Questions about eCode360? Municipal users Join us daily between 12pm and 1pm EDT to get answers and other tips!
Borough of Liberty, PA
Allegheny County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 101]
1. 
Title. This Part shall be known and may be cited as the "Grading Ordinance."
2. 
Purpose. The purpose of this Part is to provide minimum standards to safeguard persons, to protect property and promote the public welfare by regulating and controlling the design, construction, quality of materials, use, location and maintenance of grading, excavation and fill.
3. 
Definitions. Wherever used in this Part, the following words shall have the meaning indicated:
BUILDING PERMIT
A permit issued by the Building Inspector, pursuant to the provisions of the Building Code [Chapter 5, Part 1] as is then in force.
ENGINEER
The appointed Engineer of the Borough of Liberty.
EXCAVATION
Any act by which earth, sand, gravel, rock, or any other similar material is cut into, dug, quarried, uncovered, removed, displaced, relocated, or bulldozed and shall include the conditions resulting therefrom.
FILL
Any act by which earth, sand, gravel, rock or any other material is deposited, placed, pushed, dumped, pulled, transported, or moved of a new location and shall include the conditions resulting therefrom.
GRADE
The elevation of the existing ground surface at the location of any proposed excavation or fill.
GRADING
Excavation or fill or any combination thereof and shall include the conditions resulting from any excavation or fill.
GRADING PERMIT
Any permit required under § 9-103.
PERSON
A natural person but shall also include a partnership or corporation and their heirs, successors and assigns.
SITE
A lot, tract, or parcel of land, or a series of lots, tracts or parcels of land, joined together, where grading work is continuous and performed at the same time.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 102]
1. 
New grading, excavations and fills or changes, additions, repairs or alterations made to existing excavations and fills shall conform to provisions of this Part, except that this Part shall not apply to:
A. 
Work by Borough of Liberty forces in a public street, alley or in a Borough park, playground or recreation.
B. 
Mining, quarrying, excavating, processing or stock-piling of rock, sand, aggregate or clay, unless such work affects the support or safety of adjacent or contiguous property or structures.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 103]
1. 
No person shall commence or perform any grading, excavation or fill without first having obtained a grading permit from the Building Inspector on approval of the Engineer. A separate grading permit shall be required for each site. One permit may cover both an excavation and any fill made on the same site. A grading permit will not be required, however, in the following situations; but, in all other respects the provisions of this Part shall apply:
A. 
An excavation which does not exceed three feet in vertical depth at its deepest point measured from the natural ground surface or cover an area of more than 1,000 square feet. This exception shall not affect the applicability of this Part to or the requirement of a grading permit for any fill made with the material from such excavation, unless such fill is within the exception of Subsection 1B herein.
B. 
A fill which does not exceed 10 cubic yards of material on any one site and a fill which does not exceed three feet in vertical depth at its deepest point measured from the natural ground surface and does not cover an area of more than 1,000 square feet, provided that the surfaces of such fills do not have a slope at any point steeper than five horizontal to one vertical.
C. 
An excavation below finished grade for basements and footings of a building, swimming pool, or underground structure authorized by a building permit and excavation of a driveway between a building site and the street; provided, however, that a permit is required for excavation of a driveway between the building site and the street when conditions such as excessive cut or fill make such permit necessary. This exception shall not affect the applicability of this Part to or the requirement of a grading permit for any fill made with the material from such excavation unless such fill is within the exception of Subsection 1B herein. A grading permit shall not be required for the temporary stockpiling on the same site of the material from such excavation.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 104]
1. 
Every applicant for a grading permit shall file a written application therefor with the Building Inspector. Such application shall:
A. 
Describe the land on which the proposed work is to be done, by lot, block, tract or street address, or similar description which will readily identify and definitely locate the proposed work.
B. 
Be accompanied by plans and specifications prepared by a registered engineer, including: a contour map showing the present completion of the proposed grading and a plan showing cross sections of the proposed cut or fill on fifty-foot intervals which show the method of benching both cut and/or fill. However, under no circumstances shall there be less than three cross sections for each property involved under said permit: a plot plan showing the location of the grading, boundaries, lot lines, neighboring streets and alleys, building, trees over eight inches in diameter two feet above the ground, and sufficient dimensions and other data to show the location of all work; description of the type and classification of the soil; details and location of any proposed drainage structures and pipes, walls and cribbing; nature of fill material and such other information as the Engineer may require to carry out the purposes of this Part. All plans shall be dated and bear:
(1) 
The name and seal of the registered professional engineer who prepared the same.
(2) 
Name of the applicant.
(3) 
The owner of the land.
Plans shall be submitted in triplicate.
C. 
