[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Springfield 12-14-1994 as § 21-2 of the 1991 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Since 1952, the removal of soil, gravel and other material from property within the Township has not been a permitted primary use in any zone of the Township.
Certain categories of soil removal have been authorized as permitted accessory uses, requiring site plan review approval by the Planning Board and the issuance of a soil removal permit by the Township Council.
The Planning Board of the Township, on or about April 17, 1984, recommended the adoption of numerous regulations governing the removal of soil in the Township.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Those portions or components of the earth's surface commonly known as soil, topsoil, dirt, clay, marl, earth, whether fertile or infertile, sand or gravel, or any combinations of them with each other or with any other common components of the earth's surface, such as rocks, stones, pebbles or other decomposed vegetative or animal matters or mineral components of the earth's surface.
No person shall excavate or otherwise remove soil for sale or for use other than on the premises from which the soil shall be taken without first having procured permission therefor from the Township Council, except:
In connection with the construction or alteration of a building on such premises, and excavation or grading incidental thereto.
In connection with the removal of topsoil that is incidental to normal production of cultivated sod and nursery crops.
In connection with the construction and maintenance of irrigation systems and retention ponds on premises located within the Township and engaged in active farming and agricultural use. Any soil removed for this purpose shall be retained on the premises from which it is removed and shall be used for the purpose of filling in the retention pond or ponds or irrigation system, or any part thereof when the same is no longer utilized or needed for active farming and agricultural purposes.
Application. The Township Council shall not consider any application for the removal of soil from the premises for sale or otherwise unless and until the owner of the premises, 30 days before a regular meeting of the Council, shall first have filed with the Township Clerk an application requesting such permission on the appropriate form to be obtained from the Township Clerk, together with a map of the premises and shall have made payment of the appropriate application fee as set forth hereinafter. The map shall be clearly and legibly drawn or reproduced at a scale of not less than one inch equals 100 feet. It shall be designed and drawn by a licensed New Jersey surveyor. The map shall show or be accompanied by the following information:
Key map showing the entire premises and its relation to surrounding areas.
The tax map sheet, block and lot number, date, graphic scale, reference meridian and the following names and addresses:
Acreage of premises to nearest tenth of an acre.
Existing contours of five-foot intervals for slopes averaging 10% or greater, and at two-foot intervals for land of lesser slope, and the proposed contours resulting from the intended removal of soil in the same scale.
The location of existing streets, buildings, watercourses, railroads, bridges, culverts, drainpipes and any natural features, such as wooded areas and rock formations, on the premises and within 200 feet thereof.
Groundwater elevation as determined by test borings.
An environmental and health impact statement in the form and containing the information set forth in N.J.A.C. 7:26-1.4, which is an administrative regulation adopted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the guidelines utilized by DEP with respect to environmental impact statements, the statement to contain as a minimum the following information:
A statement as to the realistically identifiable probable impact of the proposed soil removal upon the geology, soils, hydrology, air quality, ecology, land use, socioeconomics, aesthetics, history and archeology of the site and area.
A listing of the adverse environmental impacts which cannot be avoided.
A description of the steps to taken to minimize adverse environmental impacts during operation at the project site and in the surrounding region.
A listing of the alternatives to all or any part of the proposed soil removal on the site, with reasons for their acceptability or nonacceptability.
A reference list of pertinent published information relating to the proposed soil removal, the project site and the surrounding region.
The property from which the soil is to be removed shall have a minimum area of 10 acres as shown on the tax maps of the Township of Springfield.
No excavation shall be made within 100 feet of a public right-of-way.
No excavation shall be made within 50 feet of a property line.
Excavation shall not be carried below six feet above the seasonal high water level for the area in question, as determined by the Township Engineer. Furthermore, excavation shall not be lower than bordering road levels, whether federal, state, county or local.
The owner or person in charge shall so conduct the operation that there shall be no sharp declivities, pits or depressions, and in such manner that the area shall be properly leveled off and cleared of debris. The ground shall be contoured and graded, as per the approval of the Township Council, in accordance with a grading schedule as approved by the Council to be submitted by the applicant. The grading and contouring shall be in segments or sections of the proposed project.
No permission for soil removal shall be granted unless the Township Council, after considering and reviewing the application and accompanying map, is satisfied that the proposed soil removal will not be detrimental to the public health, safety and general welfare of the Township inhabitants. In arriving at its decision, it shall be guided by and take into consideration the following factors:
Soil erosion by wind and water.
Lateral support slopes and grades of abutting streets and lands.
Land values and uses.
Impact on the environment.
Compliance with other provisions of Township codes, ordinances and regulations.
Such other factors that may bear upon or relate to the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious physical development of the Township.
If, after examining the application and the map, the Township Council shall be of the opinion that the proposed soil removal will not create conditions inimical to the public health, safety and general welfare and will not result in the creation of any sharp declivities, pits or depressions, soil erosion or fertility problems, depressed land values or create any drainage, sewerage problems or other conditions of danger or contamination, permission to remove the soil shall be granted. No permission to remove soil shall be granted unless and until the applicant has obtained a zoning permit pursuant to Chapter 215, Zoning, § 215-119, and site plan review approval pursuant to Chapter 167, Site Plan Review.
