[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Westtown 11-20-1980 by Ord. No. 80-6. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to regulate modification of natural terrain and alteration of drainage by providing for certain runoff, erosion and sediment control measures within Westtown Township (the "township") to protect public health, safety and welfare. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Westtown Township Soil Erosion, Sedimentation and Grading Control Ordinance." It implements Title 25, Rules and Regulations, Part 1, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Protection, Subpart C, Protection of Natural Resources, Article II, Water Resources, Chapter 102, Erosion Control.
The following definitions shall apply to this chapter:
- The solid, undisturbed rock in place either at the ground surface or beneath surficial soil deposits.
- BORROW PIT
- An open pit from which soil is excavated as a single-incident for use at a single construction site.
- DESIGN STORM
- A storm with a one-hundred-year frequency.
- A. Any subdivision; or
- B. Any alteration of land not for agricultural or conservation purposes which includes earthmoving, filling or stripping on a tract of one or more acres, including, but not limited to, road construction; utility installation; public, commercial or industrial facility construction; and mining and quarrying; including water resource management.
- Any act by which soil or bedrock is cut into, quarried, displaced or relocated.
- The process by which soil and bedrock are worn away by the action of wind, water and climate.
- EXISTING GRADE
- The vertical elevation of the ground surface prior to earthmoving or filling.
- A deposit of soil or other materials placed by man.
- FINISHED GRADE
- The final vertical elevation of the ground after development.
- GRADING PERMIT
- The permit required to be issued prior to the disturbance of the topography and vegetation of land in connection with the conduct of activities regulated by this chapter.
- NATURAL GROUND SURFACE
- The ground surface in its original state before any earthmoving, filling or stripping.
- OPEN-PIT MINING
- The continuing or recurring removal of material below the ground surface by open excavation.
- A grading permit.
- Any individual, corporation, partnership, joint venture, agency, unincorporated association, municipal corporation or agency within the State of Pennsylvania or any combination thereof.
- Earth and rock in suspension in water or settled out of water as a deposit on land or beds of bodies of water.
- The process by which sediment is deposited.
- Any lot or parcel of land or combination of contiguous lots or parcels of land under one ownership where earthmoving, filling or stripping is, was or will be performed.
- All earth material of whatever origin that overlies bedrock.
- The removal of vegetation and/or topsoil.
- Any natural or artificial swale, stream, channel, drain or culvert in which waters flow continuously or intermittently.
Whenever the topography and vegetation are to be disturbed, a plan for the control of erosion and sediment is required. The following regulations shall apply to any person engaging in activities which disturb the topography and vegetation of land:
It shall be unlawful for any person to do any site work in conjunction with development, including but not limited to stripping, grading, earthmoving, filling and establishment of open pit mines or borrow pits, for any purpose without first securing a grading permit ("permit").
It shall be unlawful for any person to pave, fill, strip or change the existing grade of any land within the township without first securing a grading permit.
It shall be unlawful for any person to disturb, modify, block, divert or affect the natural overland or subsurface flow of stormwater within the township without first securing a permit.
It shall be unlawful for any person to construct, erect or install any dam, ditch, culvert, drain pipe, bridge or any other structure or construction affecting the drainage of any premises in the township without first securing a permit.
Whenever the topography or vegetation is to be disturbed, and the proposal involves less than one acre, a permit shall be required, subject to Subsection F of this section, but no fee shall be payable.
No permit shall be required hereunder for:
Any activity for which a permit must be obtained from any agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;
Normal agricultural operations;
Any developed residential lot where the following conditions are met: the aggregate area stripped at one time does not exceed 5,000 square feet; the grade change does not exceed six inches; all bare earth is promptly seeded, sodded or otherwise effectively protected from erosion; and the earthmoving does not involve a quantity of material in excess of 100 cubic yards; or
Earthmoving incident to construction of individual wells and sewage disposal systems.
Any person proposing to engage in activity requiring a permit hereunder shall apply for a permit by written application, which shall include the applicant's agreement to comply with the regulations in § 80-8 hereof upon issuance of the permit.
