[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Freehold by Ord. No. O-85-14 (Ch. XVIIA of the Revised General Ordinances), as amended through Ord. No. O-99-32. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The Township Committee finds that the uncontrolled and unregulated excavation, filling and removal of soil has resulted and will result in conditions detrimental to the public safety, health and general welfare, deterring substantially the efforts of the Township to promote and effectuate the general purpose of Township planning.
For the purpose of 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, development or construction of three or more dwelling houses intended as single-family residences, in any subdivision, business or industrial buildings for the purpose of sale to or occupancy by another person or persons.
- Any person, firm or corporation, partnership or association engaged in the moving, removal, importing or excavation of soil or topsoil from, to, in or upon any land in the Township.
- To dig or excavate; to remove; to deposit; to place and to fill; to grade, regrade, level or otherwise alter or change the location of any existing contour; to transport and to supply; or to scrape or otherwise disturb; however, the act of moving soil or topsoil from one portion of a premises to another portion of the same premises shall not be included hereunder.
- Any person seized in fee simple of any land, or having such other interest or estate therein, as will permit the exercise of effective possession hereof or dominion or control thereover.
- Any individual, firm, association, partnership or corporation or any combination of two or more of them.
- One or more contiguous parcels of land in single ownership. Parcels shall not be deemed to be contiguous if separated by a road, railroad, right-of-way, brook, stream or other natural division.
- Any earth, sand, clay, loam, gravel, humus, rock or dirt, irrespective of the presence or absence therein of organic matter.
- Soil, which 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 and growth.
Applicability. No owner, developer, excavator or other person shall move or cause, allow, permit or suffer to be moved the soil on or to any premises in the Township for use other than on the premises from which it shall be taken or brought to, unless and until a soil removal/soil fill permit has been issued in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
Determination of an application submitted under § 286-4A hereof in conjunction with a land use application shall be by either of the following boards as the circumstances may require:
Where it is claimed that the removal or importing of soil is in conjunction with a use permitted under the existing zoning regulations of the Township, following public notice as provided under Chapter 190, Land Use, of this Code, a public hearing shall be held before the Planning Board of the Township for the purpose of determining that the removal or importing of the soil applied for is necessary and essential to the development of the premises from which the soil is to be removed or imported and is in conjunction with a use permitted under the zoning regulations of the Township.
Where it is claimed that the right to remove or import the soil from the premises is by reason of a valid nonconforming prior use of the property in conjunction with the removal or importing of the soil, following public notice as provided under Chapter 190, Land Use, of this Code, there shall be a public hearing before the Planning Board of the Township for the purpose of determining the existence of the valid nonconforming prior use in conjunction with the removal or importing of soil from the premises.
[Amended 12-22-2015 by Ord. No. O-15-26]
The Planning Board shall not act until a written report has been received from the Township Engineer, which report shall be rendered within 30 days of the filing of the application for the soil removal/soil fill permit.
[Amended 12-22-2015 by Ord. No. O-15-26]
Where the removal or importing of soil is proposed in conjunction with a development application for which public notice and a public hearing are required under the terms of Chapter 190, Land Use, then no separate notice shall be required for the proposed soil removal or soil fill which shall be considered as an element of the primary development application. Further, in those instances where the applicant is unable to precisely calculate the amount of soil to be removed or imported, the Planning Board may accept an approximation of the amount of the soil at the time of the public hearing and defer issuance of the permit until precise calculations are submitted and the report of the Freehold Township Engineer is received, which deferred action may be taken without the necessity of any further public notice or public hearing.
In all other circumstances the Township Committee shall make the determination as to the application submitted.
[Amended 12-27-2005 by Ord. No. O-05-48]
The procedure for filing an application for the issuance of a soil removal/soil fill permit shall be as follows:
Form of application.
On a form to be supplied by the Township Clerk, the applicant shall, under oath, set forth in triplicate the following:
The identity and address of the applicant. If the applicant is a firm, corporation, partnership or association, the name and address of its registered agent shall be disclosed.
A description of the land in question, lot, block and tax map page number.
The identity and address of the owner of the land.
An estimate of the quantity of soil to be removed or imported in cubic yards.
In the case of removal or importing of soil, the amount to be removed from or imported to the Township of Freehold shall be estimated and stated on the application.
The proposed date of commencement and completion of the work, said completion date in no event to exceed one year from the date of approval of the application except as provided in § 286-7.
An estimate of the type and number of machines and other equipment to be used in the operation, the daily starting and finishing time during which such machines are to be operated, and what protection will be provided to keep children, and other unwary persons, from gaining access thereto.
The location or locations to which it is proposed that the soil will be removed upon the issuance of a soil removal permit.
The hauling route for the soil removal.
The name, truck size and daily trips of the contractor removing the soil.
Where the applicant is not the owner of the land, there shall accompany the application a letter from the owner authorizing the application and further authorizing the applicant to remove the soil if the permit is granted.
