Borough of Hawthorne, NJ
Passaic County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Municipal Council of the Borough of Hawthorne 12-3-2008 by Ord. No. 1960-08. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 185.
Fees — See Ch. 220.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 247.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 444.
Tree removal — See Ch. 488.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 450.
Zoning — See Ch. 540.
This chapter may be cited and referred to as the "Hawthorne Soil Moving Ordinance."
The Municipal Council hereby find that the uncontrolled and unregulated excavation, filling and removal of soil has resulted and will result in conditions detrimental to the public safety, health and general welfare, deterring substantially the efforts of the Borough to promote and effectuate the general purpose of municipal planning.
Whenever used in this chapter, the following terms shall be deemed and construed to have the following meanings:
APPROVING AUTHORITY
The board or official designated by this chapter to receive and review soil permit applications and to issue soil permits (i.e., the Planning Board, Board of Adjustment, the Municipal Engineer or the Construction Official) and in the event of an appeal the Municipal Council.
DEVELOPMENT
Improvement of a lot by the construction or erection of one or more buildings for residential commercial or industrial purposes and improvement of lands through conservation and flood control.
EXCAVATOR
Any person who shall move or remove soil, as the terms are hereinafter defined.
LOT
Any parcel of land or portion thereof, the boundary lines of which can be ascertained by reference to the maps and records, or either, in the office of the Tax Assessor of the Borough of Hawthorne or in the office of the Passaic County Clerk.
MOVE
To dig; to excavate; to remove; to deposit; to place; to fill; to grade, regrade, level or otherwise alter or change the location or contour; to transport; or to supply. This term shall not be construed to include plowing, spading, cultivating, harrowing or disking of soil or any other operation usually and ordinarily associated with the tilling of soil for agricultural or horticultural purposes.
OWNER
Any person seized in fee simple of any lot or having such other interest or estate therein as will permit exercise of effective possession thereof or dominion thereover.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, association, partnership, limited liability company or corporation or any group of two or more of them.
SOIL
Any earth, sand, clay, loam, gravel, humus, rock or dirt, without regard to the presence or absence therein of organic matter.
TOPSOIL
Soil that, 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.
A. 
No person shall excavate, remove or move, or cause, allow, permit or suffer to be removed or moved any soil from, in or upon any lot in the Borough of Hawthorne unless and until a soil permit therefor shall first have been issued by the approving authority.
B. 
Exceptions. No soil permit shall be required in connection with the construction or alteration of a building or structure on any lot to move soil incidental thereto, provided that no soil is removed from the lot, and further provided that a building permit or swimming pool permit, and where applicable site plan or subdivision approval, has been obtained. Soil removed or imported in excess of two cubic yards and up to a total of 100 cubic yards shall be exempted from obtaining a soil movement permit, however, a soil movement permit exemption form shall be filed with and approved by the Construction Official before any soil movement takes place.
A. 
Form of application. On forms prescribed and supplied by the approving authority, the applicant shall set forth in triplicate:
(1) 
The name and address of the applicant.
(2) 
The name and address of the owner of the lot.
(3) 
A description of the lot in question, identified as to the block and lot or lots on the current Tax Assessment Map of the Borough of Hawthorne.
(4) 
The ultimate purpose or reason for excavating, moving or removing the soil.
(5) 
The kind and quantity in cubic yards of soil to be excavated, moved or removed. In the case of removal, the place to which the soil is to be removed and the kind and quality of the soil to be removed shall be set forth. In the case of soil to be brought in, the place from which the soil is to be brought and the kind and quality of the soil to be brought in shall be set forth.
(6) 
The proposed dates of commencement and completion of the work.
(7) 
The name, address and telephone number of the person having direct charge, supervision and control of the proposed excavation work.
(8) 
The name, address and telephone number of the person having direct charge or control of the operation of removing the excavated material.
(9) 
A description of the equipment to be used in the excavation and removal of the soil.
(10) 
A description giving the number and size of the trucks or other vehicles to be used in the removal of soil.
(11) 
A description of the route or routes to be used by the vehicles in removing the soil.
(12) 
In the event that the removal of said soil is in connection with the development of a subdivision or site plan, all of the information required under Chapter 450, Subdivision of Land, or Site Plan Ordinance of the Borough of Hawthorne together with evidence of Planning Board approval thereof.
(13) 
Evidence of compliance with applicable soil erosion and sediment control regulations.
