Land Disturbing Permits
Land Disturbing permits are issued by the Building Inspector. All rules and regulations may be found in Part 18, Chapter 4, of the Tahlequah City Ordinances.
Land Disturbing Permit Applications
- Online Forms
- PDF Forms
Unless specifically exempted, a land disturbing permit, as defined and regulated by this part, shall be obtained from the building inspector for any construction activities causing land disturbance on a parcel of any size within the city limits. The land disturbing permit must be obtained prior to commencement of any construction activities including, but not limited to, any development excavation, clearing, grading, regrading, landfilling, berming, and diking of land.
A land disturbing permit shall not be required for the following: any construction not requiring a building permit from the city; customary and incidental routine grounds maintenance, landscaping, and home gardening; construction activities related to bona fide agricultural, ranching, and farming operations which constitute the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma corporation commission; and construction activities occurring on Indian Country lands (as defined in 18 USC section 1151).
Application for a Land Disturbing Permit
For each land disturbing permit, a written application from the owner of the site, or his/her authorized representative, shall be provided to the building inspector in the form and with the content prescribed in this section and submitted with the required land disturbing permit fee. The permit application shall include the following information:
- Date of the application
- Type of land disturbance
- Name, address, and telephone number of applicant, if different from the property owner
- Names, addresses, and telephone number(s) of any and all contractors, subcontractors or persons actually doing the land disturbing activities
- Name, address, and telephone number of the legal owner of the property for which the land disturbing permit is requested
- Legal description of the site or physical address of the site (if a valid address has been assigned and/or accepted by the city of Tahlequah)
- Estimated size of the construction site, measured in acres or square feet (if less than 1 acre)
- Floodplain or detention issues
- Watershed in which the property lies
- Locations of wetlands or tributaries on the property
- Notification of additional permits that may also be required
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWP3) or Sediment & Erosion Control Plan Requirements
For every construction site, unless otherwise exempted, an SWP3 plan shall be prepared and shall include sufficient information to evaluate the environmental characteristics of the affected areas, the potential impacts of the proposed construction activities on water resources, and the best management practices and other measures proposed to minimize soil erosion and prevent off site sedimentation. All sediment and erosion control measures must be properly selected, installed, and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and good engineering practices. All construction activities including, but not limited to, the development, excavation, clearing, grading, landfilling, berming and diking of land shall be performed in strict accordance with the approved plan.
Construction Sites Less Than One Acre
For construction sites requiring a building permit that are less than one acre and that are not part of a larger common plan of development or sale that is one acre or more, a stormwater pollution prevention plan is not required. However, erosion controls should be put in place and a land disturbing permit is required. The administrator may require any additional information or data deemed appropriate and/or may impose such conditions thereto as may be deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this section or the preservation of public health and safety.
Construction Sites One Acre or Greater
For construction sites equal to or greater than one acre and for construction sites that are less than one acre if the construction site is part of a larger common plan of development or sale that is one acre or more, a stormwater pollution prevention plan shall be submitted and a construction site stormwater discharge permit is required. In addition, the following information shall be included in documentation:
- A project description
- An attached site plan showing the location of the site in relationship to the surrounding area’s watercourses, water bodies and other significant geographical features, roads and other significant structures, and showing suitable contours for the topography. An indication of the scale used (this map shall be at a scale no smaller than 1 inch = 100 feet) and an arrow indicating north shall be included on the plan
- Legal description of the site and the address of the site (if a valid address has been assigned and/or accepted by the city of Tahlequah)
- The name, address, and telephone number of the owner and/or developer of the property where the land disturbing activity is proposed
- A description of, and specifications for, sediment and erosion control measures to minimize on site erosion and prevent off site sedimentation during the construction process, including provisions to preserve topsoil and limit disturbance. Minimum control measures include the proper installation and maintenance of erosion control devices around the perimeter of the construction site and around all storm sewer inlets and on slopes greater than three horizontal to one vertical (3:1) where land disturbing activity is planned; and stabilized gravel construction site entrances/exits to prevent tracking or flowing of sediment onto public rights of way. The applicant may propose the use of any sediment and erosion control measures in a plan provided such measures are proven to be as or more effective than the measures contained in this section
