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Township of Lower Merion, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 12-19-1962 by Ord. No. 1409]
[1]
Editor's Note: The former title of Art. III, Openings and Excavations; Use of Streets and Sidewalks Generally, was amended 12-18-2002 by Ord. No. 3664.
The following words and terms, as used herein, shall have the following meanings:
BACKFILL
Material used to replace or the act of replacing material removed during construction.
[Added 3-18-1992 by Ord. No. 3278]
DEGRADATION
A decrease in the useful life of the right-of-way caused by the excavation in or disturbance of the right-of-way, resulting in the need to reconstruct such right-of-way earlier than would be required if the excavation or disturbance did not occur.
[Added 12-18-2002 by Ord. No. 3664]
DEPARTMENT
The Lower Merion Township Department of Public Works.
[Added 3-18-1992 by Ord. No. 3278]
DIRECTOR
The Director of the Public Works Department or his designee.
[Added 3-18-1992 by Ord. No. 3278]
EMERGENCY
A condition that poses a danger to life, health, or of a significant loss of property, or requires immediate repair or replacement of facilities in order to restore service to a customer.
[Added 12-18-2002 by Ord. No. 3664]
FACILITY or FACILITIES
Any tangible asset in the right-of-way required to provide utility service or passage along or through the right-of-way.
[Added 12-18-2002 by Ord. No. 3664]
PAVEMENT
The combination of subbase, base course and surface course placed on a subgrade to support the traffic load or distribute it to the roadbed, or both. The term normally includes the traveled portion of the highway and extends to the face of the curb in a curbed section.
[Added 3-18-1992 by Ord. No. 3278]
PERMIT AREA
The area within the right-of-way lines of any Township highway and any highway constructed in accordance with plans and specifications approved by the Township, and also such portion of any state or county highway as may be located between the curbs or the edge of the paving and the right-of-way lines thereof.
[Amended 11-19-2014 by Ord. No. 4038]
PERSON
Any individual, firm, corporation, association or partnership.
RESTORE or RESTORATION
The process by which an excavated or disturbed right-of-way and surrounding area, including pavement and foundation, is returned to the same condition that existed before excavation or disturbance.
[Added 12-18-2002 by Ord. No. 3664]
RIGHT-OF-WAY
The area which has been acquired by the Township for highway purposes.
[Added 3-18-1992 by Ord. No. 3278]
It shall be unlawful for any person to make or cause, or permit to be made or caused, any excavation or opening in or under the surface or pavement of any permit area, or perform any work within the permit area for the purpose of installing or repairing pipes, sewers, drains, conduits, sidewalks, curbs, driveways and similar structures, or for erecting or replacing poles, without first having obtained a permit; nor shall any person store materials upon or move over any permit area buildings or other structures or vehicles carrying loads exceeding in size or weight the limits specified in the Vehicle Code,[1] without having first obtained a permit.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Title 75, Vehicles, of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.
[Amended 3-18-1992 by Ord. No. 3278]
A written application for a permit shall be made to the Department setting forth the following:
A. 
The name and address of the applicant.
B. 
The purpose of the application.
C. 
The time and place where the work is to be done or the permit area is to be occupied.
D. 
The name of the owner of the abutting property, together with a statement that the consent of such owner to the performance of the work has theretofore been obtained, except that such statement shall not be required where the application is made by a corporation subject to the supervision of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
E. 
Such other information as may be required by the Township Engineer.
A. 
The filing of an application and the issuance of a permit hereunder shall constitute an agreement on the part of the applicant to comply with all the terms of this article and all rules, regulations, standards and specifications and requirements of the Public Works Department now in force or hereafter adopted, and shall also constitute an agreement to indemnify and save the Township harmless from and against all claims, demands and actions for damages either to person or to property that may be sustained by any person by reason of or arising out of any work done or action taken under the application and permit.
B. 