The applicant is encouraged to consult with the surrounding municipalities which can be affected by, or can affect, the proposed land development. He/she should also consult the Westtown Township ordinances and Chapter 149, Subdivision and Land Development, which regulate the development of land within the township.
The requirements of this chapter shall be in addition to rather than in substitution of those provisions of Chapter 149, Subdivision and Land Development, relating to storm and surface drainage and stormwater management, grading and erosion control, and the stormwater management criteria of said Chapter 149, Subdivision and Land Development. However, the Township Engineer, in his sole discretion, can authorize variance from the strict adherence to this chapter when a subdivision or land development application is being reviewed by the township under Chapter 149, Subdivision and Land Development, and when, in such review procedure, he/she determines that the data required to be submitted in an application for a permit hereunder has been included in the subdivision or land development plans and supporting documentation in substantial compliance with the requirements of this chapter.
A separate application shall be required for each operation regulated hereby. Three copies of all the documents referred to in § 80-5 hereof shall be submitted with each application, one of which, at the discretion of the Township Engineer, shall be submitted to the Chester County Conservation District for review and comment. At any time when the township does not have either an employed or regulatory retained Engineer or firm of engineers, all applications shall automatically be forwarded to the said District for such purpose.
The application for a permit shall be accompanied by a plan of the property showing:
An area plan, or plans, describing existing and proposed features of the area surrounding the site of work, including topography, existing vegetation, watercourses, man-made features, the affected watersheds and other pertinent natural features. This may be in the form of a recent USGS map with the property and required features located thereon.
A topographical survey of the site, at a suitable scale of no less than one inch equals 50 feet and contour interval of no more than two feet zero inches, prepared by a registered surveyor or registered engineer, including also a boundary line survey, the location and description of vegetative cover, soil types (available from Chester County Soil Conservation District) and any other pertinent existing natural or man-made features.
An improvements plan at the same scale as the topographical survey showing and describing all changes to the site, including cuts, fills, structures, paving and utilities. (This may be combined with the topographical survey of Subsection B of this section on simple projects.)
A written description of soil erosion and sediment and control measures (with appropriate plans and specifications), in accordance with standards and specifications of the USDA Soil Conservation Service, Chester County Conservation District and township ordinances, including, without limitation, retention basins or other control measures necessary to limit the rate of stormwater runoff to comply with the requirements of § 80-6C hereof.
A time schedule indicating the anticipated starting and completion dates of the development sequence, the expected date of completion of construction of each of the measures referred to in Subsection D of this section and the time of exposure of each area prior to the completion of such measures.
When the area of site to be disturbed exceeds one acre, or when sites are environmentally sensitive because of the presence of watercourses or usual drainage conditions, the Township Engineer may require any or all of the additional information. This information shall be supplied when the area to be disturbed exceeds five acres and it shall then be prepared by a registered professional civil engineer, agronomist or other professional qualified in hydrology.
A plan shall indicate present and proposed sources, storage and disposition of water being channeled through or across the site, together with elevations, gradients and maximum flow rates. The application shall describe the work to be performed, the materials to be used and the manner, or method, or performance, including provisions for protecting and maintaining existing drainage facilities, whether on public or private property.
Calculations to determine runoff shall be based on the Soil-Cover Complex Method, which is available from the USDA Soil Conservation Service, West Chester, or if the applicant can demonstrate the inappropriateness of such method, calculations may be based upon other generally accepted and applicable engineering methods. The design criteria for storm sewer piping, inlet systems, retention basin, spillways, culverts, swales and all related facilities shall be those published by the USDA Soil Conservation Service and available in its office in West Chester. The coefficient of runoff used for all areas upstream of any drainage structure shall be computed on the basis of the projected land use contained in the Township Comprehensive Plan.
The following provisions shall apply to the carrying and disposal of stormwater runoff:
All drainage facilities shall be designed in the most practical fashion to control surface water runoff in such a manner as to prevent erosion and flooding. Such facilities shall be designed to retard the rate of stormwater runoff to approximately the same rate as that existing prior to construction of the project.
The applicant shall agree to the granting and recording of easements for drainage facilities, including acceptance of the discharge of water from the property of others, provisions for maintenance of slopes and swales and access for the maintenance of anti-erosion facilities.