(14) 
In the event that the contemplated work shall proceed in stages, a map showing the division of the tract into mining sectors clearly indicating the order in which each sector is to be mined and the length of time to be devoted to each sector.
(15) 
Such other data as the approving authority may require, consistent with its review function and the standards governing said review.
(16) 
In the event the movement of soil is in connection with a subdivision, the applicant shall provide all information necessary to accurately depict and quantify the soil movement that will be required for the completion of the roadway and utilities and other required infrastructure. Any soil movement with regard to construction on individual sites, unless required by the infrastructure installation, will be included in separate soil movement applications for each individual site.
B. 
Signature and endorsement. The application shall bear the signature of the applicant and the endorsement of the owner or owners of the lands signifying approval of the application, consent of the applicant to perform the proposed work and consent to the Borough in the event of failure of the applicant to do so, to cause the proposed work to be completed and otherwise terminated in keeping with the purposes and objectives herein stated.
C. 
In the event that the total quantity of soil to be moved is greater than 500 cubic yards, the application and all other documents and fees which may be required shall be submitted to the Planning Board. In the event that the moving of soil for which a permit is required is in connection with property on which subdivision or site plan is being sought simultaneously, the application and all other documents shall be submitted to the approving board. In all other cases, said application and all other documentation shall be submitted to the Municipal Engineer.
D. 
Referral to Planning Board. Where, by reason of the size or complexity of the soil moving contemplated by the applicant, the Municipal Engineer may, notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection C above, within 10 days of the filing of the application, refer the application to the Planning Board for its approval and shall so notify the applicant. Upon such referral by the Municipal Engineer, the Planning Board shall assume exclusive jurisdiction of the application.
E. 
Topographical map. Accompanying the application shall be eight prints of a topographical map, prepared and certified by a licensed professional engineer and land surveyor of the State of New Jersey, showing:
(1) 
The dimensions and lot and block number of the lot upon which the soil moving operations are to be conducted and of all surrounding lands within 200 feet of the perimeter of the subject lot.
(2) 
The present grades of the subject lot and all lots within 200 feet of the perimeter of the subject lot.
(3) 
The existing elevations of all buildings, structures, streets, bodies of water and watercourses, natural or artificial.
(4) 
The proposed final elevations at each point where existing elevations shown on the map are to be changed as a result of the completion of the proposed work.
(5) 
Present surface water drainage and proposed facilities for surface water drainage and, where applicable, channels of any streams, bodies of water and watercourses, natural or artificial, including detailed cross sections showing proposed channel widths, bank slopes, and method of erosion control.
(6) 
Proposed slopes and lateral supports to adjacent properties and on the subject lot.
(7) 
The limits of the area or areas within the subject lot within which the soil moving operations are to be conducted.
(8) 
Accurate cross sections showing the locations and quantities, in cubic yards, of the soil to be moved.
(9) 
A map shall be provided to delineate areas of slope ranging from 0% to 5%, 5% to 10%, 10% to 15% and 15% and up within the site and their percentages of the area being disturbed.
(10) 
Such other pertinent data as the approving authority may require.
F. 
Where, by reason of the simplicity of the application, the approving authority determines that all or part of the information set forth in Subsection E above is not necessary to make an informed determination on the application, the approving authority may waive all or part of the requirements set forth in said Subsection E.
A. 
Simultaneously with the filing of the application, there shall be submitted to the approving authority a fee, payable to the order of the Borough of Hawthorne, as provided for in Chapter 220, Fees.
B. 
In the event that the fees posted by the applicant are insufficient to meet the reasonable engineering, legal and administrative expenses incurred by the Borough in processing the application and monitoring the applicants performance, then the applicant shall, upon the request of the Borough, immediately pay such additional engineering, legal, administrative and other expenses incurred by the Borough. In the event that the project is not completed or in the event that the applicant does not pay all the fees required by this chapter, the sums due to the Borough shall become an obligation of the owner of the property and shall become a lien upon the property.
The Municipal Engineer shall from time to time upon his own initiative, whenever directed by the Borough Administrator or whenever directed by the approving authority shall make an inspection of any site within the Borough, from which soil is to be moved and shall make such engineering studies as may be required to determine the effect of the removal of soil from the location as it relates to soil erosion by water and wind, surface and subsurface water drainage, soil fertility, lateral support of abutting streets and lands, public health and safety and any other factors as may bear upon or relate to the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious physical development of the Borough. He shall also inspect the site to determine whether stakes have been placed on each corner and whether grade stakes have been placed at the existing elevation points designated on the topographical map.
