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Borough of Little Ferry, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Editor's Note: See Chapter 16, Section 13-2, for regulations regarding the placement of soil on lots and public areas.
[1982 Code § 188-1]
The Borough Council hereby finds that the uncontrolled and unregulated excavation, filling and removal of soil has resulted and will result in conditions detrimental to the public safety, health and general welfare, deterring substantially the efforts of the Borough to promote and effectuate the general purpose of municipal planning.
[1982 Code § 188-2]
As used in this chapter:
DEVELOPER OR EXCAVATOR
Shall mean any person who, either directly or through an agent or independent contractor, engages or intends to engage in land subdivision or in the construction of two (2) or more dwelling houses, business or industrial buildings in any subdivision.
LOT
Shall mean any parcel of land or portion thereof, the boundary lines of which can be ascertained by reference to the maps and records, or either, in the office of the Borough Tax Assessor or in the office of the County Clerk. For the purpose of this chapter, a "lot" shall be so deemed to be any contiguous parcels of land under common ownership, which ownership can be ascertained by reference to the maps and records, or either, in the office of the Borough Tax Assessor or in the office of the County Clerk.
MOVE
Shall mean to dig, excavate, remove, deposit, place, fill, grade, regrade, level or otherwise alter or change the location or contour; to transport; to supply. This term shall not be construed to include plowing, spading, cultivating, harrowing or disking of soil or any other operation usually and ordinarily associated with the tilling of soil for agricultural or horticultural purposes.
OWNER
Shall mean any person seized in fee simple of any lot or having such other interest or estate therein as will permit exercise of effective possession thereof or dominion thereover.
REDISTRIBUTION
Shall mean any change or alteration in the grade of any property.
SOIL
Shall mean any earth, clay, sand, gravel, loam, humus, rock or dirt, without regard to the presence or absence therein of organic matter.
TOPSOIL
Shall mean any soil that, in its natural state, constitutes the top layer of earth and is composed of two (2%) percent or more, by weight, of organic matter and has the ability to support vegetation.
[1982 Code § 188-3]
No person, firm or corporation shall excavate or otherwise remove soil for sale or for use other than on the premises from which the soil shall be taken, except in connection with the construction or alteration of a building on such premises and excavation and grading incidental thereto, without first having procured a permit from the Planning Board of the Borough.
[1982 Code § 188-4]
a. 
Form of Application. On forms prescribed and supplied by the Planning Board, the applicant shall set forth in duplicate:
1. 
His name and address.
2. 
The description of the lands in question.
3. 
The name and address of the owner of the lands.
4. 
The purpose or reason for moving the soil and whether it will be done in connection with a proposed subdivision; if so, the date of filing the application for subdivision.
5. 
The kind and quantity in cubic yards of soil to be moved.
6. 
In case of removal, the place to which the soil is to be removed; in the case of fill to be brought in, the place from which the soil is to be brought.
7. 
The proposed dates of start and completion of the work.
8. 
A certification that he has placed or caused to be placed stakes at each corner of the lands from which soil is to be removed, and, further, that he has placed or caused to be placed grade stakes at the existing elevation points designated on the topographical map, clearly marked to indicate the soil cuts or fill.
9. 
Such other pertinent data as the Planning Board may by resolution require.
b. 
Signature and Endorsement. The application shall bear the signature of the applicant and the endorsement of the owner or owners of the lands signifying approval of the application, consent to the applicant to perform the proposed work and consent to the Borough, in the event of failure of the applicant to do so, to cause the proposed work to be completed or otherwise terminated in keeping with the purposes and objectives of this chapter.
c. 
Map. In addition to the completed application form, the applicant shall submit a topographical map prepared and certified by a licensed civil engineer and land surveyor, in duplicate, showing the following:
1. 
The dimensions of the lot and the lot and block numbers.
2. 
The present elevations of all lands on a fifty (50) foot grid layout.
3. 
The proposed grades at the points when work is completed.
4. 
The quantity in cubic yards of soil involved in the work.
5. 
The grades of all abutting streets and lots.
6. 
Proposed slopes and lateral supports.
7. 
All existing surface or subsurface water drainage conditions and provisions therefor.
8. 
The depth of top layer of arable soil over the entire area.
9. 
Such other pertinent data as the Planning Board may hereafter by resolution require.
[1982 Code § 188-5]
a. 
The application shall be submitted to the Secretary of the Planning Board with a fee to the order of the Borough of Little Ferry in an amount computed at a rate of five ($0.05) cents per cubic yard multiplied by the number of cubic yards to be removed from the site as stated in the application and certified on the topographical map; provided, however, that in no event shall the fee be less than fifty ($50.00) dollars.
b. 
