[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Closter 12-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002:884. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 89.
Subdivision of land and site plan review — See Ch. 173.
Zoning — See Ch. 200.
Fees and deposits — See Ch. A301.
Editor's Note: This ordinance repealed former Ch. 167, Soil Movement, adopted 11-22-1967 by Ord. No. 1967:179, as amended.
The purpose of this chapter shall be to prevent the unregulated and uncontrolled relocation, filling, excavation and removal of soil by property owners, developers and excavators which may result in conditions detrimental to the public safety, health and general welfare substantially hampering and deterring the efforts of the Borough to effectuate the general purpose of municipal planning.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any person who, either directly or through an agent or independent contractor, engages or intends to engage in land subdivision or in the construction of one or more dwelling houses, business or industrial buildings in any subdivision for the purpose of sale to or occupancy by another person or persons.
- Any person who moves soil.
- Any parcel of land or portion thereof, the boundary lines of which can he ascertained by reference to the maps and records, or either, in the office of the Tax Assessor of the Borough or in the office of the Bergen County Clerk. For the purposes of this chapter, a lot shall also he deemed to be any contiguous parcels of land under common ownership, which ownership can be ascertained by reference to the maps and records, or either, in the office of the Tax Assessor of the Borough or in the office of the Bergen County Clerk.
- MAJOR SOIL-MOVING PERMIT
- Any soil-moving permit other than a minor soil permit for the moving of soil within any period of 12 consecutive months.
- MINOR SOIL-MOVING WITH ENGINEERING REVIEW PERMIT
- A permit for the moving of more than 100 but less than 250 cubic yards of soil within any 12 consecutive months, as required by § 167-4.1 of this chapter and which is not submitted with or determined to affect an application for subdivision or site plan approval, provided that the Construction Code Official classifies the application as such pursuant to this chapter. If two or more applications in any twelve-consecutive-month period require the movement of soil in excess of 250 cubic yards in the aggregate, said application shall be classified as a major soil moving application and shall be required to comply with § 167-5 of this chapter, provided that the Construction Code Official, in concert with the Borough Engineer, deems such reclassification to be necessary.[Added 9-14-2016 by Ord. No. 2016:1213]
- MINOR SOIL-MOVING PERMIT
- A permit for the moving of more than 25 but less than 100 cubic yards of soil within any 12 consecutive months, as required by § 167-4 of this chapter and which is not submitted with or determined to affect an application for subdivision or site plan approval, provided that the Construction Code Official classifies the minor soil-moving application as such pursuant to § 167-4C. If two or more applications in any twelve-consecutive-month period require the movement of soil in excess of 100 cubic yards in the aggregate, said application shall be reclassified as either a minor soil moving application with engineering review or a major soil moving application. The reclassified application will be required to comply with the requirements in the appropriate sections of this chapter, provided that the Construction Code Official, in concert with the Borough Engineer, deems such reclassification to be necessary.[Amended 9-14-2016 by Ord. No. 2016:1213]
- To dig, excavate, remove, deposit, place, fill, grade, regrade, level or otherwise alter or change the location or contour or to transport or to supply. This term shall not be construed to include plowing, spading, cultivating, harrowing or discing of soil or any other operation usually and ordinarily associated with the tilling of soil for agricultural or horticultural purposes, landscaping and gardening by homeowners or agents of homeowners, provided that it does not substantially alter existing drainage patterns.
- 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.
- RETAINING WALL
- A structure constructed and erected between lands of different elevations to protect structures and/or prevent erosion.
- Any earth, sand, clay, loam, gravel, humus, rock or dirt, without regard to the presence or absence therein of organic matter, including any synthetic substance used as a substitute or in conjunction with soil.
- SUITABLE FILL
- The Planning Board Engineer shall determine whether the fill is suitable or unsuitable to the particular location. Suitable materials shall include but not be limited to materials such as earth, clay, gravel, stone, dirt, etc.
- 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.
- UNSUITABLE FILL
- The Planning Board Engineer shall determine whether the fill is suitable or unsuitable to the particular location. Unsuitable materials are materials such as peat moss, organic material, vegetation, leaves, tree stumps, wood chips, saw dust, chemical waste, tires, wooden logs, etc.
No owner, developer or excavator shall move, cause, allow, permit or suffer to be moved any soil in or upon any lot in the Borough until a soil-moving permit therefor shall first have been issued in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. All applications for soil-moving permits shall be made through the Municipal Construction Code Official's office.
