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CODE | NEW LAWS | LAW INDEX

[Added 8-2-2004 by Ord. No. 247]


§ 213-44 Purpose.

The Borough of Stockertown's topography may be defined as a karst topography due to the presence of carbonate rock that generally consists of dolomite and limestone. The limestone and dolomite are divided into formations. The carbonate formations present in Stockertown Borough consist of Epler, Rickenbach, Allentown, Jacksonburg and Leithsville formations. These formations are susceptible to the development of solution cavities and sinkhole development. Therefore, anyone considering developing property within the Borough should be aware of the potential geological hazards. The regulations contained herein are intended to minimize the risk of sinkhole occurrence in areas of new development and on lands adjacent to these developments.

§ 213-45 Governance.

The regulations established by this article shall apply to all land development or subdivision applications pertaining to commercial, governmental (except those owned by Borough of Stockertown) and industrial/office structures, apartment complexes and multiple single-family home developments with three or more lots.

§ 213-46 Exemptions.

All single-family homes and the alteration of single-family homes to include detached structures such as garages, barns and swimming pools shall be exempt from the regulations established in this section.

§ 213-47 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

CARBONATE ROCK
Rock types that are affected by dissolution weathering process caused by slightly acidic groundwater. The most common types of rock that are categorized as carbonate rock are limestone (calcium carbonate) and dolomite (calcium magnesium carbonate).
CAVERN
Interconnected solution features within the bedrock surface.
CLAY LINER
Fine-grained soil that is used in the construction of a liner that limits the rate of surface water intrusion into the subsurface.
CLOSED DEPRESSION
A bowl-shaped depression in the land surface characterized by internal drainage. A ghost lake is a closed depression which has visible standing water after a heavy rainfall event.
DISSOLUTION WEATHERING
The removal of soluble materials from intact carbonate rock by slightly acidic groundwater.
FAULT
A fracture in bedrock along which movement has taken place.
FINE-GRAINED SOIL
Materials that predominantly consist of silt and clay-sized particles.
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS (CHEMICAL OR BIOHAZARD)
As defined and regulated by the PADEP or EPA.
IMPERMEABLE LINERS
A liner system that prohibits the infiltration or surface water into the subsurface.
KARST
The terrain that results from the dissolution of carbonate rock.
KARST PROCESS
The dissolution of carbonate rock by slightly acidic groundwater.
LINEAMENTS
Aligned topographic features that locate faults and fractures.
RESIDUAL SOIL
Soils derived from the in-place weathering of the underlying bedrock.
SINKHOLE
Localized land surface subsidence or collapse due to karst processes. Sinkholes are categorized as solution sinkholes, collapse sinkholes and subsidence sinkholes.
SPRING
Where water flows naturally out of the bedrock or the overlying soil mantle onto the land surface.
TOXIC AND/OR BIOLOGICAL OR CHEMICAL HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
Biological species or chemical compounds, which are deemed to be toxic or hazardous by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

§ 213-48 Specific requirements.

A.

All of the following specific requirements shall apply to land developments and/or subdivisions covered by this article:

(1)

No buildings, structures or stormwater management basin shall be placed in or over the following features if unremediated in accordance with the terms of this article: sinkholes, closed depressions, lineaments, or faults.

(2)

Building structures and stormwater management basins shall be located no closer than 100 feet from the rim of unremediated sinkholes, and no closer than 50 feet from lineaments, faults, or closed depressions.

(3)

Outflow from a stormwater management basin and/or postdevelopment stormwater flows shall not be directed to any of the following carbonate features: sinkholes, closed depressions, lineaments, or caverns.

(4)

Lagoons containing substances defined as toxic and/or hazardous by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection are not permitted.

(5)

Storage and handling areas for hazardous materials must have impermeable surfaces designed to contain materials stored/handled from which they shall be directed to a predetermined collection point.

(6)

The land application of hazardous materials is not permitted.

(7)

The underground storage of any hazardous materials, except gasoline and diesel fuel, shall be prohibited.

(8)

Groundwater monitoring devices approved by the Borough are required for all facilities handling hazardous materials.

B.

The Borough Council shall not entertain requests for waivers from the requirements listed above until a Carbonate Ordinance Assessment Report, as required by this article, has been supplied to the Planning Commission and the Borough Engineer for their review and comment.

§ 213-49 Carbonate Ordinance Assessment Report.

A.

All land developments and/or subdivisions covered by this article shall be evaluated by a licensed professional civil engineer with expertise in geotechnical engineering or a licensed professional geologist. Each of said experts being licensed in their field of expertise by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A list of the engineer's/geologist's qualifications shall be submitted to the Borough prior to the commencement of the site's evaluation. The Borough reserves the right to reject any report that in their opinion was authored by an individual or firm which does not possess the background to properly assess the site conditions as they relate to this article. Further, the Carbonate Ordinance Assessment Report submitted to the Borough must be signed by the licensed professional civil engineer with expertise in geotechnical engineering and/or a licensed professional geologist.

B.

