[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Washington 10-26-1995 by Ord. No. 26-1995 as Ch. XIX, Article 2, of the 1994 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter may be known and may be cited as the "Washington Township Soil Removal Ordinance."
For the purpose of this chapter, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, the following words shall be defined to include and to mean the following:
- Any parcel of land, or portion thereof, the boundary lines of which can be ascertained by reference to the maps and records, or either, in the office of the Tax Assessor of the Township of Washington or in the office of the Gloucester County Register of Deeds.
- A soil removal permit used under the terms hereof.
- One or more lots or contiguous parcels of and in single ownership, which ownership can be ascertained by reference to the maps and records, or either, in the office of the Tax Assessor of the Township of Washington or in the Gloucester County Clerk's office.
- Both surface topsoil and subsoil, and includes dirt, stone, gravel, sand, humus, clay, loam, rock and mixtures of any of these.
Requirements. No person shall excavate or cause, allow, permit or suffer any excavation for the removal of soil or otherwise remove soil for sale or for use other than on the premises from which the soil shall be taken without first having obtained a permit therefor approved by the Township Council, which permit shall be conspicuously posted and displayed on the entrance to the premises.
Exemption. No permit shall be required if such soil removal is incidental to the erection of a building and the total sum of all soil to be removed does not exceed 1,500 cubic yards.
Improper posting. No owner or person shall post or display, or cause to be posted or displayed, a permit for excavation for or the removal of soil upon any premises in the Township without such permit first having been properly approved, issued and obtained in accordance and in compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
Application. Before the issuance of a permit, the applicant shall make application therefor on a form provided by the office of the Township Clerk and furnish in such application and accompanying documents the following:
The name and address of the applicant. If the applicant is a partnership, the partnership name and business address, together with the names of all partners and their residential addresses. If the applicant is a corporation, the name of the corporation, the place of business of such corporation, the date and state of incorporation, the names and addresses of all officers and the positions held in such corporation, together with the names and addresses of all directors of such corporation, the names and addresses of all stockholders holding 10% or more of the stock of the corporation and the name and address of the legal representative of the corporation, if any.
The name and address of the owner or owners of the premises involved. If the owner or owners are a partnership, then the partnership name and business address and the names of the partners, together with their residential addresses. If the owner is a corporation, the name of the corporation, its place of business, the date and state of incorporation, the names and addresses of all officers and the positions held in the corporation, the names and addresses of all directors, the names and addresses of all stockholders holding 10% or more of the stock of the corporation and the name and address of the legal representative of the corporation, if any.
A detailed description of the premises and its location, together with the Washington Township tax map plate, block and lot number or numbers where the excavation or soil removal is to be conducted.
A map of the premises for which the permit is sought showing:
The existing topographic contour lines of the land involved and abutting lands and roads within 200 feet.
The proposed topographic contour grades which will result from the intended soil removal.
All roads and buildings, streams and bodies of water within 200 feet of the premises.
The names and addresses of adjoining landowners within 200 feet.
Existing water drainage conditions.
All wooded areas, the limit of the area or areas on the premises within which the soil operations or removal is to be conducted and, unless specifically waived by the council, the dimensions of the premises or lot.
The existing elevations of the lands, buildings, structures, streets, bodies of water and watercourses on the premises or lot and within 200 feet of the premises or lot and the proposed final elevations at each point where existing elevations are shown on the map which are to be changed as a result of completion of the proposed work.
The proposed slopes and lateral supports at the limits of the area, upon completion of the excavations and soil removal operations.
The proposed provisions and facilities for water drainage.
An accurate cross section or sections showing the location or locations in quantities, in cubic yards, of soil to be removed.
Unless specifically waived by the Council, the map shall be prepared by a licensed engineer of the State of New Jersey.
If the owner is not the applicant, written consent of the owner to the application and proposed excavation and soil removal shall be submitted with the application, together with a statement of the relationship between the owner and the applicant.