Topographical map. Accompanying the application there shall be filed a topographical with cross-sections map in triplicate of the land upon which the proposed soil moving operations are to be conducted and all surrounding lands within 200 feet of the perimeter of land which is the subject matter of the application, prepared and certified by a licensed professional civil engineer or land surveyor of the State of New Jersey on the scale of not less than one inch to 100 feet and based upon the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Datum showing both as to the land and as to all of the surrounding land.
The dimensions of the land and the lot and block number of the land and of each lot surrounding the land within 200 feet thereof as shown on the current assessment map of the Township.
The present grade on a fifty-foot grid layout with contour lines at two-foot levels up to and including 20 acres; for more than 20 acres, one-hundred-foot grids with contour lines at five-foot levels. Where access to adjoining lands is not permitted, the contour lines of the perimeter lands shall be taken from the available State of New Jersey or United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Map of the particular area.
The existing elevations of all buildings, structures, streets, streams, bodies of water and watercourses, natural or artificial.
All existing surface or subsurface water drainage conditions and provisions thereof.
All wooded areas.
The proposed finished grades at points in Subsection B(2) when the work has been completed with the same requirements as contained therein.
The quantity in cubic yards of the soil involved in the work.
The average depth of topsoil as determined by taking borings in approximate center of each fifty- or one-hundred-foot grid. Soil borings shall be provided at the rate of one boring for each five acres of area disturbed, except that where soil removal would be within five feet above the groundwater table, additional borings may be required by the Township Engineer.
The grades of all abutting streets and lands.
Proposed slopes and lateral supports at the limits of the area upon completion of the proposed work.
The proposed details of entry and egress for surface water drainage and of any streams, bodies of water, and watercourses, natural or artificial.
Other data. In addition to the above requirements, the applicant shall furnish such other pertinent data as the Township Engineer may require after he has had an opportunity to examine the proposed project, including the extent, in cubic yards, of topsoil to be removed and whether such topsoil is to be replaced on the site in question or moved to some other place and, if so, whether inside or outside of the Township.
Soil Conservation District approval. Accompanying the application shall be a written approval from the Freehold Soil Conservation District of plans for the removal from the premises of the soil and approval of the disposal site for the soil, as may be required under regulations of the Soil Conservation District.
The nonrefundable fees set forth in Chapter 150, Fees, shall be paid to the Township upon the filing of an application.
[Amended 12-22-2015 by Ord. No. O-15-26]
Prior to consideration of the application by the Township Committee or the Planning Board, there shall also be a determination by the Township Clerk that the application is in order and that all reports have been submitted by the Township Engineer.
In considering whether to approve an application and grant a soil removal permit, the Township Committee or the Planning Board shall consider the following factors:
Soil erosion by water and wind.
Lateral support slopes and grades of abutting streets and lands.
Land values and uses.
Such other factors as may bear upon or relate to the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious physical development of lands in the Township.
In considering whether to approve an application and grant a soil removal permit, whereby soil will be removed to a location or locations outside of the Township, the Township Committee and the Planning Board shall consider the following additional factors:
The composition of the soil in order to encourage, to the degree possible, the maximum use of retention of topsoil within the Township.
The need for the soil in a location in the Township readily accessible for deposit.
The relative cost of removing the soil to a location within the Township, as opposed to a location outside of the Township.
Any time constraints which would unreasonably restrict the development of the land from which the soil is being removed to a location inside or outside the Township.
Upon examination of the entire record by the Township Committee and the Planning Board, including any supplemental reports by the Township Engineer, if the Township Committee or the Planning Board determines that the proposed soil removal will not create conditions inimical to the public health, welfare and safety and will not result in the creation of any sharp declivities, pits or depressions, soil erosion or fertility problems, or depressed land values, nor create any drainage or sewage problems or other conditions inimical to the land use in the Township, it shall authorize the issuance of a soil removal permit by the Township Clerk. The Township Committee or the Planning Board shall make its final decision and determination not later than its second regular meeting following the hearing concerning the application for the soil removal permit. If no action has been taken within that time period, the application shall be deemed denied.
The following regulations shall govern the operations under the issued soil removal permit:
In the removal of soil, when the permit has been duly granted, the owner or person in charge shall so conduct the operations that there shall be no sharp declivities, pits or depressions, that there shall be no interruption with natural drainage, and in such a manner that the area shall be properly leveled off, cleared of debris and graded to conform to the contour lines and grades as approved by the Township Engineer. The Township Engineer or his authorized representative shall make periodic inspections to determine that there is no deviation from the information and requirements of the application as approved.
The applicant shall be required to section the entire property which is the subject of his permit into areas which shall be inside of a fence and he shall so schedule the work of soil removal so that the operation conducted in one section shall be complete and that section shall be at final grade before work shall commence in any other section of the premises.
