Township of Readington, NJ
Hunterdon County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Readington 10-18-1976. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 96.
Driveways — See Ch. 106.
Improvement standards — See Ch. 142.
Land development — See Ch. 148.
Sewers — See Ch. 187.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 204.

§ 197-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the "Readington Township Soil and Surface Water Management Ordinance."

§ 197-2 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to control soil erosion, sedimentation and surface water runoff damage and related environmental damage by management of soil disturbance and alteration of vegetative ground cover and natural drainage patterns in order to promote the safety, public health, convenience and general welfare of the community.

§ 197-3 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
That governmental body designated to approve permits under this chapter. When the application is part of a land subdivision or site plan application, the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall constitute the "administrative authority" and the submissions necessary for those applications shall be considered as applying to this chapter also. In all other cases, the Environmental Commission shall constitute the "administrative authority."
[Amended 10-4-1999 by Ord. No. 20-99]
Any person, partnership, corporation or public agency requesting permission to engage in land disturbance activity, construction or development.
Any person, partnership, corporation or public agency engaging in land disturbance activity, construction or development.
Any watercourse, trench, ditch, depression, pond, lake or other hollow in the ground, natural or artificial, which collects or disperses surface water from land.
Any area which should not be disturbed by uses incompatible with the paramount public interest in the management of surface water runoff and attendant environmental damage. Examples of environmentally critical impact areas include but are not limited to lakes, ponds, floodplains and flood hazard areas, designated stream corridors, steep slopes, highly erodible soil wetlands, swamps, marshes, bogs, aquifer recharge and discharge areas and heavily wooded areas.
The contour of the land as it exists prior to the proposed excavation or operation.
To dig, remove, move, deposit, fill, grade, regrade, level the soil or otherwise alter or change the contour of land or to transport soil to or from such an operation. This shall not be construed to include plowing, spading, cultivating, harrowing or disking the soil or any other operation usually and ordinarily associated with tilling of the soil for agricultural or horticultural purposes.
Any person who shall excavate, move, deposit or remove soil as these terms are defined herein or in the public usage.
See "excavate."
Any parcel of land or portion thereof, the boundary line of which can be ascertained by reference to the maps and records, or either, in the offices of officials of the Township of Readington or in the office of the County Clerk of the County of Hunterdon.
As defined by sheet RTSC-NE-Engineer 200, sheet No. 1 of two, published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, February 1970.
The topographical pattern or system of drainage of surface water runoff from a particular site, including the various drainageways and watercourses which carry surface water only during periods of heavy rains, storms or floods.
Surface water entering a channel from no definable discharge source.
Any persons seized in fee simple of any lot or having such other interest or estate therein as will permit exercise of possession thereof or dominion thereover.
Any individual, firm, association, partnership or corporation or any group of two or more of them or anyone acting in behalf of said person.
That area or portion of a lot wherein it is proposed to undertake an excavation project and including all areas which will reasonably be expected to be affected by the project.
A general method for calculating surface water runoff rate using the formula:
Q = Runoff rate, cubic feet per second
R = Coefficient of runoff.
I =Intensity of storm.
A = Upstream area contributing to runoff.
For further examples of the use of the "Rational Method," see Urguhart, Civil Engineering Handbook, McGraw Hill; Steel, Water Supply and Sewerage, McGraw Hill (Chapter 13); or other similar civil engineering reference works.
A method of calculating surface water runoff rate as described in the Engineering Field Manual for Conservation Practices, United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, edition current December 31, 1971, which manual is incorporated by reference and made a part hereof as if fully set forth at length. Copies of said manual are available in the Township Clerk's office.
Subsoil and topsoil.
Includes all soil usually found lying beneath the top layer of soil, be it sand, silt, gravel, clay, boulders, stone, aggregate, dirt or a combination of one or more of the foregoing.
All water produced by rain, flood, drainage, springs and seeps flowing over the land or contained within a natural or artificial watercourse.
All damage or harm to property values, lands, buildings or other structures, vegetation and water supplies, including but not limited to flooding, soil erosion, siltation and other pollution of watercourses and diminished recharge of groundwater supply.
Soil which, in its natural state, constitutes the top layer of earth and is composed of 2% or more by weight of organic matter and has the ability to support vegetation.
Rivers, streams, brooks, waterways, lakes, ponds, marshes, swamps, bogs and all other bodies of water, natural or artificial, public or private, which are contained within, flow through or border on Readington Township and which receive or conduct surface water runoff.
The total area of surface water runoff related to a specific point of concentration.
Areas containing numerous trees having attained a diameter of four inches at a height of four feet from the ground as determined by the Municipal Engineer.

