[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Mount Pleasant 4-24-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
For the purpose of preventing erosion and sedimentation, including loss of topsoil, preventing habitat disturbance, water quality degradation, slope failure and flooding; minimizing stormwater runoff and flooding; providing stable and safe building sites; preventing landslides and soil instability; protecting the quantity and quality of the Town's surface and groundwater resources; protecting important scenic views and vistas; preserving prominent land forms of scenic and ecological value; preserving rock outcrops and trees, areas of vegetation and wildlife habitat; encouraging flexible design and minimizing the area of land disturbance related to site development and, when disturbance is necessary, ensuring environmentally sound disturbance; and ensuring and protecting the Town's character and property values, it is the intent of this chapter to minimize disturbance on steep slopes and very steep slopes and to avoid disturbance and construction activities on excessive slopes. Further, it is the intent of this chapter to minimize the development of hilltops and ridgelines wherever possible. It is the intent of this chapter to ensure preservation wherever possible and careful review and regulation, including stringent mitigation measures, of disturbance of soil and vegetation on steep slopes where they have been disturbed. The proponent of any activity proposed for hilltops, ridgelines, or steep slopes shall demonstrate that the impacts on the functions and essential characteristics of such areas can be effectively minimized.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The removal of vegetation, excavation or fill or any combination thereof, including the conditions resulting from any excavation or fill.
- A roughly circular area defined by a radius of 75 feet from the highest point on a hill or rise of land.
- An area 75 feet down slope on either side of the center line of a ridge.
- Any area, whether or not located on a single lot, having a topographical gradient of 15% (the ratio of vertical distance to horizontal distance) or more with a minimum of 500 square feet, one dimension of which is a minimum of 10 feet. For purposes of this definition, area measurements must be made along a horizontal plane from within the boundaries of a lot.
A very steep slope/excessively steep slope permit is required for any regulated activity as defined in § 180-5, in areas of very steep slopes or excessively steep slopes. Steep slope permits shall be issued by the Planning Board pursuant to the standards set forth in § 180-7 and are subject to a public hearing.
No person shall conduct any of the following regulated activities within any steep slope, very steep slope or excessively steep slope area in the Town of Mount Pleasant unless such person has first applied for and obtained a permit pursuant to the requirements of this section:
Construction of new buildings or structures or additions and modifications to existing buildings or structures.
Clearing of or constructing on any land area, including construction or clearing activities related to providing equipment access on the site.
Filling, cutting or excavating operations.
Discharge of stormwater and/or construction and placement of stormwater runoff systems.
Regulated activities occurring within a hilltop or ridgeline are hereby designated as Type I actions in accordance with 6 NYCRR 617, State Environmental Quality Review, § 617.4.
In granting, denying or conditioning any application for a permit, the Planning Board or Town Engineer shall consider the effect that the proposed regulated activity will have on the public health, safety and welfare and on the protection or enhancement of the fragile and environmentally sensitive steep slope areas.
No permit to undertake a regulated activity within any area of steep slopes, very steep slopes or excessively steep slopes shall be issued unless the applicant can demonstrate that the following standards are met to the satisfaction of the permitting agent/agency.
There is no reasonable alternative for the proposed regulated activity on that portion of the site not containing steep slopes;
The planning, design and development of buildings and site improvements limits the rate of stormwater runoff to a zero increase with overflow to a municipal drain system where practicable and provides the maximum in structural safety, slope stability, and human enjoyment while adapting the affected site to, and taking advantage of, the best use of the natural terrain and aesthetic character;
The terracing of building sites is kept to a minimum;
Roads and driveways follow the natural topography to the greatest extent possible in order to minimize the potential for erosion, and they are consistent with other applicable regulations of the Town of Mount Pleasant and current engineering practices;
Habitat is quantified and protected, no endangered species of flora or fauna are adversely impacted and any replanting shall be maintained by the applicant for two years and shall consist of indigenous vegetation that at a minimum replicates the original vegetation on the site, in kind;
The natural elevations and vegetative cover of ridgelines are disturbed only if the crest of a ridge and the tree line at the ridge remain uninterrupted. This will be accomplished either by positioning buildings and areas of disturbance below a ridgeline or by positioning buildings and areas of disturbance at a ridgeline so that the elevation of the roofline of the building is no greater than the elevation of the natural tree line, so long as no more than 100 feet along the ridgeline, to a width of 100 feet generally centered on the ridgeline, is disturbed;
Any regrading blends in with the natural contours and undulations of the land;
Cuts and fills are rounded off to eliminate sharp angles at the top, bottom, and sides of regraded slopes;
The angle of cut and fill slopes does not exceed a slope of one vertical to two horizontal, except where retaining walls, structural stabilization, or other methods acceptable to the Town Engineer are used;
Tops and bottoms of cut and fill slopes are set back from the structures an adequate distance to ensure the safety of the structures in the event of the collapse of the cut or fill slopes. Generally, such distance is six feet plus 1 /2 the height of the cut or fill;
Disturbance of rock outcrops is by means of explosives only if labor and machines are not effective and only if rock blasting is conducted in accordance with all applicable regulations of the Town of Mount Pleasant and the State of New York. The rock shall be effectively stabilized;
