Chapter 16.30


16.30.010    Title.

16.30.020    Purpose.

16.30.030    Definitions.

16.30.040    Grading approval required.

16.30.050    Exemptions.

16.30.060    Grading approval.

16.30.070    Conditions of grading approval.

16.30.080    Liability.

16.30.090    Compliance with permits and standards.

16.30.100    Water obstruction.

16.30.110    Levee work.

16.30.120    Application for grading permit.

16.30.130    Grading prior to issuance of approval of improvement plans.

16.30.140    Permission of other agencies or owners.

16.30.150    Erosion and sediment control plans (ESC plan).

16.30.160    Modification of approved grading plans.

16.30.170    Permit fees.

16.30.180    Inspection of work.

16.30.190    Identification of property lines.

16.30.200    Other responsibilities of permittee.

16.30.210    Time limits.

16.30.220    Permits nontransferable.

16.30.230    Abatement.

16.30.240    Penalty and cost of enforcement.

16.30.010 Title.

This Chapter shall be known as the grading ordinance of the city of Galt, and shall be referred to herein as the “grading ordinance.”(2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.020 Purpose.

The grading ordinance is enacted for the purpose of regulating grading on property within the city limits of the city to safeguard life, limb, health, property and the public welfare; to avoid pollution of watercourses with nutrients, sediments, or other materials generated or caused by surface water runoff; to comply with the city’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit no. CA0082597, issued by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board and to ensure that the intended use of a graded site within the city limits is consistent with the city general plan, any specific plans adopted thereto and all applicable city ordinances and regulations. The grading ordinance is intended to control all aspects of grading operations within the city limits of the city. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.030 Definitions.

Unless the particular provision or the context otherwise requires, wherever the following terms are used in the grading ordinance, they shall have the meaning ascribed to them in this section.

Best management practices: Any program, technology, technique, process, siting criteria, operating method, measure or device which controls, prevents, removes or reduces pollution, erosion, and sediment transport.

Building official: The building official for the city of Galt who has responsibility for the application of California building code within the city.

City council: City council of the city of Galt.

City standards: A compilation of administrative procedures, technical standards, and design specifications adopted by the city of Galt.

Director: Director of the public works department of the city of Galt, or his or her authorized designees.

Erosion and sediment control plan (ESC plan): Consists of a set of best management practices or equivalent measures designed to control surface runoff and erosion, retain sediment on a particular site, and prevent pollution of site runoff during the period in which preconstruction and construction related grading and/or soil storage occur, and before final improvements or permanent structures are completed.

Person: Includes any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation, public district, public agency, public utility, trust, estate, other political subdivision or any other entity. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.040 Grading approval required.

Except for the specific exemptions listed hereinafter, no person shall do or permit to be done any grading on any site in the city without first obtaining approval of such grading from the director or the building official in accordance with the provisions of the grading ordinance.

(Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.050 Exemptions.

The following grading may be done without obtaining grading approval unless grading approval is required in mitigation monitoring agreements or other conditions of project approval. Exemption from the grading approval requirement shall not be deemed as permission to violate any other provision of this chapter.

A.    Minor construction projects, which meet all of the following requirements:

1.    The volume of material graded is less than fifty (50) cubic yards,

2.    The depth of cuts and fills is less than two feet,

3.    Any drainage way is not blocked or obstructed and its storm water carrying capacities are not modified,

4.    Slopes are less than ten percent and are not left in an unstable or erodible condition;

B.    Single family residential lots less than one-half acre that are not part of a larger common plan and residential infill projects less than one-half acre which also meet the requirements of subsection (A) of this section;

C.    Grading necessary for agricultural operations unless the failure of any cut or fill created by such grading could endanger any structure intended for human or animal occupancy or any public road, or could obstruct any watercourse or drainage way;

D.    Exploratory excavations of less than three hundred fifty (350) cubic yards under the supervision of a geotechnical engineer;

E.    Routine cemetery excavations and fills;

F.    Performance of emergency work necessary to protect life or property when an urgent necessity therefore arises. The person performing such emergency work shall notify the director promptly of the problem and work required;

G.    Refuse disposal sites controlled by TITLE 23 of the California Code of Regulations;

H.    The repair and maintenance of levees for river and local drainage control performed by a governmental agency. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.060 Grading approval.

