Town of Smithfield, RI
Providence County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Smithfield 10-27-1987; amended in its entirety 10-22-1985 (Ch. 16, Art. IV, of the 1985 Code of Ordinances). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Earth removal — See Ch. 182.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 316.
The following definitions shall apply in this chapter:
Any person, corporation, or public or private organization proposing a development which would involve disturbance to the natural terrain as herein defined.
An excavation. The difference between a point on the original ground and a designated point of lower elevation on the final grade. Also, the material removed in excavating.
Any construction, reconstruction, demolition or removal of structures, roadways, parking, or other paved areas, utilities, or other similar facilities, including any action requiring a building permit by the Town.
The removal of mineral and/or organic matter by the action of wind, water, and/or gravity.
Any act by which earth, sand, gravel, rock, or any other similar material is dug into, cut, quarried, uncovered, removed, displaced, relocated, or bulldozed, and shall include the conditions resulting therefrom.
Any act by which earth, sand, or other material is placed or moved to a new location above ground. The fill is also the difference in elevation between a point of existing undisturbed ground and a designated point of higher elevation of the final grade.
Any physical land activity which includes such actions as clearance of vegetation; moving or filling of land; removal or excavation of soil or mineral resources; or similar activities.
The surface water discharge or rate of discharge of a given watershed after a fall of rain or snow and including seepage flows that do not enter the soil but run off the surface of the land. Also, that portion of water that is not absorbed by the soil, but runs off the land surface.
Solid material, both mineral and/or organic, that is in suspension, being transported, or has been moved from its site or origin by wind, water and/or gravity as a product of erosion.
The (approved) document required before any person may cause a disturbance to the natural terrain within the Town as herein regulated. Also, herein referred to as an "erosion and sediment control plan," "approved plan."
Revocation or suspension of approval. The approval of an erosion and sediment control plan under this chapter may be revoked or suspended and work initiated under the plan halted for an indefinite time period by the Environmental Affairs Officer or his authorized agent by written notification transmitted to the developer or owner for one or more of the following reasons:
Violation of any condition of the approved plan, or conditions or specifications pertaining thereto;
Violation of any provisions of this chapter or any other applicable law, ordinance, rule or regulation related to the work or site of work; and
The existence of any condition or the performance of any act constituting or creating a nuisance, hazard, or endangerment to human life or the property of others, or contrary to the spirit or intent of this chapter.
Other penalties. In addition thereto, wherever there is a failure to comply with the provisions of this chapter, the Town shall have the right to notify the applicant/owner that he has five days from the receipt of notice to temporarily correct the violations and 30 days from receipt of notice to permanently correct the violations. Should the applicant/owner fail to comply with the notices, he shall be deemed in violation of this chapter and subject to a fine of $100 per day for each day the violation persists. In addition, should the applicant/owner fail to take the temporary corrective measures within the five-day period and the permanent corrective measures within the thirty-day period, the Town shall then have the right to take whatever actions it deems necessary to correct the violations and to assert a lien on the subject property in an amount equal to the costs of remedial actions. The imposition of any penalty shall not exempt the offender from compliance with the provisions of this chapter, including revocation of the performance bond or assessment of a lien on the property by the Town.
Whenever a violation of this chapter occurs, or is alleged to have occurred, any person may convey to the Environmental Affairs Officer a written complaint stating fully the causes and basis thereof. The Environmental Affairs Officer shall promptly record such complaint, immediately investigate and take appropriate action thereon as provided by this chapter. All complainants shall be promptly notified by the Environmental Affairs Officer as to the disposition of their complaint.
The Town Council hereby finds that excessive quantities of soil are eroding from certain areas that are undergoing development for nonagricultural uses such as housing developments, industrial areas, recreational facilities, gravel banks, general excavation projects and roads. This erosion makes necessary costly repairs to gullies, washed out fills, roads, and embankments. The resulting sediment clogs the storm sewers, road ditches and muddies streams, leaves deposits of silt in ponds and reservoirs and is considered a major water pollutant.
