Gratiot County Soil Ordinance

Gratiot County Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance (2003-1)

 

ORDINANCE NO.  2003-1

 

AN ORDINANCE TO PROVIDE FOR SOIL EROSION AND SEDIMENTATION

CONTROL WITHIN THE COUNTY OF GRATIOT

 

THE COUNTY OF GRATIOT ORDAINS:                                        

 

Section l.            Purpose

 

The Gratiot County Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance is intended to protect the health, safety and welfare of the population by regulating earth change activities which can harm the environment through erosion and the unnatural accumulation of sediment. Plowing and tilling soil for the purpose of crop production, pursuant to MCL 324.0101 (9), is not an earth change, and thus is not subject to enforcement under this ordinance or the act upon which it is promulgated.

 

Section 2               Enforcing Agency

 

The Gratiot County Permits Office is the county enforcing agency responsible for administering and enforcing soil erosion and sedimentation control pursuant to Part 91 Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act being Public Act 451 of 1994, as amended, (Part 91), being Sections 324.9101 through 324.9123a, throughout the County of Gratiot except in municipalities that have, by ordinance or otherwise, been designated as municipal enforcing agencies pursuant to Section 9106 of Part 91 or, been designated as an authorized public agency pursuant to Section 9110 of Part 91.

 

Section 3.            Rules Adopted.

 

The County of Gratiot hereby adopts by reference the latest rules promulgated by the Department of Environmental Quality pursuant to Part 91. Said rules shall be available for public distribution as a reasonable charge and will be available for public inspection at the Office of the County Clerk. 

 

Section 4.            Definitions.

 

The County hereby adopts by reference the definitions contained in Part 91 and the definitions contained in the rules promulgated pursuant to Part 91.  In addition, the following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this ordinance:

 


(A)              Cease and Desist Order.  An order that stops only that work relative to a project which is causing a violation of this ordinance or Part 91 until said violation is corrected.

(B)              Certification of Completion.  A signed written statement by the Gratiot County Permits Office, indicating that specific construction [DoEQ1]has been inspected and found to comply with all plans and specifications contained in this ordinance, Part 91 and rules upon which it is based.

 

(C)              Gratiot County Permits Office.  The county enforcing agency responsible for administration and enforcement of this ordinance in the name of the County of Gratiot.           

 

(D)              Stop Work Order.  An order that stops all work on a project until any and all violations of this ordinance or Part 91 are corrected, except for remedial measures to correct the violation.                                                            

 

Section 5.            Permits and Fees.

 

(A)            Earth Change Requirements Generally:

 

(1)            A person shall conduct an earth change in a manner that will effectively reduce accelerated soil erosion and resulting sedimentation. 

 

(2)            A person engaged in an earth change as defined in Part 91 and this ordinance, shall plan, implement and maintain acceptable soil erosion and sedimentation control measures in conformance with Part 91, which effectively reduce accelerated soil erosion and off site sedimentation.

 

(3)            A person shall set forth soil erosion and sedimentation control measures in a plan as prescribed by Section 5 B of this ordinance.  A person shall make the plan available for inspection at all times at the site of the earth change. 

 

(4)            A person shall obtain a permit containing information prescribed by this ordinance, pursuant to the requirements of this ordinance, and make the permit available for inspection at the site of the earth change.

 

(B)            Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan Requirements:

 

(1)            A person shall prepare a soil erosion and sedimentation control plan for any earth change identified in Section 5 C of this ordinance.  A person shall design the plan to effectively reduce accelerated soil erosion and sedimentation and shall identify factors that may contribute to soil erosion and/or sedimentation.  The plan shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

 


a.            A map or maps at a scale of not more than 200 feet to the inch.  A map shall include a legal description and site location sketch that includes the proximity of any proposed earth change to lakes or streams, or both; predominant land features; and contour intervals or slope description.

 

b.            A soils survey or a written description of the soil types of the exposed land area contemplated for the earth change. 

 

c.            Details for proposed earth changes, including all of the following:

 

(i)            A description and the location of the physical limits of each proposed earth change. 

