[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Commissioners of Caroline County 11-18-2014 by Bill No. 2014-6. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Agricultural land preservation — See Ch. 74.
Floodplain management — See Ch. 108.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 158.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 162.
Zoning — See Ch. 175.
Editor’s Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 103, Erosion and Sediment Control, adopted 4-14-1987 by Bill No. 87-1.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Caroline County Erosion and Sediment Control Act."
This chapter is adopted to protect, maintain, and enhance the public health, safety, and general welfare by establishing minimum requirements and procedures to control the adverse impacts associated with land disturbances. The goal is to minimize soil erosion and prevent off-site sedimentation by using soil erosion and sediment control practices designed in accordance with the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 26.17.01, the 2011 Maryland Standards and Specifications (Standards and Specifications) and the Stormwater Management Act of 2007 (Act). Implementing this chapter will help reduce the negative impacts of land development on water resources, maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of streams, and minimize damage to public and private property.
The provisions of this chapter pursuant to Title 4, Environment Article, Subtitle 1, Annotated Code of Maryland are adopted under the authority of the Code of Public Local Laws of Caroline County and shall apply to all land grading occurring within Caroline County. The application of this chapter and the provisions expressed herein shall be the minimum erosion and sediment control requirements and shall not be deemed a limitation or repeal of any other powers granted by state statute.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all development occurring in the unincorporated areas of Caroline County, Maryland. Incorporated towns shall have the option of adopting their own erosion and sediment control ordinance or requesting application of this chapter within the corporate limits of the town. The governing body of any town requesting application of this chapter within the town's corporate limits shall submit a written request for the same to the County Commissioners. Any agreement to apply this chapter within a town shall include provisions for coordinating the issuance of building and other permits and approvals.
Whenever any provisions of this chapter conflict with any other provisions of law, whether set forth in this chapter or contained in any law, rule, regulation, ordinance, deed restriction or covenant covering any of the same subject matter, that provision which is more restrictive or imposes the higher standard or requirement shall govern.
In this chapter, unless otherwise clearly indicated by the context, the following words and terms shall have the same meanings indicated:
- The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Water Management Administration (WMA).
- ADVERSE IMPACT
- Any deleterious effect on waters or wetlands, including their quality, quantity, surface area, species composition, aesthetics, or usefulness for human or natural uses which are or may potentially be harmful or injurious to human health, welfare, safety or property, to biological productivity, diversity, or stability or that unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property, including outdoor recreation.
- AGRICULTURAL LAND MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
- Those methods and procedures used in the cultivation of land in order to further crop and livestock production and conservation of related soil and water resources. Logging and timber removal operations are not to be considered a part of this definition.
- Any person, firm, or government agency that executes the necessary forms to apply for a permit or approval to carry out construction of a project.
- APPROVING AUTHORITY
- The entity responsible for the review and approval of erosion and sediment control plans.
- BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE (BMP)
- A structural device or nonstructural practice designed to temporarily store or treat stormwater runoff in order to mitigate flooding, reduce pollution, and provide other amenities.
- To remove the vegetative ground cover while leaving the root mat intact.
- CONCEPT PLAN
- The first of three plans submitted under the comprehensive review and approval process required by the Act and described in COMAR 26.17.02 and shall include the information necessary to allow an initial evaluation of a proposed project.
- The Maryland Department of the Environment.
- DRAINAGE AREA
- That area contributing runoff to a single point measured in a horizontal plane that is enclosed by a ridgeline.
- ENVIRONMENTAL SITE DESIGN (ESD)
- Using small-scale stormwater management practices, nonstructural techniques, and better site planning to mimic natural hydrologic runoff characteristics and minimize the impact of land development on water resources.
- The process by which the land surface is worn away by the action of wind, water, ice, or gravity.
- EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL
- A system of structural and vegetative measures that minimize soil erosion and off-site sedimentation.
- EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL PLAN
- An erosion and sediment control strategy or plan designed to minimize erosion and prevent off-site sedimentation.
- Those land development activities that are not subject to the erosion and sediment control requirements contained in this chapter.
- FINAL EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL PLAN
- Along with the final stormwater management plan, the last of three plans submitted under the comprehensive review and approval process required by the Act and described in COMAR 26.17.02. Final erosion and sediment control plans shall be prepared and approved in accordance with the specific requirements of the Caroline Soil Conservation District and this chapter and designed in accordance with the Standards and Specifications.
- To disturb the earth by, including but not limited to, excavating, filling, stockpiling, grubbing, removing root mat or topsoil, or any combination thereof.
- GRADING UNIT
- The maximum contiguous area allowed to be graded at a given time. For the purposes of this chapter, a grading unit is 20 acres or less.