If load-bearing fill is proposed, a soils investigation report shall be submitted which shall consist of test borings, laboratory testings and engineering analysis to correlate surface and subsurface conditions with the proposed grading plan. The results of the investigation shall include data regarding the nature, distribution and supporting ability of existing soils and rocks on the site, conclusions and recommendations to ensure stable soil conditions and groundwater control, as applicable. The township may require such supplemental reports and data as is deemed necessary by the Township Engineer. The following provisions shall apply to plans involving fill:
Fills toeing out on natural slopes steeper than four horizontal to one vertical shall not be made unless approved by the Township Engineer after receipt of a report by a registered professional engineer, qualified in soils analysis, certifying that he/she has investigated the property, made soil tests, and that, in his opinion, such steeper slopes will safely support the proposed fill.
Natural and/or existing slopes exceeding five horizontal to one vertical shall be benched or continuously steeped into competent materials as determined by the Township Engineer, prior to placing all classes of fill.
The Township Engineer shall approve and issue all permits in letter form. Fees, as set forth in § 80-10 hereof, shall be collected directly by the township.
The permittee is responsible for any property damage or personal injury caused by his activity authorized by the permit.
No person shall modify, fill, excavate, pave or regrade land in any manner as to endanger or damage public or private property, or to cause physical damage or personal injury. All precautions will be taken to prevent any damage to adjoining streets, sidewalks, buildings and other structures which could be caused by settling, cracking, erosion or sediment.
No person shall fail to adequately maintain in good operating order any drainage facility on his premises. All watercourses, drainage ditches, culverts, drain pipes and drainage structures shall be kept open and free-flowing at all times.
No person shall deposit or place any debris or other material in any watercourses or drainage structure in such a manner as to obstruct free flow.
The owner of any property on which any work has been done, pursuant to a permit granted under this chapter, shall continuously maintain and repair all graded surfaces and anti-erosion devices such as retaining walls, drainage structures or means, planting and ground cover, installed or completed. The obligation shall apply not only to the permit holder, but also to his successors in title to the property.
All finish graded surfaces shall be seeded, sodded, planted or otherwise protected from erosion immediately upon completion of the grading operation, and shall be watered, tended and maintained until growth is well established. The disturbance and duration of exposure shall be kept to a practical minimum.
Precautions shall be taken to prevent the unnecessary removal of trees and to assure their protection by suitable tree wells, as determined by the Township Engineer.
When required, adequate provision shall be made for dust control measures as determined by the Township Engineer.
All plans and specifications accompanying applications for permits shall include provisions for both temporary and permanent erosion and sediment control.
The design, installation and maintenance of erosion and sediment control measures shall be accomplished in accordance with standards and specifications established by the USDA Soil Conservation Service and the Chester County Soil Conservation District, except as otherwise stipulated in this or other applicable township ordinances.
A quality control program is critical for fills. Therefore, wherever load-bearing fill material is to be used, each layer of compacted fill shall be tested to determine its dry density per ASTM D 1556. The density of each layer shall not be less than 95% of maximum dry density as determined by ASTM D 1557.
Compaction test reports shall be kept on file at the site and be subject to review at all times by the Township Engineer.
Major modifications of the approved application and plans shall be submitted to the township and reprocessed in the same manner as the original application and plans. Field modifications of a minor nature may be authorized by the Township Engineer provided that written authorization is given to the person performing work pursuant to this chapter, with a copy forwarded to the Soil and Water Conservation District.
All inspections shall be the responsibility of the Township Engineer or, in his absence, a qualified person acceptable to the township. The permittee shall notify the Township Engineer 48 hours before any work is to be done.
Engineering check notes shall accompany all "as-built" plans with structural or mechanical measures and serve as supporting evidence that meet standards and specifications as contained herein.
A final inspection shall be conducted by the Township Engineer to ensure compliance with this chapter. Satisfactory compliance with this chapter shall be necessary before issuance of an occupancy permit, if applicable.