 

(ii)            A description and the location of all existing and proposed on site drainage and dewatering facilities.

 

(iii)            The timing and sequence of each proposed earth change.

 

(iv)            The location and description for installing and removing all proposed temporary soil erosion and sediment control measures.

 

(v)            A description and the location of all proposed permanent soil erosion and sediment control measures.

 

(vi)            A program proposal for the continued maintenance of all permanent soil erosion and sediment control measures that remain after project completion, including the designation of the person responsible for the maintenance.  Maintenance responsibility shall become a part of any sales or exchange agreement for the land on which the permanent soil erosion control measures are located.

 

(C)            Permit Requirements.

 

(1)            A land owner or designated agent who contracts for, allows, or engages in an earth change in this County, shall obtain a permit from the Gratiot County Permits Office before commencing an earth change which disturbs one or more acres of land or which is within five hundred feet of the water’s edge of a lake or stream, unless exempted in Section 5 D.

 


(2)            An earth change activity that does not require a permit under Subsection 1 above, but nonetheless causes or results in a violation of this ordinance or Part 91, is not exempt from enforcement proceedings.  Once those proceedings commence, a permit shall be required before work may resume.

 

(D)            Permit Exemptions and Waivers.

 

(1)            A permit is not required for any of the following:

 

(a)            Normal road and driveway maintenance, such as grading or leveling, that does not increase the width or length of the road or driveway and that will not contribute sediment to lakes or streams.

 

(b)            An earth change of a minor nature that is stabilized within 24 hours of the initial earth disturbance and that will not contribute sediment to lakes or streams.

 

(c)            An earth change associated with well locations, surface facilities, flow lines, or access roads relating to oil or gas explorations and development activities regulated under Part 615, if the application for a permit to drill and operate under Part 615 contains a soil erosion and sedimentation control plan that is approved by the Department of Environmental Quality under Part 615. These earth changes shall conform to the same standards as required for a permit under this part.

 

(d)             Logging or mining activities. However, all earth changes associated with these activities shall conform to the same standards as if they required a permit. This exemption from obtaining a permit does not include:

                                               

                        1.            Access roads to and from the site where active mining or logging is taking place.

                        2.            Ancillary activities associated with logging and mining.

                        3.            The removal of clay, sand, gravel, peat or topsoil, as defined in MCL 324.9115 (4).

 

(e)        Plowing or tilling of land for the purpose of crop production or the harvesting of crops.                           

 

(2)            The Gratiot County Permits Office may grant a permit waiver for an earth change after receiving a signed affidavit from the land owner stating that the earth change will disturb less than 225 square feet and that the earth change will not contribute to sediment to lakes or streams.

 


(3)            Exemptions provided above shall not be construed as exemption from enforcement proceedings under this ordinance if the activities so exempt cause or result in a violation of Part 451 of Public Act 451 of 1994 or this ordinance.

 

(E)            Application for Permit. 

 

(1)            A land owner or designated agent shall submit an application for a permit to the Gratiot County Permits Office.

 

(2)            A land owner or designated agent shall submit, with the application, a soil erosion and sedimentation control plan with all the attachments as described in this ordinance.

 

(3)            Copies of applications may be picked up at the Gratiot County Permits Office.

 

(F)            Sequential Applications

 

(1)            Projects on a site which are large or complex and that a soil erosion control plan that encompasses all phases of the project cannot reasonably be prepared prior to initial ground breaking, application for permit on successive major incremental earth change activities may be allowed. 

 

(2)            Approval of sequential applications shall take place in two phases.  First, the overall conceptual plan for the entire development shall be submitted for review and approval.  Second, detailed plans for sections of the total project shall be submitted for review and approval.

 

(3)            All permits processed and issued for phases of a project shall be clearly defined as to the nature and extent of work covered.  Each phase of the project must be reviewed and permitted prior to construction.

 

(G)            Application Review and Permit Procedures. 

