Ordinance No. 21-38

Introduced: November 22, 2021
Public Hearing: December 13, 2021
Status: Pending

An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending Chapter 478 of the Municipal Code Entitled "Soil Erosion and Sediment Control"

Purpose Statement: The purpose of this ordinance is to amend the existing Soil Erosion & Sediment Control Ordinance to included updated design standards and clarify the procedures for obtaining soil erosion & sediment control permits for construction projects within the Township.

WHEREAS, Ordinance #03-33 transferred jurisdiction for soil erosion and sediment control for the construction of single-family dwellings units (unless the unit was part of a proposed subdivision, site plan, conditional use, zoning variance, planned development or construction permit application involving two or more such single-family dwellings) from the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District to the Township Engineer.

WHEREAS, the review of single-family dwelling units has been performed under the Lot Development Plan application that is not in conformance with current standards and procedures promulgated by the State Soil Conservation Committee.

WHEREAS, the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District has requested that an ordinance be adopted to provide design standards and procedures for soil erosion & sediment control permits for the construction of single-family dwelling units that will be in compliance with Sate Soil Conservation Committee recommendations.

WHEREAS, The Vernon Township Engineer has proposed amendments to Chapter 478 Soil Erosion & Sediment Control of the Township Code to be in compliance with current design standards and procedures; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon hereby accept the recommendation of the Vernon Township Engineer to adopt amendments to Chapter 478 Soil Erosion & Sediment Control of the Township Code in accordance with the requirements of the within Ordinance.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the Township Council of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, that:

SECTION 1. Chapter 478: SOIL EROSION and SEDIMENT CONTROL is removed in its entirety and replaced with the following:

CHAPTER 478: SOIL EROSION and SEDIMENT CONTROL

§ 478-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the "Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance of the Township of Vernon."

§ 478-2 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to control soil erosion and sediment damages and related environmental damage by requiring adequate provisions for surface water retention and drainage and for the protection of exposed soil surfaces in order to promote the safety, public health, convenience and general welfare of the community.

§ 478-3 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, certain rules of word usage apply to the text as follows:

APPLICANT - A person, partnership, corporation or public agency requesting permission to engage in land disturbance activity or seeking site plan or subdivision approval from the Planning Board.

APPLICATION FOR DEVELOPMENT - A proposed subdivision of land, site plan, special exception, zoning variance, planned unit development or building permit.

CERTIFICATION - A signed written statement by the designated official that specific constructions, inspections or tests, where required, have been performed and that such comply with the applicable requirements of the ordinance or regulations adopted.

COMMITTEE - The State Soil Conservation Committee in the Department of Agriculture established pursuant to N.J.S.A. 4:24-3.

CRITICAL AREA - A sediment-producing highly erodible or severely eroded area.

DISTRICT - The Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District.

DISTURBANCE - Any activity involving the clearing, excavating, storing, grading, filling or transporting of soil or any other activity which causes soil to be exposed to the danger of erosion.

DIVERSION - A channel with or without a supporting ridge on the lower side constructed across or at the bottom of a slope.

EMBANKMENT or FILL - A man-made deposit of soil, rock or other materials.

EROSION - Detachment and movement of soil or rock fragments by water, wind, ice and gravity.

EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL PLAN - A plan which fully indicates necessary land treatment measures, including a schedule of the timing for their installation, which will effectively minimize soil erosion and sedimentation. Such measures shall be in accordance with standards as adopted by the State Soil Conservation Committee.

EXCAVATION or CUT - Any act by which soil or rock is cut into, dug, quarried, uncovered, removed, displaced or relocated.

FARM CONSERVATION PLAN - A plan which provides for use of land, within its capabilities and treatment, within practical limits, according to a chosen use to prevent further deterioration of soil and water resources.

LAND - Any ground, soil or earth, including marshes, swamps, drainageways and areas not permanently covered by water within the municipality.

LAND DEVELOPMENT PLAN - Any and all earth-work not included as part of the site plan or subdivision plan.

LAND DISTURBANCE - Any activity involving the clearing, grading, transporting, filling and any other activity which causes land to be exposed to the danger of erosion.

MULCHING - The application of plant residue or other suitable materials to the land surface to conserve moisture, hold soil in place and aid in establishing plant cover.

PERMIT - A certificate issued to perform work under this chapter.

PLAN - A scheme which indicates land treatment measures, including a schedule of the timing for their installation, to minimize soil erosion and sedimentation.

PROJECT - The disturbance of more than 5,000 square feet of the surface area of land for the accommodation of construction for which the Standard Building Code of the State of New Jersey would require a building permit, except that the construction of a single-family dwelling unit shall not be deemed a "project" under this act unless such unit is part of a proposed subdivision, site plan, special exception, zoning variance, planned unit development or building permit application involving two or more such single-family dwelling units.