There shall be no fee to the applicant for bringing soil into the Borough nor for excavating, filling, grading, regrading, leveling or in anywise moving soil about the premises. No applicant is automatically excluded from provision of Section 26-10.
[1982 Code § 188-6]
If permission to remove soil shall be granted, the owner shall so conduct the operations that there shall be no sharp declivities, pits or depressions and in such a manner that the area shall be properly leveled off, cleared of debris and graded to conform to the contour lines and grades as approved by the Planning Board of the Borough of Little Ferry.
[1982 Code § 188-7]
The Borough Engineer shall make an inspection of any site within the Borough from which soil is to be moved and shall make such engineering studies as may be required to determine the effect of the removal of soil from the location as it relates to soil erosion by water and wind, surface and subsurface water drainage, soil fertility, lateral support of abutting streets and lands, public health and safety and any other factors as may bear upon or relate to the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious physical development of the Borough. He shall also inspect the site to determine whether stakes have been placed on each corner and whether grade stakes have been placed at the existing elevation points designated on the topographical map. In the event of refusal of the soil permit, the fee paid by the applicant shall be refunded, except that all moneys and costs incurred by the Borough for engineering surveys and reports, inspection fees and legal fees shall be retained by the Borough and the balance remaining shall be refunded to the applicant, together with a statement of the costs and expenses incurred in processing the soil application.
[1982 Code § 188-8]
a. 
Decision. The Planning Board shall review and consider the application and shall render its report and recommendation to the Secretary, who shall issue or refuse the permit in accordance with the recommendation. The report and recommendation shall be made within sixty (60) days after the receipt of the application. In considering and reviewing the application, the Planning Board shall be guided by the general purpose of municipal planning and shall take into consideration the following factors:
1. 
Soil erosion by water and wind.
2. 
Surface or subsurface water drainage.
3. 
Soil fertility.
4. 
Lateral support of abutting streets and lands.
5. 
Public health and safety.
6. 
Land values and uses.
7. 
Such other factors as may bear upon or relate to the coordinated and harmonious physical development of the Borough.
b. 
Appeal. In the event of refusal, the applicant may, not later than thirty (30) days after the date of refusal, appeal to the Borough Council. The Council may by a majority vote sustain or by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of its entire membership overrule the Planning Board recommendation.
c. 
Contents of Permit.
1. 
The soil permit shall be in such form as may be prescribed by the Planning Board, signed by the Secretary and the Chairman of the Planning Board, and shall contain any special conditions set forth in the recommendation.
2. 
The soil permit shall be dated as of the date it is actually issued, and the term of the permit shall not exceed one (1) year. All permits shall automatically expire on the termination date unless application for renewal has been made and approved in writing extending the permit.
[1982 Code § 188-9]
a. 
Prohibited Activities. No person to whom a soil permit has been issued shall:
1. 
Conduct or maintain on the premises any sand, gravel or similar kind of pit; any sand or gravel washing or screening machinery or equipment; any business or industry not permitted in the district in which the premises are located and classified by the Zoning Ordinance of the Borough, as amended and supplemented; or any endeavor or enterprise other than the grading or regrading of the premises in accordance with the provisions of the permit and, where applicable, the necessary disposal of soil incidental to grading or regrading.
2. 
Conduct or maintain any soil-moving operation without having first made adequate provision by means of road oil or otherwise for the laying of dust incidental to the use of vehicles, machinery and equipment on the lands described in the soil permit.
3. 
Neglect to dispose of, on or before the completion date stated in the application, any partially or wholly excavated boulders or other noncombustible debris resulting from the soil-moving operations, by burial or removal, or any partially or wholly excavated stumps, felled or uprooted trees or other combustible debris resulting from the soil-moving operations, by removal from the premises.
4. 
Conduct any soil-moving operations beyond the expiration date as set forth in the soil permit or extended expiration date as may be granted by the Planning Board.
b. 
Storage and Replacement of Soil.
1. 
Whenever any developer or excavator shall move topsoil in or on any lot, provision shall be made for the storage of the topsoil within the boundary lines of the lot.
2. 
Except as provided, all of the topsoil so stored shall be uniformly replaced over the entire area or surface of the lot on or before the completion date set forth in the soil permit so that the final grade or grades of replaced topsoil shall be in accordance with the proposed final grades shown on the topographical map.
3. 
No developer or excavator shall remove to any point beyond the boundary lines of the lot any topsoil whatsoever unless and until topsoil not inferior in quality to that to be removed shall first have been replaced uniformly to a depth of not less than six (6) inches, measured from the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map, over the entire surface or area of the lot, excepting only such portions thereof as shall be or shall have become, since the date of filing of the topographical map, permanently covered by a building or structure, street pavement, curb, sidewalk, driveway or other paved area or by any body of water or waterway. In no event shall the developer or excavator remove from the lot more topsoil than that comprising the surplus or excess remaining after the replacement of the topsoil.
c. 
