure (including roads) existing or proposed to be constructed on that land, any adjacent land, or any structure (including roads) on adjacent land. Damage shall include loss of lateral support and any other subsurface effect of the excavation. The engineer's report shall be based upon core samples which are adequate to reveal subsurface conditions which will affect or be affected by the proposed excavation. The engineer's report shall be subject to review by the Borough Engineer, whose review and recommendation shall accompany the engineer's report when it is submitted to the EAC and Council.
B. 
Cuts shall meet the following standards:
(1) 
Cut slopes shall be permitted, provided one or more of the following conditions is satisfied:
(a) 
The material in which the excavation is to be made is sufficiently stable to sustain the proposed slope. The Borough may require a written statement, signed and sealed by a registered geological or soils engineer, certifying that the slope will have sufficient stability and that risk of creating a hazard will be slight, to be submitted with the notice of proposed environmental disturbance.
(b) 
A retaining wall or other approved support, designed and certified adequate by a registered professional engineer and approved by the Borough, is provided to support the face of excavation.
(2) 
The top and bottom edge of slopes shall generally be set back three feet from adjacent property lines or road right-of-way lines in order to permit the normal rounding of the edge without encroaching on the abutting property or road.
C. 
Fills shall meet the following standards:
(1) 
Fills shall be permitted, provided one or more of the following conditions is satisfied:
(a) 
The fill, to the satisfaction of the Borough, is located so settlement, sliding or erosion of the fill material will not result in property damage or be a hazard to adjoining property, roads or structures.
(b) 
The Borough may require a written statement, signed and sealed by a registered geological or soils engineer, certifying that he has inspected the site and that the proposed fill will not endanger any property or result in property damage, to be submitted with the notice of proposed environmental disturbance.
(2) 
No fill shall be placed over trees, stumps, brush or other material which could create a hazard. Tree limbs can be chipped and mixed with the topsoil. The applicant shall be responsible for the disposal of all vegetation to the satisfaction of the Borough. All materials used in the fill shall be nonexpansive slag, clean soil or earth.
(3) 
No fill shall be placed over landslide-prone soils. Landslide-prone soils shall be removed and properly disposed of before placement of fill.
(4) 
The top and bottom edge of slopes shall be at least three feet from adjacent property lines or road right-of-way lines in order to permit the normal rounding of the edge without encroaching on the abutting property or road.
D. 
Erosion and sedimentation shall be controlled as follows:
(1) 
The developer shall employ available measures for control of soil erosion and sedimentation during and after grading and, at a minimum, shall meet the standards and specifications of the Department of Environmental Protection as then adopted for use by the Allegheny County Conservation District.
(2) 
The developer shall be responsible for preventing any washout of silt and debris from his grading operation into adjacent properties and drainage structures. If such washout does occur, the permittee shall take necessary steps to clean out said properties and structures.
E. 
Road embankment construction and subgrade preparation shall meet these general specifications:
(1) 
Clearing and grubbing.
(a) 
The developer shall clear and grub the areas within the limits as indicated on the approved plan. This shall include removal of trees, logs, stumps, brush and all other perishable or objectionable matter.
(b) 
Stumps and major roots in cuts and under embankments three feet or less in depth shall be removed to a depth of 18 inches below the subgrade. Under embankments more than three feet deep, all trees, stumps, etc., shall be cut off level with the surface of the original ground.
(2) 
Topsoil removal. The developer shall strip topsoil from areas where the road embankment is to be constructed. This topsoil shall be kept separate from other excavated material and shall be disposed of in accordance with this part.
(3) 
Embankment construction.
(a) 
Where embankment material is to be placed on a sloping hillside, the slope shall be first benched so as to properly toe-in the embankment with the original ground. The minimum width of the benches shall be 10 feet, and an inward slope of approximately minus 2% shall be provided.
(b) 
All embankment material, other than rock, shall be placed in uniform horizontal layers of not more than eight inches in loose depth. Each layer shall be thoroughly compacted with a smooth wheel, pneumatic tire, tamping-in or other approved type roller to not less than 95% of the maximum dry density as determined by test method ASTM D 698 or AASHTO T 99.
(c) 
Shale and random material containing a substantial quantity of large fragments shall be so placed that the coarser material is in the outside portions and the finer material is in the central portions of the embankment, with as much as possible a gradual transition in size. The large fragments shall then be broken down by the use of suitable equipment until all excessive voids are filled.
(d) 
During construction, the top layer of compacted embankments shall be kept shaped and drained at all times.
(e) 
Whenever required, adequate drainage facilities shall be installed to provide for the disposition of underground seepage and surface water infiltration.
(f) 
Frozen material shall not be placed in embankments, nor shall embankment fill be placed on material frozen to a depth of three inches or more.
(g) 
Material containing moisture in excess of that percentage which will ensure satisfactory compaction shall not be placed in the embankment, nor shall embankment fill be placed on material that has become unusable due to excessive moisture.
(4) 
Subgrade preparation.
(a) 
Before any paving material (including the base course) is placed upon the subgrade, it shall be shaped to line and grade and compacted with an approved self-propelled roller weighing not less than 10 tons.