In the event the application for a soil removal permit involves the complete removal of a bank which extends above the elevation of a public road or street adjacent to the land upon which the removal project is to take place, the moving or removal shall be conducted so as to leave the final grade of the land or lot from which the bank is to be removed at a grade that will not create a road or street. The final grade shall not be lower than the grade of the surrounding lands or of the public road or street, and the final grade shall be established and maintained at a minimum of 1/2 of 1% to ensure proper drainage. In establishing final grades, the factors to be considered shall be the same as those listed but, in any event, shall not be less than 1% (0.5% or six inches in 100 feet).
Where earth is moved in order to lower a grade or to alter an existing slope, the upper crown or brink shall not be closer to any property line than 15 feet and this distance shall be increased at the rate of one foot for each one foot of vertical height of the slope up to a maximum required distance of 25 feet from any property line.
All trees, stumps, brush and other removed vegetation shall be removed and shall not be burned on the premises.
The area so excavated shall be graded and covered with four inches of topsoil and seeded with perennial grass during the planting season. If sufficient topsoil for four-inch cover was not available from the premises then a cover crop as prescribed by the Township Engineer shall be spread on the premises. Thereafter, the snow fence may be removed. All banks shall be stabilized in a manner satisfactory to the Township Engineer.
Every person who shall transport over the streets, roads or highways in the Township any soil removed from any land or premises pursuant to a soil removal permit issued in accordance with this chapter shall sweep, pick up and remove or cause to be swept, picked up and removed all dust, dirt and mud from the roadways, streets or highways and shall apply, or cause to be applied, to the roadways, streets or highways a dust preventive wherever the same shall be determined necessary, whenever such fact shall be communicated to the holder of the permit by the Township Engineer or a member of the Police Department. In the event of failure, neglect or refusal of any person to sweep, pick up, and remove dust, dirt and mud, or to apply a dust preventive when required by this section, the Township Engineer is authorized to suspend any soil removal permit issued for a period of not less than three days or report said fact to the Township Committee, in writing, for the purpose of its determination as to whether or not the soil removal permit shall be revoked as hereinafter provided.
Upon 10 days' notice and an opportunity to be heard before the Township Committee, the permit of any person may be revoked or suspended for such time period as the Township Committee may determine for any violation of the terms hereof, or the terms and conditions of any permit granted hereunder. The Township reserves the right, in the protection of the public health, safety and welfare, to withdraw approval of the application and the issuance of any permit, at which time all operations under the application and permit are to cease immediately.
Before the soil removal permit is issued by the Township Clerk, the permittee shall file with the Township Clerk a performance guarantee to assure pavement stability, maintenance, cleaning, traffic direction when required and utility protection in conjunction with the removal activity at the premises or land. The guarantee shall be posted for the duration of the haul cycle for removal of the soil from the premises and land and until released by the Township. The guarantee required shall be in the following amounts:
Up to 1,000 cubic yards: $15,000 per mile of the haul route which is along Township roads. The amount for a fractional mile shall be apportioned.
More than 1,000 cubic yards: $50,000 per mile of the haul route which is along Township roads for each 25,000 cubic yards or fraction thereof. The guarantee amount for fractional miles shall be apportioned.
The calculation of the performance guarantee shall be made by or under the supervision of the Township Engineer.
The performance guarantee posted shall be at least 10% by cash or certified check made payable to the Township of Freehold. The balance of the performance guarantee may be a performance bond issued by a surety company, approved by the Township Attorney as to form, or such other security as may be approved by the Township Committee.
The condition of the performance guarantee shall be that the permittee has properly completed its soil removal work and that pavement stability, maintenance, cleaning, traffic direction where required and utility protection have been maintained or restored at the site and along the haul route. In the event any of the foregoing conditions have not been met, the permittee and the surety shall be liable to the Township for the reasonable cost of completion or restoration or reimbursement of traffic direction costs.
Upon completion or abandonment of the work, the Township Engineer shall inspect the site and haul route and render a written report to the Township Committee regarding action as to the performance guarantee. Any reduction or release of the performance guarantee shall be authorized by resolution of the Township Committee.
The following soil removal activities are specifically exempt from the provisions of this chapter:
The removal of soil in connection with the construction or alteration of a swimming pool or septic system for a single-family residence.
The construction, alteration or addition to or of one or two dwelling houses intended for single-family residential purposes in a subdivision.
Any soil removal involving soil disturbance of 100 cubic yards or less on a particular and specific lot.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter, any standard promulgated pursuant to this chapter or any other applicable law or who fails to comply with a soil removal permit shall be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, Article II, General Penalty. If the violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which it continues shall constitute an additional and separate and distinct offense under this section.
In the event that construction is involved in the alleged violation, the Construction Code Official shall issue a stop-construction order until there has been compliance with the provisions and requirements of this chapter.