Town of Blackstone, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Special Town Meeting of the Town of Blackstone 4-26-1980 by Art. 32. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is adopted under authority of MGL c. 40, § 21(17).
Any removal of soil, loam, sand or gravel from any premises not in public use in Blackstone shall be allowed only if authorized by a permit granted under this chapter to the owner of the premises. Such permit shall expire upon change of ownership of the premises.
[Amended by 5-28-1996 ATM, Art. 17]
Effective July 1, 1996, all earth removal permits will be renewable at the start of the new fiscal year and every year thereafter.
[Added by 6-12-1995 ATM, Art. 27]
All permit applications must first be submitted to the Conservation Commission to determine whether the operation may impact a natural resource area or conservation area. If the Conservation Commission finds that such a natural resource area or conservation area is to be impacted, then a notice of intent must be submitted and Order of Conditions issued or a superseding order of conditions by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection prior to the May 1 review and each May 1 thereafter
[Added by 5-28-1996 ATM, Art. 17]
This permit does not relieve the permittee or any other person of the necessity of complying with all other applicable federal, state or local statutes, ordinances, Town bylaws or regulations.
[Added by 5-28-1996 ATM, Art. 17]
[Amended by 6-12-1995 ATM, Art. 27]
This chapter shall be administered and enforced by the Board of Selectmen through an Inspector designated by them.
Inspections and reporting.
The Inspector will inspect each soil removal operation every two weeks. Written notice of any violation shall be provided to the owner of the premises, specifying a time for compliance which shall not be less than 24 hours nor more than two weeks, depending upon the feasibility of quick compliance and the hazard or damage risk involved.
The Inspector will submit a monthly written report to the Board of Selectmen which summarizes the findings of all inspections conducted that month. The report will include a statement of compliance or noncompliance with this chapter and any permit conditions for each of the soil removal operations.
Violations and penalties. Violations shall be subject to the following penalties and may be enforced by MGL c. 40, § 21(17), including the collection of penalties either by criminal or noncriminal disposition. Each day that the violation continues beyond the specified time for compliance will be considered a separate offense.
The first offense will result in a fifty-dollar fine.
The second offense will result in a one-hundred-dollar fine and an informal hearing before the Board of Selectmen.
The third offense will result in a two-hundred-dollar fine and a temporary suspension of permit at the discretion of the Board of Selectmen.[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 109-4, Limited operations, which immediately followed, was repealed 5-28-2013 ATM by Art. 31. This article also redesignated former §§ 109-5 through 109-15 as §§ 109-4 through 109-14.
Permits required. All removal operations require a removal permit to be acted upon by the Selectmen following a public hearing with published notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town at least seven days prior to the hearing and with written notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, sent to all abutters and to all owners of property on both sides of a servicing street if having frontage within 300 feet of the center line of any proposed egress. For existing operations such removal permit is required upon expiration of any existing permit or by January 1, 1981, if sooner. Removal permits for operation on parcels currently principally used for earth removal may be acted upon without a public hearing. Removal permits shall normally expire one year from date of issue. Removal permits may be renewed upon application without hearing for the same length of time as originally issued, following notice that renewal is contemplated, published in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town.
[Amended by 6-12-1995 ATM, Art. 27]
Application. Beginning in 1996 renewal applications must be submitted to the Board of Selectmen by May 1. The application for an original or renewal removal permit shall include but not be limited to:
[Amended by 4-26-1993 ATM, Art. 33[1]; 6-12-1995 ATM, Art. 27]
Site and earth removal boundaries, names and address of all parties entitled to notice. (See Subsection A.)
[Amended by 5-28-1996 ATM, Art. 17]
Estimated amount of materials to be removed in the next twelve-month period.
Plans shall be prepared and stamped by both a registered professional engineer and registered surveyor showing the following:
[Amended by 5-28-1996 ATM, Art. 17]
The location and boundaries of the site and of any lots proposed and indication of each zoning district involved.
The use and ownership of adjacent premises, approximate location of buildings within 50 feet of the site and, if the proposed operation entails on-site sewage disposal, the approximate location of any wells on or off the premises within 300 feet of the leaching field or other discharge location.
Existing and proposed buildings, streets, ways, drives, walks, service areas, parking spaces, loading areas, fences and screening, utilities, waste storage and disposal facilities, wells and drainage facilities.
Existing and proposed topography and vegetation indicating areas of retained vegetation and species of trees and shrubs to be planted. The contour interval on the plans shall be two feet for flat areas (twenty-percent slope or flatter) and two feet for sloped areas (greater than twenty-percent sloped). The scale of the drawings shall be appropriate for the size of the property but not smaller than 100 feet equals one inch.
