Town of Esopus, NY
Ulster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Esopus 2-10-1988 by L.L. No. 1-1988. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Excavations in public highways — See Ch. 74.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 77.
This chapter shall be known as a "Local Law Regulating Blasting and the Use of Explosives in Blasting Operations."
" It is an elementary principle in reference to private rights that every individual is entitled to the undisturbed possession and lawful enjoyment of his own property."[1]
"Since blasting involves a substantial risk of harm, no matter the degree of care exercised, we perceive no reason for ever permitting a person who engages in such an activity to impose this risk upon nearby persons or property without assuming responsibility therefor."_
Over 140 years ago, the New York Court of Appeals addressed the potential conflict which exists between the right of a person to undertake activities on his lands which disturb the right of quiet possession of land by an adjoining land owner. The Court concluded:
"If these rights conflict, the former must yield to the latter, as the more important of the two, since upon the grounds of public policy, it is better that one man should surrender a particular use of his land than that another should be deprived of the beneficial use of his property, altogether, which might be the consequence if the privilege of the former should be wholly unrestricted."_
[1]
Editor's Note: Hayes v Cohoes, 2 NY 159 (1848).
It is the intent of the Town Board of the Town of Esopus to implement and encapsulate in statutory form the New York State Court of Appeals decision in Spano v Perini, (25 NY2d 11) (1970).
     "One who engages in blasting must assume the responsibility, and be liable without fault for any injury he causes to neighboring property ..."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them:
BLASTS and BLASTING
Includes any activity whereby layers of earth or rock are dislodged or torn apart by the use of any explosive, and includes the displacement of any vegetation, ground cover, earth or rock by the explosion or detonation of any explosive material.
BUILDING INSPECTOR
The duly appointed Building Inspector of the Town of Esopus.
PERSON
Includes a person, persons, firm, partnership, corporation or other entity capable of being sued.
A. 
"A blaster is absolutely liable for any damages he causes with or without trespass..." (We are) "not concerned with the particular manner by which the damage was caused, but by the simple fact that any explosion in a built up area was likely to cause damage."[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Spano v Perini, 25 NY2d 11, 15.
B. 
"The intentional setting off of explosives - that is blasting - in an area in which it is likely to cause harm to neighboring persons or property, shall make the blaster and the person who engages him absolutely liable for the consequences of his act."[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Spano, Supra, Page 18.
C. 
"The evidence addressed by the plaintiff on this question can be entirely circumstantial and such evidence is sufficient as a matter of law."[3]
[3]
Editor's Note: Spano, Supra, Page 18.
No person shall purchase, own, possess, transport or use explosives in blasting operations in the town unless a license therefor shall have first been issued as provided under the Labor Law.
The holder of a blaster's license issued pursuant to this chapter shall perform blasting operations in accordance with the provisions, regulations and requirements of the Labor Law and of the codes, rules and regulations and any and all amendments thereto and, in addition, shall perform such blasting operations in accordance with recommended good practices usually employed in the industry.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any of the following:
A. 
Agencies of the United States, including its armed services.
B. 
The state and its political and civil subdivisions.
C. 
Any school district or portion thereof situated in the town.
D. 
Any district corporation.
E. 
Any public benefit corporation.
F. 
Police and fire-fighting forces.
G. 
Any quarry operating and existing in the town prior to the enactment of the Zoning Ordinance (1969).
It shall be unlawful to blast or carry on any blasting operation after 5:00 p.m. or before 8:00 a.m., nor shall any blasting be done on Sunday, except with the written approval of the Building Inspector.
A. 
No person may use explosives in the Town of Esopus without first obtaining a permit from the Building Inspector.
B. 
Permits for blasting shall only be issued to persons holding blaster's licenses or to contractors who have in their employ persons holding such licenses.
C. 
The permit shall state the location for which it is approved, the date issued, the name of the person authorized to do the blasting and such other information as the Building Inspector may deem necessary.
D. 
The permit shall be good only for the one location designated therein, shall not be transferable and shall expire not later than one year from the date thereof.
E. 
The applicant shall also satisfy the Building Inspector that any magazine to be used for the storage of explosives on the work for which the blasting permit is desired has been duly licensed by the Industrial Commissioner of the State of New York, as provided in Article 16, § 458, of the Labor Law.
F. 
The permit shall not be issued until the applicant shall submit to the Town of Esopus a public liability insurance policy providing coverage in the amount of $1,000,000 for each person injured, $3,000,000 for each accident and $1,500,000 for property damage, together with a certificate of insurance, executed by the carrier, that said policy will not be canceled except on 10 days' notice, in writing, to the Town of Esopus.
G. 
Should the Building Inspector determine that the extent of the blasting operations in any particular case and the danger involved require public liability insurance coverage in greater amounts than above specified, he shall immediately certify his determination to the Town Clerk and simultaneously request that the Town Board fix the policy limits. The Town Board shall meet as expeditiously as possible for said purpose, and said Town Board is hereby authorized and empowered to fix the policy limits in such amount or amounts as the Town Board shall deem commensurate with the scope of the blasting operations and the dangers involved. Such liability insurance policy shall be issued by an insurance company authorized to do business in New York State and approved as to form and sufficiency by the Town Attorney, and, after such approval, said policy shall be filed with the Town Clerk.
H. 