The Town Council further finds that the streams, culverts and watercourses in the Town of Smithfield cannot accept any increase in runoff from developments, new roads, homes and the like. It is therefore the intention of this chapter that there be no increase in runoff to streams, drainage systems, watercourses and the like by those activities governed by this chapter.
The purpose of this chapter is to prevent soil erosion and sedimentation from occurring and control off-site runoff as a result of nonagricultural development within the Town by requiring proper provisions for water disposal, and the protection of soil surfaces during and after construction, in order to promote the safety, public health and general welfare of the Town.
This chapter shall be applicable in any situation involving any disturbance to the natural terrain, topsoil or vegetative ground cover upon any property within the Town of Smithfield except as so specified in § 299-6 hereunder, including but not limited to the following specific situations:
For any development project subject to the obtaining of a building permit pursuant to the building code;
For any development project subject to the approval of a subdivision plan pursuant to the subdivision regulations; however, the preliminary and final plats approved by the Town Planning Board shall constitute the plan;
All plans for projects undertaken by the Town through private contractors shall include in the specifications and in the contract documents the requirements of this chapter;
All projects undertaken directly by the department of public works and by its several divisions shall be undertaken in accordance with the performance principles provided for in § 299-8C(17) and such standards and definitions as may be adopted to implement said performance principles;
For any wood cutting operation involving an area of 1/2 acre or more or where slope is greater than 10%.
It shall be unlawful for any person to disturb any existing vegetation, grades, and contours of land without first receiving a soil erosion permit from the Building Official in accordance with the procedures set out in § 299-7 of this chapter. No permit shall be required under this chapter for the following:
The construction, alteration or use of a single-family residential structure or appurtenance or a two-family residential structure or structures accessory thereto, which is or are to be constructed, altered or used individually and not as part of a development, provided such construction, including land-disturbing activities, does not occur within 100 feet of any watercourse and has no slopes greater than 10 feet vertical in 100 feet horizontal or 10% before, during and after construction.
Development projects where less than 1/2 acre; is to be disturbed during one planting season, and which disturbance of soil is not within 100 feet of any watercourse, has no slope greater than 10% before, during and after construction; and where in the opinion of the Environmental Affairs Officer, no soil erosion will occur.
Accepted agricultural management practices such as seasonal tilling and harvest activities associated with property utilized for private and/or commercial agricultural or silvacultural purposes.
An excavation which exhibits all of the following characteristics:
Is less than four feet in vertical depth at its deepest point as measured from the average elevation of the natural ground surface; and
Does not result in a total displacement of more than 100 cubic yards of material on any lot, land, parcel, or subdivision; and
Has no slopes steeper than 10 feet vertical in 100 feet horizontal or approximately 10 percent before, during and after construction; and
Has all disturbed surface areas promptly and effectively protected to prevent soil erosion and sedimentation from occurring including seeding and/or sodding, and provided that all disturbed surface areas which will be exposed for a period of time in excess of 30 days shall be covered with a suitable temporary protective ground cover until permanent ground cover is in place.
Grading, as a maintenance measure, or for landscaping purposes on existing developed land parcels or lots, provided that all of the following conditions are met:
The aggregate of area(s) affected or stripped at any one time does not exceed 10,000 square feet; and
The change of elevation does not extend two feet at any point; and
All bare surface area is promptly seeded, sodded, or otherwise effectively protected from erosive actions; and
The grading does not involve a quantity of material in excess of 500 cubic yards.
Grading, filling, removal or excavation activities and operations undertaken by the Town under the direction and supervision of the Director of Public Works for work on streets, roads or right-of-ways dedicated to public use, provided, however, that adequate and acceptable erosion and sediment controls are incorporated in engineering plans and specifications and employed. Appropriate controls shall apply during construction as well as after the completion of such activities.
[Amended 6-6-2000]
Plan. To obtain approval for a permit under the previous section, an applicant shall first file with the Environmental Affairs Office an erosion and sediment control plan signed by the owner of the property, or authorized agent, on which the work subject to approval is to be performed. The plan or drawings, as described in section 16-103, shall include proposed erosion and sediment control measures to be employed by the applicant or his agent. RI freshwater wetlands permit: Where any portion of a proposed development requires approval under the RI Freshwater Wetlands Act (G.L. § 2-1-15 et seq.), as amended, and where said approval contains provisions for soil erosion and sediment controls, that approved plan shall be a component of the overall soil erosion and sediment control plan required hereunder for the development.