The application shall be signed by a person who shall, in connection therewith, have filed with the Township Secretary a certificate showing that the applicant has obtained from a reputable company a policy of insurance with limits for public liability, property damage, products liability and completed operations, each of which must have a single occurrence limit of at least $300,000. No such policy of insurance shall be required, however, where:
[Amended 3-18-1992 by Ord. No. 3278]
(1) 
The work is to be performed by a corporation subject to the supervision of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission; or
(2) 
The work is to be performed by the owner himself on his own property, does not involve the breaking of any improved road surface, is to be completed within three working days and the cost does not exceed the sum of $100.
[Amended 1-17-1968 by Ord. No. 1544; 4-21-1971 by Ord. No. 1639; 1-19-1977 by Ord. No. 1785; 9-21-1977 by Ord. No. 1802; 3-18-1992 by Ord. No. 3278; 12-18-2002 by Ord. No. 3664]
At the time of the filing of the application, the applicant shall pay a permit fee, the components of which are set forth on the Township Schedule of Fees, as adopted and amended from time to time by the Board of Commissioners.[1] The permit fee components include the following:
A. 
Administrative fee. The estimated fee established at the time of permitting by the Township to recover Township costs associated with processing, reviewing, verifying, issuing, and managing permit applications.
B. 
Street construction fee.
(1) 
Unimproved surface. The estimated fee established at the time of permitting by the Township to recover Township costs associated with inspecting, evaluating, and documenting the excavation, disturbance, work within, and restoration of unimproved surfaces within a Township right-of-way.
(2) 
Improved surface. The estimated fee established at the time of permitting by the Township to recover Township costs associated with inspecting, evaluating, and documenting the excavation, disturbance, work within, and restoration of improved surfaces within a Township right-of-way.
C. 
Street degradation fee. The estimated fee established at the time of permitting by the Township to recover Township costs associated with the decrease in useful life of the right-of-way caused by the work in the permit area.
D. 
Pole fee. The estimated fee established at the time of permitting by the Township to recover Township costs associated with inspecting, evaluating, and documenting the setting, repair, and replacement of utility poles.
E. 
Curb and sidewalk fee. The estimated fee established at the time of permitting by the Township to recover Township costs associated with inspecting, evaluating, and documenting the placement, repair, and replacement of curbs, driveway aprons and openings, and sidewalks.
F. 
Street closing fee. The estimated fee established at the time of permitting by the Township to recover Township costs associated with inspecting and managing streets closed to traffic.
G. 
Occupancy fee. The estimated fee established at the time of permitting by the Township to recover Township costs associated with inspecting and managing a street and activities on the street when the street is occupied or otherwise being used by a permittee.
H. 
Special use fee. The estimated fee established at the time of permitting by the Township to recover Township costs associated with inspecting and managing special uses such as the movement of buildings or heavy loads over Township streets. There shall be a daily Township fee plus additional charges as specified in the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See Title 75, Vehicles, of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.
I. 
Special inspection fee. The estimated fee established at the time of permitting by the Township to recover Township costs associated with special inspections.
J. 
Traffic management fee. A fee for the cost of a Township police officer engaged in traffic management and control.
[1]
Editor's Note: For the current Schedule of Fees, see Ch. A167, Fees.
[Amended 1-17-1968 by Ord. No. 1544; 4-21-1971 by Ord. No. 1639; 1-19-1977 by Ord. No. 1785; 9-21-1977 by Ord. No. 1802]
Upon the filing of the application and the certificate of insurance where required, and the payment of the fee or fees hereinabove required, and in addition a permit fee as set forth in the Township Schedule of Fees, as adopted and amended from time to time by the Board of Commissioners,[1] the Township Secretary shall issue a permit which, unless stated to be for a shorter period shall be good for 30 days, and may be renewed for a like period upon payment of a renewal fee. The permit shall at all times be kept in the possession of a competent person actually engaged on the work, and upon demand shall be exhibited to any police officer or duly authorized employee of the Township, county or state.
[1]
Editor's Note: For the current Schedule of Fees, see Ch. A167, Fees.
The filing of an application for the installation or repairing of pipes, sewers, drains, conduits, sidewalks, curbs, driveways and similar structures, or for erecting or replacing poles, shall constitute an agreement that the applicant will, upon notice from and without expense to the Township, make such changes in the location thereof as may be required by the Township Engineer. The issuance of a permit hereunder shall not confer upon the applicant a permanent right to maintain such structures in the permit area. If any such structure is not removed upon receipt of notice so to do from the Township, the Public Works Department may thereupon remove it and charge the cost of such removal to the applicant.