- A description of temporary and permanent stabilization measures. The plan shall ensure that existing vegetation is preserved where attainable and that disturbed portions of site are stabilized. Stabilization practices may include, but are not limited to, the establishment of temporary vegetation, and other appropriate measures. Use of impervious surfaces for stabilization should be avoided. Stabilization measures shall be initiated as soon as practicable in portions of the site where construction activities have temporarily or permanently ceased, before erosion controls are taken out
- A description of measures that will be installed during the construction process to control pollutants in stormwater discharges that will occur after construction operations have been completed
- A copy of all required state and federal stormwater discharge permits for the construction site shall be posted on site with the building permit. If an OKR10 permit is required by ODEQ for stormwater discharges from a construction site, then the following documents shall be provided to the administrator: copies of all stormwater pollution prevention plans developed for the construction site, and a copy of the authorization to discharge stormwater issued by ODEQ
- The administrator may require any additional information or data deemed appropriate and/or may impose such conditions thereto as may be deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this section or the preservation of public health and safety
Permit Application Review
The administrator shall review each application for a construction site stormwater discharge permit to determine its conformance with the provisions of this section. Within 15 business days after receiving a complete application, the administrator shall:
- Approve the permit application;
- Approve the permit application subject to such reasonable conditions as may be necessary to secure substantially the objectives of this section, and issue the permit subject to these conditions; or
- Disapprove the permit application, indicating the reason(s) for disapproval.
If the administrator determines that the stormwater pollution prevention plan does not meet the requirements of this section, then a construction site stormwater discharge permit shall not be issued. The SWP3 must be resubmitted and must be approved by the administrator before the land disturbance activity begins.
Conditions Of Approval
In granting any construction site stormwater discharge permit pursuant to this section, the administrator may impose such conditions as may be reasonably necessary to prevent creation of a nuisance or unreasonable hazard to persons or to a public or private property. Such conditions shall include (even if not specifically written in the permit), but need not be limited to:
- The granting (or securing from others) and the recording in county land records of easements for drainage facilities, including the acceptance of their discharge on the property of others, and for the maintenance of slopes or erosion control facilities;
- Adequate control of dust by watering, or other control methods acceptable to the administrator, and otherwise in conformance with applicable air pollution ordinances;
- Improvements of any existing grading ground surface or drainage condition on the site (not to exceed the area as proposed for work or development in the application) to meet the standards required under this section;
- The installation of additional safety related devices, as may be deemed necessary, for sediment traps and basins located within a densely populated area or in the proximity of an elementary school, playground or other area where small children may congregate.
The issuance of a construction site stormwater discharge permit shall constitute an authorization to do only that work described in the permit, or shown on the approved stormwater pollution prevention plan, all in strict compliance with the requirements of this section, unless each and every modification or waiver is specifically listed and given specific approval by the administrator.
The permittee shall fully perform and complete all of the work required in the sequence shown on the plans. Permits issued under this section shall be valid for the period during which the proposed land disturbing or filling activities and soil storage takes place or is scheduled to take place, whichever is shorter, but in no event shall such a permit be valid for more than one year after cessation of construction activity.
Responsibility of Permittee
The permittee shall maintain a copy of the construction site stormwater discharge permit, approved site plan and other applicable paperwork on the work site and available for public inspection during all working hours. The permittee shall, at all times, be in conformity with the approved stormwater pollution prevention plan and also conform to the following:
- General: Notwithstanding other conditions or provisions of the construction site stormwater discharge permit, or the minimum standards set forth in this section, the permittee is responsible for the prevention of damage to adjacent property. No person shall grade on land in any manner, or so close to the property line as to endanger or damage any adjoining public street, sidewalk, alley or any other public or private property without supporting and protecting such property from settling, cracking, erosion, sedimentation or other damage or personal injury which might result;
- Public Ways: The permittee shall be responsible for the prompt removal of, and the correction of damages resulting from any soil, miscellaneous debris or other materials washed, spilled, tracked, dumped or otherwise deposited on public streets, highways, sidewalks or other public thoroughfares, during transit to and from the construction site; and
- Liability: The permittee is responsible for safely and legally completing the project. Neither the issuance of a land disturbing permit under the provisions of this section, nor compliance with the provisions hereto or with any condition imposed by the city of Tahlequah, shall relieve any person from responsibility for damage to persons or property resulting therefrom, or as otherwise imposed by law, nor impose any liability upon the city of Tahlequah for damages to persons or property.