Fees. Building permits. Where a building permit is required under the Building Code,[1] the site plans shall include all the requirements of this chapter and the building permit fee shall be based on the entire cost of the building plus improvements required by this chapter. Application of such fees shall apply to all land-disturbing activities; for example, subdivisions, except as provided for under § 299-6 above.
Editor's Note: See Ch. 154, Building Construction.
Plan review.
There is hereby established a Soil Erosion Committee to review and decide upon plans submitted in accordance with this chapter. The Committee shall be composed of three members of the Smithfield Planning Board and two members of the Smithfield Conservation Commission. The members shall be designated by the chairman of their respective Boards.
An owner of property may obtain a determination as to the applicability of this chapter to his property by filing a request therefor with the Environmental Affairs Office. If the Environmental Affairs Officer determines that this chapter applies to a certain parcel of land, the owner must submit a plan as required hereunder.
An applicant shall file five copies of the proposed plan and calculations with the Environmental Affairs Officer who shall send a copy of the plan and calculations to the Soil Erosion Committee and to the Director of Public Works. The Environmental Affairs Officer may also submit a copy of the plan to other local departments or agencies including the Local Conservation District, in order to better achieve the purposes of this chapter.
Plan approval. The Soil Erosion Committee shall take action in writing either approving or disapproving the plan with reasons stated within 30 days of the receipt of the technical recommendations of the Environmental Affairs Officer. The Environmental Affairs Officer will forward the plan with his technical recommendations to the Committee within 10 days after the plan has been submitted to him. The Committee may not consider a plan unless it has received the technical recommendations of the Environmental Affairs Officer concerning the plan. Such technical recommendations of the Environmental Affairs Officer must be incorporated into the decision of the Committee. The opinion of the Public Works Director is to be advisory only and the Committee may consider a plan without the Public Works Director's opinion. The Committee shall disapprove any plan found to be incomplete. In approving a plan, the Soil Erosion Committee may attach such conditions as are reasonably necessary to further the purposes of this chapter. Such conditions pertaining to erosion, sediment control and stormwater management measures and/or devices, may include, but are not limited to, the erection of walls, drains, dams and structures, planting vegetation, trees, shrubs, detention basins, furnishing necessary easements, and specifying a method of performing various kinds of work, and the sequence or timing thereof. The applicant/owner shall notify the Environmental Affairs Officer in advance of his intent to begin clearing and construction work described in the erosion and sediment control plan. The applicant shall have the approved erosion and sediment control plan stamped by the Soil Erosion Committee on the site during grading and construction.
Issuance of soil erosion permit. When the Soil Erosion Committee has approved a plan in writing, an owner/applicant may present the written decision and approved plans stamped by the Soil Erosion Committee to the Building Official and obtain from him a soil erosion permit for the property covered by the approved plan. The Building Official shall not accept an application for a building permit for any property, subject to the provisions of this chapter until a soil erosion permit has been issued for said property.
Administrative procedures. If the ruling made by the Soil Erosion Committee is unsatisfactory to the applicant, owner, the applicant/owner may file a written appeal. The appeal of a plan for a building permit shall be to the Building Appeals Board. The appeal of a plan for a subdivision shall be as provided for in § 45-23-67 of the General Laws. Appeal procedures shall follow current requirements for appeal to either of the two Boards above. However, under any appeal proceeding, the Board with which the appeal has been filed shall notify the Conservation Commission and Planning Board of the appeal and of the time, date, and place of the hearing. The Conservation Commission and Planning Board shall submit written comments on the appeal, and such comments, together with the written decision of the Soil Erosion Committee, shall be read into the official record of the hearing. During the period in which the request for appeal is filed, and until such time as a final decision is rendered on the appeal, the decision of the Soil Erosion Committee shall remain in effect.