State the estimated dates of the starting and completion of the grading work.
D. 
All applicants shall state the purpose for which the grading application is filed, and sign the purpose of grading affidavit which is a part of the grading permit before said permit may issue. Grading for a purpose which is inconsistent with the allowable usage under the terms of the current zoning is strictly prohibited.
E. 
The Engineer may waive the requirement of any or all plans and specifications listed above if he finds that the information on the application is sufficient to show that the work will conform to the provisions of this Part.
F. 
Every applicant for a grading permit must file the application in triplicate, along with three copies of the plans and specifications with the Building Inspector as provided heretofore. Upon receipt of the applications and plans and specifications, the Building Inspector must transmit all three copies thereof to the Borough Engineer for his approval. If the Engineer approves the plan, he must indicate his approval by placing his stamp or seal on each of the three sets of plans and specifications. If he disapproves the plans and specifications, he must indicate his disapproval by a written statement indicating the reason for such disapproval. The Engineer then must return two copies of the approved or unapproved plans to the Building Inspector.
G. 
At the time of the issuance of the grading permit, the Building Inspector must return to the owner one set of plans and specifications. If the plans and specifications have not been approved by the Engineer, the Building Inspector must also give the applicant a copy of the Engineer's statement of disapproval. No grading permit shall be valid unless accompanied by plans and specifications containing the Engineer's stamp or seal of approval.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 105; as amended by A.O.]
1. 
Before issuing a grading permit, the Borough of Liberty Building Inspector shall collect a permit fee in an amount as established, from time to time, by resolution of Borough Council.
2. 
Before issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall post a bond, with corporate surety, or other approved security as set forth in § 9-110, Subsection 1D, in an amount of 25% of the estimated cost of the work to guarantee the completion of said work, including slope treatment and drainage, contemplated by the permit. In the event that the applicant will move or grade so much land or area that a formal agreement will be required by the Engineers of the Borough of Liberty, then said agreement will be prepared by the applicant at his own cost and expense, and must be approved as to form and content by the Solicitor of the Borough of Liberty.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 106]
Every grading permit shall expire by limitation and become null and void if the work authorized by such permit has not been commenced within six months or is not completed within one year form the date of issue, proved that the Engineer may, if the permit holder presents satisfactory evidence that unusual difficulties have prevented the work being stated or completed within the specified time limits, grant a reasonable extension of time, and, provided further, that the application for the extension of time is made before the date of expiration of the permit.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 107]
1. 
Where an excavation may, in the opinion of the Engineer, create a condition hazardous to person, by creating a dangerous condition which may be an attractive nuisance, the Engineer may require the erection of a fence prior to commencing any excavation, which fence shall be sufficient to protect children who may be attracted to the excavation.
2. 
The Council of the Borough of Liberty shall consider promptly appeals from the provisions of this Part or from the determinations of the Engineer, and Council may consider alternate methods, standards or materials proposed by the applicant. Any applicant or permit holder shall have the right to appeal to any court of competent jurisdiction from any decision or determination of the Council of the Borough of Liberty.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 108]
1. 
The Engineer shall, when requested, make the inspections hereinafter required and shall either approve that portion of the work which has been completed or notify the permit holder wherein the same fails to comply with the provisions of this Part. Where it is found by inspection that the soil or other conditions are not as stated or shown in the application, the Engineer may refuse to approve further work until approval is obtained for a revised grading plan conforming to the existing conditions.
2. 
Plans for grading work, approved by the Engineer, shall be maintained at the site during the progress of the grading work until the work has been approved.
3. 
The permit holder shall notify the Engineer in order to obtain inspections in accordance with the following schedule and such notification shall be made by the permit holder at least 24 hours before the inspection is to be made:
A. 
Initial Inspection. When work on the excavation or fill 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 and other structures has been completed.
4. 
If, at any stage of the work, the Engineer shall determine by inspection that the nature of the formation is such that further work as authorized by an existing permit is likely to endanger any property, or streets, or alleys, or create hazardous conditions, the Engineer may require, as a condition to allowing the work to be done, that such reasonable "safety precautions" be taken as the Engineer considers advisable to avoid such likelihood of danger. "Safety precautions" may include, but shall not be limited to, specifying a flatter exposed slope, construction of additional drainage facilities, berms, terracing, compaction, cribbing, walls or fences.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 109]
1. 
No excavation shall be made with a cut face steeper in slope than two horizontal to one vertical, except under one or more of the following conditions:
A. 
The excavation is located so that a line having a slope of two horizontal to one vertical and passing through any portion of the cut face will be entirely inside a line three feet inside the property lines of the property on which the excavation is made.
B. 