§ 197-4 Permit required; submission of plan.

It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in any land disturbance activity on any property within the Township without having submitted a soil and surface water runoff management plan, together with erosion and sediment control plans, to the administrative authority and obtaining approval of such plan and a permit or written waiver of necessity from the administrative authority.
A soil and surface water management plan shall be approved by the administrative authority prior to site plan approval, special exception, issuance of building permit, preliminary subdivision approval or any other land disturbance activity. It shall be similarly unlawful for any landowner or lessee to permit another person to conduct such operations on his property without such a permit.

§ 197-5 Approval of surface water management plan.

The surface water management plan or any major amendment thereto shall be approved by the administrative authority according to the regulations hereinafter set forth. The administrative authority, in approving said surface water management plan, may impose lawful conditions or requirements designated or specified on or in connection therewith. These conditions and requirements shall be provided and maintained as a condition to the establishment, maintenance and continuance of any use or occupancy of any structure or land.

§ 197-6 Approval of amendments to plan.

Amendments to a surface water management plan may be approved by the Municipal Engineer, provided that the same are minor in nature and will not adversely affect the plan as approved by the administrative authority and will not result in increased runoff or sedimentation.

§ 197-7 Orders to stop work or other remedies.

If at any time the Municipal Engineer finds existing conditions not as stated in the applicant's approved plan, the administrative authority or its designated agent shall order cessation of all work and may seek to enjoin violation or take such steps looking to the enforcement of the plan as may be lawful.

§ 197-8 Information and materials to be submitted with application.

Application for approval of a project under this chapter shall be made to the Clerk or Secretary of the administrative authority.
The application shall be accompanied by the following information in four copies:
A map of the entire plot drawn to a scale not exceeding 200 feet per inch, showing all adjacent state, county, municipal and private roads and rights-of-way, drainage easements, streams, existing surface water runoff control, all existing devices, mechanisms or areas, swamps, floodplains, swales, woods and vegetation, steep slopes and other features critical to the purposes of this chapter and the names of all adjacent property owners.
A contour map of the project area as it exists at the time of the application, drawn to a scale not exceeding 100 feet per inch, with two-foot contour intervals.
Lot and block numbers of the site as shown on the current Tax Map of the Township.
Name and address of the owner of the lands.
Size of subwatershed and location of the site within the subwatershed.
Size of nearest culvert or bridge downstream of discharge area, profiles and cross section of stream channel upstream of that structure as well as profiles and cross sections of stream channel at all points of proposed surface water discharge from the site as required by the Municipal Engineer.
Maps as in Subsection B(l) and (2) above showing the project area as it will stand upon completion of the proposed work.
Designation of critical or other area to be left undisturbed shall be shown in sufficient detail to be accurately marked on the land.
Computation of the total surface water runoff before, during and after the disturbance of land and/or construction of impervious surfaces.
Proposed measures for surface water management.
A schedule of the sequence of installation of the surface water management plan, related to the starting and completion dates of the project.
Proposed maintenance schedule for all surface water management structures, stipulating current maintenance, continued maintenance and responsibility for the same.
All proposed revisions of required data as well as such additional data as the administrative authority may require.
A complete schedule of operations detailing all phases of the project with the time when each will be completed. These times may be established as calendar dates or by reference to preceding operations.
An application fee of $10 plus $0.03 per cubic yard of earth to be moved in excess of 1,000 cubic yards. No application fee shall exceed $100.
All project plans shall be prepared according to the standards set forth in § 197-10.

§ 197-9 Review of application; issuance or denial of permit.