Expert opinion. The Soil Erosion Committee, the Building Appeals Board, the Board of Appeal or the Conservation Commission may seek technical assistance on any soil erosion and sediment control plan. Such expert opinion must be made available in the office of the Environmental Affairs Officer as a public record prior to the appeals hearing.
Preparation; information.
The erosion and sediment control plan shall be prepared by a registered engineer or land surveyor on standard 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches, 11 inches by  17 inches, or 24 inches by 36 inches sheets at a suggested scale of one inch equals 40 feet. A key shall be included if a plan consists of more than two sheets.
The erosion and sediment control plan shall include sufficient information about the proposed activities and land parcel(s) to form a clear basis for discussion and review and to assure compliance with all applicable requirements of this chapter.
A minimum of five copies, plus any additional copies that may be required by the Environmental Affairs Officer, shall be submitted.
This information may be drafted on the plans or may be included as attachments and shall consist of the following:
Locus plan;
The name and address of the owner of the site, and, if different, the applicant, the designer, and the developer;
The location, extent, and type of all proposed work to be performed, including all existing and proposed buildings, structures, utilities, sewers, water mains, and storm drains on the site;
Topographic mapping with elevations keyed to the municipal base showing existing contours at intervals of not more than two feet intervals of the finished grade of all disturbed land area(s) at the conclusion of the construction and/or land-disturbance activities;
A description of the general topographic and soil conditions at the project site, including all significant limitations such as rock outcrops, existing alterations to natural drainage, and any other site characteristics pertinent to the work to be performed;
The location and size of all parking and loading areas and driveways, both public and private;
The location of all existing and proposed buildings or structures, utilities including drainage facilities, and all significant natural features within 100 feet of the proposed work to be performed;
The name, location, right-of-way width, and pavement width of all streets, roads and highways within 100 feet of the site;
The location and names, if applicable, of any streams, wetlands, water bodies, drainage swales, watercourses, and areas subject to periodic flooding, both on and within 100 feet of the site on which the work is to be performed. Included shall be a delineation of any areas designated as flood hazards by the Federal Insurance Administration or other state or federal agencies;
The names and addresses of all owners of abutting parcels and the location of all adjoining lot boundaries according to the latest Assessor's records;
The approximate total quantity of earthwork involved in the proposed work, with appropriate breakdown as to cut and fill;
The location and extent of the removal of existing topsoil, trees, and other vegetation; quantities and location of any material to removed from the site;
The estimated time of exposure for all disturbed land area(s) on the site prior to the completion of effective temporary and/or permanent erosion and sediment control measures and facilities. This shall include planting and seeding dates and application rates, and the phasing plan indicating the anticipated starting and completion dates of all phases of proposed site work;
Details of all proposed drainage provisions to be employed on the site including the location and type of all proposed erosion and sediment control measures and stormwater runoff controls of both a permanent and temporary nature and specifications for the maintenance of each in the form of a maintenance plan;
The type, location, and extent of all proposed temporary and permanent vegetation and mulching that will be used to protect exposed areas of the project site;
Prompt submittal of such other information or construction plans and details as deemed necessary by the Environmental Affairs Officer or Soil Erosion Committee for a thorough review of the plan prior to action being taken as prescribed in this chapter. Withholding or delay of such information may be reason for the Soil Erosion Committee to judge the application as incomplete and grounds for disapproval;
Performance principles.
The contents of the erosion and sediment control plan shall clearly demonstrate how the principles, outlined below, have been met in the design and are to be accomplished by the proposed development project.
The site selection shall show due regard for natural drainage characteristics and topography.
Areas with slopes exceeding 10% shall be avoided.
The grade of slopes created shall be minimized.
For development of public or private projects which will exceed 1/2 acre, any increase in storm runoff shall be controlled on site to minimize downstream impact. This increased storm runoff shall be retained and recharged as close as feasible to its place or origin by means of detention ponds or basins, seepage areas, subsurface drains, porous paving, or similar technique. Plans for land development of 10 acres or more shall show means whereby the peak discharge from the developed site shall not exceed the peak discharge for the undeveloped site for the one-hundred-year storm. Plans for all other property subject to this chapter shall show means whereby the peak discharge from the developed site shall not exceed the peak discharge for the undeveloped site for the twenty-five-year storm. In all cases, calculation shall be based on the Technical Release 55 (Hydrology for Urban Areas) method.
