City of Summit, NJ
Union County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Chapter 26, Stormwater Management Regulations, of the Revised General Ordinances sets forth the stormwater management requirements for major development. In accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:8-1.2, "major development" shall mean an individual development as well as multiple developments that individually or collectively result in (1) the disturbance of one or more acres of land since February 2, 2004; (2) the creation of 1/4 acre or more of regulated impervious surface since February 2, 2004; (3) the creation of 1/4 acre or more of regulated motor vehicle surface since March 2, 2021; or (4) a combination of (2) and (3) above that totals an area of 1/4 acre or more. The same surface shall not be counted twice when determining if the combination area equals 1/4 acre or more. Major development includes all developments that are part of a common plan of development or sale (for example, phased residential development) that collectively or individually meet any one or more of items (1), (2), (3) or (4) above. Projects undertaken by any government agency that otherwise meet the definition of "major development" but which do not require approval under the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq., are also considered major development.
A. 
Lot grading. All property development shall be designed to provide proper grading and erosion control, including the prevention of sedimentation and/or damage to on-site and off-site property, as established herein.
1. 
Lot grading standards and requirements are necessary to help control drainage on a site or to channel that drainage to either naturally occurring or constructed storm drainage systems in an approved manner.
2. 
No land area shall be disturbed by any person or entity such that:
a. 
The rate of stormwater runoff occurring at the area is increased over what occurs prior to the disturbance.
b. 
The drainage of adjacent areas is adversely affected.
c. 
Soil erosion during and after development is increased over what naturally occurs.
d. 
Soil absorption and groundwater recharge capacity of the area is decreased below what occurs there under existing conditions.
e. 
The natural drainage pattern of the area is altered in a significantly adverse manner.
f. 
The grades and/or elevation of the site are altered contrary to § 35-9.11.
3. 
The following standards and requirements shall be read in conjunction with all of the standards and requirements found in Part III, Environmental Requirements, of this chapter.
B. 
Grading permit required.
1. 
A grading permit is required prior to land disturbance or construction. This permit shall be considered a prior approval under the Uniform Construction Code, and no construction permit application shall be issued unless the applicant has obtained the required grading permit.
2. 
Exemptions from requirement.
a. 
Any development which has received site plan or subdivision approval from the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment; provided, however, that individual lots for one- or two-family dwellings included within any approved subdivision shall not be exempt.
b. 
Total land disturbance for any purpose and/or clearing of less than 600 square feet, including temporary disturbance during construction (provided that there are no environmentally sensitive areas, such as but not limited to steep slopes, wetlands, streams or bodies of water located in the area to be graded or disturbed).
c. 
Any cumulative increase in impervious area of 300 square feet or less. The cumulative increase shall represent a total increase of impervious coverage measured against the existing impervious coverage that is within a given property on the date of passage of this chapter.
3. 
The City Engineer may waive the requirement for a permit and/or a grading plan based on the specific land disturbance and site conditions.
4. 
All properties exempt from a grading permit, or for which the City Engineer grants a waiver, are subject to § 35-15.2A2.
C. 
Grading plan preparation and contents.
1. 
The lot grading and soil erosion control plan shall be prepared by a land surveyor or professional engineer, architect or landscape architect licensed by the State of New Jersey.
2. 
The plan must detail how all requirements of § 35-15.2A2 will be met. If the site currently has a drainage problem, the plan must also propose a method to address these existing conditions.
3. 
Five copies of the plan shall be submitted to the City Engineer, together with one copy of an application for a lot grading permit (which application form shall be available through the Office of the City Engineer) and the required fee. A copy of the application and plan will be returned to the applicant once approved.
4. 
The lot grading, soil erosion and sediment control plan shall contain the following information:
a. 
Date.
b. 
North arrow; standard engineering scale, no smaller than one inch equals 30 feet; block and lot number; and street address of the subject property (or properties); name and address of record owner; name, address, license number and seal of the person preparing the plan.
c. 
Complete lot boundary line information based on a current survey prepared by a New Jersey licensed land surveyor.
d. 
Building setback lines, lines of existing streets, easements affecting the property and any areas dedicated to public use.
e. 
A separate and complete existing conditions survey, including but not limited to full topographic information and the location of existing buildings and structures, if any, including walls, fences, culverts and bridges. Structures to be removed shall be indicated by dashed lines.
f. 
Location of all existing and proposed storm drainage structures. The information shall include proposed methods of controlling foundation drains, sump pump discharges, and on-site stormwater, and may include grading, use of underground leaders to stormwater systems or dry wells, and other similar or related methods as detailed in § 35-15.2E.
g. 