In considering and reviewing the application, the approving authority shall be guided by the general purpose of municipal planning and shall take into consideration the following factors:
A. 
Soil erosion by water and wind.
B. 
Surface water drainage.
C. 
Soil fertility.
D. 
Lateral support of abutting streets and lands.
E. 
Public health and safety.
F. 
Land values and uses.
G. 
The general welfare of the Borough of Hawthorne and its citizens.
H. 
The unsightliness of the premises after excavation.
I. 
The effect of flooding.
J. 
Whether the proposed work will create a nuisance.
K. 
Whether the proposed work is necessary in connection with the immediate development of the property.
L. 
Traffic congestion and the effect upon the roads within the Borough.
M. 
The effect that the proposed work would have on individual sanitary sewage disposal systems.
N. 
Preservation of existing watercourses.
O. 
The creation of sharp declivities pits or depressions.
P. 
Whether the proposed work constitutes a commercial activity.
Q. 
Such other factors as may bear upon or relate to the development of the coordinated and harmonious physical development of the Borough.
A. 
The approving authority shall, within 60 days after the filing of the application and the topographical map containing all of the information required pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and the payment of the requisite fee, grant or deny the application. The approving authority in approving said application may attach such reasonable conditions to said approval as it may deem necessary.
B. 
The approving authority may, in its discretion, require a public hearing prior to its decision on all applications to move less than 1,000 cubic yards. The approving authority shall require a public hearing prior to its decision for all applications to move 1,000 cubic yards or more.
(1) 
By publishing a notice in an official newspaper of the Borough of Hawthorne, at least seven days prior to the date set by the approving authority, of the date set for the public hearing; and
(2) 
By delivering a copy of said notice, by certified mail or by personal service, to all property owners within 200 feet of the perimeter of the subject property as their names appear on the municipal tax records.
C. 
The applicant, at or prior to the public hearing, shall file an affidavit with the approving authority certifying compliance with the notice provisions above set forth.
D. 
In the event that a public hearing is so ordered by the approving authority, the time for the making of its decision shall be extended to not later than 30 days after the date of the hearing.
E. 
Failure of the approving authority to act within the time specified herein shall be deemed a denial of the application.
F. 
Nothing herein contained shall prohibit the extension of the time periods herein set forth by the written consent of the applicant.
A. 
Filing of appeal. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the approving authority may, not later than 30 days after said decision, appeal that decision to the Municipal Council.
B. 
Public hearing. The Municipal Council may, in its discretion, require a public hearing on said appeal and, if so required, shall cause a notice setting forth the time and place thereof to be published in an official newspaper of the Borough at least seven days prior to the date set for the public hearing.
C. 
Consideration of appeal; decision. The Municipal Council shall consider the matter de novo and shall decide the appeal within 45 days from the filing of the appeal or from the public hearing, whichever is later. The Municipal Council may reverse, remand or affirm wholly or in part, or may modify the decision of the approving authority. The affirmative vote of a majority of the full authorized membership of the Municipal Council shall be necessary to reverse, remand or modify the decision of the approving authority.
A. 
Contents of permit. The soil permit shall be in such form as may be prescribed by the approving authority, signed by the Secretary and the Chairman of the Planning Board or the Construction Official, as the case may be, and shall contain any special conditions set forth in the decision of the approving authority.
B. 
Duration of permit. The soil permit shall be dated as of the date it is actually issued, and the term of the permit shall not exceed one year. All permits shall automatically expire on the termination date unless an application for renewal has been made and approved by the Planning Board, in writing, extending the permit. No such extension shall exceed one year.
A. 
Bond required. No soil permit shall be issued unless the applicant has posted with the Borough a performance bond in a form and with surety acceptable to the Borough, in such amount as the approving authority shall determine, conditioned upon full and faithful performance by the principal, within the time specified in the application of all proposed work in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and of the soil permit. In the event that the applicant fails to post the required performance bond within 60 days, the approval of the approving authority shall be automatically rescinded.
B. 