SEDIMENT - Solid material, both mineral and organic, that is in suspension, is being transported or has been moved from its site of origin by air, water or gravity as a product of erosion.

SEDIMENT BASIN - A barrier or dam built at suitable locations to retain rock, sand, gravel, silt or other material.

SITE - Any plot, parcel or parcels of land.

SOIL - All unconsolidated mineral and organic material of any origin.

SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICT - A governmental subdivision of this state, which encompasses this Township, organized in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 24, Title 4, of the New Jersey Revised Statutes.

STANDARDS - Standards for soil erosion and sediment control in New Jersey as promulgated by the State Soil Conservation Committee.

STATE SOIL CONSERVATION COMMITTEE - An agency of the state established in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 24, Title 4, of the New Jersey Revised Statutes.

STRIPPING - Any activity which significantly disturbs vegetated or otherwise stabilized soil surface, including clearing and grubbing operations.

VEGETATION PROTECTION - Stabilization of erosive or sediment-producing areas by covering the soil with:

  1. Permanent seeding, producing long-term vegetative cover.
  2. Short-term seeding, producing temporary vegetative cover.
  3. Sodding, producing areas covered with a turf of perennial sod-forming grass.

WATERCOURSE - Any natural or artificial watercourse, stream, river, creek, ditch, channel, canal, conduit, culvert, drain, waterway, gully, ravine or wash in which water flows in a definite direction or course either continuously or intermittently and which has a definite channel, bed and banks, and shall include any area adjacent thereto subject to inundation by reason of overflow or floodwater.

§ 478-4 Permit required.

  1. No land area shall be disturbed by any person, partnership or corporation, within the Township unless the applicant has submitted a permit and plan to provide for soil erosion and sediment control for such land area in accordance with the Standards for Erosion and Sediment Control promulgated by the New Jersey Soil Conservation Committee and this section and such plan has been approved.

    Said permit to be issued by the Township Engineer for all single-family dwellings units (unless the unit was part of a proposed subdivision, site plan, conditional use, zoning variance, planned development or construction permit application involving two or more such single-family dwellings). All applications for public facility projects and all other development projects shall be submitted to the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District for review, certification and enforcement.
  2. The purpose of this section is to make clear the fact that soil erosion and sediment control permit approval must be obtained from the Township Engineer or the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District for all soil removal, mining and quarrying operations, the placement of fill, and all other land disturbances when permitted except for those disturbances exempted hereafter.
  3. Applications for permits to be reviewed, certified and enforced by the Township Engineer shall be obtained from the Planning and Zoning secretary. All other applications for permits should be obtained from the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District.

§ 478-5 Application information.

  1. Application for a soil erosion and sediment control permit from the Township for single family residential units shall be filed with the Township Zoning Officer whom will for the application to the Township Engineer for review. The application shall include a separate soil erosion and sediment control plan for each noncontiguous site. The application shall include the following:
    1. A map of the site, at a scale of one-inch equals 50 feet, minimum, prepared by a licensed professional engineer showing existing contour lines, at two-foot intervals.
    2. The location and description of existing natural and man-made features on and surrounding the site, including general topography and soil characteristics and a copy of the Soil Conservation District Soil Survey where available.
    3. The location and description of proposed changes to the site.
    4. Measures for soil erosion and sediment control which shall meet or exceed Standards for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control promulgated by the State Soil Conservation Committee. Standards shall be on file at the offices of the local Soil Conservation District and the Township Clerk.
    5. A schedule of the sequence of installation of planned erosion and sediment control measures as related to the progress of the project including anticipated starting and completion dates.
    6. All proposed revisions of data required shall be submitted for approval. The applicant may consult with the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District in the selection of appropriate erosion and sediment control measures and the development of the plan.
    7. Any computations and documents which may be required by the Township Engineer to demonstrate that adequate soil erosion measures are employed to assure against the hazards of soil erosion and sedimentation.
    8. An application form completely filled in.
    9. The application fees.
    10. An escrow fee for inspections of the site and review of the project.

§ 478-6 Factors considered in approving permits.