 


(1)            The plan shall be reviewed by an individual from the Gratiot County Permits Office trained in soil erosion and sedimentation control methods and techniques.  This individual shall approve, disapprove or require modification of an application for an earth change permit within 30 calendar days following receipt of the application.  The person requesting said permit will be notified of approval by first class mail. 

 

(2)            If the application is disapproved, the individual requesting the permit shall be notified of the denial by certified mail.  This notification shall include within it, reasons for the disapproval and the conditions required for approval.  The mailing requirements indicated above are waived if the Gratiot County Permits Office notifies an applicant of approval or disapproval in writing, or in person. 

 

(3)            If an earth change is under the jurisdiction of the county and another municipal or county enforcing agency, then the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality shall act as the enforcing agency.

 

(H)            Fees

 

Fees shall be in accordance with a fee schedule, as determined by the County Board of Commissioners from time to time, to cover the cost of enforcement of this ordinance.

 

(I)            Permit Expiration and Revocation

 

(1)            Permit Expiration.  Permits shall expire automatically upon the project completion date provided on the permit.  Permits shall also terminate automatically if construction has not commenced within one year of the date of issuance.  An extension of the permit period for one year may be obtained upon the request identified in Section 14 of this ordinance by the permit holder if there are valid reasons to support such an extension.

 

(2)            Permit Revocation.  Any permit issued under this Ordinance may be revoked or suspended for any of the following reasons:

 

a.            A violation of the condition of the permit.

 

b.            Misrepresentation or failure to fully disclose relevant facts in the application or in the plan.

 

c.            A change in a condition that requires a temporary or permanent change in the activity.

 


d.            Authorized work is abandoned or suspended for a period of six months.

 

e.            Notice will be given to the permit holder of revocation or suspension of the permit by certified mail.

 

Section 6.            Earth Change Requirements: Time; Sediment Removal; Design, Installation, and Removal of Temporary or Permanent Control Measures.

 

(A)            A person shall design, construct and complete an earth change in a manner that limits the exposed area of any distributed land for the shortest possible period of time as determined by the Gratiot County Permits Office. 

 

(B)            A person shall remove sediment caused by accelerated soil erosion from runoff water before it leaves the site of the earth change. 

 

(C)            A person shall design a temporary or permanent control measure that is designed and constructed for the conveyance of water around, through, or from the earth change area to limit the water flow to a non-erosive velocity.

 

(D)            A person shall install temporary soil erosion and sedimentation control measures before or upon commencement of the earth change activity and shall maintain the measures on a daily basis.  A person shall remove temporary soil erosion and sedimentation control measures after permanent soil erosion measures are in place and the area is stabilized.  A person shall stabilize the area with permanent soil erosion control measures under approved standards and specifications as prescribed by the next section of this ordinance.

 

(E)            A person shall complete permanent soil erosion control measures for all slopes, channels, ditches or any disturbed land area within five calendar days after final grading or the final earth change has been completed.  If it is not possible to permanently stabilize a disturbed area after an earth change has been completed or if significant earth change activity ceases, then a person shall maintain temporary soil erosion and sedimentation control measures until permanent soil erosion control measures are in place and the area is stabilized.

 

Section 7.            Standards and Specifications.

 


A person shall complete all temporary and permanent erosion and sedimentation control measures according to the approved plan or operating procedures as promulgated by Gratiot County Permits Office and approved by the Department of Environmental Quality. 

 

(A)            A person shall install and maintain control measures in accordance with the standards and specifications of all of the following:

 

(1)            The product manufacturer.

 

(2)            The local conservation district.

 

(3)            The Department of Environmental Quality

 

(4)            The Michigan Department of Transportation.

 

(5)            The Gratiot County Permits Office.

 

(B)            If a conflict exists between the standards and specifications, then the Gratiot County Permits Office shall determine which specifications are appropriate for the project.

 

Section 8.            Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Procedures and Measures Generally. 