[Amended 3-18-1992 by Ord. No. 3278]
It shall be the duty of the permittee to furnish to the traveling public suitable protection surrounding the location of all openings, excavations, stored materials and buildings or other structures within the permit area by means of suitable flags and barricades, supplemented, where necessary, by flashing amber lights, which shall be kept lighted from sunset to sunrise, or to provide such other means of protection, including one or more flagmen to direct traffic, as may be required by the Director.
[Amended 1-17-1968 by Ord. No. 1544; 3-18-1992 by Ord. No. 3278; 12-18-2002 by Ord. No. 3664]
All work performed hereunder shall be subject to the approval of the Director of Public Works or his designee. The Township may inspect the work and, if necessary, require the permittee to perform rework or additional work to ensure that construction in, or other use of, the right-of-way is performed and completed in a manner that is safe and in conformance with Township standards. All such work shall conform to the following standards:
A. 
Commencement of work. All work shall be undertaken within the time specified in the permit, or within 24 hours after receipt of the permit where no time for commencement is specified, and shall be performed diligently and continuously until completed.
B. 
Closing permit area to traffic. In no case shall a permit area, or any part thereof, be closed to traffic without the written consent of the Director of Public Works or his designee.
C. 
Tunneling under an improved surface. Whenever, in connection with any work covered by this article, a tunnel is to be made under an improved surface, this fact shall be disclosed in the application. Before a tunnel is excavated specific approval must be obtained from the Township and endorsed upon the permit. The backfilling of the excavation shall not be done except in the presence of a special Township inspector. It shall be made with a damp concrete mix 1 to 4 to 8, thoroughly tamped in six-inch layers, or according to a similar method approved by the Township Engineer.
D. 
Backfilling.
(1) 
All breaks or openings in surfaces made pursuant to this article shall be backfilled to the approval of the Township Public Works Department, replacing the excavated materials with No. 2RC aggregate, as specified in § 703.3(D), Pennsylvania Department of Transportation 408, within two inches of the surface of the street, road or alley. All backfilling must be done by thorough tamping in the uniform layers not to exceed six inches in depth. The remaining two inches of excavation shall be filled and compacted with cold patch and maintained in good condition until final restoration is made. If not adequately maintained, the township will repair at the permittee's expense. In unimproved areas, backfilling may be accomplished with excavated materials, if approved by the Department, tamped in six-inch layers.
(2) 
The Township Public Works Department, at the discretion of the inspector, may permit or require the use of flowable backfill where conditions or circumstances warrant. Flowable backfill shall meet the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation specifications for flowable backfill or flowable backfill for pipe trench.
E. 
Restoration, generally.
(1) 
Restoration is to be performed by the permittee in compliance with the specifications set forth in this article and subject to the approval and inspection of the Township Public Works Department.
(2) 
Excess materials shall be removed from the job site. Weather conditions permitting, final restoration shall be started within 30 days after completion of the initial work. The Township Public Works Department shall be notified by the applicant prior to the commencement of final restoration work.
(3) 
Within 30 days after completion of all work and restoration, the permittee shall provide the Township with as-built drawings of the permit area. The as-built drawings shall show the location and type of all utilities, structures, and other facilities installed in the permit area as well as the location of all restored surface areas.
F. 
Restoration, streets. Specifications for final restoration of street openings are:
(1) 
The surface excavation shall be seven inches in depth, leaving a vertical face.
(2) 
There shall be a twelve-inch setback on both sides of the trench.
(3) 
The materials for restoration shall be six inches of bituminous concrete base course meeting the requirements of Section 305, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation 408, topped with one-inch ID-2 wearing course.
(4) 
On restorations measuring more than four feet, whether transverse or longitudinal, the bituminous surface course shall be compressed with a tandem roller. For restorations measuring less than four feet, the compactions of the bituminous material shall be with a mechanical vibratory tamper with a minimum plate size of 12 inches by 12 inches.