Amount of bond. The amount of the bond shall be determined at the rate of not less than $0.15 per cubic yard and not in excess of $0.50 per cubic yard of the amount of soil to be moved; provided, however, that in no event shall the bond be less than the principal amount of $2,000. In ascertaining the rate upon which to compute the amount of the bond, the approving authority shall take into consideration such factors as may bear upon the facility with which the proposed work may be performed, including but not limited to the type and character of soil, the extent of the area over which the soil moving operations are to be conducted, the extent and depth of the various cuts and fills, the extent to which the area of operations is wooded, the proximity of the proposed operations to streets, buildings, natural or artificial streams or watercourses, and general drainage conditions. In addition, the bond shall be conditioned upon the repair, at the expense of the owner and applicant, of any street or streets damaged by the transportation of soil in connection with the application if, in the judgment of the Municipal Council, such repairs are deemed to be necessary The term "expense," as used herein shall include the cost of supervision incurred by the Borough Engineer in connection with such repairs. The approving authority may require that no more than 10% of the amount of the bond required by this section shall be in the form of a cash deposit.
C. 
Written consent of surety required. Before the holder of any soil permit proceeds before the approving authority with an application for any amendment or alteration of the terms and conditions of any outstanding soil permit, there shall be submitted to the approving authority the written consent of the surety on the bond approving the application for amendment or alteration and consenting to extension of the bond coverage thereto.
D. 
Application for release of bond. Applications for the release of any bonds posted in accordance with the terms of this chapter shall be accompanied by an affidavit stating that the soil moving operation has been completed in accordance with the application and all plans maps and other data filed therewith and in accordance with all resolutions and conditions. The affidavit shall be executed by a licensed professional or civil engineer of the State of New Jersey.
All excavation and removal of soil in the Borough shall be performed subject to the following conditions, regardless of whether or not a permit is required:
A. 
All boulders, tree stumps and other debris shall be removed from the property.
B. 
In dry weather, the person conducting such operation shall dampen the ground where operations are conducted to prevent dust.
C. 
No trucks used shall be loaded above the level of the sides of the truck to prevent spillage, and all streets shall be cleaned at the applicant's expense each day of any spillage or soil on such streets resulting from truck operation.
D. 
All truck loads shall be covered with tarpaulin and, if necessary, treated by water or chemical to prevent flying dust.
E. 
No trucks, machinery or any part of the operation shall be conducted before 7:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, before 8:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays, nor at any time on Sunday or federal or state legal holidays.
F. 
All vehicles engaged in such operations shall use as routes only those Borough streets which have been approved by the Planning Board.
G. 
The entire area covered by the work shall be maintained and left in such a manner as not to create or maintain a nuisance or condition hazardous to life and limb or to the health or general welfare of the inhabitants of the Borough of Hawthorne.
H. 
All excavation, removal and other mandatory ground cover work proposed in the application and map, including restoration of property to final grades and subsequent seeding, must be completed within one year from the date of the permit.
I. 
No more soil shall be removed than is reasonably necessary for the development and use of the land.
J. 
No soil removal shall be allowed which shall cause damage to adjacent properties or detrimentally affect the values of adjacent properties.
K. 
The operation must be conducted in a phased fashion so that one sector of the tract is mined and covered with planting prior to the commencement of mining operations in another sector of the tract.
L. 
The Borough Engineer or other authorized representative of the Borough shall be permitted to inspect the seeding and planting and general conduct of the mining operation to assure that the same is being conducted in a manner that shall assure the satisfactory control of erosion and that it is being conducted in full accordance with the remainder of this chapter.
M. 
Excavation shall not be below the grade levels shown in the topographical map.
A. 
Whenever any developer or excavator shall move topsoil in or on any lot, provision shall be made for the storage of the topsoil within the boundary lines of the lot.
B. 
Except as provided, all of the topsoil so stored shall be uniformly replaced over the entire area or surface of the lot on or before the completion date set forth in the soil permit, so that the final grade or grades of replaced topsoil shall be in accordance with the proposed final grades shown on the topographical map.
C. 
No developer or excavator shall remove to any point beyond the boundary lines of the lot any topsoil whatsoever unless and until topsoil not inferior in quality to that to be removed shall first have been replaced uniformly to a depth of not less than six inches, measured from the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map, over the entire surface or area of the lot, excepting only such portions thereof as shall be or shall have become, since the date of filing of the topographical map, permanently covered by a building or structure, street pavement, curb sidewalk, driveway or other paved area or by any body of water or waterway. In no event shall the developer or excavator remove from the lot more topsoil than that comprising the surplus or excess remaining after the replacement of the topsoil.
No developer or excavator shall, at any time in the course of the work, dig or excavate more than six inches below the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map, unless:
A. 
