[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Pound Ridge 9-5-2007 by L.L. No. 5-2007; amended in its entirety 4-6-2017 by L.L. No. 1-2017. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCESAttachment 1 - Contours
Excavations — See Ch. 53.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 60.
Zoning — See Ch. 113.
Land development regulations — See Ch. A117.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish regulations which prevent improper disturbance or alteration of steep slopes. These regulations are enacted with the intent of providing a reasonable balance between the rights of the individual property owner to the fair use of property, and the need to protect the local environment in the interests of the general public health and welfare by employing building and development methodologies and mitigation measures to preserve the character and quality of the natural and as-built environment of the site. The Town of Pound Ridge finds and declares it to be the public policy of the Town to further preserve, protect and conserve its steep slopes so as to:
Maintain and protect existing terrain and its vegetative features;
Preserve wetlands, water bodies and watercourses;
Prevent flooding; protect important scenic views and vistas;
Preserve areas of wildlife habitat;
Provide safe building sites;
Preserve the aesthetic character of the property;
Promote the use of sensitive and sustainable methodologies and mitigation measures to preserve the character and quality of the natural and as-built environment of developed land.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CUSTOMARY LANDSCAPING
- Land maintenance involving tree trimming and pruning, the removal of dead and diseased vegetation, the care of existing lawn, the care of established noncommercial gardens, the care and the planting of decorative trees, shrubs and plants, provided that such activity complies with all other applicable ordinances, laws and regulations of the Town of Pound Ridge.
- The removal of vegetation and/or the filling, excavation, regrading or removal of soil, rock or retaining structures whether by hand labor, machinery or explosive, or any combination thereof, and shall include the conditions resulting from any excavation or fill. The condition of disturbance shall be deemed to continue until the area of disturbance is permanently stabilized.
- That form of Town approval required by this chapter for the conduct of any regulated activity within any area of the Town defined as a "steep slope."
- STEEP SLOPE
- Any geographical area whether on a single lot or not, having a topographical gradient of 25% or greater (ratio of vertical distance to horizontal distance), with a minimum horizontal dimension of 25 feet, measured perpendicular to grade contours (see diagram below for reference), whether man-made or natural, whether created by a retaining structure or not, and shall be greater than 500 square feet in area. Individual areas of steep slopes within 25 feet of each other shall be regulated as a single steep slope area.
- TOWN ENGINEER
- A professional engineer licensed by the State of New York working as an employee or consultant for the Town of Pound Ridge, and/or the Town Engineer's and/or the Town Board's duly appointed and authorized representative.
Editor's Note: Said diagram is included as an attachment to this chapter.
Exempt activities. Any customary landscaping not involving regrading is allowed without the need for obtaining a permit, provided that any such activities conform to all other applicable laws and regulations of the Town of Pound Ridge.
Regulated activities. It shall be unlawful to create any disturbance of a steep slope as defined herein, other than an exempt activity, as defined above, without a specific written permit as required by this chapter. It shall additionally be unlawful to create any steep slope, other than as part of an exempt activity, without such permit. Such prohibitions apply to all sites, lots, or parcels of land, or any portion of any such site, lot, or parcel, located in the Town, without exception.
Prior to the issuance of any building permit for any activity on a lot(s) existing on the effective date of this chapter, the Building Inspector shall determine whether or not a steep slope as defined herein will be disturbed or created by a nonexempt activity concurrent with such activity, and applicants may be required to submit any documentation required by the Building Inspector to make such a determination. Where the Building Inspector determines that a steep slope will be disturbed or created in connection with such activity, the Planning Board shall be the approval authority for the issuance of a steep slope permit.
The Planning Board will have authority to waive any required submission information as listed in § 89-6 of this chapter if it is determined that such information is not essential or necessary in approving a permit pursuant to this chapter, while maintaining the intent of the requirements set forth in § 89-5.