Spot elevations for slopes of 0% to 2%, and existing contours at one-foot intervals where slopes are greater than 2% and less than 20%, and five-foot intervals where slopes are 20% or greater. Existing contours shall be shown by dashed lines. The City Engineer may request topographic information to be shown on adjoining properties for at least five feet and must be shown in the adjacent gutter line of the street for at least two feet.
h. 
Proposed contours shall be shown by solid lines; all existing contours shall be dashed. All changes in grade proposed on site must be delineated on the grading plan.
i. 
Location of existing rock outcroppings, high points, watercourses, depressions, ponds, marshes, wooded areas and other significant natural features.
j. 
Driveways, roads, curbs, sidewalks and other paved areas, along with the proposed use of land, buildings and other structures.
k. 
Existing and proposed utility locations.
l. 
Existing vegetation to remain and all areas to be seeded or planted. Size and species of proposed trees, shrubs and other plant material shall be indicated. All trees eight inches DBH (diameter at 4.5 feet from ground) or greater shall be shown. Protection for trees that are to remain must be shown.
m. 
Silt fencing, hay bales, and such other soil conservation methods as may be required shall be provided downstream of all areas of disturbance. Soil conservation and sediment control measures shall conform to the standards and specifications for soil erosion and sediment control of the New Jersey State Soil Conservation Committee.
n. 
Such other information as may be required by the City Engineer in order to determine that the requirements of this section have been met.
o. 
Narrative describing the existing conditions, proposed improvements and conditions resulting from the proposed work.
D. 
Time for action and approval.
1. 
The City Engineer shall review and approve, deny, or request revised plans of the lot grading permit application within 30 days of the date on which a complete application is submitted. Otherwise, the application for a grading permit shall be deemed approved.
2. 
An approval sheet, listing required inspections, shall be provided back to the applicant, along with an approved plan and a copy of the signed permit application form. All three documents are to be kept on-site during construction at all times and must be provided if requested by a representative of the Engineering Division.
E. 
Drainage for minor development.
1. 
All impervious area increases over 300 square feet shall be mitigated using stormwater devices or methods provided in the New Jersey Stormwater Best Management Practices Guide, as amended from time to time. Specifically, the City shall require that three inches of rainwater be mitigated over the increase in impervious area. The 300 square feet shall be measured cumulatively and compared to the existing impervious coverage on the property on the date of passage of this chapter, and previously mitigated areas shall not be counted again.
2. 
All drainage mitigation methods that include the percolation of stormwater into soil shall require a percolation test or soil analysis including the soil K value performed by a New Jersey licensed professional engineer or an organization that is accredited for such services. The design engineer must certify, in writing, under their respective license and seal that the proposed design will meet the standard requirements for the mitigation method given the provided percolation test or soil analysis.
3. 
When a percolation test or soil analysis renders any mitigation method infeasible, a fee of $6 per square foot of increase in impervious coverage shall be submitted to the City to be used towards stormwater infrastructure work or the preservation of green space within City limits.
F. 
Grading permit fee. Each applicant for a grading permit under this section shall submit an application fee payable to the City of Summit in the amount of $400. For every revised plan submitted, an additional review fee of $75 will be charged. The fee for the first revision is waived. For applications that have had the plan requirement waived by the City Engineer, the grading permit fee shall be $100. All application and review fees for grading permits shall be used for the offsetting of costs incurred by the Engineering Division.
G. 
Construction requirements. The applicant shall construct or install soil erosion and sediment control protective measures as required by the City Engineer or by the Somerset-Union Soil Conservation District prior to any site development work at the start of construction and shall notify said regulatory entity for proper inspection.
1. 
The applicant shall notify the City Engineer prior to commencing construction and shall schedule inspections as indicated on the approval sheet.
2. 
The applicant shall grade the property and install any required control measures as may be shown on the approved grading plan or as specified in the grading permit, or both, and shall obtain final grading approval from the City Engineer.
3. 
All soil erosion and sediment control protective measures shall be maintained operational throughout the project or until such time as the City Engineer authorizes removal.
4. 
The applicant shall be responsible to repair any damage made within the City right-of-way, including, but not limited to, curb and asphalt damaged caused by construction activities associated with the installation of the proposed improvements.
5. 
The applicant shall remove all excavated and excess soil from the site and shall not use excess soils elsewhere on site unless otherwise appropriately shown on the grading plan.
6. 
The applicant is responsible to remedy any adverse drainage issues on their property and/or neighboring property caused by the construction of the proposed improvements.
H. 
Enforcement officer. The requirements of this article shall be enforced by the City Engineer, who shall inspect or require inspection of the work.