Plans showing the place or places where the entrances or exits to the excavation or area of soil removal operation, fences or buildings are to be located.
Statement of the type of equipment and apparatus to be used in the excavation and soil removal operations.
Statement of the hours during which the excavation and soil removal operations are intended to be conducted.
Proof of liability insurance coverage in amounts of not less than $100,000 for each person injured, $300,000 total for each accident causing personal injury, and $50,000 for property damage for each accident. This requirement may be waived or otherwise reduced by the Township Council upon request.
A description of any processing of the soil which will be done or conducted on the premises, including a description of equipment and plans of such processing equipment and facilities.
The number of total cubic yards of soil to be removed.
An estimated period of time for which the excavation or soil removal operations will be conducted and the removal completed.
Routes to and from the premises and proposed site of the excavation and soil removal operations which will be used for the transportation of the soil to be removed.
Statement of the place or places to which the soil is to be removed.
Each application for soil removal shall be accompanied by the deposit of a fee in the amount set forth in Chapter 80 of this Code. Such fee shall cover the costs of investigating and examining the application and information therein, legal and engineering services, review by the Township planning and environmental consultants, notices, hearings and other processing costs.
In the event that the application is denied, the fee deposited shall be returned to the applicant after deducting actual costs of investigation, legal and engineering services, review by the Township planning and environmental consultants, costs of notices, hearings and other processing costs incurred by the Township.
Number and disposition of application. Five copies of the application and accompanying documents shall be filed with the Township Clerk, and the fee shall be paid to the Township Treasurer, who shall issue a receipt therefor and indicate the amount of fee deposited on each copy of the application in a space provided for such purpose on the application form. The Township Clerk shall file the original application form, with the name and date of filing marked thereon, and promptly refer and forward a copy of the application to the Township Engineer, Township planning consultant and the Township Environmental Commission for their investigation, report and recommendations, and deliver the remaining copy of the application to the Township Clerk.
Engineering report. The Township Engineer shall make a report concerning the application to the Township Council indicating, among other pertinent information:
Whether the proposed operation will result in any sharp declivities, pits or depressions, soil erosion, flooding, fertility problems, drainage or sewerage problems or other dangerous conditions regarding the permit to be issued.
Areas shown on the map, if any, where excavation should not be permitted because of adverse effects on abutting property or roads.
Changes, if any, in permitted contours and slopes to be accomplished by proposed removal.
Area from which topsoil may be stripped before replacement thereof to permit soil removal, with consideration being given to the number of yards to be removed and the duration of the requested permit.
Capacity of the public roads used for ingress and egress to withstand damage from the proposed operation.
Other recommended considerations and conditions to protect the public welfare or adjoining properties, roads and streams.
Notice of hearing.
To applicant. Within 10 days of the receipt of the above required reports and recommendations, the Township Clerk shall notify the applicant of the time, place and date of a public hearing to be conducted by the Township Council upon the application, which public hearing shall be held not less than 15 days nor more than 60 days from the date of the issuance of notice to the applicant by the Township Clerk.
To adjoining property owners. The applicant shall be required to serve notice of the application and the time, place and date of the hearing to all property owners, as indicated on the Tax Map of Washington Township, who are within 200 feet of the outside boundaries of the premises from which soil is to be removed or excavations conducted thereon and for which a permit is sought. The notice shall be served personally upon such property owners by certified mail, return receipt requested, not less than 10 days prior to the date on which the hearing is to be held, and the applicant shall submit, at the time of the hearing, proof of service of such notice, in affidavit form, to property owners.
Publication of notice. The Township Clerk shall cause public notice of the application and the time, place and date of public hearing to be published in the legal newspaper of the Township at least seven days prior to the date of the hearing. Such publication shall also indicate the premises for which the permit is sought by plate, block and lot number, and by a street address or general location.