Approval standards. Where a proposed disturbance, in the context of the proposed development of the site, is found to be consistent with the legislative intent of these regulations and Town planning policy, is determined to be in the environmental interests of the property, or where a disturbance cannot be avoided so that reasonable use of a property may occur, such disturbance shall be minimized through mitigation measures set forth in a permit of approval and shall be in accordance with the standards set forth herein, as follows:
The proposed activity will not result in creep, sudden slope failure, or additional post-construction erosion.
The proposed activity will not adversely affect existing or proposed wells or sewage disposal systems.
The proposed activity will not adversely affect any endangered or threatened species of flora or fauna.
The proposed activity constitutes the minimum disturbance necessary to allow the property owner a reasonable use of the property.
The planning, design and development of buildings shall provide for structural safety, slope stability and human enjoyment while adapting the affected site to, and taking advantage of, the best use of the natural terrain and aesthetic character.
Such standards and requirements for ensuring safe and environmentally sensitive disturbance, creation, stability, regrading, erosion, cut and fill and advancement of the purposes of this chapter as the Building Inspector, Town Engineer, or Planning Board may require in connection with any approval.
Slopes above 35%. Where any proposed development proposes the disturbance or creation of a slope above 35%, the Planning Board shall grant a steep slope permit only where, in addition to the satisfaction of § 89-5A(1) through (6) above, it determines that:
Development alternatives which avoid such disturbance will result in a less safe or less environmentally sensitive site condition than that which will be created by the proposed disturbance; or
Disturbance of such steep slopes is necessary to provide ingress and egress, and such access can be safely designed and constructed.
Coordination with other reviews. It is the intent of this chapter to incorporate the consideration of steep slopes protection into the Town's extant land use and development approval procedures in conjunction with the procedures of the State Environmental Quality Review Act whenever applicable. To the maximum extent possible, the review, hearings and decision upon any application processed under this chapter shall be coincident with similar procedures that the approval authority may undertake in regard to other applications that are directly related.
Application for permit. An application for a permit to disturb or alter a steep slope shall be filed with the following information and such other information as required by the Building Inspector or Planning Board:
The name and post office address of the owner and applicant.
The street address and Tax Map designation of property covered by the application.
A statement of authority from the owner for any agent making application.
A listing of property owners adjacent to, across streets or rights-of-way from and within 500 feet of the property and any additional property owners deemed appropriate by the approval authority.
A statement of the proposed work and purpose thereof.
Copies, in such reasonable number as determined by the approval authority, of a map and plan for the proposed regulated activities drawn to a scale of not less than one inch equals 50 feet (unless otherwise specified by the approval authority). Such map and plan shall be sealed and show the following:
The location of the proposed construction or area of disturbance and its relationship to property lines, easements, buildings, roads, walls, sewage disposal systems, wells and wetlands within 100 feet of the proposed construction or area of disturbance for adjacent properties at the same elevation and within 500 feet for properties significantly lower, and any additional properties deemed appropriate by the approval authority.
The estimated material quantities of excavation/fill.
The location and size of areas of soils by soils types in the area of proposed disturbance and to a distance of 100 feet.
The existing and proposed contours [National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD)] at two-foot intervals in the area of proposed disturbance and to a distance of 100 feet beyond.
Cross-sections of steep slope areas.
Retaining walls or like constructions, with details of construction.
The erosion and sedimentation control plan.
A stormwater analysis consisting of a narrative and calculations of pre- and post-development runoff volume generation and flow rates, including the design of any stormwater management features required to prevent stormwater impacts.
A list of all applicable county, state or federal permits which are required for such work or improvements.
Calculations demonstrating soil stability using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) methodology signed and sealed by a licensed professional engineer (PE) or a certified professional in erosion and sediment control (CPESC), and design calculations for materials required to prevent erosion.
Other details, including specific reports by qualified professionals on soils, geology and hydrology, and borings and/or test pits, as may be determined to be necessary by the approval authority.
An application fee in the amount set forth in a fee schedule established by the Town Board.
The requirements of this § 89-6(B) may be waived by the approval authority where in its discretion doing so will not result in insufficient information to make a determination in accordance with the review and approval standards herein.