The material in which the excavation is made is sufficiently stable to sustain a slope of steeper than two horizontal to one vertical and a written statement of a civil engineer, licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and experienced in erosion control, to that effect is submitted to the Engineer and approved by him. The statement shall state that the site has been tested and inspected and that the deviation from the slope specified above will not result in injury to persons or damage to property.
C. 
A retaining wall or other approved support designed by a registered engineer and said design approved by the Engineer is provided to support the face of the excavation.
D. 
The Engineer may require an excavation to be made with a cut face flatter in slope than two horizontal to one vertical if he finds the material in which the excavation is to be made unusually subject to erosion, or other conditions exist which under applicable engineering practice make such flatter cut slope necessary for stability and safety.
E. 
Excavations adjacent to any footing, foundation or structure shall not extend below the angle of repose or natural slope of the soil under the nearest point of same unless such footing, foundation or structure is first properly underpinned or protected against settlement.
F. 
Before commencing any excavation which will in any way affect an adjoining property or structures thereon, the person making or causing the excavation to be made shall notify in writing the owners of adjoining buildings not less than 30 days before such excavation is to be made that the excavation is to be made. Adjoining properties and structures shall be protected as provided in the Borough of Liberty Building Code [Chapter 5, Part 1] as is then on file in the Office of the Chief Inspector, and/or as required by the Engineer.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 110]
1. 
No fill shall be made which creates any exposed surface steeper in slope than two horizontal to one vertical, except under one or more of the following conditions:
A. 
The fill, in the opinion of the Engineer, is located so that settlement, sliding or erosion of the fill material will not result in property damage or be a hazard to adjoining property, streets, alleys or buildings.
B. 
A written statement from a civil engineer, licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and experienced in erosion control, certifying that he has inspected the site and that the proposed deviation from the slope specified above will not endanger any property or result in property damage is submitted to and approved by the Engineer. The Engineer may require that the fill be constructed with an exposed surface flatter than two horizontal to one vertical if he finds that under the particular conditions such flatter surface is necessary for stability and safety. Whenever a fill is to be made of materials other than clean soil or earth, the grading permit shall be subject to the following additional limitations and requirements:
(1) 
The fill shall be completed within a reasonable length of time, the said time limit to be determined by the Engineer and to be specified on the grading permit.
(2) 
Clean soil or earth shall be placed over the top and exposed surfaces of the fill to a depth sufficient to effectively conceal all materials, other than clean soil or earth, within the fill. When the fill is other than clean soil or earth, the Engineer may require clean soil or earth to be placed over the top and exposed surfaces of the fill to a depth sufficient to conceal all materials at the end of each day's operations.
C. 
No fill of any kind shall be placed over trees, stumps or other material which would create a nuisance or be susceptible to attracting rodents, termites or other pests.
D. 
No grading permit shall be issued for the filling of materials other than clean soil or earth until a faithful performance bond in the amount of at least 10% more than the Engineer's estimated cost of adequately covering such fill with clean soil or earth has been furnished to the Borough. Such bond shall be executed by a corporate surety, as well as by the principal, and shall be subject to the approval of the Borough Solicitor as to form and content. The bond shall insure to the benefit of the Borough and be conditioned upon the faithful performance of the work required under the terms and conditions of the grading permit to the satisfaction of the Engineer. In lieu of said bond, a cash deposit in the amount may be made with Borough of Liberty Treasurer, or with a bank or trust company approved by the Borough Solicitor, which shall act as escrow agent.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 111]
1. 
In order to prevent erosion, the permittee shall be required to provide adequate ground covering of such kind and character as may be approved by the Engineer. The ground covering shall be either grass, or other approved variety of vegetation.
2. 
The permittee shall be responsible for whatever vegetation is used as ground cover until such time as such vegetation grows to full maturity.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 112]
All fills shall be compacted to provide stability of material and to prevent undesirable settlement. The fill shall be spread in a series of layers, each not exceeding 12 inches in thickness and shall be compacted by a sheepsfoot roller or other approved method after each layer is spread. The Engineer may require tests or other information if, in his opinion, the conditions or materials are such that additional information is necessary. Where fills are placed on slopes of 5% or more, benching of the surface shall be required and indicated on the cross sections.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 113]
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. Excavated slopes of more than eight feet in vertical height at slopes gradients in excess of 1 1/2 horizontal to one vertical shall have terraces or benches at their base with a width equal to 1/2 the height of the cut. The bench shall be back sloped at a grade of 5% to trap loose material and runoff water. The Engineer shall require such drainage structure 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 as to carry surface waters to the nearest practical street, storm drain, or natural watercourse approved by the Engineer as a safe place to deposit and receive such waters.
2. 