The format and content of the Carbonate Ordinance Assessment Report shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(1)

Statement of purpose. This section shall indicate those specific Carbonate Ordinance standards being addressed in the report and whether the applicant is attempting to demonstrate compliance or justify noncompliance with those specific Carbonate Ordinance standards.

(2)

Description of existing conditions. This section shall present a description of existing characteristics of the property with respect to geology, topography, ground and surface water hydrology, soils, vegetation, and existing improvements and uses of property.

(3)

A map, at a scale no smaller than one inch equals 100 feet and a contour interval of two feet indicating the location of the property and all proposed improvements.

(4)

The developer/applicant shall submit information for the affected properties indicating the presence of any of the following carbonate features: depressions, fissures, lineaments, faults, ghost lakes, bedrock outcrops, sinkholes, seasonal high water levels, soil mottling, springs, surface drainage entering the ground, disappearing lakes or streams and caverns.

(5)

A recommended plan for the repair or remediation of surface or subsurface features that may impact the proposed development as well as the adjacent improved or unimproved properties.

(6)

The information requested above shall be based upon previously published data and field survey; which may include test borings, excavation of test pits, air-track probes, and geophysical methods.

C.

In addition to the Carbonate Ordinance Assessment Report, the developer shall also be required to provide the following information:

(1)

A plan indicating the existing and proposed drainage conditions, locations of all proposed private and public sewage disposal systems, and the location of existing private and public water supplies on adjoining properties (within 1,000 feet of applicant property).

(2)

Type, location and phasing of proposed site disturbance and construction, as well as proposed future ownership, utilization and maintenance of the property and the proposed improvements.

(3)

Proposed measures to control potential adverse environmental impacts on groundwater quality and stormwater management resulting from the development and utilization of the property.

(4)

Plans describing the design and construction of the proposed stormwater management facilities proposed for the project. A description of the minimum requirements are outlined below.

D.

Stormwater management:

(1)

All submissions for proposed developments must include a stormwater management plan prepared in accordance with adopted regulations and which limits surface water runoff and the intrusion of concentrated flow of surface water into the subsurface. Facilities that are required as part of the stormwater management plan include the collection of all runoff from commercial, office and industrial building roofs into storm drains by water tight gasketed joint conduits or adequately lined drainage swales and the collection of surface water flow on pavements into drop inlets connected to a water tight gasketed joint stormwater conduit or adequate lined drainage swale. The stormwater conduit must discharge into lined detention basins.

(2)

Approved stormwater conduits include HDPE, PVC. concrete, steel and cast iron pipe all with watertight rubber gaskets at each joint. The use of corrugated metal pipe is not permitted. Construction of the piping system must follow all other applicable ordinances. Where rock is encountered at or above the planned conduit design grade, the rock shall be undercut and over excavated a minimum of one foot and backfilled with a compacted fine-grained soil.

(3)

All detention basins in areas of sinkhole prone soil shall be lined. The liner used in a detention basin may consist of a clay liner, a composite synthetic and soil liner or a synthetic liner. The type of liner required shall depend on the condition of the detention basin bottom and the probability of sinkhole occurrence resulting from the construction of the detention basin. The use of low-flow channel may also be required depending on the duration and frequency of stormwater discharge into the detention basin. Subsurface detention systems must be in leakproof tanks or piping. The Borough's geotechnical engineer shall make the final determination as to what is an acceptable form of liner for the proposed detention basins.

E.

Additional items that must be included in the stormwater management plan include details with regard to the sealing of all pavement curbs and gutters, manholes and drop inlets.

§ 213-50 Review process.

A.

The Carbonate Ordinance Assessment Report must be received by the Borough when a plan is submitted for preliminary land development or subdivision approval. However, the report may be submitted at the time of sketch plan review. Four copies of the report shall be submitted to the Borough. The report shall be reviewed by the Borough geotechnical engineer and other consultants as designated by the Borough. Based on this review, the Borough may require additional information to be submitted, if the Borough concludes that such information would be instrumental in assessing the proposed development as it relates to the Carbonate Ordinance.

B.

Approvals required.

(1)

Where compliance with this section is required as part of an application for subdivision or land development approval, the Borough's decision on whether compliance has been achieved shall be made as part of its review of the subdivision or land development application.

(2)

Where the application is part of a request for zoning permit, the zoning officer shall issue no permit until he/she receives adequate written substantiation from the appropriate designated experts referred to above, the terms of this section, and any conditions imposed upon the use of the property at the time of subdivision or land development approval are satisfied.

§ 213-51 Limitations.

In carbonate areas, alteration and development of land may be hazardous with respect to foundation safety of structures, the creation of unstable land as a result of changes in drainage, and the contamination of ground and surface waters. Within the limitations of the information available at the time of the review of individual applications, the Borough shall attempt to make reasonable judgments as to the applicant's compliance with the Carbonate Ordinance. Under no circumstances shall the Borough of Stockertown or any officer or employee of the Borough or consultant to the Borough assume any liability for any damages that may result from an applicant's or any interested party's reliance upon the regulations of the Carbonate Ordinance or any decisions made by the Borough in the administration of such regulations by an applicant, developer, and/or any interested party.

 

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