Grading approval for grading done on a single parcel in conjunction with imminent construction of a building or other structure shall be granted by the building official in accordance with California Building Code and is not further addressed in this ordinance with the exception that section 16.30.150 applies to all grading permits. Grading approval for multiple parcels and single parcels where grading is requested in the absence of construction of buildings or structures, may be issued by the director in connection with the issuance of an encroachment permit, or the approval of improvement plans; or where commencement of grading is desired prior to such issuance or approval, or is performed separately, through the issuance of a separate grading permit. If a building permit, improvement plan or encroachment permit is approved in accordance with other sections of city code, and then a separate grading permit shall not be required. Approval of the building permit, improvement plans, or encroachment permit, constitutes approval of the grading work intended. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.070 Conditions of grading approval.

A.    No grading shall be approved unless the project conforms with the city’s general plan, any adopted specific or community plans, and applicable city ordinances, including the zoning ordinance and the subdivision ordinance.

B.    Where the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires the preparation and approval of environmental documents concerning a project which will result in grading for which a grading permit is required under this Chapter, no grading shall be approved until all CEQA requirements have been met, including but not limited to mitigation measures relating to protection of threatened and endangered species under applicable federal and state endangered species laws.

C.    Where a proposed grading project requires the filing of a tentative map or the intended use requires approval of a discretionary zoning permit or variance, grading may also require approval from the city planning and building departments.

D.    Work shall be performed in accordance with the provisions of this grading ordinance and the applicable criteria set forth in the city standards.

E.    Grading approval shall be limited to work shown on the grading plans as approved by the director. The director may impose any condition deemed necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, to prevent the creation of a hazard to public or private property, and/or to assure proper completion of the grading. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.080 Liability.

The issuance of a permit hereunder shall not be construed as imposing any liability upon the city or upon any of its officers, employees, or agents by reason of damage or injury to persons or property resulting from any activity, repair, improvement, excavation or obstruction authorized by the permit. Neither issuance of grading approval under the provisions of the grading ordinance nor compliance with the provisions hereof or with any conditions imposed in a permit issued hereunder shall relieve any person from responsibility for damage to any person or property. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.090 Compliance with permits and standards.

The issuance of grading approval shall not be construed as an approval of any action or condition constituting a violation of the provisions of the grading ordinance or of any other applicable laws, ordinances, rules or regulations. Any act done under the authority of a written permit issued pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter shall be done in accordance with the terms and conditions of such permit. All federal and state laws and codes, and the construction standards of the city will be complied with during the execution of work under the permit. All work shall be done and must be constructed in accordance with the standards adopted by the city. The failure of any permittee or person to obey the provisions of this Chapter or the lawful directions of the director of public works or his or her designated representative relative to grading work shall be deemed to be sufficient cause to refuse the request of the person for further permits for work of such character or to cause the stoppage of any work and progress by the director of public works by written notice until the permittee is in full compliance with the terms of this Chapter. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.100 Water obstruction.

No person shall do or permit to be done any grading which may obstruct, impede, or interfere with the natural flow of storm waters, whether such waters are unconfined upon the surface of the land or confined within land depressions, natural drainage ways, unimproved channels, watercourses, improved ditches, channels or conduits, in such manner as to cause flooding where it would not otherwise occur, aggravate any existing flooding condition or cause accelerated erosion except where said grading is in accordance with all applicable laws including, but not limited to, the provisions of the grading ordinance. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.110 Levee work.

No person shall excavate or remove any material from or otherwise alter any levee adjacent to any river, creek, bay, or local drainage control channel, without prior approval of the governmental agency or agencies responsible for the operation and/or maintenance of the levee. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.120 Application for grading permit.