  1. In considering and reviewing the application for land disturbance permit, the Township Engineer shall be guided by and take into consideration the public health, safety, and general welfare and the general purposes of land use control. In particular, consideration shall be given to the following factors:
    1. Proposed stripping of vegetation.
    2. Effects of proposed tree removal.
    3. Surface water drainage.
    4. Extent of disturbed area and the duration of exposure of subsoil.
    5. Soil fertility.
    6. Contours, both existing and proposed.
    7. Whether proposed land disturbance is necessary and incidental to the development of the property.
    8. Erosion of soil by water and wind, and the soil's susceptibility to the production of sedimentation.
    9. Lateral support of abutting streets and lands.
    10. Land values and uses.
    11. Effect on water resources, such as streams and wetlands.
  2. The Township Engineer shall not approve a plan for single family residential dwelling unit unless it is in conformance with the Standards for Erosion and Sediment Control adopted by the State Soil Conservation Committee. The Township Engineer may seek the assistance of the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District in the review of such plans. The Township Engineer may refer the plan to the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District for its review.
  3. In the event that the Township Engineer concludes, after considering and reviewing the application, that the resultant effect of the land disturbance would be excessive erosion of the soil and/or subsoil by water or wind, or the sedimentation of streams, ponds, lakes, and/or wetlands, located on or off the site, or that other adverse impact may occur, then the permit may be denied.

§ 478-7 Issuance of permit.

  1. A permit shall be issued after approval of the application in accordance with § 478-6 and after the performance guarantee requirements, as set forth in § 478-11, have been satisfied.
  2. Such review and approval shall be made within a period of 30 days of submission of a complete application unless, by mutual agreement in writing between the Township and the applicant, this period is extended for an additional 30 days. Failure of the Township to make a decision within such period or extension thereof shall constitute certification.
  3. The applicant shall be provided with written notice of such decision by the Township Engineer. A copy of such decision including name of applicant, site location by street address and block and lot number, and proposed land use shall be sent to the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District. The Township shall also make available such other information as may be required by the District.
  4. The Township Engineer shall be advised in writing at least 48 hours prior to any land disturbance or construction activity.

§ 478-8 Principles applicable to soil erosion and sediment control plan.

  1. Control measures shall apply to all aspects of the proposed land disturbance and shall be in operation during all stages of the disturbance activity. The following principles shall apply to the soil erosion and sediment control plan:
    1. Stripping of vegetation, grading or other soil disturbance shall be done in a manner which shall minimize soil erosion.
    2. Whenever feasible, natural vegetation shall be retained and protected.
    3. The extent of the disturbed area and the duration of its exposure shall be kept within practical limits.
    4. Either temporary seeding, mulching or other suitable stabilization measure shall be used to protect exposed critical areas during construction or other land disturbance.
    5. Drainage provisions shall accommodate increased runoff, resulting from modified soil and surface conditions, during and after development of disturbance. Such provisions shall be in addition to all existing requirements.
    6. Water runoff shall be minimized and retained on site, wherever possible, to facilitate groundwater recharge.
    7. Sediment shall be retained on site to the maximum extent feasible.
    8. Diversions, sediment basins, and similar required structures shall be installed prior to any on-site grading or disturbance.

§ 478-9 Maintenance of control measures; issuance of certificate indicating completion.

All necessary soil erosion and sediment control measures installed under this chapter shall be adequately maintained for one year after completion of the approved plan, or until such measures are permanently stabilized as determined by the Township Engineer. The Township Engineer shall give the applicant, upon request, a certificate indicating the date on which the measures called for in the approved plans were completed.

§ 478-10 Exemptions.

The following activities are specifically exempted from this chapter:

  1. Land disturbances associated with one- or two-family dwellings, if such disturbance involves less than 5,000 square feet of land area.
  2. Land used for gardening primarily for home consumption.
  3. Land used for agricultural purposes, when operated in accordance with a farm conservation plan approved by the local Soil Conservation District.
  4. Land disturbances involving less than 5,000 square feet of land area.

§ 478-11 Applications to Vernon Township; fees.

  1. Application and inspection fees.
    1. Upon applying for a permit pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the applicant shall pay a fee to cover the cost of the initial review of the soil erosion and sediment control application, as well as for any renewal or resubmission thereof, in the amount set forth in the fee schedule as follows:

      Type of Permit—Single-family home
      Application—$100
      Review/Inspection Fee—$500
      Renewal—$100
  2. The review/inspection fee is the initial minimum deposit required. Any charges over the initial deposit required for additional reviews for revisions or incomplete applications or inspections shall be paid by additional deposits, to be paid monthly, due the first of each month.
  3. Inspection shall be provided for during construction, and the applicant shall be required to have the certified plans on site during construction.
  4. Applicants need to comply with the NJDPES Stormwater Phase II, NJ0088323 requirements for proposed land disturbances one acre or larger.
  5. When a conditional report of compliance (ROC) is issued, during the nongrowing season, a performance deposit of $3,000 per acre of disturbed soil ($3,000 minimum for a single-family site) will be required and will be placed in an escrow account. An administration fee of $100 will be charged and retained by the Township of Vernon.

§ 478-12 Referral to Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District; fees.