1. 
The City Engineer may order correction or modification of any conditions found that were not as stated in the application, or any work that does not conform to the approved grading plan or permit, or both, and may refuse to approve further work unless and until satisfactory corrections or modifications are in place or may invalidate the original approval of the grading permit and application.
2. 
The City Engineer shall notify the property owner, in writing, of any such orders or refusals, with copies also provided to the Zoning Officer and the Construction Official.
3. 
The City Engineer may seek such other penalties as provided elsewhere in the City Ordinances.
A. 
Purpose and finding of fact.
1. 
The purpose of this article is to provide for reasonable control of development within the steep slope areas of the City in order to minimize the adverse impact caused by the development of such areas, including, but not limited to, erosion, siltation, flooding, surface water runoff, and pollution of potable water supplies from point and nonpoint sources.
2. 
According to the Soil Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture,[1] soils with a slope 15% or greater invariably involve severe limitations to development, including, but not limited to, building and road construction and septic effluent disposal. It is hereby found that the removal of vegetation, disturbance of the soil and the construction of buildings and structures in steep slope areas of the City may increase surface water runoff; soil erosion and siltation with the resultant pollution of streams, as well as the potential danger of flooding and water drainage, thereby having the potential of endangering public and private property and life. Summit's location within both the Passaic River basin and the Rahway River basin areas requires extra care when dealing with water resource issues.
[1]
Editor's Note: Now the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.
3. 
The disturbance of soil and construction and development on steep slopes create an additional hazard to the lives and property of those dwelling on the slopes and below them. The most appropriate method of alleviating such conditions is through the regulation of such vegetation and soil disturbances, construction and development.
4. 
Therefore, it is determined that the special and paramount public interest in these slopes justifies the regulation of property located thereon as provided below, which is the exercise of the police power by the City for the protection of persons and the property of its inhabitants and for the preservation of the public health, safety and general welfare.
5. 
It is recognized that there is a strong relationship between the integrity of the City and the region's water resources and the development on steep slopes, tree removal, soil disturbance, stormwater management and the general use of land resources. Therefore, the appropriate management of these resources is an important health, safety and general welfare concern.
B. 
Applicability.
1. 
Applicants for site plan or subdivision approval shall submit all information required under this article to the appropriate reviewing authority which shall not approve the application unless the approval requirements of this article are met.
2. 
Whenever development is proposed in any steep slope area, applicants for permits, including the construction of buildings, walls, driveways or other structures or the clearing of land, shall submit a grading permit application with the information required in this chapter and within the Grading, Drainage and Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance, to the City Engineer to ensure that the proposed development of the lot will respect the natural features of the tract and minimize adverse impacts associated with such clearing and/or construction.
3. 
Applicants to the Land Use Boards for subdivision or site plan review shall submit information required in this article as the approving authority can render a decision concerning the land's suitability to accommodate the proposed project without negatively impacting the community health or welfare. The approving authority shall use this information to evaluate the appropriateness of the project.
C. 
Steep slope identification and criteria for review.
1. 
All applications for subdivision, site plan approval or for a permit for construction, grading or clearing of any lot shall be evaluated by the applicant for the presence of steep slopes as defined herein. Each proposed or existing lot shall be evaluated to determine the presence of steep slopes 15% or greater.
a. 
The slopes shall be identified on a plan showing existing and proposed topographic information at a scale required as per site plan or subdivision submission requirements or as per the Grading, Drainage, Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance where applicable.
2. 
Disturbance of slopes is limited by this chapter and may only be permitted where it can be shown to the satisfaction of the applicable board or the administrative officer that:
a. 
Proposed excavation, removal, depositing or disturbance of soil shall be for purposes consistent with the intention of this section and shall be executed in a manner that will not cause excessive erosion or other unstable conditions.
b. 
Provision shall be made for the proper disposition of surface water runoff so that it will not create unstable conditions. Appropriate storm drainage facilities shall be constructed as required and as adequate protective measures for downstream properties.
c. 
Provision shall be made for any structures or protective measures that may be required for the protection of the public safety, including but not limited to retaining walls, headwalls and fences.
d. 
Any proposed building, structure or protective measures will not impede the flow of surface waters through any stream corridor or cause an increase in flood heights or velocities.
e. 
Any proposed vehicular facilities, including roads, drives or parking areas, shall be so designed that any land disturbance shall not cause excessive erosion. Both vertical and horizontal alignment of vehicular facilities shall be so designed that hazardous circulation conditions will not be created.
f. 
Steep slope areas, where possible, should be avoided through the use of cluster subdivision or alternative placement of structures or vehicular facilities.
g. 