Application for a minor soil-moving permit does not require an appearance before the Mayor and Council. The procedure for applying for and issuance of a minor soil-moving permit shall be as follows:
Applications for minor soil permits shall be filed with the Construction Code Official and shall be accompanied by the fee prescribed in § 167-6 of this chapter. Applications shall be made in triplicate on forms prescribed by the Borough and supplied by the Construction Code Official. In addition to any other requirements which the Borough, acting through the Construction Code Official, may require on data pertinent to the application, the application shall show the following:
The identity and address of the applicant.
The lot, block number and street address of the lot or lots involved.
The identity and location of the owner of the property.
The purpose or reason for the moving of soil.
The estimated quantity, in cubic yards, of soil to be moved with supporting calculations.
A statement as to how the moving of the soil will affect all trees with a diameter of six inches or more.
The proposed date of completion of the work.
The Construction Code Official may require the applicant to submit an existing topographical map and proposed grading and drainage plan and notification by certified mail to the abutting property owners if the Building Inspector deems it necessary due to possible drainage or erosion problems and to protect the health, safety and welfare of the applicant, the property and the community.
The Construction Code Official, upon receipt of the application, shall make a field investigation and shall issue the permit or deny it, giving his reasons for denial.
The Construction Code Official will forward a copy of the permit to the Planning Board and one copy to the applicant and shall retain one copy on file. The Construction Code Official shall classify any minor soil application as a major soil application if he finds the application should be considered as part of a site plan or subdivision application, or that the application will present unusual drainage or erosion problems or that it will adversely affect the development of an abutting lot or lots.
Retaining walls shall not be greater than four feet in height. Retaining walls that do not require major soil-moving permits and are under four feet in height, or a series of stepped retaining walls totaling less than four feet in height, shall be reviewed by the Construction Code Official and the Building Subcode Official, without formal engineering design calculations, and may be constructed with material such as railroad ties or other material as approved by the Construction Code Official. Retaining walls shall be set back from the property line a minimum of one foot for every foot in wall height. If, in the opinion of the Construction Code Official, any proposed retaining wall may cause adverse conditions to the adjacent properties or has surcharge loadings such as driveways, slopes, or other structures, the Construction Code Official reserves the right to forward the application to the Planning Board Engineer; in such a case, formal engineering design calculations may be required for approval, and escrow fees shall apply as well as the minor soil-moving fees as per Chapter A301.
[Added 2-8-2012 by Ord. No. 2012:1114]
[Added 9-14-2016 by Ord. No. 2016:1213]
Application for a minor soil-moving with engineering review permit does not require an appearance before the Planning Board. The requirements are the same as those listed in § 164-4, above, plus:
The procedure for applying for the issuance of a major soil-moving permit shall be as follows:
On forms prescribed and supplied by the Planning Board, the applicant shall set forth, in duplicate, to the Planning Board with copies to the Planning Board Engineer and Municipal Construction Official's office (note that, in total, the applicant must submit the original application plus three copies to the Borough officials named herein):
The name and address of the applicant.
The names and addresses of the owners of the premises.
If the soil moving application is submitted in conjunction with a subdivision of six or more lots or for multifamily houses of 25 or more units or for approval of a commercial development and the applicant or owner is a corporation, the names and addresses of the officers of the corporation, the Board of Directors and each and every stockholder of record possessing greater than 10% interest in the stock of the corporation.
The relationship between the applicant and owners.
The interest that the applicant has in the lands in question.
The description of the lands in question, including lot and block numbers of the lot or lots involved.
The purpose or reason for moving the soil and whether it will be done in connection with a proposed subdivision; and if so, the date of filing the application for subdivision.
A detailed statement of the method or process to be employed for the excavation and proposed time period for removal.
The kind and quantity in cubic yards of the soil to be removed.
In case of removal or replacement of soil, the place to which the soil is to be removed, and the place and quantity of soil to be removed, in fill and excavation, and the transportation route to be used within the Borough.
The proposed date of completion of the work, including hours and days of operation.
The name and address of the excavator, contractor or the person having express charge, supervision and control of the proposed excavation work.
The number, capacity, type and description of each piece of equipment to be used in the operation and the number of truckloads to be removed.
The routes over which the material will be transported and the method of traffic control.
The method of abating noise and dust in the operation.
The number of trees to be removed and a statement as to how the moving of soil will affect all trees with a diameter of six inches or more.
The means of assuring lateral support and preventing erosion and flooding.
The submission of a soil erosion and sediment control plan.
The means of protecting downstream properties from the effects of the operation.
