[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Plymouth 3-18-1963 by Ord. No. 8-1963. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Plymouth Borough Strip-Mining Ordinance."
The following words and phrases used in this chapter shall have the meanings ascribed to them as herein defined:
- The hard coal mined in the northeasterly part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania commonly known as the "Anthracite Region."
- AREA OF LAND AFFECTED
- The area of land from which the overburden is removed and that is occupied by the spoil piles.
- The average number of cranes, power shovels, scrapers, bulldozers, trucks and similar pieces of earth-moving devices used on an average day of production within the previous six months.
- Includes any chemical compound or mechanical mixture, commonly used or intended for the purpose of producing an explosion, that contains any oxidizing and combustible units or other ingredients in such proportions, quantities or packing that an ignition by fire, by friction, by concussion, by percussion or by detonation of any part of the compound or mixture may cause a sudden generation of highly heated gases so that the resultant gaseous pressures are capable of producing destructive effects on contiguous objects or of destroying life or limb.
- The surface of the land upon which open-pit or strip-mining is conducted.
- The person, firm, corporation or partnership in which the legal title to the land affected by open-pit mining is vested.
- The pit or pits located upon a single tract of land or a continuous pit embracing or extending upon two or more contiguous tracts of land, but in no event for the purposes of administering this chapter shall such tract or tracts exceed 10 acres.
- A person, partnership, association or corporation engaged in strip-mining of anthracite coal as a principal or as lessor or lessee of the real estate where such activity takes place or who or which is or becomes the owner of the coal recovered as the result of such strip-mining.
- The method of transporting coal to and from a deep mine by means of and through an access not vertical to such deep mine.
- STRIP-MINING or OPEN-PIT MINING
- The recovery of anthracite coal by exposing the coal seam by removing the overlying strata, and also the reclamation or recovery of any coal.
- STRIPPING PIT
- Any trench, cut, hole or pit formed by the removal of the surface or coal as a result of strip-mining.
- That no coal has been produced or over-burden removed from any stripping pit or pits on any operation or operations for a period of more than 60 days.
- A single parcel of land or two or more contiguous parcels of land with common ownership, but in no event and for the purposes of administering this chapter, shall such "tract" or "tracts" exceed 10 acres.
No person, firm or corporation shall carry on any strip-mining operation, or what is commonly known as "open-pit mining," within the corporate boundaries of the Borough of Plymouth without complying with the prerequisites and regulations as hereinafter set forth and without first obtaining a permit therefor from the Borough Council of the Borough of Plymouth.
Any person, firm or corporation desiring a permit shall file with the Secretary of the Borough of Plymouth the following prerequisites and agree, by letter, that he or it will comply with the regulations hereinafter mentioned. If said prerequisites are complied with, and the letter agreeing to comply with all regulations as hereinafter specified is submitted, then a permit shall be issued by the Council.
The applicant shall submit a land map which will be drawn on a scale of not less than 100 feet to the inch, showing a cross-section at 100-foot intervals of the area of land to be affected.
Each map shall show the following:
The boundary line or lines of the tract or tracts of land concerned; the names of the owners of the surface and coal of each tract; the name of the operator; the name of the operation; the name or names of the coal seam or seams; the names of adjacent landowners; the names of the pertinent counties, townships, municipalities and, if in a township, the nearest municipality; the county, township and municipality boundary lines; the location of all highways, roads, streams of water and the drainage area above and below the area affected; the natural or artificial bodies of water, pipelines and all buildings, railroads, utility lines, cemeteries and public recreational areas on or adjacent to the tract or tracts of land concerned.
The name of the engineer or surveyor who prepared the map, the scale of the map, the North line, the most recent date of revision of the map and the results of test borings which the operator has conducted at the site of the proposed operations, and shall include the nature and depth of the over-burden, the thickness of the coal seam, the contour of the coal seam, a complete analysis of the coal seam, the crop line of the coal seam and the location of the test boring holes.
The maps shall be prepared from date obtained from land surveys; provided, however, that the maps may be prepared from data obtained from aerial surveys if the aerial survey work is conducted in a manner approved by the Department of Mines and Mineral Industries. Each map shall be certified by a registered professional engineer or a registered surveyor.
The applicant shall submit a bond in the sum of $3,000 per acre based upon the number of acres which the operator estimates as included in the area of land affected by the open-pit or strip-mining operation, provided that no bond shall be filed for less than $30,000. Said bond shall be filed with the Secretary of the Borough of Plymouth and conditioned on saving the Borough of Plymouth and its officials from any and all claims, suits or demands caused by the blasting and, further, to guarantee the backfilling of the area of land affected in any operation or operations to the original contour.