The director shall determine whether the application is complete and may require additional information from the applicant before accepting the application as complete. The director may require the submission of plans, soil or geological reports, detailed construction recommendations, drainage study or other engineering data prior to and in connection with any work or activity proposed. Grading plans and specifications shall be prepared and signed by a registered civil engineer, except as otherwise provided herein and shall include the information required in the city standards. The director may waive the requirement that all plans and specifications be prepared and signed by a registered civil engineer if the grading would not endanger the public health, safety, or welfare as determined by the director. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.130 Grading prior to issuance of approval of improvement plans.

Approval of a separate grading permit to perform grading prior to issuance of approval of improvement plans shall not prohibit the city from requiring additional grading or changes to grading in accordance with improvement plans once approved. Any additional grading or revisions to work necessitated by conflicts discovered during the improvement plan check, subsequent building plan checks, or subsequent construction will be corrected at the permittee’s expense. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.140 Permission of other agencies or owners.

No application for grading approval shall relieve the permittee of responsibility for securing other permits or approvals required for work which is regulated by any other department or other public agency, or for obtaining any easements or authorization for grading on property not owned by the permittee. Proof of applicable public agency permits may be required prior to issuance of grading approval.

(Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.150 Erosion and sediment control plans (ESC plan).

An ESC plan shall be prepared for all projects to control surface runoff and erosion and to retain sediment on a particular site and prevent pollution of site runoff during the period when preconstruction and construction related grading activities occur, but before final improvements or permanent structures are complete. The ESC plan shall be prepared and submitted concurrently with the grading plan and shall include all of the information required by city standards. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.160 Modification of approved grading plans.

Any modifications of an approved grading plan shall be submitted in writing to the director, who shall approve or deny such modification at his or her sole discretion. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.170 Permit fees.

Processing fees in an amount established by resolution of the city council shall be paid for permits prior to permit issuance, except where a continuous billing account has been established. Costs incurred by city for processing and checking the application and for inspection shall be billed to the permittee based upon the city fee schedule in effect at the time of permit processing. If grading work is done in violation of the grading ordinance or does not comply with the terms and conditions of a grading approval issued for such grading, a fee covering investigation of any violation and inspection and plan checking of work required to correct such violation shall be charged to the violator to cover all costs actually incurred by the city.

(Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.180 Inspection of work.

The director may inspect any work done pursuant to the grading ordinance at any time during the course of construction. No person shall be deemed to have complied with the grading ordinance until a final inspection of the work has been made by the director. As a condition of any grading approval, the permittee shall provide the city a right-of-entry and reasonable access to the site during the performance of all work and for a minimum period of one year after final inspection pursuant to the grading permit. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.190 Identification of property lines.

Prior to any grading work or related activities, the owner may be required to mark all property corners of the parcel of land to be graded. If the property corners are unknown, or whenever the location of a property line or easement or the title thereto is disputed during the application process or during a grading operation, a survey by a licensed land surveyor or civil engineer, or other resolution of the title dispute, all at the expense of the permittee, may be required by the director. Whenever necessary to enforce the provisions of the grading ordinance, the director may enter the premises at all reasonable times to the extent authorized by law to perform any duty imposed by the grading ordinance. If such entry is refused, the director shall have recourse to every remedy provided by law to secure entry. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.200 Other responsibilities of permittee.

The permittee shall be responsible for the prevention of damage to any public utilities or services, for the prevention of damage to adjacent property, and to prevent discharge of sediment from the site, in quantities greater than before the grading occurred, to any watercourse, drainage system, or adjacent property. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.210 Time limits.

All the work required by the permit or grading approval shall be completed within the time limits specified in the permit or approval. The director may in his or her sole discretion approves or denies a request for time extension. The director may require a new application and fees depending on the time between the expiration date and the extension request, revisions in city regulations, and/or changed circumstances in the immediate area. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.220 Permits nontransferable.

No approval or permit issued under the grading ordinance may be transferred or assigned in any manner whatsoever, without the express written consent of the director. (Ord. 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.230 Abatement.