(b) 
All hollows and depressions which develop under rolling shall be filled with acceptable material and shall again be rolled. This process of shaping, rolling and filling shall be repeated until no depressions develop.
(c) 
If the subgrade becomes rutted or displaced due to any cause, the developer shall regrade same at his expense.
F. 
Retaining walls shall meet these specifications:
(1) 
A "retaining wall" is hereby defined as a structure composed of concrete, steel or other approved material constructed for the purpose of supporting a cut or filled embankment and which is more than four feet and less than or equal to six feet in height, as measured on the exposed vertical surface of the wall.
(2) 
A maximum aggregate wall height totaling 18 feet is permitted. Maximum individual wall heights must not exceed six feet in height. For purposes of this section, the aggregate wall height will be measured by the total wall height of all walls that are located within any fifty-foot cross section of the property. The cross sections are to be measured perpendicular (or radial for curves) to the property line. The wall height will be measured by considering the total constructed wall height, which is measured from the top wall cap to the bottom of the wall foundation. Any portions of the wall buried underground will still count toward the total height of the wall. The wall must be set back from any property line or right-of-way line a minimum of twice the total constructed (aggregate) wall height.
(3) 
If a retaining wall is constructed to satisfy a requirement of this part, a building permit, as may be provided for by other regulations of the Borough, shall be required.
(4) 
Retaining walls shall be constructed in accordance with sound engineering practice. The plans submitted for approval shall bear the seal of a registered professional engineer.
(5) 
In general, where a retaining wall is replacing an exposed slope, the vertical face of the wall shall be at least three feet from adjoining property. An exception to this requirement may be applied for and granted by the Borough if it can be satisfactorily demonstrated that the design of the wall shall substantially eliminate slippage and other risks to adjoining property.
G. 
Drainage provisions shall be as follows:
(1) 
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 or adjacent property affected by any change in the existing natural runoff pattern. The Borough shall require such drainage structures or pipes to be constructed or installed which are necessary to prevent erosion damage and to satisfactorily carry off surface waters. All drainage provisions shall be of such design so that the peak discharge from all stormwater outfalls on the site shall be in conformance with the Stormwater Management Ordinance (Chapter 375) and the performance standards for the stormwater management district in which the site is located.
(2) 
To prevent such damage, grading plans shall follow, at a minimum, the standards and specifications of the Department of Environmental Protection as then adopted for use by the Allegheny County Conservation District for erosion and sedimentation control. The Borough may approve methods and materials recommended by registered geological or soils engineers when they are more suitable to the site.
(3) 
Drainage facilities shall be designed as per the Borough's Stormwater Ordinance (Chapter 375).
H. 
Maintenance shall be conducted as follows:
(1) 
The owner of any property on which any grading, excavation, cut or fill has been made shall maintain in good structural condition and repair the excavation or fill permitted and also retaining walls, cribbing, drainage structures, fences, ground covers, and any other approved protective devices.
(2) 
If at any time following the completion of such work the cut face or fill slope shall evidence signs of deterioration, erosion or other evidence which might be detrimental or hazardous to public or private properties above or below the site, the Code Enforcement Officer, upon the recommendation of the Borough Engineer or the EAC, may direct the property owner to take necessary remedial steps in accordance with engineering plans approved by the Borough to restore the property to a safe condition and to do so in a reasonable period of time depending on the scope of the work involved.
I. 
Inspection.
(1) 
The developer shall notify the Borough of the start and completion of each aspect of the work. Such notice shall be given at least two working days before the start and at the time of completion of each aspect of the work.
(2) 
The Borough shall approve or disapprove that portion of the work which has been completed. If the work is disapproved, the Borough shall notify the developer wherein the same fails to comply with the provisions of this part. Where it is found by inspection that the soil or other conditions are not as stated in the engineer's report, the Inspector may refuse to approve further work until approval is obtained for a revised report conforming to the existing conditions.
(3) 
Approved plans for the work shall be maintained at the site during the progress of the work until such work has been completed and approved.
(4) 
The developer shall notify the Borough in order to obtain inspections in accordance with the following schedule:
(a) 
Initial inspection: when work is about to be commenced.
(b) 
Rough grading: when all rough grading has been completed.
(c) 
Drainage facilities: when drainage facilities are to be installed and before such facilities are backfilled.
(d) 
Special structures: when excavations are complete for retaining and crib walls and when reinforcing steel is in place and before concrete is poured.
(e) 
Final inspection: when all work, including the installation of all drainage facilities and other structures, as described in the application has been completed.
(5) 
If at any stage of the work the Borough shall determine that the nature of the formation is such that further work as authorized by an existing approval is likely to endanger any property or roads or create hazardous conditions, it may require, as a condition to allowing the work to be done, that such reasonable safety precautions be taken as it considers advisable to avoid such likelihood of damages. Safety precautions may include but shall not be limited to specifying a flatter exposed slope, construction of additional drainage facilities, berms, benching, compaction, cribbing or walls.
J. 
Safety precautions. The developer shall perform all grading, excavation, cuts and fills in accordance with all applicable safety laws and regulations of all governmental bodies.