Original boundaries, alignment and slope of watercourses within the project locus shall be preserved to the greatest extent feasible.
In general, drainage shall be directed away from structures intended for human occupancy, municipal or utility use, or similar structures.
All drainage provisions shall be of such a design and capacity so as to adequately handle stormwater runoff, including runoff from tributary upstream areas which may be outside the locus of the project.
Drainage facilities shall be installed as early as feasible during construction, prior to site clearance, if possible.
Fill located adjacent to watercourses shall be suitable protected from erosion by means of rip rap, gabions, retaining walls, vegetative stabilization, or similar measures;
Temporary vegetation and/or mulching shall be used to protect bare areas and stockpiles from erosion during construction; the smallest areas feasible shall be exposed at any one time; disturbed areas shall be protected during the nongrowing months, November through March;
Permanent vegetation shall be placed immediately following fine grading;
Trees and other existing vegetation shall be retained whenever feasible; the area beyond the dripline shall be fenced or roped off to protect trees from construction equipment;
Areas damaged during construction shall be resodded, reseeded, or otherwise restored. Monitoring and maintenance schedules, where required, shall be predetermined.
In order to comply with the principles set forth above, the Soil Erosion Committee shall use as a reference in determining the suitability and adequacy of erosion - sediment plans the publication entitled, "Rhode Island Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook," U.S. Department of Agriculture. Soil Conservation Service and RI State Conservation Committee, 1980, or its most recent addition.
Performance bond.
Before approving an erosion sediment control plan, the Soil Erosion Committee may require the applicant/owner to file a surety company performance bond or deposit of money or negotiable securities. When any land-disturbing activity is to take place within 100 feet of any watercourse or within an identified flood hazard district, or on slopes in excess of 10%, the filing of a performance bond shall be required. The amount of such bond, as determined by the Environmental Affairs Officer shall be sufficient to cover the cost of implementing all erosion and sediment control measures as shown on the plan.
The bond or negotiable security filed by the applicant shall be subject to approval of the form, content, amount and manner of execution by the Environmental Affairs Officer and the Town Solicitor.
A performance bond for an erosion sediment control plan for a subdivision may be included in the performance bond of the subdivision. The posting of such bond as part of the subdivision performance bond does not, however, relieve the owner of any requirement(s) of this chapter.
Notice of default on performance secured by bond.
Whenever the Environmental Affairs Officer shall find that a default has occurred in the performance of any term(s) or condition(s) of the bond or in the implementation of measures secured by the bond, written notice thereof shall be made to the applicant and to the surety of the bond by the Town solicitor. Such notice shall state the nature of default, work to be done, the estimated cost thereof, and the period of time deemed by the Environmental Affairs Officer to be reasonably necessary for the completion of such work.
Failure of the applicant to acknowledge and comply with the provisions and deadlines outlined in such notice of default shall mean the institution, by the Town solicitor, without further notice of proceedings whatsoever, of appropriate measures to utilize the performance bond to cause the required work to be completed by the Town, by contract or by other appropriate means as determined by the Town Solicitor.
Notice of default on performance secured by cash or negotiable securities deposit. If a cash or negotiable securities deposit has been posted by the applicant, notice and procedure shall be the same as provided for in the preceding Subsection B.
Release from performance bond conditions. The performance bonding requirement shall remain in full force and effect until satisfactory completion of the work.
Every approval granted herein shall expire at the end of the time period set forth in the conditions. The developer shall fully perform and complete all of the work required within the specified time period.
If the developer is unable to complete the work within the designated time period, he shall, at least 30 days prior to the expiration date, submit a written request for an extension of time to the Environmental Affairs Officer, setting forth the reasons underlying the requested time extension. If the extension is warranted, the Environmental Affairs Officer may grant an extension of time up to a maximum of one year from the date of the original deadline. Subsequent extensions under the same conditions may be granted at the discretion of the Environmental Affairs Officer.