 

A person who applies for an earth change permit shall incorporate the soil erosion and sedimentation control procedures and measures prescribed by the above two sections as promulgated by Gratiot County Permits Office and approved by the Department of Environmental Quality into the soil erosion and sedimentation control plan and shall apply the procedures and measures to all earth changes identified in the plan, unless the person preparing the plan shows, to the satisfaction of the Gratiot County Permits Office, that altering the control procedures or measures or including other control procedures or measures will prevent accelerated soil erosion and sedimentation during the earth change.

 

Section 9.            Building Permits. 

 

No building permit shall be issued to a person engaged in an earth change if the change requires a permit under this ordinance until the Gratiot County Permits Office has issued the required permit for the earth change.

 

Section 10.             Earth Change Permit/Posting Bond                                   

 

(A)              The enforcement agency may, as a prerequisite for issuing a permit, require that the applicant post a surety bond, cash bond or an irrevocable letter of credit.

 

(B)              If a surety bond is required, it shall be in a form approved by the County attorney and shall be executed by the land owner and a corporate surety with authority to do business in the state as a surety.                       

 

(C)              The surety bond, cash bond or irrevocable letter of credit shall include, and be made on the condition, that the applicant shall comply with all of the provisions of this ordinance, all terms and conditions of the permit, and that the applicant complete all work contemplated under the permit within the time limit specified in the permit.

 

(D)              In the event that the applicant fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the Earth Change Permit or fails to comply with the provision of this ordinance, or fails to implement the approved Soil Erosion Sedimentation ControlPlan, the enforcement agency may contract for such work as is necessary to ensure compliance with the permit, this ordinance and/or Part 91, and further, the cost of said enforcement shall be deducted from the bond, as shall any unpaid fees.

 

(E)               Once the project is complete, the enforcement agency shall refund any unused portion of the bond to the person who posted it.

 

 

 

 

Section 11.            Enforcement.

 

                        (A)       This ordinance shall be enforced by the Gratiot County Permits Office through the Building Official or designee. Said Building Official or designee shall be authorized to issue notices, Stop Work Orders, Cease and Desist Orders, revocation of permits and citations for violation of this ordinance.  

 

(B)            The Gratiot County Permits Office may issue a Stop Work Order, Cease and Desist Order or revoke a permit upon its finding that there is a violation of Part 91, the rules, or this ordinance, or a finding that there is a violation of a permit or an approved soil erosion and sedimentation control plan.

 


(C)            Notice of Determination.

 

If the Gratiot County Permit’s Office determines that soil erosion or sedimentation of adjacent properties or the waters of the state has or will reasonably occur from land and violation on this ordinance, the act or rules promulgated pursuant to the act, the Gratiot County Permits Office may enforce said violation by notifying the owner of the land by mail, return receipt requested of its determination.  Said notice shall contain a description of the violation and what must be done to remedy the violation and shall specify a time to comply. 

 

(1)            Not sooner than 5 days after notice of violation has been mailed, if the condition of the land, in the opinion of the Gratiot County Permits Office may result in or contribute to soil erosion or sedimentation of adjacent properties or to the water’s of this state, and if soil erosion and sedimentation control measures in conformance with Part 91, the rules, and this ordinance are not in place, the Gratiot County Permits Office or its designee may enter upon the land and construct, implement, and maintain soil erosion and sedimentation control measures in conformance with Part 91, the rules, and this ordinance.  However, the Gratiot County Permits Office shall not expend more than $10, 000 for the cost of the work, materials, labor, and administration without prior written notice to the person who owns the land that the expenditure of more than $10,000 may be made.  If more than $10,000 is to be expended under this section, than the work shall not begin until at least 10 days after the notice of violation has been mailed.

 

(2)            All expenses incurred by the Gratiot County Permits Office to construct, implement, and maintain soil erosion and sedimentation control measures to bring land into compliance with Part 91, the rules, and this ordinance shall be reimbursed to the county by the person who owns the land.  The county shall have a lien for the expenses incurred of bringing the land into conformance with the Act, the rules promulgated under the Act, or this ordinance.  However, with respect to single family or multi-family residential property, the lien for such expenses shall have priority over all liens and encumbrances filed or recorded after the date of such expenditure.  With respect to all other property, the lien for such expenses shall be collected and treated in the same manner as provide for property tax liens under the General Property Tax Act. 


