Village of Buchanan, NY
Westchester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Buchanan 4-21-1975 by L.L. No. 1-1975 (Ch. 38 of the 1971 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 67.
Driveways — See Ch. 73.
Environmental quality review — See Ch. 83.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 97.
Noise — See Ch. 119.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 137.
Quarrying and blasting — See Ch. 143.
Sewers — See Ch. 155.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 167.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 171.
Water — See Ch. 195.
Wetlands — See Ch. 203.
Zoning — See Ch. 211.

§ 159-1 Title.

The title of this addition to the Code of the Village of Buchanan, New York, shall be "Soil and Excavation Law."

§ 159-2 Legislative intent.

The Board of Trustees of the Village of Buchanan, in order to provide for the proper use of land in the Village and to remove the dangers caused by soil erosion, filling operations, excavations in the ground, sand and gravel excavation, the removal of trees, the stripping of soil and alteration to the natural contour of earth as it presently exists in the Village, thereby resulting in detriment to the health, welfare and safety of persons and property in the Village, the depletion of trees, soil and natural vegetative cover, damage to agricultural crops, and depreciation in value and physical damage to properties adjacent to such dangers, has enacted this Soil and Excavation Law.

§ 159-3 Declaration of policy.

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Buchanan to provide for the proper use of land and to regulate or prohibit excavation, removal of materials from, filling up, draining, cleaning, operating and using any land, whether for commercial or noncommercial purposes, in a manner which:
A. 
Tends to create hazardous or dangerous conditions by creating pits, holes or hollows in the earth, by creating or leaving unprotected banks or ledges of exposed earth or by permitting or creating conditions which cause the collection of water.
B. 
Impairs the usefulness of the property involved or any surrounding properties, fails to take into consideration the relation of residential and commercial areas and the contouring of land with relation to remaining portions of the land affected or neighboring areas, and tends to reduce the value of the property in question or other property in the Village.
C. 
Causes soil erosion which depletes the land of vegetative cover and supply of organic material and results or tends to result in the washing of the soil, erosion or interference with normal drainage.
D. 
Diverts or causes water to collect on the property of others, interferes with or overloads any existing or planned drainage facilities of the Village, causes unnatural runoff or results in the collection of pools of water, with the possibility of health and safety hazards or the lowering of value of property affected.

§ 159-4 Applicability.

This chapter shall apply only to lands located in the incorporated area of the Village of Buchanan.

§ 159-5 Word usage; definitions.

A. 
Word usage.
(1) 
Referral to Chapter 211, Zoning. For the purpose of this chapter, all terms and words used herein shall be used, interpreted and defined as set forth in Chapter 211, Zoning.
B. 
Definitions. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ESCROW
A deposit of cash with the Village in lieu of an amount required and still in force on a performance or maintenance bond. Such escrow funds shall be deposited by the Village of Buchanan in a separate account.
EXCAVATION
Any digging extending below the level of the natural contour of the land, including but not limited to soil, sand, gravel, mineral or other excavation of any kind.
EXISTING TREES
Trees with a diameter of eight inches or more measured not more than two feet above ground level or trees planted by the Village of Buchanan or planted pursuant to subdivision or other applicable regulations, ordinances or local laws.
FILLING
Any depositing of soil, sand, gravel or other material above the natural contour of the land.
SOIL
A natural body of mineral and organic constituents.

§ 159-6 Exempt properties and uses.

A. 
The following properties and uses shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter:
(1) 
Any excavation or removal of existing trees, incident to public highway construction or maintenance.
(2) 
Any removal of trees, shrubs or soil (not amounting to an excavation), or planting of the same, incident to the business of operating a nursery, farm or sod farm.
(3) 
A single parcel of property located in a residential zoning district which is owned and occupied by the same family unit and which is incapable of being further subdivided into two or more valid conforming lots pursuant to Chapter 211, Zoning, for the district in which the property is located, provided that the Building Inspector determines that there is no existing or potential danger to adjoining properties by virtue of fill or excavation operations. This provision shall not be construed so as to allow the impairment or removal of any shade tree planted on the property of any owner-occupier by the Village of Buchanan or by a developer pursuant to subdivision approval of the Planning Board or applicable local law, ordinance or regulation.
(4) 
Any excavating operation in which fill or other material is removed from the premises, where a building permit shall have been duly issued, provided that the excavation is limited in area and bulk to that strictly essential for and limited to the extent of the foundation, walls and basement of such building or for the construction of a wall, driveway, sidewalk, swimming pool, service connections or other structure or underground tank, and which, excluding from consideration soil removed which is actually replaced by a basement foundation, wall, swimming pool, tank or other underground structure, does not involve any change in the existing grade and contour.
(5) 
Any excavation or filling operation in connection with a subdivision plan which has been duly approved by the Planning Board and which makes specific provision for grading, contouring and drainage in the manner deemed by the Planning Board appropriate to carry out the declaration of policy set forth in § 159-3.
B. 
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as to prevent the owner or occupant of premises from moving topsoil, excavating or filling his property by his own handwork, provided that no power tools are used, other than garden tractors not exceeding six horsepower, and that materials are not removed for the purposes of sale or enhancing the value of other property.

