[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Philipstown 12-1-2005 by L.L. No. 8-2005. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Explosive and Blasting Law of the Town of Philipstown, Putnam County, New York."
The purpose of this chapter is to establish minimum safeguards to life, health and property by the adoption of reasonable and effective restrictions relating to the possession and use of explosive materials. To protect the health and safety of our residents and prevent undue exposure of private and public property to risk of damage, the Town Board hereby designates acceptable hours for blasting operations and regulates the intensity of the ground and airborne vibrations during those hours when blasting is authorized. This chapter is also meant to be used to provide information to those who possess or use explosives in the Town. Nothing herein is intended nor shall be construed to relieve the blaster from any liability nor to impose any liability on the Town, its officers, employees or agents.
When used in this chapter, unless otherwise expressly stated, the following term(s) shall have the meanings indicated:
- Gunpowder, powders used for blasting, high explosives, blasting materials, detonating fuses, detonators and other detonating agents, smokeless powder and any chemical compound or any mechanical mixture containing any oxidizing and combustible units, or other ingredients in such proportions, quantities or packing that ignition by fire, friction, concussion, percussion or detonation of any part thereof may and is intended to cause an explosion, but shall not include gasoline, kerosene, naphtha, turpentine, benzene, acetone, ethyl ether, benzol and all quantities of black powder not exceeding five pounds for use in firing of antique firearms or artifacts or replicas thereof. Fixed ammunition and primers for small arms, firecrackers, safety fuses and matches shall not be deemed to be explosives when the individual units contain any of the above-mentioned articles or substances in such limited quantity, of such nature and so packed that it is impossible to produce an explosion of such units that could cause injury to life, limb or property.
This chapter shall apply to every person who manufactures, sells, transports, stores, possesses, handles or uses explosives in the Town and shall also apply to the procedures for the issuance of permits, the payment of fees, the recordkeeping required for permit holders and reporting procedures required for such persons.
No person shall blast, or cause to be blasted, any rock or other substance in the Town of Philipstown with any explosive, as defined in this chapter, without having first obtained a permit from the Building Inspector covering the specific blasting operation, upon written application. Such blasting operations shall be conducted under the direct control and supervision of a competent and licensed blaster and in accordance with the provisions of New York State laws and regulations and the provisions of this chapter.
The application for a blasting permit shall be on a form approved by the Building Inspector and contain such information as is required by the Building Inspector, accompanied by the fee as required. As part of the application for a blasting permit, the applicant shall also submit a description of all structures, including residential dwellings, and municipal water supplies located within 500 feet of the blast site, and a list of the names and addresses of the owner or owners of any parcel of property on which blasting is to take place, as shown on the most recent tax rolls of the Town of Philipstown.
Insurance coverage required; minimum amounts. Before a blasting permit is issued, the applicant shall submit evidence in the form of a certificate of insurance issued by an insurance company authorized to do business in the State of New York guaranteeing that the applicant has in full force and effect a policy of public liability insurance, including a specific endorsement covering the liability arising from blasting and providing bodily injury and property damage coverage of not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 aggregate. The Town of Philipstown, the Town Building Inspector and their respective officers, employees and agents shall be named as additional insureds on said policies. Such policy shall also provide that the Town be held harmless from all claims, actions, and proceedings brought by any person, firm or corporation for injury to persons or property resulting from or occasioned by such blasting operation. The application for a blasting permit shall also contain the same "hold harmless" provision to be agreed to and undertaken by the applicant. Such policy shall have the provision that the policy or policies shall not be canceled, terminated or modified by the insurance company unless 30 days' prior written notice is sent to the Town. No permit shall be issued unless such insurance or a modified insurance policy agreed to by the Town is in full force and effect and copies are on file in the Town office.