 

(D)            Violations; Penalties. 

 

(1)            A person who violates this ordinance is responsible for a municipal civil infraction and may be ordered to pay a civil fine of not more than $2,500.00. 

 

(2)            A person who knowingly makes a false statement in an application for a permit or in a soil erosion and sedimentation control plan is responsible for a civil fine of up to $10,000.00 for each day of violation.

 

(3)            A person who knowingly violates this ordinance after receiving a notice of determination of said violation is responsible for payment of a civil fine of not less than $2,500.00 or more than $25,000.00 for each day of the violation.

 

(4)            A default in payment of a civil fine or costs ordered under this section may be remedied by any means authorized under the revised Judicature Act of 1961 being sections 600.101 to 600.9948 of the Michigan Compiled Laws as amended.

 

(5)            In addition to any fines assessed under this section, a person who violates this ordinance is liable to the State of Michigan for any damages for injury to, destruction of, or loss of natural resources resulting from the violation.

 

(6)               Any fines and/or costs paid as the result of civil infractions that are due the County pursuant to Part 91 or this ordinance shall be deposited with the Gratiot County Soil Inspection Fund to be utilized in the enforcement of this ordinance, permits issued to this ordinance and/or Part 91. Landowners, lessees, contractors or other individuals undertaking an earth change are liable for civil penalties.

 

Section 12.            Injunction; Inspection and Investigation.             

 

(A)            Notwithstanding the existence or pursuit of any other remedy, the County may maintain an action in a court of competent jurisdiction for an injunction or other process against a person to restrain or prevent violations of this ordinance.

 


(B)            The Gratiot County Permits Office may enter at all reasonable times in or upon any private or public property for the purpose of inspecting and investigating conditions or practices that may be in violation of this ordinance.

 

Section 13.            Permit; Deposit as Condition for Issuance.   

 

The Gratiot County Permits Office may require an applicant, as a condition for the issuance of a permit to first deposit with the County Clerk in the form of cash, a certified check, or an irrevocable bank letter of credit or a surety bond acceptable to the County, in an amount sufficient to assure the installation and completion of such protective or corrective measures as may be required by the Gratiot County Permits Office to insure compliance with this ordinance.

 

Section 14.            Extension of Time

 

If the permittee is unable to complete the work within the specified time, the person may, at least ten days prior to the expiration of the permit, present in writing to the Gratiot County Permits Office, a request for an extension of time setting forth the reasons for the requested extension.  In the event such an extension is warranted, the County may grant additional time for the completion of the work, but no such extension shall release the owner or the surety on the bond or the person furnishing the instrument of credit or cash bond. 

 

Section 15.            Separability.

 

If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this ordinance is, for any reason, held invalid or unconstitutional by any Court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions thereof.

 

Section 16.            Ordinances Repealed.

 

All ordinances and/or parts of ordinances inconsistent with this ordinance are hereby repealed. 

 

  

Section 17.            Appeals

 

Any person aggrieved by the action or inaction related to the Ordinance may appeal to the Gratiot County Soil Erosion Control Appeals Board.  All requests for appeal shall be made in writing and include the reason for appeal.

 

Section 18.            Effective Date. 

 

This ordinance shall take effect and be in force 30 days from and after its enactment.

 

 

This Ordinance was passed and approved by the Gratiot County Board of Commissioners of the County of Gratiot, Michigan, in regular session, held April 15, 2003.

 

I, the undersigned, Chairman of the Board of the County of Gratiot, Michigan and Clerk of the County of Gratiot, do hereby certify that the above and foregoing Ordinance, known as Ordinance No. 2003-1 of the County of Gratiot, Michigan, was introduced at a regular meeting of the County Board of Commissioners, held on March 4, 2003, and was thereafter passed at a regular meeting on April 15, 2003, at least two weeks elapsing between the introduction and the enactment.