The administrative authority shall begin consideration of each application at its next regularly scheduled meeting after submission and shall rule upon the submission within 45 days thereafter. Failure to rule within this period shall constitute approval of the application unless an extension of time is agreed upon by the administrative authority and the applicant.
The administrative authority shall consult whatever expert opinion may appear to be pertinent, including the Municipal Engineer, Hunterdon County Soil Conservation District, Municipal Health Officer and others who may have capabilities or information which may be of assistance in reaching a decision.
Reasonable time limits may be imposed by the administrative authority for starting and completing the project.
The project plan as finally approved shall constitute the particular specifications for the project and shall be adhered to in every respect.
To alleviate unusual hardship caused by this chapter in the case of small projects and to further the intent and purpose of the chapter, the administrative authority may adopt regulations which expand and clarify the requirements of this chapter and which provide for the approval of projects below a given size by one or more designated members or employees of the administrative authority without reference to the Board as a whole.
Where, by reason of exceptional narrowness, shallowness or shape of a specific piece of property or by reason of exceptional topographic conditions or by reason of other extraordinary and exceptional situation or conditions of a particular piece of property, strict application of this chapter would result in peculiar and exceptional practical difficulty to, or exceptional and undue hardship upon, the developer of such property, a variance from the strict application of this chapter may be granted by the administrative authority.
If, after considering all relevant factors and after consultation with pertinent expert opinion, the administrative authority determines that the proposed land disturbance or construction project will be managed in accordance with standards of this chapter and will not be detrimental to the public health, safety and general welfare, the administrative authority shall approve the plan and issue the necessary permit.
If, however, after considering all relevant factors and after consultation with pertinent expert opinion, the administrative authority determines that the proposed land disturbance or construction project will not be managed in accordance with the standards of this chapter and will be detrimental to the public health, safety and general welfare, the administrative authority shall deny the permit and shall clearly and concisely state the reasons for denial.

§ 197-10 General design principles; maintenance of project.