Areas of disturbance shall comply with Chapter 29, Protection of Trees, in the Revised General Ordinances.
h. 
Proposed finished grades shall not exceed 3:1.
i. 
Water resources, including quality and quantity, shall be evaluated to avoid degradation of resources.
D. 
Steep slope disturbance application contents. Where application for a permit is being made in conjunction with this chapter, the following shall be required:
1. 
A legibly drawn plan, at a scale no smaller than one inch equals 30 feet and no larger than one inch equals 10 feet, shall be submitted by a New Jersey licensed engineer, land surveyor or architect which provides sufficient on-site detail to evaluate the proposed development.
2. 
The steep slope disturbance plan shall contain, at a minimum, the following items:
a. 
Existing and proposed topographic information using one or two-foot contour intervals for all steep slopes as defined above and within all areas contemplated for clearing and/or construction as described above. Topographic information can only be supplied by a licensed land surveyor registered in the State of New Jersey.
b. 
Existing and proposed drainage patterns up to 100 feet of the proposed lot under development or as needed to properly determine any impacts to neighboring properties.
c. 
Location of existing and/or proposed well and septic systems.
d. 
Details concerning architectural design and how the proposed construction will relate to, complement and minimize adverse impacts upon the existing natural features of the lot.
e. 
Location of all trees in excess of eight inches in diameter.
f. 
Soil types contained on the lot with specific reference to highly erodible soils as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.
g. 
All impervious areas, including driveway locations, paved areas and details.
h. 
Other information required by the administrative officer, Land Use Board or City Engineer to make a determination concerning suitability.
E. 
Steep slope disturbance application procedures.
1. 
Prior to the issuance of a permit for any structure or the disturbance of any soil or vegetation within any steep slope area (including temporary disturbance for construction access) as herein defined, an applicant for permit shall submit a grading permit application to the City Engineer for its review and approval.
2. 
Applicants for site plan or subdivision approval involving the disturbance of steep slopes shall submit information regarding steep slope conditions required as per § 35-16.1D to the appropriate reviewing authority as part of the required submission which shall be examined within the appropriate site plan or subdivision review context. Requests for permitted disturbance of steep slopes shall not be approved unless the requirements of § 35-16.1F below have been met.
F. 
Limit of disturbance.
1. 
The platting of any parcel for subdivision or the siting of any structure or grading for site plan approval or construction permit shall avoid disturbance of slopes 15% or greater. The placement of lots or structures that would necessitate or be likely to cause future disturbance of such areas shall also be avoided.
2. 
Where proposed lots to be platted for subdivision contain steep slopes, each lot shall contain at least 25% of its area in a non-steep-slope condition to avoid excessive erosion, vegetation clearance, and degradation of water resources while ensuring the proper placement of housing and associated uses.
3. 
The siting of any structure for site plan approval, grading permit or construction permit shall provide a minimum distance of 10 feet from the foundation of any structure to the steep slope area as defined in the chapter. The Schedule of Space Regulations must also be met.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: The Schedule of Space Regulations, Appendix C, is included as an attachment to this chapter.
G. 
Variance required. Disturbance of steep slope areas as indicated in § 35-16.1F, Limit of disturbance, shall require a variance. Applications for variances from these standards shall be submitted to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for all developments except those developments that otherwise require Planning Board approval of a subdivision, site plan or conditional use.
H. 
Minor steep slope areas.
1. 
The administrative officer may disregard steep slope areas that are cumulatively less than 1,000 square feet in size if in their assessment of the total disturbed area where such action would be in the interest of good planning, not seriously impair the purposes of this chapter and would otherwise result in practical difficulties to the applicant.
2. 
Where, however, the administrative officer finds the area to be significant and of such size so as to constitute a substantial contiguous area to a steep slope, or finds that the impact of disturbing the steep slope may have a negative effect on an adjoining property, the reviewing authority may consider them significant and subject to regulation under this chapter. In such case, the area will be considered disturbance of a steep slope area.
3. 
The administrative officer may disregard a steep slope area that is less than 2,500 square feet in size for the sole purpose of installing solar panels and/or a geothermal system, in a previously disturbed steep slope area such as grass or landscaping areas. This relief does not apply to steep slopes in natural wooded areas.
4. 
The administrative officer may disregard a steep slope area that is less than 2,500 square feet in size if the disturbance is for the purpose of replacing existing lawn areas or landscaping areas or performing maintenance work in these areas. The disturbance shall be in the interest of good planning, not change any existing drainage patterns, not seriously impair the purposes of this chapter and would otherwise result in practical difficulties to the applicant.