The soil permit specifies otherwise and the performance bond makes specific provision for replacement, on or before the completion date, of soil of sufficient quantity and kind to restore the final grades to those shown on the topographical map.
B. 
After issuance of the soil permit, the developer or excavator, before digging or excavating below the minimum level, shall apply to the approving authority and be granted an amendment of the application and topographical map then in effect, which amendment may be granted upon such terms as the approving authority may deem necessary to assure adherence to the purpose and objectives of this chapter.
No developer or excavator shall deposit soil upon, fill in or raise the grade of any lot without first making provision for:
A. 
The use in the work of soil or such other materials as will not result in deviation from the proposed final grades or the uniformity thereof by reason of abnormal shrinkage or settlement.
B. 
The collection and storage upon the lot of the original topsoil, to the end that the topsoil shall not be buried beneath soil or other material of inferior quality, and the uniform replacement of the topsoil so stored over the entire area or surface of the fill soil or other material so that the final grade or grades of the replaced topsoil shall be in accordance with the proposed final grades shown on the topographical map. In the event that such provision is not practicable, provision shall be made for the uniform placement over the entire area or surface of the fill soil or other material, excepting only such portions thereof as shall be or shall have become permanently covered by a building or structure street, pavement, curb, sidewalk, driveway or other paved area or by any body of water or waterway, of a layer of topsoil not inferior in quality to that of the original topsoil, to a depth of not less than six inches, measured from the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map.
For the purpose of administering and enforcing this chapter, any duly authorized officer, agent or employee of the Borough shall have the right to enter into or upon any lands in or upon which soil moving operations are being conducted to examine and inspect such lands.
A. 
In the event that any of the provisions of this chapter or any other laws are alleged to have been violated, the Mayor or Council may terminate or suspend any permit issued hereunder. Such suspension or revocation shall be determined as follows:
(1) 
The Mayor or other person authorized by the Mayor or Council shall cause a written notice of the alleged violations of this chapter or of any other laws involved to be served upon the applicant or any of the agents of the applicant upon the premises together with a notice of the time and place of a public hearing to be held 21 days after service, directing the applicant to show cause before the Municipal Council why the permit should not be suspended or revoked.
(2) 
At the hearing, the Municipal Council shall hear all of the evidence offered by the Borough and the applicant which is material to the issue and shall make a prompt determination of its findings. If the findings are in favor of the applicant, the charges shall be dismissed; but if the findings are against the applicant, the permit issued may be revoked entirely or suspended upon such conditions as the Municipal Council may direct.
B. 
In the event that any of the terms and conditions of this chapter or the terms and conditions of the permit shall have proven to have been violated, the permit shall be immediately suspended and all work shall immediately cease.
(1) 
If the owner shall eliminate the violations within 30 days of the suspension, the owner shall apply to the Municipal Council, in writing, for permission to continue the operation, and if the Municipal Council is satisfied that the violations no longer exist, it may restore the permit to the owner but such restoration shall not serve to increase the time limit of such permit.
(2) 
If such violations are not eliminated within said 30 days, the permit shall be deemed to be automatically revoked and the bond declared forfeit without any further action by the Municipal Council.
C. 
This section is hereby made a part of each and every permit hereafter issued by the Municipal Council, and acceptance of such permit shall constitute complete acquiescence by the principal and surety on said bond.
D. 
No fee or other charge or portions thereof shall be refunded following revocation or suspension of any permit.
Notwithstanding the provisions of § 420-18 above, when, in the judgment of the Mayor or the Municipal Council, or any designee of either, the moving and removal of soil causes a serious emergent and continued impediment to the passage of public traffic or endangerment to the public health, safety or welfare, the Mayor or Municipal Council or designee may temporarily halt such operation until the emergent danger to the public's health, safety or welfare is abated, but in no event shall such emergency suspension of operations exceed 30 days.
A. 
Any person who shall violate this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, pay the highest possible fine not exceeding $2,000 or be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both, for each offense, in the discretion of the court. Each day that a violation shall continue shall constitute a separate offense.
B. 
Upon the recommendation of the Borough Engineer and upon furnishing the owner with written notice, the Borough may levy upon any bonds furnished to guarantee performance of the work set forth in the soil permit or soil agreement. In the event that said bonds are insufficient to cover the costs of performing or completing said work, then the costs of said performance shall be assessed against the property and shall become a lien upon said property.
C. 
Nothing herein contained shall preclude the Borough from pursuing any civil remedy available in law or in equity.