Standards. The following standards shall govern the preparation of all project plans and shall guide the administrative authority in its consideration of those plans:
The susceptibility of the land to erosion shall be minimized during the operation and after completion of the project.
The smallest practical area of soil shall be exposed at any one time.
Existing natural vegetation shall be protected and preserved wherever and whenever feasible.
Temporary plant cover and/or effective mulching shall be used to protect critical erosion areas during the operation. Temporary vegetative cover must be such as to perpetuate itself until permanent vegetation is provided.
Permanent measures for surface water management, including seeding and sodding of grass waterways, shall be completed before beginning any other land disturbance or construction.
All water-carrying structures and/or retention areas shall be completed and stabilized prior to diversion of water to them.
Temporary drainage facilities shall be provided to accommodate water runoff during the construction of permanent drainage facilities.
Sediment basins or silt traps shall be installed and maintained to intercept sediment and debris in runoff water during construction.
Temporary and/or permanent stormwater detention devices shall be provided wherever feasible.
Sharp declivities and pits shall be avoided at all times.
Lateral support of abutting roads and properties shall be preserved. Except in unusual circumstances, final grades shall not be lower than adjoining properties.
The operation shall be carried out at reasonable hours as specified by the administrative authority and in a manner which will protect the public health, safety and general welfare.
No project shall impair the utilization of the land for any purpose permitted under any existing land use ordinance or Master Plan.
The project area shall be covered with a layer of topsoil not less than six inches deep which must be composed solely of the original top layer of soil or its qualitative equivalent as determined by an agent of the Hunterdon County Soil Conservation District.
Natural watercourses shall be preserved, and there shall be no interruption or impediment of natural drainage entering or leaving the property. No filling, excavating or disturbance of the soil will be permitted within the stream encroachment lines as established by the New Jersey Division of Water Policy and Supply or by the Township government without a permit issued by the Division of Water Policy and Supply.
The rate and velocity of runoff from the site following completion of the planned development shall not exceed that which would prevail under total coverage in a meadow of good hydrologic conditions (permanent meadow), as defined by Soil Conservation Service standards or previous cover, whichever produces the least amount of runoff.
Maximum use shall be made of presently existing surface water runoff control devices, mechanisms or areas such as existing berms, terraces, grass waterways, favorable hydrologic soils, swamps, swales, watercourses, woodlands and floodplains, as well as any proposed retention structures.
Evaluation shall be made of the nature of the subwatershed of which the site is a part, the receiving stream channel capacities and point of concentration structure.
Surface water runoff shall not be transferred from one watershed to another.
The plan must coordinate with all other applicable ordinances and statutes.
To the greatest possible extent, the plan shall avoid the concentration of flow and shall provide for dissipation of velocities at all concentrated discharge points.
All structures, land treatment practices and reestablishment of vegetative cover shall be in accordance with Standards and Specifications for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control in New Jersey, adopted by the Hunterdon County Soil Conservation District, published June 14, 1972.
Drainageways and watercourses which normally carry or receive surface water runoff shall not be overloaded with increased runoff, sediment or other pollution during construction or after completion of the project.
Due consideration shall be given to the relationship of the subject property to the natural or established drainage pattern of the subwatershed(s) of which it is a part.
Surface water runoff controls shall be designed to assure that the land in question uses not more than its proportionate watershed share of the natural stream and culvert capacity.
Innovative surface water runoff control and recharge devices may be proposed, such as rooftop storage, dry wells, cisterns and roof drain infiltration trenches, provided that they are accompanied by detailed engineering plans and performance capability.
For calculating surface water runoff and for design for drainage controls, the following parametric values shall be used:
Storm intensity.
Collection system: fifteen-year storm.
Flood storage: one-hundred-year storm.
Outlet discharge: ten-year storm.
Emergency spillway: one-hundred-year storm.
Maximum velocity at pipe outlets: four feet per second.
When using the Rational Method of calculation:
Runoff factor (R) equals 0.30.
Rainfall intensity shall be determined from graphs of rainfall intensity as prepared for this purpose by Rules and Standards for the Preparation Plan, Specifications, Contract Forms and Engineering Estimates, New Jersey State Highway Department, 1961, or equivalent charts, graphs or tables yielding the same data values.
When using the SCS method of calculation:
Apparent surface condition after project completion: meadow of good hydrologic condition for the soil type existing on the site.
Rainfall intensity shall be determined from graphs prepared by the Soil Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Engineering Field Manual for Conservation Practices, 1971, or equivalent charts, graphs or tables yielding the same data values.
The overriding consideration shall be that the project plan shall be such and it shall be conducted in such a manner as to result in the maximum overall benefit to the public.
All of these standards shall be addressed by the applicant, and if any do not apply to a particular project, a statement to that effect, with reasons, shall be submitted.
Maintenance. It shall be the duty of the person, persons or legal entity from time to time owning or controlling the land which has been disturbed, in accordance with an approved soil erosion and sediment control plan, to adequately maintain the same according to the grades approved by said plan and maintain all of the measures, devices and plantings provided for in said plan in effective condition.

§ 197-11 Exempt operations.

The following operations are exempt from the provisions of §§ 197-4 through 197-9 and 197-12 of this chapter. Exempt operations must comply with the standards of § 197-10.
Excavations for purposes of construction not exceeding 600 cubic yards, confined within an area of 3,600 square feet.
Excavation and grading for yards, sidewalks, drainage ditches, sewage disposal systems or other minor yard improvements.
Sanitary landfill operations which are in conformance with municipal and/or state codes.
New streets, roadways and driveways where regulated by other ordinances. In these cases, permits under said ordinances shall be issued in conformity with the requirements of this chapter.
Quarries, gravel pits, sand pits and shale pits when permitted and regulated under other ordinances of this municipality.
Excavations made by the Township of Readington, the County of Hunterdon or the State of New Jersey for public improvements such as streets, highways, drainage, sewers or other similar projects.
Underground utility lines within the bounds of the public streets and roadways.
Plowing, harrowing and otherwise cultivating of the soil for agricultural purposes, provided that no soil is removed or added and that no public nuisance is created or maintained.
Waiver. The Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment may waive the need for a soil and surface water management plan for site plans of two acres or less upon recommendation of the Municipal Engineer.
[Amended 10-4-1999 by Ord. No. 20-99]
Applications for approval of subdivisions of land and site plans under the provisions of the Land Development Ordinance of Readington Township[1] shall not be subject to additional fees under this chapter.
[Amended 10-4-1999 by Ord. No. 20-99]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 148, Land Development.