  1. All soil erosion and sediment control plans and applications submitted pursuant to this chapter to any municipal board in connection with an application for development shall be referred by said board to the Upper Delaware County Soil Conservation District for its review, recommendation, and certification in accordance with the Standards for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control.
  2. All fees charged by the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District for its services in connection with the review and certification of any plans shall be paid by the applicant directly to the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District.

§ 478-13 Revocation of permit and other relief.

  1. After reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard before the Township Committee, the permit of any person may be revoked or suspended for such period as the Township may determine, for any violation of the terms hereof, or the terms and conditions of any approved plan and permit granted hereunder.
  2. The Township may issue a stop construction order if a project is not being executed in accordance with a certified plan. A certificate of occupancy for a project shall not be issued unless there has been compliance with the provisions of a certified plan for permanent measures to control soil erosion and sedimentation. A formal report of such compliance shall be filed with the municipal agent authorized to issue certificates of occupancy.
  3. Notwithstanding the above, the Township Committee may cause a stop order to be issued by the enforcement official or designee prior to hearing if, in its opinion, such an order should be issued to stop or mitigate irrevocable damage. The Township Committee may also seek appropriate injunctive relief prior to any hearing before it if this remedy is deemed appropriate because of the urgency of the situation.

§ 478-14 Enforcement official.

  1. The requirements of this chapter shall be enforced by the Township Engineer, who shall also inspect or require adequate inspections of the work.
  2. If the Township Engineer finds existing conditions not as stated in the applicant's erosion and sediment control plan, he may refuse to approve further work and may require necessary erosion and sediment control measures to be promptly installed and may seek other penalties as provided in this chapter.

§ 478-15 Violations and penalties.

  1. If any person shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter or fail to comply with the provisions of a certified plan, the Township may institute a civil action in the Superior Court for injunctive relief to prohibit and prevent such violation or violations, and such Court may proceed in a summary manner.
  2. Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter or fail to comply with the provisions of a certified plan shall be liable to a penalty of not less than $25 nor more than $3,000 to be collected in a summary proceeding pursuant to the Penalty Enforcement Law, N.J.S.A. 2A:58-1 et seq. The Superior Court, County Court, County District Court and Municipal Court shall have jurisdiction to enforce the penalty enforcement law.
  3. If the violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which it continues shall constitute an additional separate and distinct offense.

§ 478-16 Jurisdiction.

  1. In the event the proposed area to be disturbed is located partially in Vernon Township and partially in another municipality only the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District certification is required so that the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District has jurisdiction over the soil erosion and sediment control application, no land shall be disturbed until:
  2. The Township Engineer shall have 30 days to deny or approve a soil erosion and sediment control permit.

§ 478-17 Prerequisites to issuance of certificate of occupancy and release of performance guarantee.

Prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, and prior to the release of any performance guarantee posted for improvements, a letter from the Township Engineer, certifying the compliance of the soil erosion and sediment control measures on the site with the soil erosion and sediment control permit, shall be presented to the Construction Official in the case of the certificate of occupancy and the Township Committee in the case of the release of the performance guarantee.

§ 478-18 Expiration of permit.

A permit is valid for a period of three years from the date of issuance of permit.

§ 478-19 Renewal of permit.

If a permit expires prior to the issuance of a certificate of compliance per § 478-9, an application for permit renewal must be filed along with a renewal fee as set forth in § 478-11.

§ 478-20 Resubmission.

If the project for which a permit has been issued is found to be constructed in a manner inconsistent with the approved plan, revised plans shall be prepared by the applicant's engineer and resubmitted for review by the Township Engineer, along with a resubmission fee as set forth in § 478-11. The Township Engineer or Construction Official, at his or her sole discretion, may require the applicant to resubmit such revised plans to the Township Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment, as deemed appropriate.

§ 478-22 Posting of bond.

  1. If the project is to be completed at a time of the year wherein established growth is not possible prior to application for a certificate of occupancy, an applicant shall post a bond in the principal sum of $3,000, plus pay an administrative fee of $100, providing for full and complete performance.
  2. The $3,000 bond shall be returned to the applicant after growth is established and a certificate of compliance from the Township Engineer is received by the Construction Official. Such bond will be with such sureties and in such form as is satisfactory to the Vernon Township Committee.

SECTION 2. Each section of this ordinance is an independent section, and the holding of any section or part thereof to be unconstitutional, void or ineffective for any cause shall not be deemed to affect the validity of constitutionality of any other sections or parts thereof.

SECTION 3. Any ordinances or parts thereof in conflict with the provisions of this Ordinance are hereby repealed as to their inconsistencies only.

SECTION 4. This Ordinance shall take effect immediately upon final passage, approval, and publication by law.