All drainage pipe and related facilities shall be designed to properly drain the maximum development of the area of which it serves. Also, all drainage other than culverts and bridges shall be designed to adequately handle all surface water during storms of an intensity of at least as great as that for a ten-year frequency storm. In cases where resulting damages will be negligible the drainage facilities may be designed for a minimum of a two-year frequency storm.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 114]
The owner of any property on which an excavation or fill has been made shall maintain in good condition and repair all retaining walls, cribbing, drainage structures, fences, ground cover, and other protective devices as established by permit and further, the continued use of said area shall be contingent upon the maintenance and upkeep, satisfactory to the Borough and subject to such further conditions as the Borough may prescribe from time to time. The certificate of completion, therefore, may, at any time, be revoked by Council upon the recommendation of the Borough Engineer that the conditions of the permit are not being observed and that conditions exist that prejudice the health, safety, and welfare of any person, persons, or property. Before such revocation, the Engineer shall first give written notice to the permit holder and to the owner of the property involved specifying the defective conditions and stating that unless such defective condition is remedied, the certificate may be revoked. If the defective condition is remedied, the certificate shall not be revoked. Such conditions shall be corrected within 30 days of notice to the owner to correct same.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 115]
1. 
The top or bottom edge of slopes shall be at least three feet from property or right-of-way lines of streets in order to permit the normal rounding of the edge without encroaching on the abutting property. A fence not less than four feet in height, or the design approved by the Chief Inspector and the Engineer, shall be placed at the top of all cuts or fill slopes in excess of 1 1/2 horizontal to one vertical. Before a grading permit is issued, a bond shall be required as provided in § 9-105 hereof, to guarantee the protection of steep slopes.
2. 
The owner of property shall be responsible to protect and clean up lower properties of silt and debris washing from his property as a result of the re-grading of his property.
3. 
In order to prevent the denuding of the landscape, wherever practicable, large trees and other natural features constituting important physical, esthetic and economic assets to existing or impending suburban development shall be preserved.
4. 
It shall be unlawful for the operator of any vehicle to operate same upon the streets, highways, alleys and pavements thereof of the Borough of Liberty with mud, dirt or other debris clinging to its wheels or undercarriage which is likely to and/or does fall upon the surfaces referred to. Vehicles used in excavation permitted by this Part shall have their wheels and undercarriages hosed or cleaned in any effective fashion before entering upon the streets, highways, alleys and pavements.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 116]
1. 
If, upon final inspection of an excavation or fill, it is found that the work authorized by the grading permit has been satisfactorily completed in accordance with the requirements of this Part, a grading certificate covering such work and stating that the work is approved shall be issued to the permit holder by the Engineer.
2. 
The Engineer shall have the power to revoke any grading certificate whenever it finds that the work covered by the certificate has been materially extended or altered, without a permit so to do, or that nay retaining walls, cribbing, drainage structures, fences, or other protective devices shown on the approved plans and specifications submitted for a permit have not been maintained in good order and repair.
3. 
Before such revocation, the Engineer shall first give written notice to the permit holder and to the owner of the property involved, specifying the defective condition and stating that unless such defective condition is remedied, the certificate may be revoked. If the defective condition is remedied, the certificate shall not be revoked. Such conditions shall be corrected within 30 days of notice to the owner to correct same. The thirty-day period shall not apply where the defective condition so created is hazardous to the health or safety or the adjoining buildings or property or to children or persons who may be on the area excavated, and in such an event, the Engineer may immediately revoke the grading permit, said grading permit to remain revoked until the defective, hazardous condition is remedied.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 117; as amended by A.O.]
1. 
No person shall construct, enlarge, alter, repair, or maintain any grading, excavation or fill, or cause the same to be done, contrary to or in violation of any provisions of this Part.
2. 
When written notice of a violation of any of the provisions of this Part has been served by the Engineer, or any person, such violation shall be discontinued immediately.
3. 
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provision of this Part, upon conviction thereof in an action brought before a magisterial district judge in the manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 plus costs and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 90 days. Each day that a violation of this Part continues or each section of this Part which shall be found to have been violated shall constitute a separate offense, and whenever such person, firm or corporation shall have been notified by the Engineer by service by summons in a prosecution or in any other say that he is committing such violation of this Part, each day that he shall continue such violation after such notification shall constitute a separate offense punishable by a like fine or penalty.
[Ord. 495, 3/20/2003, § 118]
In case any work is performed by any person in violation of any of the provisions of this Part, the proper officer of the Borough, in addition to other remedies, may institute in the name of the Borough of Liberty any appropriate action or proceeding, whether by legal process or otherwise, to prevent such unlawful work and to restrain or abate such violation.