Testimony and reports. At the public hearing, the Township Council may receive testimony and further evidence from the applicant and any interested person, and reports from any Township officials relevant to the application and the issuance of a permit.
Factors to be addressed. In considering and reviewing the application and in arriving at its decision, the Township Council shall be guided and take into consideration the reports and evidence adduced at the public hearing and the effect of the issuance of the permit on the public health, safety and general welfare and particularly, but not in limitation thereof, the following factors:
Soil erosion by water and wind.
Drainage or sewerage problems.
Lateral support slopes and grades of abutting roads and lands.
Land values and uses.
Creation of conditions inimical to the public health, safety and welfare.
Creation of any sharp declivities, pits, depressions, soil erosion or fertility or problems.
Depressed land values.
Creation of any drainage sewerage problems or other conditions of danger to life, personal safety or property.
Such other factors as may bear upon or relate to the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious physical development of the Township and any environmental impact thereon.
Decision. If the Township Council is of the opinion and determines that the proposed excavations or soil removal will not have an adverse effect on the above considerations, then the Township Council, by resolution, shall approve the application and accompanying documents subject to such reasonable conditions or restrictions designed to meet the engineering recommendations or other adverse objections to the application or proposed excavations or soil removal as the Township Council may impose. If any application is so approved by the Township Council, and the applicant complies with other provisions of this chapter, then the Township Clerk, within five days thereafter, shall issue a permit in accordance with such approval and pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. If the application is not approved by the Township Council, then the Township Clerk, within five days of such determination, shall notify the applicant in writing of such denial, together with the reasons therefor.
After the Township Council approves an application, but before a permit is issued by the Township Clerk and any work for which a permit is required under the provisions of this chapter is done, the applicant shall file and maintain a bond during the period covered by such permit, which bond in substance and form shall be acceptable to the Township Council and in such amount as in the opinion of the Township Council shall be sufficient to insure the faithful performance of the work to be undertaken pursuant to the conditions of the permit and the provisions of this chapter. In no event shall the filing of a bond be deemed to be approval of a permit required hereunder.
Issuance. The permit shall be on a form prescribed by the Township Council. It shall be dated as of the date it is actually issued by the Township Clerk and shall be signed by the Mayor.
Term. The term of the permit shall not exceed one year. All permits shall automatically terminate on the expiration date unless application for renewal has been made in writing. The Township Council may extend such permit, by resolution, for additional one-year periods. No public hearing shall be required upon such an extension, unless the Township Council shall determine that further investigation or information is desirable in the interest of public health, safety or welfare.
Transferability. No permit shall be transferable from the applicant to whom the permit is issued to any other person or persons.
No excavation shall be made or soil removed, nor shall any operation be conducted, so as to violate any of the following conditions after a permit is issued.
Preservation of topsoil. All topsoil on premises shall be stored temporarily on the premises inside a fenced area during operations and, after grading is completed, respread on the premises to a depth of not less than four inches.
Maximum area of excavation; waiver. Not more than three acres shall be excavated at one time, including area used for storage of topsoil, enclosed with a snow fence, properly leveled off, cleared of debris and graded to conform with the contour lines and grade recommended for approval by the Township Engineer to the Township Council and approved by the Township Council. The Township Engineer may recommend to the Township Council a waiver of the three-acre limitation at any one time. In the event the Township Council approves such recommendation, the area of work shall encompass that area so recommended by the Township Engineer.
Disposal of vegetation. All trees, stumps, brush and other vegetation shall be removed monthly and not buried on the premises.
Restoration of area. The area excavated shall be leveled off, cleared of debris, graded to conform to the contour and graded as approved by the Township Council and covered with four inches of topsoil and seeded with perennial grass during the planting season. If sufficient topsoil is not available from the premises, then a cover crop as prescribed by the Township Engineer shall be spread on the premises. Thereafter, the snow fence may be removed.
Discarding littering of soil. Soil removal shall not be deposited or in any way thrown or placed upon the adjoining property or public roads.