A certificate that the applicant has placed or caused to be placed stakes at each corner of the lot or lots from which soil is to be removed and, further, that the applicant has placed or caused to be placed grade stakes at the existing elevation points designated on the topographical map pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, clearly marked to indicate the soil cuts or fills.
Such other pertinent data as the Planning Board of the Borough of Closter may hereinafter reasonably require.
A foundation location survey must be included with the application.
[Added 9-14-2016 by Ord. No. 2016:1213]
Signatures. Said application shall bear the signature of the applicant and the endorsement of the owner or owners of said 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 or otherwise terminated in keeping with the purposes and objectives of this chapter.
Topographical map. Accompanying the application shall be eight prints of a topographical map of the lot upon which the proposed soil-moving operations are to be conducted and of all surrounding lands within 100 feet of the perimeter of said lot, prepared and certified by a licensed professional engineer or land surveyor of the State of New Jersey, on a scale of no less than one inch to 100 feet and referring to United States Coast and Geodetic Survey data, showing both as to the lot and surrounding lands:
The dimensions of the lot, including distance and bearings and the lot and block number of the lot, and of each lot in the surrounding lands as shown on a Tax Assessment Map of the Borough.
The existing elevations of all lands on a twenty-five-foot grid layout or one-foot contour intervals as required by the Planning Board Engineer.
The existing elevations of all buildings, structures, streets and bodies of water.
Existing surface and subsurface drainage conditions and patterns.
All wooded areas and all trees having a diameter of six inches or more at the base.
The limits of the area or areas within the lot or lots in question within which the soil-moving operations are to be conducted, and the existing elevations of said limits at intervals of not more than 25 feet or one-foot contour intervals as required by the Planning Board Engineer.
The proposed final elevations at each point where existing elevations shown on said map are to be changed as a result of completion of the proposed work.
Proposed slopes and lateral supports at the limits of the area upon completion of the soil-moving operations.
Existing surface water drainage, channels of any streams, bodies of water and watercourses, natural or artificial, including detailed cross sections showing present and proposed channel widths; bank slopes, grade and method of erosion control; proposed provisions and facilities for surface water drainage which will result from the proposed changes in elevations and contours due to the removal of soil. This information may be provided on a separate map in the form of a drainage study.
Accurate cross sections showing the locations and quantities, in cubic yards, of soil to be moved.
All proposed elevations in enclosed rectangular boxes; and all existing elevations to be indicated without any kind of enclosure.
Such other pertinent data as the Planning Board may reasonably require.
All easements and restrictions of record which may affect the subject lot or lots.
Retaining walls. Retaining walls shall not be greater than four feet in height. Walls up to and including two feet in height can be approved by the Construction Code Official without formal engineering design calculations and may be constructed with material such as railroad ties or other material as approved by the Construction Code Official. Walls higher than two feet in height shall be designed by a professional engineer and shall be of reinforced concrete or equivalent as approved by the Planning Board Engineer. Retaining walls shall be set back from the property line a minimum of one foot for every foot in wall height. Wall plans, elevations and design computations shall be submitted to the Planning Board Engineer for approval. Notice must be given to neighboring property owners as outlined in Subsection F, below. Subsequent to construction, the applicant’s engineer shall submit a signed and sealed certification acceptable to the Construction Code Official stating that the retaining wall(s) has/have been constructed in accordance with the plans and applicable Code requirements and standards.
[Amended 2-8-2012 by Ord. No. 2012:1114]
Inspection of site.
The Planning Board Engineer shall make an inspection of the site from which soil is to be moved and shall make such engineering studies as may be required to determine the effect of the movement of soil as it relates to:
Soil erosion by water and wind.
Surface and subsurface water drainage.
Lateral support of abutting streets and lands.
Public health and safety.
Such other factors as may bear upon or relate to the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious physical development of the Borough.
Hearing. The Planning Board shall fix a date for hearing within 45 days after the receipt of the application and shall give to the applicant, either personally or by certified mail, notice of the time and place of said hearing. The applicant shall, at least five days prior to the date appointed for said hearing, serve written notice in person or by registered mail upon such persons as are shown on the municipal tax records to be the owners of such lots within 200 feet of the property in question. The applicant shall also, at least 10 days prior to the date appointed for said hearing, place a legal advertisement in the official newspaper of the Borough of Closter, setting forth its request for a soil-moving permit, which notice shall include the name of the developer; a description of the property by lot and block; the amount of soil to be moved; the purpose for which the soil is to be moved; and the time, date and place of said hearing. The applicant shall, at the hearing, present to the Planning Board satisfactory proof, in affidavit form, of the service and publication of said notices.