(5) 
All surface joints are to be painted with E-1 asphalt overlapping three inches on both sides of all joints.
(6) 
If a permittee opens pavement having a bituminous concrete surface and the wearing course is less than five years old, the permittee shall, in addition to the restoration conditions outlined in the permit and in this section, overlay the pavement in accordance with the following:
(a) 
When a longitudinal opening longer than 100 linear feet has been made in the pavement, the permittee shall overlay the traffic lanes in which the opening was made, for the entire length of highway between the openings, in a manner authorized by the Department of Public Works.
(b) 
When four or more openings have been made within 100 linear feet of pavement, the permittee shall overlay traffic lanes in which the openings were made, for the entire length of highway between the openings, in a manner authorized by the Department of Public Works.
(c) 
If disturbed lanes adjacent to undisturbed lanes are overlaid, the edge of the disturbed lane shall be saw cut or milled to a depth of 1 1/2 inches or the depth of the existing surface course, whichever is less, for the length of the opening to ensure a smooth joint, with proper elevation and cross section. A full width overlay may be authorized on various highways instead of saw cutting or milling the disturbed lane.
(7) 
The permittee shall excavate and restore any street area within five feet of the area disturbed under the permit if any area within five feet beyond the disturbed area has previously been disturbed.
G. 
Restoration of sidewalk and curb. The specifications for final restoration of curbs and sidewalks shall be those set forth in the Township of Lower Merion Site Design and Construction Standards Manual.
H. 
Trees, shrubs, and landscape plantings. The permittee shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 128, Shade Trees, of this Code and the following requirements:
(1) 
The permittee shall avoid unnecessary damage or injury to trees, shrubs, and landscape plantings.
(2) 
The permittee shall replace any tree, shrub or other landscaping planting removed or substantially damaged during the course of the work.
(3) 
The Township may require the permittee to take precautions, such as directional boring or rerouting a utility line, to avoid injuring a tree, shrub, or landscape planting.
(4) 
Any tree, shrub or other landscaping planting that shows substantial damage attributable to the permittee's work within eighteen months of completion of the work shall be replaced by the permittee at the permittee's sole expense.
I. 
ADA compliance. All work pursuant to this article shall be completed in accordance with the guidelines of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended[1] (ADA compliant), as amended and reflected within the current standards and guidelines established by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Notwithstanding the requirements set forth in § 135-28, paved pedestrian-accessible routes (sidewalks) must maintain a minimum width of not less than 36 inches (three feet) at pinch points caused by any form of obstruction to pedestrian movement. The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, and subsequently related PennDOT guidelines are incorporated by reference and shall take precedence over any lesser standard set forth herein. Requirements to upgrade existing facilities to meet current ADA requirements shall be as follows:
[Added 11-19-2014 by Ord. No. 4038; amended 2-27-2019 by Ord. No. 4160]
(1) 
When any amount of sidewalk replacement is associated with utility main or utility pole replacement; and
(2) 
Wherever replacement of existing sidewalk on a street corner is the sole maintenance remedy possible to ensure the safety of the public, except where no pedestrian route is present on the opposite side of the street.
[1]
Editor’s Note: See 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.
A. 
Lines and grades. The Township Engineer shall furnish information as to lines and grades for the construction and repair of sidewalks, curbs, drains and driveways within a permit area. No work shall be performed therein which does not conform with such lines and grades.
B. 
Curbs. The construction and resetting of concrete or dressed granite curbs and the making of cuts therein shall be performed in accordance with Township Standards and Specifications.
C. 
Driveways. Driveways shall be constructed across the permit area at the grade of the sidewalk and meet the grade of the curb. Curbs may be depressed one inch to 1 1/2 inches above the surface of the road. Sidewalks shall be continued across driveways.
D. 
Drains. No storm, roof, swimming pool, sump, air-conditioning, driveway, parking lot, gasoline or service station, used car lot, car wash or other drain shall be constructed or maintained which discharges water over or upon any sidewalk. Where required by the Township Engineer, such drains shall extend to a storm drainage facility. The Township Engineer may require drainage facilities to be installed by the property owner to accommodate any of the above water sources which discharge over or upon the permit area. Such drains shall be constructed under the sidewalk. Where the outlet of a drain is adjacent to a storm sewer, connection shall be made thereto. Waste from sinks or cesspools and foul or offensive drainage shall not be discharged upon any highway or into storm drains.