Maintenance of all erosion - sediment control devices under this chapter shall be the responsibility of the owner. Such erosion - sediment control devices shall be maintained in good condition and working order on a continuing basis. Watercourses originated and located completely on private property shall be the responsibility of the owner to their point of open discharge at the property line or at a communal watercourse within the property.
Neither approval of an erosion and sediment control plan nor compliance with any condition of this chapter shall relieve the owner/applicant from any responsibility for damages to persons or property; nor impose any liability upon the Town of Smithfield for damages to persons or property.
Periodic inspections. The provisions of this chapter shall be administered and enforced by the Environmental Affairs Officer or his designated representative. All work shall be subject to periodic inspections by the Environmental Affairs Officer, or his authorized agent(s). The developer shall pay the cost of said inspections in accordance with a fee schedule adopted by the Town Council. All work shall be performed in accordance with an inspection and construction control schedule approved by the Environmental Affairs Officer or his designated representative, who shall maintain a permanent file on all of his inspections. Upon completion of work, the developer or owner(s) shall notify the Environmental Affairs Officer that all grading, drainage, erosion and sediment control measures and devices, stormwater management devices, and vegetations and ground cover planting has been completed in conformance with the approval, all attached plans, specifications, conditions, and other applicable provisions of this chapter.
Final inspection.
Upon such notification of the completion by the owner, the Environmental Affairs Officer or his authorized agent(s) shall make a final inspection of the site in question and shall prepare a final summary inspection report of his findings which shall be retained in the department of environmental affairs.
After the final site inspection has been completed and approved, the applicant/owner may request a release of his performance bond by the Environmental Affairs Officer. In the instance where the performance bond has been posted with the recording of a final subdivision, the bond shall be released only after the Environmental Affairs Officer has been notified by the Town Planning Board of successful completion of all plat improvements by the applicant/owner.
If, at any stage, the work in progress and/or completed under the terms of an approved erosion and sediment control plan does not conform to such plan, a written notice from the Environmental Affairs Officer to comply shall be transmitted to the owner. Such notice shall set forth the nature of corrections required and the time limit within which corrections shall be completed. Failure to comply with the required corrections within the specified time limit shall be considered a violation of the article, in which case the performance bond or cash or negotiable securities deposit shall be subject to notice of default, in accordance with § 299-9B and C of this chapter.
[Added 10-16-2001]
Prior to soil erosion plan review for a subdivision, the applicant shall first tender a fee for services, which will apply to the review of a development proposal (including review and approval of all plans and calculations). This will not include inspection fees for subdivision site inspections, which are included under Section VI, Article D of the Land Development and Subdivision Review Regulations for the Town of Smithfield adopted on March 4, 1996. Fees will be in accordance with the following schedule:
Single-family and multifamily subdivisions (plan review only).
Number of Lots
4 to 8
9 to 15
16 to 25
26 to 50
51 plus
(plus $10.00 per lot for each lot over 51)
Prior to soil erosion review for site plans other than a subdivision including but not limited to residential, condominium, commercial and industrial, parking lots, woodcutting, pipelines, utilities, land grading operations, etc., the applicant shall first tender a fee for services, which will apply to the review of a development proposal and approval of all plans and calculations, in accordance with the following schedule:
Site plan review for listed developments (including inspection).
Single-family home on a single lot
$25.00 [regardless of acreage (size of lot)]
Up to 30,000 square feet
31,000 square feet to 1.5 acres
1 acre to 5 acres
6 acres to 10 acres
11 acres to 20 acres
21 acres to 50 acres
51 acres to 75 acres
76 acres and over
$1,200.00 (plus $20.00 per acre for each acre over 76, total fee not to exceed $1,500.00.)
Exemptions. Fences, decks, porches, tool sheds not greater than 200 square feet, signs and Town projects (NOTE: Town projects must conform to the Soil Erosion Ordinance, Ch. 299, Soil Erosion and Sediment Control.) will be exempted from the above-mentioned fee schedule.[1]
Editor's Note: Original Secs. 16-111 through 16-123, adopted 2-16-1988, being the substantive sections of Div. 2, pertaining to maintenance of permanent control structures, which followed this section, were repealed 6-18-1991.