An applicant for permission to remove soil from his/her premises may request a hearing before the Township Council by notifying the Township Clerk, in writing, when submitting his/her application that (s)he desires to be heard on the application. In such event, a hearing shall be granted within 45 days thereafter at a time and place to be determined by the Council, which time may or may not be a regularly scheduled meeting of the Council The Township Clerk shall notify the applicant by letter, addressed to the address listed on the application form, of the time and place set for the hearing. The applicant, upon receipt of such notice, shall give written notice of the hearing to the property owners within 200 feet of the premises, of the time, place and purpose of such hearing and their right to attend and be heard. Proof that such notice was given to those property owners shall be submitted by the applicant to the Council at the time of the hearing.
If permission to remove the soil shall be granted, the owner or person in charge 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 with the contour lines and grades as approved by the Township Council.
Soil removal operations shall be conducted only on Monday through Saturday, inclusive, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., prevailing time. The working of the excavation and any soil removal operation is prohibited on Sunday.
Topsoil to be retained. The owner of the premises or the person in charge of the removal of soil, when permission has been duly granted, shall not take away the top layer of arable soil for a depth of six inches, but such top layer of arable soil to a depth of six inches shall be set aside for retention on the premises and shall be respread over the premises when the rest of the soil has been removed, pursuant to levels and contour lines approved by the Township Council, except that this chapter shall not apply to owners of premises or persons in charge of the removal of soil from the premises that is incidental to normal production of cultivated sod and nursery crops.
Removal from Township prohibited. No soil shall be removed from the Township. All soil shall remain for use in the Township.
Before any permit or permission for soil removal shall be granted or issued, the owner or applicant shall file with the Township Council a bond, in form and with surety acceptable to the Township, in such amount as in the opinion of the Council shall be sufficient to ensure the faithful performance of the work to be undertaken pursuant to the permission granted by the Council pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. The amount of the performance bond shall be reviewed and increased or decreased, whichever the case may be, at the time of the application for a renewal of the permit, if any.
No excavation shall be made and no soil shall be removed under the provisions of this chapter, unless any required permit therefor shall have first been obtained as provided herein, and no excavation shall be made and no soil shall be removed, except in conformity with the provisions of this chapter. The owner of the property and not another party shall apply for the permit. A permit shall be granted only after compliance with the provisions of this chapter and other chapters, codes and regulations of the Township.
The Township Clerk shall issue a permit for the excavation and removal of soil to the applicant upon compliance with terms of this chapter and upon grant of approval by the Township Council. Such permit will be effective for a period of six months from the date of issuance. When the excavation and soil removal work has been in continuous operation during the period of the permit and has been performed in accordance with the conditions under which the original permit was granted, such permit may renewed for a further period of six months by the Council, upon request for renewal from the permittee.
A request for renewal shall be made at least 60 days before the expiration of the original permit or any extension thereof. The renewal application shall follow the procedure for an original application set forth in this chapter. The Township Engineer shall examine the application and the site prior to the hearing and make recommendations to the Township Council. The recommendations shall include revising the amount of the bond to meet current costs and any revisions or additions to the terms of the prior soil removal permit to comply with the terms of this chapter. The Council shall include all of the Township Engineer's recommendations as a condition of the renewal of the soil removal permit, unless they shall make a determination, for good cause, to delete or change them.
A continuous operation is one in which the work of excavating and soil removal is performed on an average of two days out of every calendar week, weather permitting, during the period of the permit.
At the time of submission of each application or each renewal of an application for a permit pursuant to the terms of this chapter the applicant shall pay a nonrefundable fee, as set forth in Chapter 91, Fees, § 91-10C, to the Township Clerk. Upon submission of an application the applicant shall also deposit with the Township Clerk the additional sum of $1,000 which shall be used for the purpose of meeting the expenses of professional review of the plans and application and for on-site inspection by the engineer. In the event that such sum is insufficient to meet the expenses of review and inspections necessitated by the application and by the working of the excavation in the event of approval, the applicant shall be required to deposit further sums with the Township Clerk as required from time to time.
Upon submission of a request for the renewal of an existing permit, the Township Clerk shall determine the sum on deposit in the professional review escrow account after deducting all current professional fees due and shall require the applicant to deposit an amount sufficient to bring the escrow deposit to the sum of $1,000.
In the event a permit is issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, any glance of monies remaining on deposit with the Township Clerk after payment of expenses incurred by the Township for professional review and on-site inspections shall be returned to the applicant within 30 days after the date of the expiration of the permit. For the purposes of this subsection, the renewal of any permit shall be considered a separate application. Costs for professional review of the application and plans and on-site inspections shall be billed by the Township at the rate set forth in Chapter 91, Fees, § 91-10.
The Township Engineer shall make periodic inspections of any site for which permits have been issued pursuant to this chapter. The minimum number of inspections and the maximum time intervals between inspections shall be determined, for each individual site for which a permit may be issued, at the time of the issuance of such permit. A written report of the results of such inspection shall be given to the Township Council and a copy of the same forwarded by regular mail to the owner of the premises or the person in charge of the soil removal operation.
A soil removal permit is not transferable. Whenever a soil removal business changes ownership, application for a new permit shall be made in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
It shall be the duty of the Construction Code Official to enforce all provisions of this chapter. Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter, upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable for each offense as provided in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article III, Penalties and Enforcement, of the Code of the Township of Springfield. Each and every violation of and nonconformance with the provisions of this chapter, and each and every day that a violation continues shall be construed as a separate and distinct offense.