Disturbance of slopes is undertaken in workable units in which the disturbance can be completed and stabilized in one construction season so that areas are not left bare and exposed during the period from December 15 through April 15;
Disturbance of existing vegetative ground cover does not take place more than 15 days prior to grading and construction;
Temporary soil stabilization, including, if appropriate, temporary stabilization measures such as netting or mulching to secure soil during the grow-in period, is applied to an area of disturbance within two days of establishing the final grade, and permanent stabilization is applied within 15 days of establishing the final grade;
Soil stabilization is applied within two days of disturbance if the final grade is not expected to be established within 60 days;
Measures for the control of erosion and sedimentation are undertaken consistent with the Westchester County Soil and Water Conservation District's "Best Management Practices Manual for Erosion and Sediment Control," and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's "Guidelines for Urban Erosion and Sediment Control," as amended, or its equivalent satisfactory to the Planning Board;
All proposed disturbance of slopes is undertaken with consideration of the soils limitations characteristics contained in the latest Identification Legend, Westchester County Soils Survey, as prepared by the Westchester County Soil and Water Conservation District, in terms of recognition of limitation of soils on slopes for development and application of all mitigating measures, and as deemed necessary by the Town Engineer;
Topsoil is removed from all areas of disturbance, stockpiled and stabilized in a manner to minimize erosion and sedimentation, and replaced elsewhere on the site at the time of final grading;
Topsoil stockpiling is not permitted on slopes of greater than 10%;
Compaction of fill materials in fill areas is such to ensure support of proposed structures and stabilization for intended uses;
Structures are designed to fit into the hillside rather than altering the hillside to fit the structure, employing methods such as reduced footprint design, step-down structures, stilt houses, and minimization of grading outside the building footprint;
Development is sited on that portion of the site least likely to impact the natural landforms, geological features, and vegetation;
The applicant has provided landscaping plans for after-development;
The development conforms with the requirements set forth in Chapter 218, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Mount Pleasant;
The construction equipment has adequate access so as not to disturb anything outside the approved limit of disturbance that shall be shown on the plan drawings and, when approved, staked in the field.
All steep slope and very steep/excessively steep slope applications shall be made in writing on forms prescribed by the Town of Mount Pleasant and contain the following information:
Name and post office address of the owner and applicant;
Street address and Tax Map designation of property covered by the application;
Statement of authority from the owner for any agent making application;
Listing of names and addresses of property owners of record, along with the address and Tax Map identification of properties adjacent to and directly across the street from the property that is the subject of this application;
Statement of proposed work and purpose thereof, and an explanation why the proposed activity cannot be located at another site;
Ten copies of complete plans, certified by an engineer, land surveyor or landscape architect licensed in the State of New York, drawn to a scale of not less than one inch equals 50 feet;
Location of proposed construction or area of disturbance and its relationship to any property line, easement, building, structure, road, wall, fence, sewage disposal system, well, wetland feature or tree exceeding six inches in diameter measured at a height of four feet from the ground;
Estimated material quantities of excavation or fill and number, species and size of trees to be removed;
Location and size of areas of soils by soil types in the area of proposed disturbance and to a distance of 100 feet surrounding the area of disturbance;
Existing and proposed contours which shall be in accord with the Town of Mount Pleasant topographic maps (National Geodetic Vertical Datum) at two-foot intervals in the area of proposed disturbance and to a distance of 100 feet beyond;
Cross sections of steep slope areas;
Retaining walls or like constructions, with details of construction;
Erosion and sedimentation control plan, including installation details of proposed control measures, directive construction notations and a schedule for the installation and maintenance of proposed control measures;
Other details, including specific reports by qualified professionals on soils, geology and hydrology, and borings or test pits, as may be determined to be necessary by the Town Engineer or Planning Board;
A list of all applicable county, state or federal permits required for such work or improvements;
A completed long-form environmental assessment form;
An application fee in the amount set forth in the Town Fee Schedule.
The Town Engineer or Planning Board may waive any information requirement contained in § 180-7, with respect to an application for a steep slope and very steep/excessively steep slope permit, so long as a fully informed determination, in writing, consistent with the intent of this chapter, can be made without the information.
The following activities are exempt from application of this chapter:
A violation of this chapter is hereby declared to be an offense, punishable by a fine not exceeding $350 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months, or both, for conviction of each offense. However, for the purpose of conferring jurisdiction upon courts and judicial officers generally, violations of this chapter shall be deemed misdemeanors, and for such purpose only, all provisions of law relating to misdemeanors shall apply to such violations. Each week's continued violation shall constitute a separate additional violation.
In case any building or structure is erected, constructed, reconstructed, altered, converted or maintained or any building, structure or land is used in violation of this chapter, the proper local authorities of the Town, in addition to other remedies, may institute any appropriate action or proceedings to prevent such unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, conversion, maintenance, or use and to restrain, correct or abate such violation and to prevent the occupancy of said building, structure or land.