5. 
The applicable board or administrative officer may disregard a steep slope that is being impacted for the purposes of construction access and/or utility installation only where no trees and/or vegetation are being removed or disturbed.
I. 
Time for decision.
1. 
Where the request for steep slope disturbances is part of a site plan, subdivision or variance application, the time periods regulating those applications shall apply.
2. 
Where the request for steep slope disturbance is part of a permit application that does not require site plan or subdivision approval, the administrative officer shall approve, approve with conditions or deny an application for a steep slope disturbance approval within 30 days from the date of submission of a completed application.
J. 
Appeals to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Appeals of the decision of the administrative officer may be taken by the applicant to the Zoning Board of Adjustment within 20 days of the date of such decision by filing a notice of appeal with the administrative officer, specifying the grounds of such appeal and the appropriate fee for review and processing. The administrative officer shall immediately transmit to the Board the grading plan and all related documents upon which its decision was based. The Zoning Board of Adjustment shall render a decision within 120 days after receipt of the aforementioned documents from the administrative officer, or within such further time as may be consented to by the appellant.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has exclusive control over regulated activities within freshwater wetlands as defined in the New Jersey Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act, N.J.S.A. 13:9B-1 et seq. The purpose of these regulations is to coordinate municipal development review procedures with the wetlands regulations of NJDEP.
A. 
Documentation. All freshwater wetlands, and all wetland transition areas required pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:7A-1 et seq., or any successor regulations, shall be clearly shown on all subdivisions, site plans, lot grading plans, and/or other development plans submitted to the City for any development approval. Whenever it has been confirmed that no wetlands or wetland transition areas are present on a site, a note to that effect shall be shown on the plans for development.
B. 
NJDEP file identification number. Whenever on-site freshwater wetlands and/or wetland transition areas have been verified by NJDEP through the issuance of a letter of interpretation (LOI), all subdivision, site plans, lot grading plans, and/or other plans submitted to the City for any development approval shall include therein the wetlands line file identification number assigned by NJDEP in connection with the issuance of an LOI for the property.
C. 
Disturbance fencing. To prevent encroachment into freshwater wetlands and wetland transition areas, the developer of any approved subdivision, site plan, lot grading plan or other development plan shall install disturbance fencing in accordance with the requirements of the NJDEP and the Union County Soil Conservation District before the commencement of any land disturbance or construction adjacent to any freshwater wetlands and/or wetland transition area.
D. 
Silt fencing. Prior to the commencement of any land disturbance or construction, the developer of any approved subdivision, site plan, lot grading plan, or other development plan shall install silt fencing and/or hay bales downstream of any disturbance area adjacent to freshwater wetlands and/or wetland transition areas in accordance with the requirements of the NJDEP and the Somerset-Union County Soil Conservation District.
E. 
Proof of recording of deed restriction. Prior to the signing of any approved minor subdivision plat or deed description, final major subdivision plat, or final site plan drawings, the applicant shall submit to the secretary of the reviewing board proof that any deed restrictions required by the NJDEP in connection with transition area averaging or other transition area modifications associated with the approved subdivision or site plan have been duly recorded in the land records of the Clerk of Union County.
F. 
Recording notice of wetland limits. As a condition of approval of any application for development of any lot containing freshwater wetlands and/or wetland transition areas, the applicant shall be required to record in the land records of the Clerk of Union County a mapped description of the limits of such freshwater wetlands and/or wetland transition areas, together with a bold print notice that no land disturbance or other activities may be undertaken therein without the obtaining of all necessary prior approvals from the NJDEP.
G. 
Waiver for improvements to existing single-family dwellings. Whenever any variance or grading permit is sought for any addition to or modification of any existing single-family dwelling and/or the lot on which it is located, the Board of Adjustment, when acting on a variance, and the City Engineer, when acting on a grading permit, may waive the requirements of Subsections A, B, and/or F of this section (to the extent they are applicable) when it is reasonably clear to the reviewing authority that there exist no on-site wetlands and/or wetland transition areas, or that any on-site wetlands and/or wetland transition areas are remote from the areas of proposed development and/or disturbance. Nothing herein shall authorize or permit any unlawful disturbance of or activities within freshwater wetlands and/or wetland transition areas.
Application for a building permit for any proposed development on land lying within Floodplain Zone A, Special Flood Hazard Area, as shown on the current Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Insurance Administration Flood Hazard Boundary Maps for the City of Summit, shall be first reviewed by the Planning Board under the provisions of this Chapter 35, and all standards, procedures and requirements therein set forth shall be complied with to the extent applicable to construction or other improvements in a floodplain area having special flood hazards.