The permit application shall also be accompanied by a good and sufficient bond in the amount of $100,000, approved by the Town Attorney, conditioned for holding the Town harmless from any and all injuries or damages arising or occurring directly or indirectly by reason of the storage, handling or use of explosives. The permit shall also contain any other information that the Town Building Inspector, the Fire Chief or his/her designee or any Code Enforcement Officer shall deem necessary to protect the health and safety of the public or to prevent public or private property from exposure to risk of damage.
Such permit, when approved and signed by the Building Inspector and upon payment of a fee of $150 to the Building Inspector, or such other fee as may be fixed from time to time by resolution of the Town Board, shall be issued and signed by the Building Inspector, who shall keep a record thereof. Each permit shall specify the name of the permittee, home and business address, phone numbers, the date of expiration (which shall be no later than six months from the date of issue), the particular place where the blasting is to be done and a copy of the blaster's valid State of New York Department of Labor explosive license.
The Town Board may revoke any permit issued hereunder at any time for good cause shown. If permit revocation occurs, a hearing shall be conducted by the Town Board upon written notification of the permittee of the time and place of and reason for such hearing.
No explosives shall be sold, given or delivered to any person who does not hold a valid license to possess such explosives. All explosives not being handled or used in a blasting operation shall be securely locked in a container approved for securing the type and amount of the explosives contained therein, and said container shall be under the direct observation and guard of a person holding a valid license to possess the type and amount of explosives contained therein at all times. No unauthorized or unlicensed persons shall have access to explosives in the Town, and the access to and the security of the explosives shall be deemed the responsibility of the blasting permit holder. Blasting caps and detonators shall be stored separately from explosives at a recognized safe distance, and only 50 caps or detonators or fewer shall be transported to explosives for priming and borehole loading at one time. Should the blasting operation require more than 50 caps to be transported to explosives on the blasting site, the blasting caps or detonators shall be transported in a box designed to carry blasting caps or detonators and approved by the State of New York and IME for such purposes.
No person shall use, in a blasting operation, a quantity of explosives greater than necessary to properly break the rock or other material, nor use such an amount as will endanger persons or property within or outside the blast areas. If the Town designee or enforcement officer so orders, due to the magnitude of the proposed blasting, that pre-blast inspections of the surrounding homes or area are necessary, they must be made by the blaster or his/her representatives at the blasting permit holder's expense, and copies must be provided to the homeowners and be on file in the Town office before the blasting begins. The scope of the pre-blasting perimeters shall be determined by the Town Building Inspector but in no event shall be less than 500 feet from the blast. A seismograph shall be placed near the closest residence or structure in the blast area regardless of whether or not a pre-blast inspection is required. A printout report taken during all blasting operations must be filed with the Code Administrator.
All blasts within 500 feet of any roadway or structure, before firing, shall be covered with metal rope or metal matting, heavy timbers chained together or suitable screens of sufficient size, weight and strength to prevent the escape of broken rock or other material in a manner liable to cause injury or damage to persons or property. All blasts not within 500 feet of any roadway or structure shall have a suitable screen so as not to cause injury or damage to persons or property.
Any person intending to demolish by explosives any construction that exceeds 25 feet in height shall apply for his/her required blasting permit at least 30 days before commencement of demolition activities. In addition to the normal blasting permit fee, the applicant must agree to be responsible for the cost of any engineer, public safety, environmental impact or historical study that might be deemed necessary by the Town Building Inspector and Town Engineer to determine if such blasting permit is to be issued. In addition, the blaster and/or applicant must agree to be financially responsible for any additional police, fire or utility response that may be deemed necessary by the Town as a condition to the blaster's permit.
The amount of explosives delivered to, stored by, or possessed by the blaster at any blasting area shall not exceed the amount necessary for that day's planned blasting schedule. No explosives shall be left unattended, all explosives shall be securely locked when not being handled or used, and blasting caps or detonators shall not be stored with other explosives.