Indication of wetlands and other areas subject to control under the Wetlands Protection Act, and the associated buffer areas surrounding such areas, identified through a field survey acceptable to the Conservation Commission; floodplain and floodway boundaries; and erosion-control measures.
The location of signs and exterior lighting, and accompanying materials to describe those elements.
Each five-acre work area will be identified by a minimum of four boundary markers six inches square by 40 inches long made of concrete and set in earth and exposed 12 inches. The markers are to remain in place until written authorization is given for removal by the Inspector.
The site plan shall designate where topsoil will be stockpiled. Prior to opening an earth removal area, the applicant shall excavate a minimum of four shallow test pits per acre to determine the thickness of topsoil and subsoil. The test pits shall be witnessed by the Inspector, and the site plan shall reflect each test pit location.
The application shall authorize the Board of Selectmen or Inspector access to the premises at any time in administration of this.
Editor's Note: This Article provided that it shall take effect December 31, 1993.
The application or renewal fee shall be $500 per year of permit validity, plus $0.15 per cubic yard of material to be removed for quantities up to 10,000 cubic yards and $0.25 per cubic yard of material to be removed over 10,000 cubic yards, plus the cost of advertising, notice and engineering/surveyor services to be performed at the discretion of the Selectmen to certify compliance with this chapter.
[Amended by 6-12-1995 ATM, Art. 27; 5-28-2013 ATM, Art. 31]
Authorization. A removal permit may authorize having sand and gravel removed from a total of no more than two five-acre removal areas, that being one active and one under restoration at any one site and at any one time in a residential zone. Before any additional five acres of removal area can be opened, reclamation must be completed in accordance with the Town bylaw and part of the restoration plans submitted at the time of the application. Additional acres may be authorized for operations which are located in an Industrial District as defined in the Blackstone Zoning Bylaw[2] and which involve substantial on-site investment in fixed processing equipment.
[Amended by 4-25-1993 ATM, Art. 20; 5-28-1996 ATM, Art. 17]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 123, Zoning.
Security. The applicant shall provide security which will be forfeited to the Town in the event of failure to comply with the requirements of this chapter or the removal permit issued. Such security shall equal $4,000 per acre authorized for removal and $500 per acre in an Industrial District as defined in the Blackstone Zoning Bylaw[3] and which involves substantial on-site investment in fixed processing equipment or such larger amount determined by the Selectmen to be necessary in view of site conditions and proposals. Irrevocable security shall be provided in the form of a certified check, bankbook and withdrawal slip, or other form satisfactory to the Town Counsel and Town Treasurer.
[Amended by 5-28-1996 ATM, Art. 17]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 123, Zoning.
Decision. In acting upon permit applications, the Selectmen shall give due consideration to the location of the proposed operation generally, and more specifically to its relationship to the spring high-water table; to the general character of the neighborhood surrounding such location; and to the general safety of the public ways in the vicinity. Permits shall be granted only upon determination that the proposed operation will create no substantial hazard, will not cause environmental degradation outside the premises, and will not permanently impair the utility of abutting properties for uses allowed under the Zoning Bylaw.[4] The permit shall state all conditions imposed, including but not limited to:
The duration of the removal operation.
Method of removal.
Temporary structures.
Hours of operation.
Control of temporary and permanent drainage.
Trucking routes on or off the site.
Vegetation to be planted.
Location of temporary signs.
Restoration plan.
Editor's Note: See Ch. 123, Zoning.
[Amended by 5-28-1996 ATM, Art. 17]
No removal shall take place within 100 feet of an existing public way or within 150 feet of a residential structure unless such removal is to improve grading at the end of the operation and specifically authorized in the permit; and no removal shall be less than 100 feet from any other perimeter lot line. Upon completion of the operation, a plan showing the perimeter of the site can be submitted for review and consideration will be given to encroach upon the one-hundred-foot perimeter lot lines. The encroachment will be determined by use and topography of abutting properties. Natural vegetation shall be left and maintained on the undisturbed land for screening and noise reduction purposes and surge piles and overburden piles shall be located for similar purposes.
All roads leading from removal areas to public ways shall be treated with calcium chloride, stone or other nonpolluting materials for a distance of 100 feet from said public way to reduce dust and mud. Roads leading from removal areas to public ways shall be constructed at an angle to the public way or constructed with a curve so as to help screen the operation from public view.
[Amended by 4-26-1993 ATM, Art. 33[1]; 5-28-1996 ATM, Art. 17]
No materials shall be removed within four feet of spring high-water table and six feet in groundwater protection areas, as established by groundwater monitoring wells approved by the Town of Blackstone and the Inspector.