Compliance with regulations. All operations shall be conducted in strict compliance with any and all applicable state or local laws, ordinances or regulations, as well as this chapter and the terms and conditions upon which the permit was issued.
Nuisance prohibited. The operations shall be conducted so as not to constitute a nuisance to adjoining owners, and in no event shall any sharp declivities, pits or depressions be created.
Maximum perimeter slope. No slope along the perimeter of any excavation area shall exceed one foot vertical to five feet horizontal, unless specifically waived by the Township Council at the public hearing.
Conformance of contours and grades. The permittee shall be allowed to continue in operation so long as the permittee complies and conforms to the contours and grades set forth in the topographical survey map as approved by the Township Council.
Distance required from streets and property lines. No person owning lands or otherwise operating land for the excavation and sale of gravel or other types of soil for commercial use shall excavate such soils nearer than 150 feet to any public highway nor nearer than 50 feet to the side lines of adjacent properties.
Where by reason of extraordinary or exceptional configuration, topography, conditions or situations of the premises, the strict application of any regulation or conditions set forth in this chapter would result in peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties to or exceptional and undue hardship upon the applicant, the Township Council may authorize or grant a variance from such strict application so as to relieve such difficulties or hardship. The Township Council may authorize or grant a variance from such strict application in particular cases and for special reasons. However, no variance shall be authorized or granted unless such relief can be authorized or granted without substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of this chapter.
The permittee shall permit inspection of the premises at all reasonable business hours by members of the Township Council or by such persons as the Township Council may lawfully authorize to inspect and report thereon. Every operation shall be inspected by the Township Engineer once every four months during the period of time that the operation of the permittee is being conducted. The permittee shall pay the cost thereof, which costs shall be included as part of the fee originally deposited, or, if the fee as originally deposited shall be of insufficient amount to cover such costs of inspection, then the permittee may be billed therefor at the cost, per inspection, as set forth in Chapter 80, Fees. In the event a reinspection is required by reason of violations found in the course of regular inspections, the permittee shall pay the costs for such reinspections at the aforesaid rate.
Designation of routes; protection of roads. The Township Council may, for reasons of public health, safety and welfare, determine the routes to be utilized by the permittee within the Township in transporting soil, and every person who shall transport over the streets, roads and highways in the Township any soil removed from any lands or premises within the Township pursuant to a soil removal permit issued in accordance with this chapter shall sweep, pick up, remove or cause to be swept, picked up or removed all dust, dirt and mud from such roadways, streets or highways and shall apply or cause to be applied to such roadways, streets or highways a dust preventative wherever the same shall be determined necessary and communicated to the permittee by the Township Engineer.
Violation. In the event of the failure, neglect or refusal of any person to so sweep, pick up, or remove dust, dirt and mud, or to apply a dust preventative when required under this section, the Township Council is authorized to suspend any soil permit issued for a period of not less than three days or revoke such soil removal permit as hereinafter provided.
Upon 10 days' notice and an opportunity to be heard before the Township Council, the permit of any person may be revoked or suspended for such time or period as the Township Council may determine for any violation of the terms hereof or the terms and conditions of any permit granted or issued hereunder.
This chapter shall not be construed nor is it intended to require a permit for any excavation or removal of soil for the preparation of a lawn, sidewalk or driveway or for excavations for septic tanks or for shallow drainage ditches or filter beds or like sanitary improvements, nor is it to be construed or intended to require a permit for any state, county or Township work or excavations to be done or performed in the Township, nor shall it apply to any soil removal operations conducted by the Township or any person or persons under contract for excavation or removal of soil with the Township, including municipal landfill operations or such conducted under the municipal contract.
In addition to any action on the bond or the revocation of the permit, any person who violates this chapter, or any director or officer of a corporation who participates in a violation of this chapter, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to the penalty set forth in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article I, of this Code. Each day that a violation continues shall be considered a separate and distinct violation thereof.