All empty explosive packages or containers not consumed in the blasting shall not be used again for any other purpose, but shall be disposed of in a safe and legal manner. A person shall be considered in violation of this chapter if he/she places or causes to be placed any explosive, package or container, or facsimile thereof, or facsimile bomb or explosive device in a building, place of assembly or facility of public transport or in a place likely to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm.
The blaster shall be responsible for determining the location of any utility lines and any municipal water supplies that may be located within 500 feet of the proposed blast area, and shall contact the appropriate representative of such utility or water supply prior to any blasting, making available the blast design and any other information the utility representative may require. No blasting shall be permitted unless the blaster and the authorized utility representative or municipal representative are in full agreement as to what precautionary procedures will be performed to protect the utility or water supply. The blaster shall be responsible for all gas, water, storm drains, hydrocarbon, sewer, electric, telephone, cable television, alarm, telegraph and utilities, as well as any other utility or water supply that may be affected by the blasts. Before blasting in any blast area that borders or is in close proximity to a road, street, highway, railroad or other pathway of transportation or commerce, the blaster shall notify both the owner of the highway or street and the police authorities having jurisdiction over the street or railroad. No blasting shall be permitted until the highway owner and police authority are in full agreement as to what precautionary procedures will be performed to protect the highway and its users.
No person shall fire or explode or cause to be fired or exploded any blast in any highway or public place in the Town of Philipstown unless competent persons carrying a red flag shall have been placed at a reasonable distance on all sides of the blast to give people warning thereof at least three minutes in advance of the firing.
No person shall conduct blasting operations within the Town of Philipstown after the hour of 5:00 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, nor at any time on Saturday, Sunday or holidays, except in the case of emergency or necessity, and then only with the permission of the Building Inspector or Fire Inspector.
Not more than seven days nor less than 24 hours prior to the intended blasting, a notice of intent to blast shall be served upon:
The notice of intent to blast shall be delivered to the inhabitants or users set forth in Subsection A(1). In the event that personal notice of intent to blast cannot be effected, the notice of intent to blast may be left or posted at the structure or dwelling in a conspicuous place, or a certified letter, return receipt requested, may be sent to the affected structure or dwelling, The certified letter shall be mailed to the property owner. The addresses of property owners shall be obtained from the Tax Assessor's office. In addition, the blaster shall sound a recognized whistle, siren or horn loud enough to be heard throughout the designated blast zone approximately three minutes prior to blasting, warning all persons that blasting is imminent.
The notice of intent to blast shall also be delivered or made by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the Town Clerk, Town Building Inspector, New York State Police, Putnam County Sheriffs Department and to any municipality whose water supplies are within 500 feet of the blast area, no less than 24 hours prior to the blasting.
Delivery of the notice of intent to blast, as required by this section, shall be the responsibility of the applicant or blaster for the blasting permit.
Any documented damage claims received by the Town or its designees may be cause to suspend blasting until the Town Board, Town Attorney, Town Engineer and Building Inspector review the alleged claims. Work on the permit shall not be resumed until so ordered by the Town designee. Work can be halted for cause until the permittee presents a new plan that is approved by the Town designees.
Public utilities and governmental agencies may be granted an exception to the provisions of this chapter only by the Town of Philipstown Building Inspector and only upon written request by such public utility or governmental agency for such special exception. Such written request shall state the reasons for the request and the blasting for which such exception is requested, and shall include, as part of such request, a certificate(s) of insurance as required in § 88-5C of this chapter. Such request shall be accompanied by a fee of $250. Such special exception shall be granted for a period not to exceed 12 months and may be renewed from time to time upon the written request and payment of the fee as required by this section. This chapter shall not apply to blasting conducted by, for, or on behalf of the Town of Philipstown.
Any person or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 15 days, or both, for each offense. Every violation of any provision of this chapter shall be a separate and distinct offense, and, in case of continuing violation, every day's continuance thereof shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct offense.
This chapter may be enforced by the Building Inspector, Code Enforcement Officer, and/or Zoning Administrative Officer.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this chapter shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered or as determined by such judgment.