- HIGHLY ERODIBLE SOILS
- Those soils with a slope greater than 15% or those soils with a soil erodibility factor, K, greater than 0.35 and with slopes greater than 5%.
- INSPECTION AGENCY
- The Department, or if delegated enforcement authority, the Caroline Soil Conservation District.
- MAXIMUM EXTENT PRACTICABLE (MEP)
- Designing stormwater management systems so that all reasonable opportunities for using ESD planning techniques and treatment practices are exhausted and only where absolutely necessary a structural BMP is implemented.
- MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT
- A written agreement between the County Commissioners of Caroline County, Maryland and the Caroline Soil Conservation District.
- A person undertaking, or for whose benefit, activities covered by this chapter are carried on. General contractors or subcontractors, or both, without a proprietary interest in a project are not included within this definition.
- Any person to whom a building or grading permit has been issued.
- Includes the federal government, the state, any county, municipal corporation, or other political subdivision of the state, or any of their units, or an individual, receiver, trustee, guardian, executor, administrator, fiduciary, or representative of any kind, or any partnership, firm, association, public or private corporation, or any of their affiliates, or any other entity.
- PLANNING AND CODES DEPARTMENT
- The Caroline County Department of Planning and Codes.
- RESPONSIBLE PERSONNEL
- Any foreman, superintendent, or project engineer who is in charge of on-site clearing and grading operations or the implementation and maintenance of an erosion and sediment control plan.
- Soils or other surficial materials transported or deposited by the action of wind, water, ice, gravity, or artificial means.
- Any tract, lot, or parcel of land, or combination of tracts, lots or parcels of land that are in one ownership, or are contiguous and in diverse ownership, where development is to be performed as part of a unit, subdivision, or project.
- SITE DEVELOPMENT PLAN
- The second of three plans submitted under the comprehensive review and approval process required by the Act and described in COMAR 26.17.01. A site development plan shall include the information necessary to allow a detailed evaluation of a proposed project.
- SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICT
- The Caroline Soil Conservation District.
- The protection of exposed soils from erosion by the application of seed and mulch, seed and matting, sod, or other vegetative measures, and/or structural means.
- STANDARDS AND SPECIFICATIONS
- The 2011 Maryland Standards and Specifications for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control, or any subsequent revisions.
- Water that originates from a precipitation event.
- STORMWATER MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
- Natural areas, ESD practices, stormwater management measures, and any other structure through which stormwater flows, infiltrates, or discharges from a site.
- The modification of the minimum erosion and sediment control requirements for specific circumstances such that strict adherence to the requirements would result in unnecessary hardship and not fulfill the intent of this chapter.
- The total drainage area contributing runoff to a single point.
Scope. No person shall disturb land without implementing soil erosion and sediment controls in accordance with the requirements of this chapter and the Standards and Specifications except as provided within this section.
When a project is determined exempt by the County or the Soil Conservation District, no fees shall be charged for the determination. The following activities are exempt from the provisions of this chapter:
Agricultural land management practices and agricultural BMPs;
Clearing or grading activities that disturb less than 5,000 square feet of land area and disturb less than 100 cubic yards of earth; and
Clearing or grading activities that are subject exclusively to state approval and enforcement under state law and regulations.
Additional exemptions shall be granted in such a manner as determined in the Memorandum of Agreement.
Variances. The Soil Conservation District may only grant a variance from the requirements of the Standards and Specifications when strict adherence will result in exceptional hardship and not fulfill the intent of this chapter. The owner/developer shall submit a written request for a variance to the Soil Conservation District. The request must state the specific variance sought and the reasons for the request. The Soil Conservation District shall not grant a variance unless and until sufficient information is provided describing the unique circumstances of the site to justify the variance.
A person may not grade land without an erosion and sediment control plan approved by the Soil Conservation District.
The Soil Conservation District shall review erosion and sediment control plans to determine compliance with this chapter and the Standards and Specifications prior to approval. In approving the plan, the Soil Conservation District may impose such conditions that may be deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter, COMAR 26.17.01, the Standards and Specifications, and the preservation of public health and safety.
At a minimum, a concept plan must include the mapping of natural resources and sensitive areas including highly erodible soils and slopes greater than 15% as well as any information required under Caroline County's Stormwater Ordinance. These areas are to remain undisturbed or an explanation must be included with either the concept or site development plan describing enhanced protection strategies for these areas during construction.
A site development plan submittal must include all concept plan information and indicate how proposed erosion and sediment control practices will be integrated with proposed stormwater management practices. This may be done through a narrative and an overlay plan showing both ESD and erosion and sediment control practices. An initial sequence of construction and proposed project phasing to achieve the grading unit restriction should be submitted at this time.