Limit on Digging Below the Final Grade. No developer or excavator shall, at any time in the course of the work, dig or excavate more than six (6) inches below the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map unless:
1. 
The soil permit specifies otherwise and the performance bond makes specific provision for replacement, on or before the completion date, of soil of sufficient quantity and kind to restore the final grades to those shown on the topographical map.
2. 
After issuance of the soil permit, the developer or excavator, before digging or excavating below the minimum level, shall apply to the Planning Board and be granted an amendment of the application and topographical map then in effect, which amendment may be granted upon such terms as the Planning Board may deem necessary to assure adherence to the purpose and objectives of this chapter.
d. 
Raising of Grade. No developer or excavator shall deposit soil upon, fill in or raise the grade of any lot without first making provision for:
1. 
The use in the work of soil or such other materials as will not result in deviation from the proposed final grades or the uniformity thereof by reason of abnormal shrinkage or settlement.
2. 
The collection and storage upon the lot of the original topsoil, to the end that the topsoil shall not be buried beneath soil or other material of inferior quality, and the uniform replacement of the topsoil so stored over the entire area or surface of the fill soil or other material so that the final grade or grades of the replaced topsoil shall be in accordance with the proposed final grades shown on the topographical map. In the event that such provision is not practicable, provision shall be made for the uniform placement over the entire area or surface of the fill soil or other material, excepting only such portions thereof as shall be or shall have become permanently covered by a building or structure, street, pavement, curb, sidewalk, driveway or other paved area or by any body of water or waterway, of a layer of topsoil not inferior in quality to that of the original topsoil, to a depth of not less than six (6) inches, measured from the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map.
[1982 Code § 188-10]
a. 
Bond Required. Before any permit or permission for soil removal may be issued, the owner or applicant may be required by the Planning Board to file with the Borough of Little Ferry a bond, in form and with surety acceptable to the Planning Board, and in such an amount as is in the opinion of the Planning Board to be sufficient to ensure the faithful performance of the work to be undertaken pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and the permission granted by the Planning Board
b. 
Application for Release of Bond. Applications for the release of any bonds posted in accordance with the terms of this chapter or the resolutions of the Planning Board shall be accompanied by an affidavit stating that the soil-moving operation has been completed in accordance with the application and all plans, maps and other data filed therewith and in accordance with all resolutions and conditions adopted by the Planning Board. The affidavit shall be executed by a licensed professional or civil engineer of the State of New Jersey.
[1982 Code § 188-11]
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect or apply to any person engaged in the moving of soil in and upon lands enrolled in the Soil Conservation Program of the Northeastern Jersey Soil Conservation District of the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service and for which lands an approved farm plan has been established by the agency, provided that all soil-moving operations in and upon such lands are performed in accordance with such approved farm plan.
[1982 Code § 188-12]
The Planning Board shall also require the applicant to deposit with the Borough such sum as shall be deemed necessary by it to cover the cost of engineering and legal expenses incurred by the Borough in connection therewith. The unused portion of any such deposit shall, upon application, be returned to the applicant upon completion of all work to be performed.
[1982 Code § 188-13]
a. 
No owner shall make or cause or permit to be made on his property any excavation of soil or rock, which excavation shall remain unfilled for more than thirty (30) days, unless the excavation is for the purpose of construction of a building for which a valid building permit has been issued.
b. 
No owner shall store on his property any soil, rock or other fill material, natural or man-made, moved from any other property for a period of more than thirty (30) days.
c. 
No owner shall store on his property for more than thirty (30) days any soil or rock excavated from his property unless the soil or rock has been excavated for the purpose of construction of a building for which a valid building permit has been issued and the soil or rock is intended for backfill upon completion of construction.
[1982 Code § 188-14]
For the purpose of administering and enforcing this chapter, any duly authorized officer, agent or employee of the Borough shall have the right to enter into and upon any lands in or upon which soil-moving operations are being conducted, to examine and inspect such lands.
[1982 Code § 188-15]
The Planning Board may waive any and all of the requirements of this chapter whenever, in its opinion, the strict application shall cause undue hardship to a property owner or applicants and the requirements, if strictly complied with, would serve no useful purpose. The Planning Board in such case shall pass a resolution setting forth the particular facts which, in its opinion, justify the waiving of any such requirements and may grant a permit upon such terms and conditions as deemed appropriate.
[1982 Code § 188-16]
Any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to the penalty stated in Chapter 1, Section 1-5.
[1982 Code § 188-17]
All Borough projects authorized and undertaken by the Mayor and Borough Council by and through any agents, servants, employees, contractor or subcontractors are specifically excluded from the provisions of this chapter.