§ 197-12 Inspection and enforcement.

Inspection shall be made by the Municipal Engineer at his discretion or on request of the administrative authority to ensure that the provisions of this chapter and the permit are fully complied with.
Granting of a permit shall be construed as permission for the Municipal Engineer or his agent to inspect the premises of the operation and enter thereon as necessary for complete inspection.
The administrative authority may require boundary stakes and grade stakes to be erected by the grantee for purpose of inspection.
Fees for inspection shall be paid to the Township by the permit holder before release of the performance bond.
If the Township Engineer finds existing conditions not as stated in the applicant's erosion and sediment control plan, he may refuse to approve further work and may require necessary erosion and sediment control measures to be promptly installed and may seek other penalties and/or remedies as provided in § 197-15.

§ 197-13 Appeals.

Appeals from decisions under this chapter may be made to the governing body in writing within 10 days from the date of such decision. The appellant shall be entitled to a hearing before the municipal governing body within 30 days from date of appeal.
The appellant shall notify, by personal service or certified mail, the administrative authority, Municipal Engineer and neighboring landowners within 200 feet of the boundary lines of the lands of the proposed operation 10 days prior to the hearing date and shall file proof of service of the aforesaid notice with the Municipal Clerk before the hearing date.

§ 197-14 Remedying existing conditions.

It is hereby determined that the existence of any condition which is conducive to erosion of the land or siltation of a stream constitutes a public nuisance and is hereby prohibited.
Any person who permits such a nuisance on land under his control longer than 30 days after being notified by the Code Enforcement Officer or Zoning Officer shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter.
[Amended 10-4-1999 by Ord. No. 20-99]

§ 197-15 Violations and penalties.

Violations and penalty. Any person, persons or legal entity who shall disturb any land area other than in accordance with an approved soil erosion and sediment control plan; or having commenced the disturbance of any land area in accordance with such approved plan shall fail to complete the same; or being the owner or in control of land which has been disturbed in accordance with such approved plan shall fail to maintain the same according to the grades approved by said plan; or shall fail to maintain all of the measures, devices and plantings provided for in said plan in effective condition; or shall cause, suffer or permit to be done any of the foregoing, shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter and, upon conviction, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding $1,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days and/or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days. Each and every day such violation continues shall be deemed a separate and distinct violation.
[Amended 10-4-1999 by Ord. No. 20-99]
Other remedies.
In addition to any other remedies, the municipality may institute any appropriate action in a court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin or abate any violation of this chapter.
Where land is disturbed in violation of this chapter and is part of land upon which a building or buildings are in the course of construction or are about to be constructed or about to be occupied, and if the safety, public health, convenience and general welfare of the community would not be adequately protected if any such buildings were permitted to be constructed, completed or occupied while such violation continues, then and in any such instance the Code Enforcement Officer may, upon report of the Township Engineer as to such violation, refuse to issue a building permit for such buildings, stop the work upon any such buildings for which a building permit has been issued and refuse to issue a certificate of occupancy for any such buildings:
[Amended 10-4-1999 by Ord. No. 20-99]

§ 197-16 Performance bond.

In cases not involving land subdivision or site plan approval, a performance bond shall be posted by the applicant before beginning work to insure the completion or satisfactory termination of incomplete work, for reimbursement of expenses incurred by the municipality in repairing public facilities and roads affected by the operation and for correction of unsatisfactory work.
Amounts of performance bonds shall be set by the administrative authority upon recommendation by the Municipal Engineer.
The minimum bond shall be $200, plus $0.10 per cubic yard after 600 cubic yards, maximum to be $5,000 aggregate.
The bonding company and form of bond shall be subject to the approval of the Municipal Attorney.

§ 197-17 Fees.

[Added 4-19-2010 by Ord. No. 08-2010]
Prior to the issuance of a building permit, the property owner shall submit a review and inspection escrow fee in the amount of $1,500 which shall be payable to the Township of Readington. The applicant shall replenish the review and inspection escrow as necessary to maintain a minimum balance of $1,000.