Factors to be considered in determining application. In considering the application, the Planning Board shall be guided by the general purpose of municipal planning and shall take into consideration the following factors:
Soil erosion by water and wind.
Surface and subsurface drainage conditions and patterns.
Soil fertility and soil-bearing capacity.
Lateral support of abutting streets and lands.
Public health and safety.
Land values and uses.
The general welfare of the municipality and of the citizens of the Borough of Closter.
The unsightliness of the premises after soil movement.
The effect of flooding upon the premises in question or surrounding properties.
Whether the proposed work will create a nuisance.
Whether the proposed work is necessary in connection with the development of residential property.
The effect that the proposed movement of soil would have on individual sanitary sewage disposal systems.
The preservation of existing watercourses.
The creation of sharp declivities, pits or depressions.
Whether the proposed removal of soil constitutes a commercial activity.
Proposed complete site plan or preliminary subdivision plan.
Such other factors as may bear upon or relate to the coordinated, adjusted harmonious physical development of the Borough.
Proposed soil and sedimentation control plan.
Decision. The Planning Board shall review and consider the completed application, all of the requirements of the provisions of this chapter, the material factors brought up in the report of the Planning Board Engineer and the reports of other reviewing authorities of the Borough. Thereafter, the Planning Board shall either grant or deny the issuance of said soil permit. If the Planning Board denies the permit, the reason for the denial shall be stated. The Planning Board may also issue a permit with stipulations and conditions. The Planning Board shall act within 45 days of the filing of a complete application. It shall be considered an automatic approval of the issuance of said permit unless the Planning Board extends the time limit for a period not to exceed an additional 45 days.
Appeal. Any proper party may appeal to a court of appropriate jurisdiction pursuant to applicable law. The Borough Council may, upon its own initiative and not later than 30 days after the determination, review any application for soil removal and decision by the Planning Board or by the Construction Code Official. The Borough Council may, by a majority vote of the members present, sustain or, by a 2/3 vote of its entire membership, overrule the Planning Board Decision.
Soil application fee.
Soil application fee will not be refundable.
An escrow deposit as set forth in Ch. A301, Fees and Deposits for a major soil-moving application in order to conduct the required Engineering Review. Additional escrow deposits may be required as deemed necessary by the Planning Board or Planning Board Engineer.
An escrow deposit for a retaining wall may be required as deemed necessary by the Planning Board Engineer.
Soil-moving fee. The soil-moving fee will be charged as set forth in Ch. A301, Fees and Deposits.
Exemption from fees. All utility companies, federal, state and local authorities, including the Board of Education and charitable organizations, may be exempt from the requirements of soil application fees and soil movement fees at the discretion of the Planning Board.
In the event that the Planning Board approves the soil-moving permit application, the Secretary or Assistant Secretary of the Planning Board shall forthwith give notice to the applicant of the action of the Planning Board. If, in the discretion of the Planning Board, a performance bond is required, the Secretary or Assistant Secretary shall also give notice of the amount of the performance bond required as hereinafter set forth in this section. In the event that the applicant fails to post the required performance bond within 60 days of said notice, then the approval of the Planning Board shall be automatically rescinded.
No major soil-moving permit shall be issued unless the applicant therefor shall have posted with the Borough a performance bond in form approved by the Attorney for the Planning Board and with surety acceptable to the Borough in such amount as the Planning Board with the assistance of the Planning Board Engineer shall determine, conditioned upon full and faithful performance by the principal, within the time specified in the application, of all the proposed work in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and of the soil-moving permit issued pursuant hereto.
The amount of said bond shall be sufficient to cover the cost of property restoration, to cover the cost of permanent soil erosion control if the work is not satisfactorily completed by the applicant and to cover the costs of Borough review and inspection. The bond amount shall be estimated by the Planning Board Engineer and shall be confirmed at a hearing of the Planning Board. The bond shall be as approved by the Planning Board Attorney. The bond shall be presented to the Borough Clerk before construction is started. The Planning Board may request additional bonds for improvements shown on the soil-moving application or plan, such as, but not limited to, the following: retaining walls, planting, drainage, erosion, control damages to hauling route, etc. In ascertaining the rate upon which to compute the amount of the bond, the Planning Board 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, structures, natural or artificial streams or watercourses and general drainage conditions.