A fee as set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors is required upon initial submission of an application under this chapter, except as provided by § 80-3D. Cost of inspections will be billed to the applicant as inspections are completed at the rate as set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors. Payments shall be made within 30 days and no occupancy permits will be issued until all payments have been made. If the applicant has paid a fee under another township ordinance which is applicable to the requirements of this chapter, such as Chapter 149, Subdivision and Land Development, the Zoning Officer may waive any or all of the fees under this chapter as he/she determines to be equitable. If an application involves less than one acre, no fee will be required. The permittee shall also be responsible for reimbursement to the township of cost of review of the plans and application charged to the township by the Township Engineer.
Any permit issued under this chapter may be revoked or suspended by the Board of Supervisors of the township, after notice to the permit holder for:
Failure to carry out the control measures described in the application at the appropriate times as specified in the applicable time schedule or within such reasonable extension as may be granted by the Township Engineer;
Violation of any other condition of the permit;
Violation of any provision of this chapter or any other applicable law, ordinance, rule or regulation relating to the work; and
Existence of any condition or the doing of any act constituting or creating a nuisance, hazard or endangering human life or the property of others.
Every permit issued hereunder shall expire at the end of the period of time set out in the permit. The permittee shall fully perform and complete all of the work required to be done within the time limit specified in the permit. If the permittee shall be unable to complete the work within the specified time, he/she shall, within 30 days prior to expiration of the permit, present in writing to the township a request for an extension of time, setting forth therein the reasons for the requested extension. If, in the discretion of the Township Engineer, such an extension is warranted, he/she may grant additional time for the completion of the work. Where the Township Engineer determines that the extension of time will require a substantial modification of the runoff and erosion control plan by the Soil and Water Conservation District, any extension of a permit shall be subject to approval of such revised plans in accordance with the applicable procedure of this chapter.
The Township Engineer, before issuing a permit for a project which exceeds five acres, shall require cash bond or corporate surety bond in a form satisfactory to him/her and the Township Solicitor conditioned upon the faithful performance of the control measures and other conditions specified in the permit within the time specified, or within any extension thereof granted by the Township Engineer, in the amount of the total estimated cost of all control measures and the cost of safeguards for adjoining properties. Said bond may be combined with a bond filed under Chapter 149, Subdivision and Land Development. Each bond shall be maintained and renewed annually and shall be executed by a surety to a guaranty company qualified to transact business in the state.
If at any state the work does not conform to the permit, including condition thereof, or to the plans and specifications, including modifications thereof, or to the approved runoff and erosion control plan, a written notice to comply shall be given to the permittee. Such notice shall set forth the nature of corrections required and the time within which corrections should be made. Upon failure to comply within the time specified, the permittee shall be considered in violation of the chapter, in which case the bond, if any, shall be forfeited and penalties imposed under § 80-15 of this chapter.
In case of paving, filling, stripping, grading or regrading; any disturbing, modifying, blocking or diverting the natural overland subsurface flow of stormwater; or any construction, erection and installation of any dam, ditch, culvert, drain pipe, bridge or any other structure or obstruction affecting the drainage of any premises, in violation of this chapter, or any regulations made pursuant thereto, the proper township authorities, in addition to other remedies provided by law, may institute any appropriate action or proceedings to prevent such unlawful activity; to restrain, correct or abate such violation; to prevent the use of, in or about such premises. In addition, upon the failure of any permit holder to complete the control measures specified in his application, the township may, after revoking such permit, proceed to complete such measures itself and recover the cost thereof from the permittee or his surety.
For any and every violation of the provisions of this chapter, the owner, general agent or contractor of a building or premises where such violation has been committed or shall exist; the lessee or tenant of an entire building or entire premises where such violation has been committed or shall exist; the owner, general agent, contractor, lessee or any other tenant of any part of a building or premises in which part such violation has been committed or shall exist; and the general agent, architect, contractor or any other person who knowingly commits, takes part or assists in any such violation or who maintains any building or premises in which any such violation shall exist, shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding brought before a District Justice under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs of prosecution. In default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days. Each day or portion thereof that such violation continues or is permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense, and each section of this chapter that is violated shall also constitute a separate offense.