The liability hereby imposed upon the applicant shall be one of absolute liability for any such loss, expense, cost or damages of any kind or nature to persons or property resulting from blasting, with or without trespass, and shall not depend upon any question of negligence upon his part or upon the part of his agents, servants or employees. The neglect of anyone to direct the applicant, his agents, servants or employees to take any particular precaution or to refrain from doing any particular thing shall not excuse the applicant from the liability hereby imposed upon him.
I. 
An application for such permit shall be accompanied by an inspection fee of $100 for each day the blasting shall take place.
[Amended 4-21-2005]
The blaster shall each day deliver to the Town Clerk before 10:00 a.m. the records of the blasting done on the previous day. This record shall contain, at a minimum, the following information for each blast:
A. 
The name and address of the person, firm or corporation responsible for the detonation of the blast.
B. 
The date.
C. 
The time.
D. 
The spacing.
E. 
The burden (feet).
F. 
The depth (feet).
G. 
The subdrilling (feet).
H. 
The stemming (feet).
I. 
The number of holes (diameter in inches).
J. 
The maximum explosive per delay.
K. 
The type of day.
L. 
The wind direction.
M. 
The make of explosive (pounds).
N. 
The total explosive used for each blast.
O. 
The delay system.
P. 
The delay manufacturer.
Q. 
The delay cap numbers.
R. 
The minimum interval.
S. 
The name of the blaster.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to engage in the use of explosives or combustibles for blasting purposes without following, within the Town of Esopus, the following precautions and procedures:
A. 
Blasts shall be made with small charges consisting of an explosive agent no greater than 12 sticks of forty-percent dynamite or the equivalent thereof.
B. 
Barricades shall be erected around blasting areas at all times.
C. 
Watchmen shall be posted in sufficient numbers to warn all persons of danger while blasting is in progress. Said watchmen shall not be less than two in number and shall carry red flags.
D. 
Blasts shall be covered with wire mesh mats or railroad ties to effectively prevent the spraying of stones, earth or other debris on the surrounding areas.
E. 
All persons living within a radius of 500 feet of a point at which a blast is to be made shall be personally warned to take necessary precautions by opening windows and doors.
F. 
Blasting shall be done only by duly licensed persons.
G. 
Before any explosive is detonated, the person holding the blaster's permit shall sound a horn loud enough to be heard 1/4 of a mile away three times and wait five minutes before actually detonating the explosive.
H. 
No blasting shall be done except between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
A. 
In the event that blasting is carried on contrary to the conditions contained in this chapter, the Building Inspector must issue a stop-work order.
B. 
No blasting shall be conducted in the Town of Esopus which shall cause any vibrations in any neighboring properties. The sudden appearance of cracks in floors, walls or ceilings or the lengthening of the same or the cracking of windows or the implosion or explosion of windows shall be prima facie evidence of the use of excessive amounts of explosives, and the Building Inspector must issue a stop-work order upon observation of the same. No appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals shall act as a lifting of a stop-work order, notwithstanding any provision of law.
C. 
The Building Inspector shall have the authority to lift the stop-work order upon proof that the next successive explosion (blast) shall not only be within the limits set forth in § 54-13A above, but shall also contain fewer explosives than the prior explosion so that the explosions do not vibrate neighboring houses.
D. 
It shall be no excuse that the use of lesser amounts of explosives would increase the cost of removing the rock and earth.
E. 
Failure to comply with the stop-work order shall be deemed a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of not more than $2,500 for each day such violation of the law shall be permitted to exist or by imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or both.
Before firing any blast, except where the same is in a tunnel, the material to be blasted shall be covered on the top and sides with timber, held securely together by strong chains or cables of iron or steel and covered with sheets of metal or heavy woven matting of rope or wire.
One hour before the detonation of any blast (explosion), the contractor and/or blaster shall give notice to the Town Clerk by telephone or in person of the exact time that the explosion will take place.
The blasting of rock contiguous to any structure shall be so conducted as not to cause damage thereto. To this end, weak walls or other supports shall be shored up, and rotten or decomposed rock shall be removed only by use of gads, picks or crowbars. When blasting in the vicinity of a weak structure is unavoidable, only light face blasts with short lines of resistance and charges shall be used.
Immediately after firing a blast, the blaster shall cause all debris to be removed and shall thoroughly examine the rock and the drill holes to ascertain whether there remains any unexploded charge, and until this is done, no further drilling or blasting shall take place. In case a blast shall fail to carry away the entire drill hole and leaves the lower part intact, no further drilling shall be done in that hole.
In the event that any provision of this chapter shall be found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unconstitutional, that finding shall not invalidate the other provisions of this chapter.
In the event that persons or property are damaged by the blasting and payment therefor shall not have been made within three months from the time of notice to the contractor or blaster, the contractor and the blaster shall be jointly and severally responsible for the payment of reasonable attorney's fees, costs and disbursements of the plaintiff, whether or not the case goes to trial; attorneys' fees shall not, however, be payable by the contractor or blaster in the event that a final judgment is entered against the plaintiff or in the event that said contractor or blaster can prove that they or their insurance carrier offered to settle such claim for a consideration at least equal to that payable pursuant to the final settlement or judgment, within said three-month period, and that said offer was rejected by the claimant.
The violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, except § 54-14, for which a separate penalty is imposed, or failure to comply therewith shall be a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine which shall not exceed $1,000. Each day such violation shall be permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense. The application of the above penalty shall not be held to prevent the enforced removal of the prohibited conditions or application to the Supreme Court for an injunction.