E. 
Pipes. Property owners shall keep free of obstructions all existing gutter pipes under driveways which receive or carry water within a permit area. No permits will be issued for replacement or new installations of gutter pipes under driveways.
F. 
Specifications and regulations. All work performed within a permit area shall conform to the Township Specifications and Regulations on file in the office of the Public Works Department.
No building or construction materials or facilities for building construction shall be permitted to occupy more than 1/3 of the width of an improved road surface or obstruct any sidewalk so that free passage of not less than four feet in width shall at all times be maintained; nor shall such materials be permitted to obstruct the flow of water in any gutter or be placed within 25 feet of any fire hydrant or be mixed upon an improved surface or left within the permit area after the expiration of the permit.
[Amended 3-18-1992 by Ord. No. 3278; 6-19-2002 by Ord. No. 3648]
A. 
No gasoline pumps, oil tanks, walls, fences, posts, stones, planting, shrubbery, sprinkler system or similar obstruction shall be placed above or below ground within the permit area. Any such obstructions shall be removed promptly by the property owner whenever written notice to remove the same is given by the Department. If the owner fails to comply with such notice, the Township shall remove the obstruction and charge the cost thereof to the owner.
B. 
The Township may grant a waiver to permit fences within the right-of-way, subject to the following conditions:
(1) 
All requests for a waiver shall be presented to the Director of Building and Planning. If the Director of Building and Planning determines that the fence might present a sight obstruction to vehicular and/or pedestrian traffic, the request must then be reviewed by a member of the Traffic Safety Unit to determine if the sight distance with the fence complies with current PennDOT standards and/or if it presents any other safety concerns.
(2) 
Prior to approval of any fence on or near a corner property, the Traffic Safety Unit shall review the request to determine whether the proposed fence may be subject to damage in the event of a vehicular accident.
(3) 
The Public Works Department shall review and approve any proposed fence to determine whether it would interfere with any of the Township's Public Works operations.
(4) 
The waiver application to permit a fence shall be acted upon by the Township only after receiving the recommendations/reviews required by Subsection B(1), (2) and (3) above.
(5) 
When granted a waiver for a fence, the applicant and property owner shall agree in a covenant running with the land and approved by the Township Solicitor to:
(a) 
Indemnify the Township and hold it harmless from any and all liability associated with the proposed fence.
(b) 
Remove the fence at the property owner's expense upon the Township's request. The Township may request removal for any reason, including the need to maintain or install public improvements.
(6) 
All proposed fences shall comply with the front yard setback provisions set forth in § 155-130 of this Code.
(7) 
No portion of a building or building overhang may project into the right-of-way or the uniform building line.
(8) 
Applicant shall obtain a permit from the Township prior to installing any fence within the right of way or uniform building line.
[Added 12-18-2002 by Ord. No. 3664]
A. 
A permittee or other person who has discontinued use of all or a portion of its utilities or other facilities in a Township right-of-way shall notify the Township of such discontinued use and shall provide the Township with a drawing describing the type and location of all discontinued utilities and facilities.
B. 
A permittee or other person who has discontinued use of or abandoned utilities or other facilities in a Township right-of-way shall remove such utilities and facilities if required by the Township in conjunction with other right-of-way repair, excavation, or construction work.
[Amended 9-21-1977 by Ord. No. 1802; 8-3-1988 by Ord. No. 3104]
Any person who shall do or cause any work to be done or any action to be taken without the permit required by this article or who shall fail to comply with any of the provisions of the permit or of this article shall be liable, on conviction thereof, to a fine or penalty of not less than $25 nor more than $600 for each offense. Whenever such person shall have been notified by the Township Engineer or by the service of a summons in a prosecution or in any other way that he is committing a violation of this article, each day in which he shall continue such violation after notification shall constitute a separate offense, punishable by a like fine or penalty. Such fines or penalties shall be collected before any District Justice as like fines or penalties are now by law collected.