§ 159-7 Deposit and disposition of trees, debris and waste.

No cut trees, timber, debris, rocks, stones, junk, rubbish or other waste materials of any kind shall be buried in any land or left deposited on any lot or street, except as approved by the Building Inspector, upon site inspection. If a building permit has been previously issued for the premises, no certificate of occupancy shall be issued unless the conditions described above, which are not approved by the Building Inspector, have been remedied; nor shall any building permit or certificate of occupancy in the same subdivision be issued until the conditions described, unless approved, also have been remedied.

§ 159-8 Permit required; application; issuance.

A. 
General. Prior to commencing any excavation or continuing any existing excavation or the moving or removing of existing trees and/or soil for any purpose other than those excepted under the provisions of § 159-6 of this chapter, the owner or his duly constituted agent of any premises subject to the provisions of this chapter must obtain a soil and excavation permit therefor from the Building Inspector.
B. 
Application for permit. Each application for issuance of a permit under this chapter shall be on a form prepared by the Building Inspector and approved by the Planning Board; shall be filed in duplicate; shall be signed by the owner or lessee, or agent of either, or by the building contractor, engineer or architect employed in connection with the proposed work; and shall be verified and shall contain or shall be accompanied by the following:
(1) 
The name and address of the property affected.
(2) 
A description of the property in sufficient detail to identify the same, and a statement as to the zone in which the property is located, and a statement that the use in question is permitted in such zone.
(3) 
The name and address of the person or corporation who will carry out the operation.
(4) 
A description of the proposed operation; the extent, in three dimensions, of the proposed excavation; the volume of material proposed to be removed; and the condition of the premises before the commencement of and the proposed condition of the premises after the completion of the proposed operation.
(5) 
A site plan, prepared by a licensed engineer or land surveyor, drawn to scale, showing the location and dimension of the premises to a point 10 feet beyond the boundaries thereof and showing existing and proposed contours at two-foot intervals referred to Village of Buchanan datum (bench marks available), showing distances from street or highway lines, distances from boundary lines of other owners, the proposed location, size and use of any existing building thereon and cross sections and elevations appropriate to indicate the effect of the operation upon the contour and grade of the premises and upon the relationship in contour and grade between the affected portion of the premises and the remainder of such property and any abutting land and highways after completion of the operation.
(6) 
A duly acknowledged written consent of the owner and mortgagee, if any, of the premises to the proposed operation.
(7) 
A certificate of the applicant's engineer approving the proposed site plan and stating that the proposed operation and the finished grades of the premises after the completion thereof will not interfere with or overload any existing or planned drainage facilities of the Village, and will not cause erosion or other problems, will not cause water to accumulate and will not result in the outpouring of water or otherwise have an adverse effect on any thoroughfares or on the lateral stability or drainage of adjoining properties and is not contrary to the policy of § 159-3.
(8) 
The manner in which the work is proposed to be done and the material and methods to be used for proper dust control.
(9) 
The period of time to complete such work, including restoration, rehabilitation, filling of pits, excavations and other depressions in the earth caused by excavation operations and all other types of removal operations, which in no event shall exceed two years.
(10) 
A certificate of insurance, establishing the extent of liability of the applicant or contractor.
C. 
Procedure. Within 30 days after filing of the application in proper form, the Building Inspector shall either issue the permit or deny the same, subject to prior review and approval by the Planning Board, pursuant to the following standards:
(1) 
The work will not interfere with surface drainage, endanger any street, road, highway or municipal facility or interfere with support or drainage of adjoining properties.
(2) 
The property can be restored and rehabilitated so that it will not cause soil erosion, drainage problems or create disturbance of land in conflict with the established purposes of this chapter.
(3) 
The work or its result will not cause substantial traffic hazards, vibrations, noise, dust or sand.
(4) 
The work or its result will not be in conformity to the natural topography of land and will not change the established character of the neighborhood or depress the value of lands generally in such neighborhood.
(5) 
The period of time and the methods for the completion of the work are reasonable.
(6) 
Accessibility of the property involved in the application to fire and police protection; access of light and air to the property and to adjoining properties; traffic conditions; transportation requirements and facilities; the general safety, health, peace, comfort and general welfare of the community at large; whether the location and size of the proposed use, the nature and intensity of the operations involved, the size of the site in relation to the use and the location of the site with respect to existing or future streets giving access to it, parks and drainage systems, shall be such that it will be in harmony with the Master Plan and Official Map of the Village of Buchanan and that the location, nature and height of buildings, retaining walls and fences will not discourage the appropriate development and use of adjacent land, uses, structures and buildings or impair the value thereof.
(7) 
Operations in connection with any use shall not be more objectionable to nearby properties by reason of noise, fumes, vibration or lights than would be the operations of any use permitted by right.
D. 
Requirements. The Building Inspector is herewith empowered to grant a permit, after prior review and approval by the Planning Board, subject to the following conditions where the Board determines that the nature of the work requires the same:
(1) 
The establishment of the permitted period of time for the completion of the work.
(2) 
The establishment of hours and days of operation, taking into account the nature of the area in which the work is to be performed.
(3) 
The construction of fencing and other safety precautions, specifying the height and type of fencing or precaution and the location of the same. No excavation shall be made below the grade of surrounding property to a depth greater than four feet, unless the excavation is properly guarded and protected by a substantial fence of proper height and strength which will prevent children from climbing over such fence, and with gates, which gates shall be locked at all times when the property is not being worked.
(4) 
The maximum slope and depth of any excavation, or fill, and the height and slope of any material moved, or removed, shall be in accordance with Village standards. All excavations and all conformations resulting from grading or filling operations shall be drained so that water or pools gathering in the bottom of such excavations shall not be greater in depth than one foot.
(5) 
The provision of access roads or other adequate means of access or ingress, which shall have a surface satisfactory to the Planning Board.
(6) 
The establishment of the minimum horizontal distance from any public road or highway or from any adjoining boundary line of other owners for any work to be performed.
(7) 
No excavation shall be made nor shall any filling operation be conducted which results in the deposit of topsoil, earth, sand, gravel, rock or other substance upon or shall interfere with any natural watercourse on or the natural drainage of the property; and at the termination of the permit, the premises shall be roughly graded and, if necessary, other provisions made of a permanent nature so that the natural drainage shall be fully restored.
(8) 
There shall be no interference with existing drainage, nor shall the filling operation divert or cause water to collect on the property of others or interfere with or overload any existing or planned drainage facilities of the Village, endanger any road, street or highway within the limits of the Village, or produce or enlarge areas from which water will not drain; and provision shall be made for the temporary drainage of the property during the filling operation, and for the restoration of permanent drainage to be effective upon completion of the operation.
(9) 
Requirements for rehabilitation of the site in addition to those provided in § 159-10 of this chapter, where necessary.
(10) 
The execution of a payment and performance bond or cash deposit in an amount sufficient to secure the rehabilitation of the site and/or to guarantee the faithful performance of the work in accordance with the approval of the permit and all ordinances, laws, regulations or the Village of Buchanan and all plans and specifications filed with the application for the permit. Such bond shall be approved by the Village Attorney as to form and manner of execution and sufficiency of sureties and shall run for the same term as the term of the permit. Default on such bond or deposit shall be declared by the Village Board upon recommendation of the Building Inspector.
(11) 
Such other conditions or requirements as the Planning Board in its discretion shall determine to be necessary for the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the public.

§ 159-9 Support for adjoining properties.

Whether or not a permit is required and under this chapter, any person causing any excavation to be made shall provide such sheet piling and bracing as may be necessary to prevent the earth of adjoining property from caving in before permanent supports have been provided for the sides of such excavation; and whenever provisions are lacking for the permanent support of the side of an excavation, the person causing or having caused such excavation to be made shall build a retaining wall at his own expense, on his own land, such retaining wall to be carried to a height sufficient to retain the adjoining earth and to be in accordance with specifications acceptable to the Village Engineer.

§ 159-10 Grading and seeding.

A. 
All property shall be suitably graded and re-covered with an adequate layer of soil satisfactory to the Planning Board, which shall contain no particle over two inches in diameter, over the entire area of the property, except that portion which had not been disturbed in construction and that portion covered by structures, construction in roads, driveways, walks, patios and swimming pools.
B. 
Lawn grass seed shall be sown at a density satisfactory to the Planning Board. In the spring, the seed shall be sown between April 1 and May 15; and in the fall, the seed shall be sown between August 15 and September 30. The seed shall consist of a mixture of rye grass, permanent bluegrass and/or fescue grass seed in a proportion satisfactory to the Planning Board. All seed shall have been tested for germination within one year of the date of seeding, and the date of testing shall be on the label containing the seed analysis.
C. 
No certificate of occupancy shall be issued until respreading of soil and seeding of lawn has been completed, except that between October 1 and April 1, and between May 15 and August 15, the developer shall submit an agreement in writing signed by developer and property owner, with a copy to the Building Inspector, that respreading of soil and seeding of lawn as set forth in Subsections A and B of this section will be done during the immediately following planting season as set forth in Subsection B and leave a cash escrow for performance, in such amount as shall be determined by the Building Inspector.

§ 159-11 Fees.

[Amended 6-18-1990 by L.L. No. 8-1990]
All applications for soil and excavation permits shall be accompanied by the appropriate fee as set forth in Chapter 67, Building Construction, Article I, of the Village Code of the Village of Buchanan.

§ 159-12 Certificate of completion.

Every permit holder shall apply for an inspection of the premises covered by the permit, by the Building Inspector, at least 30 days prior to the termination date of any issued permit, together with the fee set forth in § 159-11. Upon inspection of the premises, the Building Inspector shall approve the application and issue a certificate of completion or shall disapprove the same, specifying his reasons therefor in writing, served upon the holder of the permit and setting forth a time period for correction. Upon failure of the permit holder to so correct within the time set forth, the Building Inspector shall request that the Village Board authorize a proceeding for violation of the chapter. Failure to apply for a certificate of completion within the time period set forth in this section shall be deemed to be a prima facie violation of the terms of this chapter.

§ 159-13 Notice of violation; failure to comply.

A. 
Whenever the Building Inspector determines that a violation of this chapter or of the terms of any permit or order issued hereunder has occurred, he shall serve a notice of violation by certified mail upon the holder of any permit or, if none, the last known owner of the property or properties as shown in the records of the Village Tax Assessor, and shall give the violator at least 10 days to correct such violation, plus three days for mailing.
B. 
The Village Board shall, upon recommendation of the Building Inspector, authorize commencement of a proceeding to enforce any violation of the terms at any time after the period of time for correction of a violation has passed.
C. 
Whenever the Village Board determines that failure to comply with a violation notice constitutes a nuisance or safety hazard, it shall notify the holder of the permit or the record owner of the property of its findings by certified mail. If a period of at least 10 days elapses from service of the finding and there has been no correction of the violation, the Village Board may proceed to take whatever action is necessary to abate the nuisance, and the total expense of such abatement may be assessed by the Village Board on the real property on which such violation exists or was found, and the expense so assessed shall constitute a lien charge on the real property on which it is levied until paid or otherwise satisfied or discharged and shall be collected in the same manner and at the same time as other Village charges, or the Village Board may institute a suit to recover such expenses against any person liable therefor, in addition to such action taken pursuant to §§ 159-13B and 159-14.

§ 159-14 Penalties for offenses.

Any person violating this chapter may be subject to a civil or criminal penalty, enforceable and collectible by the Village, in an amount up to $500 or six months' imprisonment, or both such fine and imprisonment. Each week's continued violation is considered a separate violation. Nothing contained in the preceding section of this chapter shall prevent the Village Board from maintaining an action or proceeding in the name of the Village in a court of competent jurisdiction to compel compliance with or restrain by injunction the violation of any provisions of this chapter or any rules or regulations promulgated hereunder.