Any activity contrary to the provisions of this Chapter or contrary to the issued permit or the terms or conditions imposed therein is unlawful and a public nuisance, and the City Manager or his or her designee is authorized to commence in the name of the city actions or proceedings for the abatement and removal and enjoining thereof in the manner provided by sections 21.01.060 and 21.01.080, and shall take such other steps and shall apply to such court or courts as may have jurisdiction to grant such relief as will abate and remove such operation and restrain and enjoin any person, firm or corporation from so operating. (Ord. 2006-07, Amended, 06/06/2006; 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)

16.30.240 Penalty and cost of enforcement.

A.    Any person violating the provisions of this chapter or any grading permit issued pursuant to this Chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor.

B.    In addition to any other remedies available by law, any person violating the provisions of this Chapter or any grading permit issued pursuant to this Chapter shall be liable to the city for all expenses and damages caused by any such violation.

C.    In addition to any other remedies provided by this Chapter or state law, there are hereby imposed the following administrative civil penalties for each violation of this Chapter or the terms and conditions of any grading permit issued pursuant to this Chapter.

1.    Any person initiating work within the public road right-of-way without obtaining a grading permit shall be subject to and responsible for a fine in the amount of $500 for a first violation, $750 for a second violation, or $1,000 for a third or subsequent violation.

2.    Any person in possession of a valid grading permit that initiates work, but fails to provide notification for inspection as required by the permit shall be subject to and responsible for a fine in the amount of $250 for a first violation, $1,000 for a second violation, or $1,000 for a third or subsequent violation.

D.    Whenever the city manager or his or her designee determines that grading violates the provisions of this Chapter or the terms and conditions of any permit issued pursuant to this Chapter, the city manager or his or her designee shall give written notice of such violation to the alleged violator. The notice shall include the following information:

1.    The street address, legal description or other description sufficient to identify the affected property.

2.    The penalty imposed as a result of such violation.

3.    A statement that the party affected may file a written request for hearing with the director of public works if it objects to imposition of the penalty.

4.    A statement that the penalty imposed shall be enforced if the party fails to file a timely written request for a hearing.

E.    Notice of any administrative civil penalty shall be served either personally or by mailing a copy of such notice by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, to the alleged violator. Service shall be effective for all purposes upon receipt if personally served, or within five (5) days of mailing as herein provided. Proof of service of the notice shall be certified at the time of service by a written declaration under penalty of perjury executed by the person effecting service, declaring the time, date, and manner in which service was made. The declaration, together with any receipt card returned in acknowledgment of receipt by certified mail, shall be affixed to the copy of the notice retained by the city manager or his or her designee. The failure of a party to receive such notice shall not affect in any manner the validity of any proceedings taken pursuant to this chapter.

F.    A written request for a hearing must be received by the City Manager or his or her designee within seven (7) days of the effective date of service of the notice. The hearing shall be set and conducted pursuant to Section 21.03.060. The order of the hearing officer shall be in writing resolving the essential issues raised in the hearing and confirming, amending or rejecting the administrative civil penalty imposed by the Director of Public Works.

G.    The manner of contesting the final order of the hearing officer concerning any administrative civil penalty is governed by Government Code section 53069.4, or any successor provision thereto. A copy of the notice of appeal authorized by Government Code section 53069.4 shall be served upon the City Clerk.

H.    Each party violating any provision of this chapter or any grading permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall be guilty of a separate offense for each and every day on which any such violation is committed, continued, or permitted by any such person.

I.    In addition to any penalty, sanction, fine or imprisonment, any person violating the provisions of this Chapter or any grading permit issued pursuant to this Chapter shall be required to pay any and all expenses of enforcement including those costs necessary to inspect, remove and/or correct the violation. In addition to all remedies herein contained, the City may pursue all reasonable and legal means in collecting those sums authorized and due, including, but not limited to the provisions of Chapter 21.01 of Title 21. (Ord. 2006-07, Amended, 06/06/2006; 2002-06, Added, 07/02/2002)