Before the holder of any soil-removal permit shall proceed before the Planning Board Attorney with any application for any amendment or alteration of the terms and conditions of any outstanding soil-removal permit, there shall be submitted to the Planning Board the written consent of the surety on said bond approving said application for amendment or alteration and consenting to extension of the bond coverage thereto.
Requests for the release of any bonds posted in accordance with the terms of this section or the resolutions of the Planning Board 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 therein adopted by the Planning Board. Said affidavit shall be executed by a licensed professional or civil engineer or land surveyor of the State of New Jersey.
The soil-moving permit shall be in such form as may be prescribed by the Planning Board. A major soil permit shall be signed by the Secretary of the Planning Board or the Chairman of the Planning Board, and it shall contain any special conditions set forth in the recommendation. A minor soil permit shall be signed by the Construction Code Officer.
The soil-moving permit shall be dated as of the date it is actually issued, and the term of said permit shall not exceed one year.
All permits shall automatically expire on the termination date, unless application for renewal has been made and approved in writing, extending such permit.
Hours of operation. There shall be no soil-moving operations which include loading and unloading at any time between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., prevailing time, nor at any time on Sunday or legal holidays nor on Saturday after the hour of 12:00 noon.
No soil permit shall be issued until it is determined that there are no outstanding taxes or assessments for local improvements due or delinquent on the property for which the application is made.
No person to whom a soil-moving permit has been issued shall:
Conduct or maintain on the premises any sand, gravel or similar kind of pit; any sand- or gravel-washing or -screening machinery or equipment; any business or industry not permitted in the district in which said premises are located and classified by the Closter Zoning Ordinance, as amended and supplemented; or any endeavor or enterprise other than the grading or regrading of said premises in accordance with the provisions of said permit, and, where applicable, the necessary disposal of soil incidental to said grading or regrading.
Conduct or maintain any soil-moving operations without having first made adequate provisions by means of water, calcium chloride, or otherwise, for the prevention of dust incidental to the use of vehicles, machinery and equipment on the lands described in the soil permit.
Neglect to dispose of, on or before the completion date stated in the application, any partially or wholly excavated boulders or other noncombustible debris resulting from the soil-moving operations by burial or removal and any partially or wholly excavated stumps felled or uprooted trees or other combustible debris resulting from the soil-moving operations.
Conduct any soil-moving operations beyond the expiration date as set forth in the soil-removal permit or extended expiration date as may duly be granted by the Planning Board.
Whenever any developer or excavator shall move topsoil in or upon any lot, provision shall be made for the storage of said topsoil within the boundary lines of said lot.
Except as hereinafter 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 said replaced topsoil shall be in accordance with the proposed final grades shown on the topographical map.
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 said 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 as aforesaid.
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:
The soil-moving permit specifies otherwise and the performance bond hereinbefore referred to makes specific provisions for replacement, on or before the completion date set forth in the soil-removal permit, of soil of sufficient quantity and kind to restore the final grades to those shown on the topographical map; or
After issuance of the soil-removal permit, the developer or excavator, before digging or excavating below the approved level, shall apply to the Planning Board and be granted an amendment of the application and topographical map then in effect, which amendment may be granted upon such terms as the Planning Board may deem necessary to assure adherence to the purpose and objectives of this chapter.
No developer or excavator shall deposit soil upon, till in or raise the grade of any lot without first making provision for:
The use in said 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.
The collection and storage upon the lot of the original topsoil, to the end that said topsoil shall not be buried beneath soil or other material of inferior quality, and the uniform placement 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 said 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.
Seeding of the property or an approved alternative, which shall be accomplished within one month after completion of the soil moving operation, weather permitting, but in no event shall seeding of the property or the approved alternative be accomplished more than six months after completion. The applicant will maintain the seeded area for a period of one year after completion.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect or apply to any person engaged in the moving of soil in and upon lands enrolled in the soil conservation program of the Northeastern Jersey Soil Conservation District of the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service and for which lands and approved farm plan has been established by said agency, provided that all soil-moving operations in and upon such lands are performed in accordance with said approved farm plan.
For the purpose of administering and enforcing this chapter, any member of the Planning Board, duly authorized agent of the office of the Planning Board Engineer and Municipal Construction Official's office of the Borough shall have the right to enter into and upon any lands in or upon which soil-moving operations are being conducted to examine and inspect such lands.
Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a fine as set forth in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II, Violations and Penalties, of this Code. Each and every violation and nonconformance of the terms and provisions of this chapter or each day that any provision of this chapter shall have been violated shall be construed as a separate and distinct violation thereof.