Public hearing. Following the receipt of a complete application as determined by the approval authority:
Where a steep slopes permit is required as part of an application for subdivision, site plan, special permit review, or other review and approval, the Planning Board shall schedule and conduct a public hearing on the application for a steep slopes permit concurrent with any other required public hearing regarding such other reviews. In the case where a steep slopes permit is required but is not part of an application for subdivision, site plan, special permit review, or other review and approval, the Planning Board may schedule a public hearing, or may waive such hearing where it determines that doing so would not violate the intent of this chapter.
In all cases where a public hearing is to be held by the Planning Board regarding an application for steep slopes permit, said public hearing will be held not later than 62 days after the receipt of a complete application as determined by the Planning Board. In the case where a steep slopes permit is required as part of an application for subdivision, site plan, special permit review, or other review, a public hearing shall be held after the receipt of a complete application is made for all required approvals as determined by the Planning Board. Notice of public hearings shall be given in the same manner as prescribed in § 113-63 of the Zoning Law. Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorization for default approval in the event this time period is exceeded in review of a steep slopes permit.
Within 62 days from the close of any public hearing pursuant to § 89-6C(1) and (2) hereof, the Planning Board shall render a written decision to approve, deny, or approve with modifications and/or conditions the application, giving due consideration to the findings and recommendations of Town professionals, where appropriate. Such decision shall include a statement of finding upon which the Planning Board has relied in its decision. In approving any steep slopes permit application, the Planning Board may impose such conditions as it determines essential to ensure compliance with the intent and purpose of this chapter. The Planning Board shall file a copy of its decision with the Town Engineer and Building Inspector. Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorization for default approval in the event this time period is exceeded in review of a steep slopes permit.
A permit, unless otherwise indicated, shall expire upon completion of the work specified therein, shall expire upon the expiration of any accompanying building permit, and shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of approval. Permits may be renewed by the Planning Board or the Building Inspector, respectively, upon application submitted at least 60 days before the expiration of the permit. Standards for issuance of renewals shall be the same as for the issuance of permits. Permits, including all of their conditions, shall be binding on successors and assignees of the permit holder.
The Planning Board may require posting of a performance and/or erosion control bond(s) as a condition of approval; the amount and surety of such bonds is to be approved by the Town Board. The performance bond is intended to ensure the proper completion of the proposed activity in accordance with the approved plans, the restoration of the area to its natural condition as far as practicable and protection of adjoining property owners from damage resulting therefrom.
The Building Inspector, or the designated and/or authorized representative, shall inspect, on behalf of the Planning Board, activities undertaken pursuant to a permit so as to ensure satisfactory completion. If upon inspection it is found that any of the activities have not been undertaken in accordance with the permit conditions, the applicant shall be responsible for completing those activities according to the permit (in addition to being subject to the sanctions set forth herein.
Any person found violating any provision of this chapter or conditions duly imposed pursuant thereto shall be served by the Building Inspector with a written notice stating the nature of the violation and providing a specified time within which the violation shall cease and satisfactory corrective action shall be taken by the violator.
Any person who is found to have violated, disobeyed or disregarded any provision of this chapter shall be liable to the people of the Town of Pound Ridge for a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for every such violation, as well as the Town's attorneys' fees, and such penalty assessed shall constitute a valid lien against such property until such penalty has been satisfied, and may be recorded of record and enforced as such by the Town.
The Town shall have the power to seek appropriate relief, to direct the violator to cease violation of the chapter and satisfactorily restore the affected area to its condition prior to the violation or otherwise complete the terms and conditions of the permit. The Town may seek an order to compel the posting of a performance bond in an amount sufficient to complete, restore or otherwise improve the violation.
Any person found violating any provision of this chapter or conditions duly imposed pursuant thereto shall, for the first offense, be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000.
For a second and each subsequent offense, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,000 or a term of imprisonment of no more than six months, or both.
Each offense shall be a separate and distinct offense and, in the case of a continuing offense, each day's continuance thereof shall be deemed a separate and distinct offense.
The Town Attorney or Deputy Town Attorney may prosecute any person alleged to have violated the provisions of this chapter and shall seek equitable relief to restrain any violation or threatened violation of its provisions.