An applicant shall submit a final erosion and sediment control plan to the Soil Conservation District for review and approval. The plan must include all of the information required by the concept and site development plans as well as any information in § 103-8 not already submitted.
A final erosion and sediment control plan shall not be considered approved without the inclusion of the signature and date of signature of the Soil Conservation District on the plan.
Approved plans remain valid for two years from the date of approval unless renewed by the Soil Conservation District.
Grandfathering of approved plans:
Any plans that receive final approval after January 9, 2013, must be in compliance the requirement of this chapter and the Standards and Specifications.
A plan that receives final approval by January 9, 2013, may be reapproved under its existing conditions if grading activities have begun on the site by January 9, 2015, with the exception of stabilization requirements.
Stabilization practices on all sites must be in compliance with the requirements of this chapter and the Standards and Specifications by January 9, 2013, regardless of when an approved erosion and sediment control plan was approved.
An applicant is responsible for submitting erosion and sediment control plans that meet the requirements of the Soil Conservation District, this chapter, Caroline County's Stormwater Ordinance, the Standards and Specifications, and the Act. The plans shall include sufficient information to evaluate the environmental characteristics of the affected areas, the potential impacts of the proposed grading on water resources, and the effectiveness and acceptability of measures proposed to minimize soil erosion and off-site sedimentation.
At a minimum, applicants shall submit the following information:
A letter of transmittal and/or application;
A vicinity map indicating North arrow, scale, site location, and other information necessary to easily locate the property;
Drainage area map(s) at a minimum scale of one inch equals 200 feet showing existing, interim, and proposed topography, proposed improvements, standard symbols for proposed sediment control features, and pertinent drainage information including provisions to protect downstream areas from erosion for a minimum of 200 feet downstream or to the next conveyance system;
The location of natural resources, wetlands, floodplains, highly erodible soils, slopes 15% and steeper, and any other sensitive areas;
A general description of the predominant soil types on the site, as described by the appropriate soil survey information available through the local soil conservation district or the USDA Natural Resources Soil Conservation Service;
Proposed stormwater management practices;
Erosion and sediment control plans including:
The existing topography and improvements as well as proposed topography and improvements at a scale between one inch equals 10 feet and one inch equals 50 feet, with two-foot contours or other approved contour interval. For projects with more than minor grading, interim contours may also be required;
Scale, project and sheet title, and North arrow on each plan sheet;
Erosion and sediment control practices to minimize on-site erosion and prevent off-site sedimentation including:
The salvage and reuse of topsoil;
Phased construction and implementation of grading unit(s) to minimize disturbances, both in extent and duration;
Location and type of all proposed sediment control practices;
Design details and data for all erosion and sediment control practices; and
A sequence of construction describing the relationship between the implementation and maintenance of controls, including permanent and temporary stabilization, and the various stages or phases of earth disturbance and construction. Any changes or revisions to the sequence of construction must be approved by the Caroline Soil Conservation District prior to proceeding with construction. The sequence of construction, at a minimum, must include the following:
Request for a preconstruction meeting with the appropriate enforcement authority;
Clearing and grubbing as necessary for the installation of perimeter controls;
Construction and stabilization of perimeter controls;
Remaining clearing and grubbing within installed perimeter controls;
Grading for the remainder of the site;
Utility installation and connections to existing structures;
Construction of buildings, roads, and other construction;
Final grading, landscaping, and stabilization;
Installation of stormwater management measures;
Approval of the appropriate enforcement authority prior to removal of sediment controls; and
Removal of controls and stabilization of areas that are disturbed by removal of sediment controls.
A statement requiring the owner/developer or representative to contact the Soil Conservation District at the following stages of the project or in accordance with the approved erosion and sediment control plan, grading permit, or building permit:
Prior to the start of earth disturbance;
Upon completion of the installation of perimeter erosion and sediment controls, but before proceeding with any other earth disturbance or grading;
Prior to the start of another phase of construction or opening of another grading unit; and
Prior to the removal of sediment control practices.
Certification by the owner/developer that any clearing, grading, construction, or development will be done pursuant to the approved erosion and sediment control plan. The certification must also require that the responsible personnel involved in the construction project have a certificate of training from MDE for the control of erosion and sediment prior to beginning the project. The certificate of training for responsible personnel may be waived by the Caroline Soil Conservation District on any project involving four or fewer residential lots. Additionally, the owner/developer shall allow right of entry for periodic on-site evaluation by the Caroline Soil Conservation District, the Caroline County Department of Planning and Codes, the appropriate enforcement authority, and/or MDE; and
Certification by a professional engineer, land surveyor, landscape architect, architect, or forester (for forest harvest operations only) registered in the state that the plans have been designed in accordance with erosion and sediment control laws, regulations, and standards, if required by the Caroline Soil Conservation District or the Administration; and
Any additional information or data deemed appropriate by the Soil Conservation District.