After an operator has completed the removal of coal from an operation or has suspended coal production, the operator shall immediately backfill and re-level the operation to original contour: there shall be no depression to accumulate water. The equipment shall not be removed from the operation until the backfilling is completed. After backfilling and re-leveling to original contour the area of land affected in any operation or operations, the operator shall plant trees, shrubs and grasses thereon in accordance with a plan prepared by the operator and landowner and approved by the Plymouth Borough Council. All backfilling, re-leveling and planting of the area of land affected in any operation or operations shall be completed within six months after the work in any operation or operations has been suspended or completed. Whenever reasonable and practicable, the Plymouth Borough Council shall require backfilling and planting of any and all operations as the open-pit mining progresses. An operator may, with the written approval of the landowner, propose alternative plans for reclamation wherein the land can be used for suitable purposes not detrimental to the public safety, health and general welfare, and if such plans are approved by the Plymouth Borough Council and complied with within the time limits herein prescribed for backfilling and planting, the backfilling and planting requirements may be waived by the Plymouth Borough Council. When the backfilling, leveling and planting have been completed and are found by the Plymouth Borough Council to have been done in the manner prescribed, the Plymouth Borough Council shall release the bond.
No removal of coal from an open-pit stripping, nor from a slope adjacent to or within the area affected in any operation or operations, will be allowed whatsoever if such open-pit stripping or slope is within 2,000 feet of any dwelling, church, business establishment, industrial plant or land used for recreation.
A certificate of insurance with limits of $100,000 for personal injuries and $300,000 for property damage shall be filed with the Secretary of the Borough of Plymouth for the benefit of all persons who might be injured or suffer property damage as a result of said strip-mining operations.
All blasting, firing or setting off of any explosives whatsoever shall be done in the daytime between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Sundays and holidays excluded.
In the event that the present supervision of blasting operations, which is being conducted pursuant to an injunction filed to No. 4, May term, 1962, in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, is dissolved, then in that event, where it becomes necessary to blast anthracite coal only, then permission must be obtained in advance and arrangements made by the Building Inspector or Fire Chief of the Borough of Plymouth to supervise said blasting of anthracite coal. Blasting of coal by use of small explosives can be done only by first advising the Building Inspector or Fire Chief to arrange to be present and set a safe time for the conduction of the same. The following regulations and methods will govern the blasting of anthracite coal. The high explosive factor should not exceed 1/3 of a pound of explosives per ton of anthracite coal. Said explosive should be properly primed and stemmed or tamped with clay or sand in order to properly harness and control said blast. The total blast shall not exceed any total used in the primary shooting. In addition to said Building Inspector or Fire Chief, said blasts shall be set up by a representative of a major powder company.
The applicant shall supply the Borough of Plymouth with a letter from a representative of a major powder company which states that the firing or setting off of any and all explosives would be done under the supervision of a qualified representative.
In the event that the present supervision of blasting operations, which is being conducted pursuant to an injunction filed to No. 4, May term, 1962, in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, is dissolved, then in that event the Fire Chief of the Department of Fire of the Borough of Plymouth or the Building Inspector of the Borough of Plymouth will supervise the blasting, firing or setting off of any and all explosives.
The applicant shall furnish a full-time special guard on a twenty-four-hour basis for the additional safety and protection of persons and property in the immediate vicinity of said strip-mining operations.
The area of land affected in any operation or operations shall not be nearer than 1,000 feet to any school, church, dwelling, industrial plant, building, highway or recreation area.
All trucks going to and from said strip-mining operations shall comply with the Motor Vehicle Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania dealing with weights and loads. All trucks going to and from said strip-mining operations shall comply with all Borough ordinances and provisions of the Motor Vehicle Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in regard to speeds.
The applicant shall set up a wire mesh fence at least four feet high, set up on a base at least one-foot high, to cover the area of said strip-mining operation for the additional safety and protection of persons and property in the immediate vicinity of said strip-mining operations.
Said strip-mining operation shall be conducted only during the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on either standard or daylight saving time, as the case may be.
If, after permission has been granted as herein provided, it appears that those accounting under the issuee have violated or are violating any of the provisions of this chapter, then the Borough Council may then and there notify said issuee and revoke said permit.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
Any person or persons, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon summary conviction thereof in a summary proceeding before the Mayor or any Alderman of the Borough of Plymouth, be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $600 and costs and, in default of the payment of such fine and costs, shall be imprisoned in the county jail for a period not exceeding 30 days. Each and every day upon which any person(s), firm or corporation violates or continues to violate the provisions of this chapter, shall constitute a separate offense.
The Council finds this chapter is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health, safety and general welfare and determines that it shall take effect immediately upon its final passage and publication.