Action Upon Noncompliance
- In the event work does not conform to the plans and specifications or to any conditions imposed by the city of Tahlequah, notice to comply shall be given to the permittee in writing. The notice shall set forth a notification and compliance period of at least fifteen (15) days for the permittee to comply with the requirements of the notice, except that when an imminent hazard exists the administrator may require that corrective work begin immediately. The notification and compliance period will begin on the day the notice is mailed to the permittee or the day the notice is posted on the property that is not conforming to the permit requirements. The administrator may order an immediate summary abatement action to abate the violation. At the time of mailing of notice, the city shall indicate the date of mailing and the name and address of the mailee. Said notice shall further advise that should the permittee fail to comply with the requirements of the notice by the established deadline, the work necessary to achieve compliance may be done by the city of Tahlequah or by a designated contractor and the expense thereof shall be charged to the permittee. Issuance of a notice to comply shall not be a prerequisite to taking any other enforcement action.
- If the city of Tahlequah finds any existing condition not as stated in the application or approved plans, the administrator may issue a stop work order requiring that all construction activities halt when a construction site is in violation of this section. The stop work order may apply to all construction activity on the subject property which may be directly or indirectly related to site drainage and which is being performed pursuant to any permits, licenses, franchises or contracts issued or approved by the city of Tahlequah. The stop work order may order a work stoppage on all construction activity on buildings or structures and appurtenances thereto, including, but not limited to, building, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, street work, storm sewers, sanitary sewers, gas lines, and all utilities including, but not limited to, gas, electric, telephone and cable television. The administrator may also suspend or revoke any sediment and erosion control, site preparation, grading, earth change, construction or any other permit when any part of this section is violated.
- The violation of any provision of this section, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or 30 days in jail or both plus court costs as set by the city. Each day or any portion of a day during which any violation of this section shall continue shall constitute a separate offense.
- Other actions described in the penalties and administrative remedies chapter of this part may be taken by the city of Tahlequah, including, but not limited to, suspension of MS4 access, water supply severance, injunctive relief, abatement, remediation, and restoration of lands. The permittee shall be responsible for the costs incurred by the city of Tahlequah. Failure to pay will result in the city of Tahlequah seeking recovery of costs and damages pursuant to the conditions set forth in this chapter.
Changes To Plans
All proposals to modify the approved stormwater pollution prevention plans must be submitted in writing to the administrator. No grading or any type of work in connection with any proposed modification shall be initiated without prior written approval of the administrator.
Inspection And Supervision
The city of Tahlequah shall conduct construction site inspections upon receiving a complaint of violation of this section or otherwise as needed to evaluate compliance with this section. The permittee shall notify the administrator when there are any departures from the approved SWP3 and at the following stages:
- Upon completion of installation of perimeter sediment and erosion controls
- At least 24 hours but not more than 72 hours (exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) prior to commencing initial grading or land disturbing activities
- When construction and land disturbing activities are halted for a period of 30 days or more
- At least 24 hours but not more than 72 hours (exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) prior to when construction of land disturbing activities shall recommence after being halted for a period of 30 days or more
- Upon submitting a notice of termination to ODEQ in compliance with any OKR10 permit requirements
- Upon completion of final grading, permanent drainage and erosion control facilities including established ground covers and planting, and all other work of the permit
Maintenance During & After Construction
For any property on which grading or other work has been done pursuant to a construction site stormwater discharge permit granted under the provisions of this section, the permittee or owner or an agent of the owner shall inspect all sediment and erosion control measures and other protective measures identified in the SWP3 at least once every 14 calendar days and within 24 days of the end of a storm event of 1/2" or greater and shall maintain and repair all sediment and erosion control measures, graded surfaces and erosion control facilities, drainage structures or means and other protective devices, plantings, and ground cover installed while construction is active. (Ordinance 1129-2008, May 22, 2008)