The Soil Conservation District may revise approved plans as necessary. Modifications may be requested by the owner/developer, the inspection agency, or the Planning and Codes Department in accordance with COMAR 26.17.01.09(H), Plan Modifications.
The Soil Conservation District may develop a list of minor modifications that may be approved as field revisions by the inspection agency. The Administration must approve any list of minor modifications prior to its implementation.
The Soil Conservation District may adopt a standard erosion and sediment control plan for minor earth disturbances, such as single-family residences, small commercial and other similar building sites, minor maintenance grading, and minor utility construction.
A standard erosion and sediment control plan must meet the requirements of this chapter and the Standards and Specifications.
MDE shall review and approve a standard plan prior to its adoption.
Before a grading or building permit for any site is issued by the Planning and Codes Department, the Soil Conservation District must review and approve an erosion and sediment control plan for the site.
Permit expiration and renewal. The building or grading permit shall expire one year from the date of issuance unless extended or renewed by the Planning and Codes Department. Application for permit renewal shall be made at least two months prior to the permit expiration date.
Permit fee. A permit fee schedule may be proposed by the Soil Conservation District and adopted by resolution by the County Commissioners of Caroline County for the administration and management of the erosion and sediment control program. The Soil Conservation District shall submit the fee schedule and any changes therein to the County Commissioners at such time all annual budget requests are due. Any proposed fee schedule and changes shall include a justification for the proposed fees. Capital improvement projects, such as refuse disposal areas, sanitary landfills, and County and municipal public works projects, may be exempt from erosion and sediment control permit fees as determined in the memorandum of agreement.
The Planning and Codes Department may suspend or revoke any grading or building permits after providing written notification to the permittee based on any of the following reasons:
Any violation(s) of the terms or conditions of the approved erosion and sediment control plan or permits;
Noncompliance with violation notice(s) or stop-work order(s);
Changes in site characteristics upon which plan approval and permit issuance were based; or
Any violation(s) of this chapter or any rules and regulations adopted under it.
In issuing a grading permit, the Planning and Codes Department may impose such conditions that may be deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter or the preservation of the public health and safety.
When deemed necessary by the Planning and Codes Department, the owner/developer shall furnish a surety or cash bond, irrevocable letter of credit, or other means of security acceptable to the County Commissioners of Caroline County. The bond amount should be equal to at least the cost of the installation, maintenance, and removal of the erosion and sediment controls shown on the approved plan.
The Administration is responsible for the inspection and enforcement of all land-disturbing activities, including those sites requiring an erosion and sediment control plan as specified by this chapter. This enforcement authority may be delegated to the County Commissioners of Caroline County through a request by the County Commissioners of Caroline County or required as a condition of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) municipal separate storm sewer system permit. This section applies to the Administration or, the County Commissioners of Caroline County, if delegated enforcement authority.
Right of entry. It shall be a condition of every grading or building permit that the inspection agency has the right to enter property periodically to inspect for compliance with the approved plan and this chapter.
The inspection agency shall, through the authority of this chapter and COMAR 26.17.01 use enforcement action when erosion and sediment control violations occur.
The Planning and Codes Department may deny the issuance of any permits to an applicant when it determines that the applicant is not in compliance with the provisions of a building or grading permit or approved erosion and sediment control plan.
The inspection agency shall stop work on a site where land disturbance is occurring without a required erosion and sediment control plan. Measures shall be required to be implemented to prevent off-site sedimentation.
If any portion, section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this chapter is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct, and independent provision and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portion of this chapter, it being the intent of the County Commissioners of Caroline County that this chapter shall stand, notwithstanding the invalidity of any portion, section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase, hereof.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction is subject to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both for each violation, with costs imposed in the discretion of the court. Each day upon which the violation occurs constitutes a separate offense.
Any agency whose approval is required under this chapter or any interested person may seek an injunction against any person who violates or threatens to violate any provision of this chapter.
In addition to any other sanction under this chapter, a person who fails to install or to maintain erosion and sediment controls in accordance with an approved plan shall be liable to the County Commissioners or the state in a civil action, for damages in an amount equal to double the cost of installing or maintaining the controls.
Any governing authority that recovers damages in accordance with this subsection shall deposit them in a special fund, to be used solely for: