[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Middle 2-17-1983 by Ord. No. 448-83. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Subdivision of land and site plan review — See Ch. 218.
No person, firm or corporation shall engage in the business of excavating, digging or mining of sand, gravel, earth, soil or mineral produced for sale or for any other commercial or industrial purpose within the confines of the Township of Middle without first having obtained a license therefor from the Township of Middle.
[Added 10-5-2015 by Ord. No. 1509-15]
APPLICANT — The person who is the owner of the property where mining or excavation is to take place, or is the permissive user of such a land, who is seeking a license under this chapter.
- The form(s) described herein, which will be disseminated annually to current licensees by the Township Clerk and is incorporated herein by this reference. Said form will also be available online at the Township website.
- That area along the border of an excavation site in which no mining activity or disturbance is to take place; however, reasonable access will be permitted through the buffer to access the mining operations.
- The Cape Atlantic Soil Conservation District.
- The digging or mining of resource extraction materials.
- Synonymous with "excavation," and including all digging/and or mining-related activities.
- The sale or commercial use of the sand or other product which is excavated, as distinguished from personal use of the product by the owner of the ground at the place where the same is excavated.
- RESOURCE EXTRACTION MATERIALS
- Sand, gravel, earth, soil or mineral products of the soil.
- The process of restoring areas where excavation and related activities have taken place after the conclusion of all excavation activity.
- ROADS or HIGHWAYS
- All state, county, Township or local roads, excluding private roads or private rights-of-way.
- The area which has been licensed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
Application for such license shall be made annually, in writing, not later than December 1, by the owner or permissive user to the Township Committee on an application form supplied by the Township Clerk. Said application shall include satisfactory proof of ownership or permissive use.
Said application shall be accompanied by a site plan prepared by a professional engineer or New Jersey licensed land surveyor showing the Tax Map lot and block number, the size and location of both the existing excavation and the proposed excavation and the proposed depth of the excavation in question. Said site plan shall include the complete perimeter of the lot and shall also show the perpendicular from each lot line to the nearest point of excavation. Said site plan shall also include topographic elevations covering the entire lot. Said site plan need not be refiled annually if the applicant certifies, with the application, that there are no changes since the last application was submitted. If there have been any changes in any of the information shown on the site plan, then a new site plan must be submitted with the new application. In lieu of a new site plan, there may be submitted the previous site plan, with updated information inserted therein by a professional engineer or a New Jersey licensed land surveyor. The annual application shall be accompanied by proof that the operation complies with all state and federal requirements. Such compliance shall be a precondition to license renewal.
[Amended 11-6-2017 by Ord. No. 1550-17]
Said application shall be accompanied by a license fee in a minimum amount of $200 and a maximum amount of $600, calculated on the basis of $50 per acre of all lands already excavated and proposed to be excavated, rounded to the next high whole number of acres.
[Amended 5-17-2010 by Ord. No. 1355-10]
Penalties for failure to meet filing deadline.
[Added 3-2-1988 by Ord. No. 611-88; amended 10-5-2015 by Ord. No. 1509-15]
Failure to provide a complete application and all other filings required under the terms of this chapter by the November 1 deadline shall result in the following:
For late filing between November 2 and November 30: an additional fee of $250.
For late filing between December 1 and December 31: an additional fee of $500. Failure to file by December 31 shall result in the immediate cessation of all operations until proper filing has been made.
For late filing between January 1 and February 1: an additional fee of $750.
Any gravel pit owner who fails to comply fully with the requirements herein by February 1 of each year shall have his license suspended for a period of one year. Said operator or owner shall be required to pay the maximum fees which would have been due for the suspension year in conjunction with the application fees for reactivation in the following year. Failure to activate a license within a two-year period shall result in revocation of the license.
In addition to the annual fees payable under Subsection D(1) above, any applicant that has not obtained a site plan review for its operations shall, prior to January 1, 2017, obtain same. Such applicants shall apply for a site plan approval and shall pay to the Secretary of the Planning/Zoning Board, as applicable, any and all fees normally and customarily charged to an applicant for site plan approval, which shall include fees for inspections by the Township Engineer as well as for services of other professionals or consultants employed or engaged by the Planning/Zoning Board. Additionally, any new applicant shall apply forthwith to the Planning/Zoning Board, as applicable.
Failure to obtain site plan approval by January 1, 2017, shall result in an immediate cessation of all mining operations and a suspension of the license, until approval is obtained. If approval is not obtained prior to January 1, 2018, then the license shall be revoked.
The Planning/Zoning application shall also disclose, with specificity, each and every other business, commercial, or industrial activity which is carried out or proposed to be carried out at the licensed location, including, but not limited to, an identification of any retail sales and the nature thereof and the nature of any products which are to be sold from the licensed premises. The applicant, in conjunction with its Planning/Zoning application, shall also supply to the applicable Planning/Zoning Board the items listed in Subsection D(4)(a) through  below.
Additionally, as set forth in § 132-9A, below, there shall be an annual compliance review. The procedure to be employed relative to such annual review is set forth therein.
Furthermore, every five years, each applicant shall be subject to a five-year compliance review conducted by the Municipal Engineer, in conjunction with the Municipal Zoning Officer. Public input shall be solicited during the five-year review.
In this regard, in conjunction with the five-year review, the applicant shall supply to the Municipal Engineer and the Municipal Zoning Officer the following:
A topographic map at a scale of one inch equals 400 feet showing the proposed dimensions, location and operations on the site.
A USGS quadrangle map showing the dimensions of the property in an area of at least 1,000 feet beyond such a boundary and all locations.
The location, size and intended use of all buildings or structures.
The location of all streams, wetlands and significant vegetation.
A soil map.
A reclamation plan.
A personal guarantee or surety bond (if approved by the governing body).
A statement of areas that have been mined and reclaimed since the previous review/approval.
A current certified list (issued within 30 days of the review date) of all property owners located within 500 feet of the property where the mining and excavation activity is to occur.
A certification indicating that the applicant has served notice on all property owners within 500 feet of the subject property that an application for mining license has been filed with the Township for a five-year compliance review.
Thereafter, the Township Engineer and Zoning Officer shall jointly file a written report with the Township Clerk no later than December 31 of said year setting forth any violations and other information pertinent to the advisability of renewing each license. If any violations are reported, the subject license shall not be renewed but may be conditionally renewed. Conditional renewal may be granted only if the applicant has submitted a detailed plan for eliminating all violations in a manner and within a time satisfactory to the Township Committee. Each conditional renewal must be the subject of a separate resolution and may not be included in the general resolution authorizing renewals. A conditional renewal granted for any year may not again be granted for any of the same violations in the following year without the approval of the Township Committee. If a conditional renewal is granted, then mining operations must cease until all conditions have been fulfilled.
In the event that the Township Committee, Township Engineer or Zoning Official determines that any such activity deviates from the conditions of the approved permit, then the procedure outlined in § 132-9B shall be employed.
If the applicant appeals to the Superior Court of New Jersey from determination of noncompliance and does so within the time period specified by the Rules of Court, a notice of such appeal shall be filed with the Township Clerk. At that juncture, the application for mining license shall be placed on the inactive list pending a review by the Superior Court of New Jersey. If the determination of the Township Committee, and/or Township Engineer and Zoning Officer, is affirmed by the Superior Court, then the applicant for a mining license shall be required to submit a new application for site plan review, including any required variance relief as would be required for a new mining facility prior to any action by the Township Committee.
[Amended 10-5-2015 by Ord. No. 1509-15]
There shall be no excavating, digging or mining within 200 feet of a public highway, which shall include state, county, Township or other local roads, or within 100 feet of an adjoining property owner or within 500 feet of any church, school or other public building, private dwelling or place of business or any residence or business area or development; provided, however, that if any such highway, church, school or other such building or development was constructed or took place subsequent to the time that any licensed premises were originally licensed, then this limitation shall apply only to such highway, church, school or other such building or development as the same existed at the time that such premises was originally licensed.
[Amended 10-5-2015 by Ord. No. 1509-15]
No person, firm or corporation to which a license is issued under this chapter shall excavate, dig or mine to a depth in excess of 30 feet below ground level. The words "ground level," as used in this section, shall mean the average elevation of all unexcavated portions of the licensed premises along the property lines of said premises. Every such person, firm or corporation shall maintain such excavation in a level condition throughout the area being worked and shall arrange for the prevention and control of water deposits within said excavated areas.
Unless approval to employ a different plan was part of the previously approved site plan, then a minimum one-hundred-foot undisturbed buffer of natural vegetation will be maintained around the perimeter of the site; however, reasonable access shall be permitted through the buffer area for access to the mining operations.
The operator may not pump water to any property outside of the perimeter of the permitted property absent the issuance of all applicable state and federal regulatory permits and written consent of the affected property owners.
Access roads must be a minimum of 30 feet and a maximum of 50 feet in width. The last 100 feet of the access road in its approach to the public highway must be of the same gauge and thickness as the public highway.
Stop signs shall be provided by the permit holder and installed, on the permit holder's property, on the access road into the site at its intersection with the public highway.
A gate shall be provided across the access road at the entrance to the public highway. Said gate shall be closed and locked at all times except normal hours of operation.
All loaded trucks must be covered with a suitable cover that complies with state regulations. All material deposited on the public highway within 200 feet of the gravel pit entrance by spillage or trucking from the wheels must be removed by the permit holder before nightfall on the day of deposit.
Slopes of the excavated pits shall not exceed 2:1.
Each such license shall run for a period of the calendar year immediately following the application for the same.
[Amended 12-2-1987 by Ord. No. 599-87; 4-5-1990 by Ord. No 720-90; 4-20-2007 by Ord. No. 1255-07; 12-22-2008 by Ord. No. 1314-08]
For the calendar year 1983, the following licenses shall be issued for the premises hereinafter set forth, and the license fee in each case shall be the amount indicated:
No license for the calendar year 1983 or any future period of time whatsoever shall be issued unless there is paid to the Township of Middle the sum of $25 for each calendar year or portion thereof which has elapsed since December 31 of the last year for which the Township of Middle has received a license fee or permit fee for excavation of any portion of the premises for which such new license is sought. Said payment shall be made either at the time of application for a license for the remaining portion of the year 1983 or within 60 days after the final adoption of this chapter, whichever occurs first.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit any excavation of any gravel pit for the purposes of providing an irrigation pond or lake to be used for the sole purpose of providing a source of irrigation water for agricultural operations located upon the same premises as said irrigation pond or lake; provided, however, that no such irrigation pond or lake shall be created or deepened by excavation without written approval of the Township Committee. Application for such written approval shall be made, in writing, to the Township Committee on an application form supplied by the Township Clerk, accompanied by a fee of $100 for creation of such pond or lake or a fee of $25 for deepening such pond or lake. Said application shall also be accompanied by a site plan prepared by a professional engineer, containing all of the information required on the site plan referred to in § 132-2 of this chapter. Nothing contained herein shall be deemed to apply to any irrigation pond or lake not connected to or arising out of a gravel pit.
[Amended 4-15-1987 by Ord. No. 573-87; 4-5-1990 by Ord. No. 720-90; 10-5-2015 by Ord. No. 1509-15]
Once each year, prior to the issuance of a permit, the Township Engineer shall inspect each licensed premises to verify that each license is in compliance with the provisions of this chapter. The Township Engineer shall file a written report with the Township Clerk no later than December 31 of said year setting forth any violations and other information pertinent to the advisability of renewing each license. If any violations are reported, the subject license shall not be renewed but may be conditionally renewed. Conditional renewal may be granted only if the applicant has submitted a detailed plan for eliminating all violations in a manner and within a time satisfactory to the Township Committee. Each conditional renewal must be the subject of a separate resolution and may not be included in the general resolution authorizing renewals. A conditional renewal granted for any year may not again be granted for any of the same violations in the following year without the approval of the Township Committee. If a conditional renewal is granted, then mining operations must cease until all conditions have been fulfilled.
Notification of noncompliance; corrective action; appeals.
In the event that the Township Committee, Township Engineer or Zoning Official determines that any such activity deviates from the conditions of the approved permit, the operator of the resource extraction operation shall be immediately notified of the deviation. The notice shall state the nature of the deviation, order the action necessary to correct it, and set forth the date, time and location of a meeting of the Township Committee to be held as soon as is practicable, at which the operator shall present all relevant information concerning the deviation and the action taken or to be taken to correct it. The order to take corrective action shall specify any activity that must be immediately ceased to prevent direct or indirect aggravation of the deviation or to avoid a danger to public health, safety or welfare. Such cessation shall continue until the deviation has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Township Committee and/or until an agreement to resolve the deviation has been reached. Failure to resolve a deviation or to adhere to the terms and conditions of any agreement to resolve a deviation shall constitute sufficient cause for revocation of the permit.
If the applicant appeals to the Superior Court of New Jersey from determination of noncompliance and does so within the time period specified by the Rules of Court, a notice of such appeal shall be filed with the Township Clerk. At that juncture, the application for a mining license shall be placed on the inactive list pending a review by the Superior Court of New Jersey. If the determination of the Township Committee, and/or Township Engineer and Zoning Officer, is affirmed by the Superior Court, then the applicant for a mining license shall be required to submit a new application for site plan review, including any required variance relief as would be required for a new mining facility prior to any action by the Township Committee.
Each application form for renewal of a license shall contain a provision requiring the licensee and each individual who is either a partner, a corporate officer, a corporate director or a corporate shareholder to personally guarantee the rehabilitation and restoration requirements of this chapter. Such personal guaranty shall continue for a period of 10 years from the date of application, in every case. In lieu of such personal guaranty, the licensee may file a bond providing the surety of an insurance company licensed to do business in the State of New Jersey. Said surety bond shall be in an amount approved by the Township Committee, shall be renewed annually at the time of the license application and shall extend for a period of 10 years from the date of the application. No such surety bond may be accepted in lieu of personal guaranty unless a resolution is adopted by the Township Committee authorizing the acceptance of such a surety bond. Any such resolution shall cover only the calendar year in which the resolution is adopted or the calendar year immediately following the year in which the resolution is adopted.
Within the first calendar year for which any license is not renewed, all areas which have been excavated on any lot by said license shall be rehabilitated and restored in the manner provided by regulations for said rehabilitation and restoration as may be adopted from time to time by resolution of the Township Committee upon the advice of the Planning Boards of the County of Cape May and the Township of Middle. This rehabilitation and restoration requirement shall also apply to any area of four acres or larger which has been excavated to the permitted limit and which is located on any lot covered by a license. The Township Engineer shall include any violations of this section in his annual written report, and the existence of any such violations shall authorize the Township of Middle to take action against the individual guarantors of the rehabilitation and restoration requirements of this chapter or the insurance company which has bonded the compliance with such requirements.
[Added 3-15-1990 by Ord. No. 714-90]
Reclamation plan. There is hereby created a reclamation plan for all gravel pits situate within the confines of the Township of Middle.
Purpose. The purpose of a reclamation plan is to provide the applicant, for a sand extraction operation, the opportunity to illustrate and describe the general methods and staging that will be undertaken to preserve the natural resources of the remaining areas of the site for some future development, as required by this chapter.
Documents. No later than January 1, 1991, the owner and/or operator of each gravel pit situate within the confines of the Township of Middle shall file the following documents with the Township Clerk:
A sketch plan prepared at a scale of one inch equals 200 feet which shall show the following details:
Planned final land grades of the disturbed areas with one-foot contour intervals for slopes of 5% or less and five-foot intervals for slopes greater than 5% and delineation of slope areas greater than 5%.
The location and type of existing vegetation associates to remain undisturbed, such as mature wooded areas, successional areas, meadows, etc.
Estimated final depth of excavation.
The location and nature of existing and proposed surface water features (i.e., lakes, ponds, streams, etc.) and their connections to streams or drainageways.
All permanent structures, buildings and appurtenances to remain after completion or termination of mining operations.
Proposed landscaping, indicating species, spacing, height of maturity, quantity, planting schedule and planting details.
Permanent dikes, berms and screen buffers to be provided, including typical sections, construction details, dimensions, stabilization and landscaping.
The location and nature of any areas to be filled with overburden or waste process materials.
All roadways to remain, indicating their intended future use, pavement and slope stabilization.
Permanent soil erosion and sediment control facilities and structures, including complete design and construction details.
Delineation of mining and restoration phasing areas indicating the sequence and limits of each area.
A reclamation statement which shall clearly describe the methods of accomplishment, phasing and the staging sequence and shall include but not be limited to the following:
A description of the planned phasing, indicating areas to be reclaimed (referenced by the letter or number on the plan indicating the sequence and staging). This should be related to the operational plan and should clearly indicate that state of reclamation to be accomplished during specific stages of the mining operation.
Methods to be used to stabilize slopes or excavated areas.
Analysis of stability of filled areas and methods to be utilized for stabilization, if necessary, to prevent quicksand or caving conditions.
Methods planned to prevent stagnation and pollution of any standing water, ponds or lakes.
Methods used to prevent soil erosion and sedimentation runoff.
Analysis of existing and cover soil and methods used to establish vegetation (i.e., fertilization, planting period, etc.).
Method of disposing of any equipment or structures used in the mining operation upon completion.
Description of the degree of flexibility considered to be needed in the execution of the plan.
Vegetative cover, establishment of proper growth and steps to be taken to remedy unsuccessful plantings.
Lake management plans for any permanent ponds, lakes or other bodies of water created during wet pit or mining operations below groundwater elevations.
Provisions for security and safety on the tract upon completion of the mining operation.
Permitee's responsibility. The parties who are issued a permit for the land mining operation are responsible for the reclamation of the area in compliance with the reclamation plan on file with the Township, without exception.
[Amended 10-5-2015 by Ord. No. 1509-15]
Progressive reclamation. Land restoration shall be planned and implemented concurrently as possible with the extraction of the resource, considering the ultimate use of the area as stated in the reclamation plan. Typically, it should include the following steps:
Removal and storage of the topsoil.
Terracing or sloping the pit or face walls during the extraction period.
Restoration to occur concurrently with new mining area operations. Active mining areas shall be limited to five acres, with previous mining areas being restored with mining operations. Restoration work, in accordance with the approved reclamation plan, shall be actively ongoing at all times.
Final grading and shaping of the worked-out area.
Replacing and contouring the topsoil.
Reclamation shall commence immediately and be current with mining operations and shall be in accordance with the operation plan and proper land reclamation and forestry practices.
Reclamation of a permit area shall be completed in accordance with the approved reclamation plan, within six months of the expiration date of the permit.
Dry pit rehabilitation. The dry pit may be backfilled with sand, gravel, overburden, topsoil or other nonnoxious, nonflammable, noncombustible solids. All other rehabilitation activities for dry pits shall conform to all other applicable standards of this chapter.
Wet pit rehabilitation. Like dry pit rehabilitation, the wet pit may be filled. In the alternative, the wet pit may be converted into a lake in accordance with the rehabilitation plan and all other applicable standards of this chapter.
Site clearance. All stumps, boulders and other debris resulting from the excavation or related activities shall be disposed of by approved methods. Such debris may not be disposed of on the site.
Removal of topsoil. When topsoil is removed, sufficient arable soil, as required in this chapter, shall be set aside on the site for respreading over the reclamation area. These stockpiles of topsoil should be used to minimize the effects of erosion of wind or water upon public roads, streams or adjacent land uses.
Slopes. All banks shall be left in accordance with topography established in reclamation plans and shall be sloped at a slope not exceeding three feet horizontal to one foot vertical.
Drainage. Reclamation should proceed in such a way that natural waterways and storm drainage, where they enter and leave the premises, shall be altered only to the least degree necessary to carry out excavation and related activities. Any alteration of natural waterways and storm drainage should not adversely affect public roads or neighboring uses.
When the extraction operation has been terminated, the area shall be graded as close to the natural contour of the land as possible to facilitate planting.
All regrading and reclamation shall be undertaken with the minimum amount of disturbance in order to minimize the amount of compaction of the soil.
A planting plan shall be approved by a landscape architect showing the areas to be planted, the type and quantity of plant material to be used and all specifications necessary for implementation.
Planting shall not be performed later than May 15 or earlier than September 15 of the year. It is preferable and recommended that planting be performed in the spring of each year.
All planting and plant scheduling shall be in accordance with the approved planting plan.
If soil erosion is critical on a site, a mulch shall be required such as cut grass, weeds, leaves, etc., or low shrubs and herbaceous materials, such as weeping love grass. In excessively weedy areas the ground shall be prepared prior to planting.
The following is the recommended plant list. Other plant material may be used upon the advice of a qualified arborist and/or a licensed landscape architect, when approved by the Planning Board.
Compatibility with future land uses. All provisions of the reclamation plan shall be consistent and compatible with the projected future land use plan and provide as much flexibility as is possible for similar but varying future land use patterns.
Abandoned uses/termination of operations. Operations should be considered to have been abandoned if:
The operator does not demonstrate his intention to resume operations and keep his bond in force more than one year after operations have ceased in a given site. A new permit would be required prior to further excavation or processing if this occurs.
Within a period of six months, unless extended by written permission by the Middle Township Committee, after notice of the termination by the operator of an extraction operation or after the abandonment of the operation due to failure to operate in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. All unused structures, buildings and equipment, along with all buildings, structures and equipment presently used in the operation, shall be dismantled and removed by and at the expense of the operator last operating the mining operation or the property owner of record.
The application form for renewal of a license shall contain a certification by the applicant that each corner marking a major change of direction in the perimeter of the area licensed to be excavated has been marked by an iron pipe at least two inches in diameter, securely inserted into the ground, at least four feet of which is exposed in a vertical position and, further, that the ground for 10 feet in all directions from said pipe has been cleared to provide visibility and that said pipe, within the period of 60 days prior to each annual renewal application being filed, has been freshly painted using the color commonly known as "international orange."
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to permit any excavation which does not comply with all federal and New Jersey statutes and regulations applying thereto.
[Amended 4-5-1990 by Ord. No. 720-90]
The violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,500. If the violation still persists after 30 days' written notice has been given to abate said violation, then each twenty-four-hour period that such a violation continues to exist shall be deemed to be a separate offense and shall be punishable by an additional fine not to exceed $100 per day.
[Amended 10-5-2015 by Ord. No. 1509-15]
After reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard before the Township Committee, the license of any person may be revoked or suspended for such period as the Township Committee may determine for any violation of the terms hereof or the terms and conditions of any approved plan and permit granted hereunder.