Editor's Note: This Article provided that it shall take effect December 31, 1993.
During removal operations no face shall be left at the end of a work day in excess of 20 feet vertical rise. No face inactive for a week or more shall be left with a slope in excess of one foot vertical to 1 1/2 feet horizontal, or the natural angle of repose of the material in a dry state, if lower.
[Amended 5-28-1996 ATM, Art. 17]
Provision shall be made for safe drainage of water and for prevention of wind or water erosion carrying material beyond buffer zones and/or onto other adjoining properties and shall be in accordance with the requirements of the Conservation Commission as set forth in its Order of Conditions.
[Amended by 4-26-1993 ATM, Art. 33[1]]
All topsoil displaced shall be stockpiled on the site until termination of the operation or restoration. The Board of Selectmen may issue a permit to remove excess topsoil only after it has been demonstrated that § 109-14, Restoration, has been fully complied with.
Editor's Note: This Article provided that it shall take effect December 31, 1993.
Removal and truck departures shall take place only between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, excluding holidays.
All trucking routes and methods will be subject to approval by the Selectmen after review by the Chief of Police.
[Amended by 5-28-1996 ATM, Art. 17]
Forthwith following the expiration or withdrawal of a limited operation permit or standard operation permit, or upon voluntary cessation of operations, or upon completion of removal in a substantial area, all unbuilt-upon land area shall be restored as follows:
Grading. All land shall be so graded that no slope exceeds one foot vertical rise in three feet horizontal distance and shall be so graded as to safely provide for drainage without erosion.
Elevations. Final grade shall not be below a level that would reasonably be considered a desirable grade for the later development of the area, shall not normally be below the grade of adjacent streets, and shall not be below the grades indicated on the plan accompanying the permit application.
Cleanup. All boulders and stumps shall be removed or buried, trees removed or chipped and equipment and temporary buildings removed.
Planting. The entire area, except exposed rock, shall be covered with not less than four inches of topsoil, which shall be planted with cover vegetation adequate to prevent soil erosion, using either perennial grasses or ground cover, depending upon conditions.
Security release. Security shall not be released until sufficient time has lapsed to ascertain that the vegetation planted has successfully been established and that drainage is satisfactory.
[Added by 5-28-1996 ATM, Art. 17]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
The above materials shall be determined on the basis of particle size in accordance with ASTMD422, using either mechanical grain size or hydrometer methods, as appropriate for the materials. The particle sizes for each category are as follows:
Range of Particle Size (millimeters)
0.002 and smaller Silt 0.074 (No. 200 Sieve) to 0.002
4.76 (No 4 Sieve) to 0.074
76.2 (3-inch) to 4.76
3-inch to 12-inch
Greater than 12 inches
An area as designated on plans and at a site of a gravel mining operation.
The piezometric surface of water in the ground.
A PVC pipe (minimum one-and-one-half-inch inside diameter) installed in a borehole created by drilling or excavating a test boring. Wells shall consist of a minimum of 10 feet of slotted PVC screen set to span the surface of groundwater, with solid riser pipe extending to a minimum of one foot above the ground surface. The annular space of the well screen shall be backfilled with a filter of sand. The annular space surrounding the solid riser pipe may be backfilled with borehole cuttings. A locking guard pipe shall be cement grouted in place at the ground surface. Logs of all boreholes and well installations shall be provided to the Inspector after installation.
A series of monitoring wells designed to provide representative depths to groundwater across a site.
The individual or organization authorized by the Town to conduct inspections at gravel mining sites within the limits of the Town of Blackstone.
An environmentally sensitive area that falls within the jurisdiction of the Conservation Commission or an area within the Zone 1 or Zone 2 of a municipal well or an interim wellhead protection area or the watershed areas of a surface water supply.
An individual or an organization that is authorized by the Town to conduct earth removal or mining operations at a site.
An individual parcel of land, as indicated on the Town's Assessors' Plat plans from which earth removal or mining is proposed or is ongoing.
A physical plant that is set up at a site for the purpose of manufacturing a product of clay, silt, sand, gravel, cobbles, boulders and screening topsoil or subsoil.
The zone of accumulation of illuvial material. The coloration of subsoil ranges from orange-brown to yellow-brown for well drained areas to dark gray for poorly drained wet areas.
The A horizon, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Topsoil is comprised of a dark brown to black mineral horizon formed at the ground surface, characterized by an accumulation of humidified organic matter intimately mixed with the mineral fraction.
The Town of Blackstone, Massachusetts.
Earth removal that is not in accordance with the Earth Removal Bylaws of the Town.