Kiley Associates

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Homeowners/Community Associations Builders & Developers Municipalities/Government Professional Firms Business Owners

Homeowners and Community AssociationsHomeowners/Community Associations

Q. I am in contract to buy a house. Do I need a boundary survey?

A. You do not need a survey by law in Pennsylvania, and most banks will not require one, but you will usually find (normally at the closing) that your title insurance policy will specifically not cover any problems that would normally be disclosed by a survey. For instance, if a deck was constructed by the prior owner without a permit and was built over the setback line, you may be required by the municipality to remove the offending portion of the deck, and that cost will not be covered by title insurance. The same would apply if a portion of your driveway is on someone else's property. You cannot necessarily rely on markers pointed out by the homeowner or the realtor, as neither has the ability, training, or authority to determine property boundaries.

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Q. What is usually included in a boundary survey for my property?

A. All of your property corners will be measured and the results compared to the legal description in your deed and/or any recorded subdivision map for your property. In addition, some of your neighbor's corners may also be measured to check for possible overlaps or gaps generated by faulty or incomplete legal descriptions, particularly when there is evidence that there may be encroachments or improvements that cross the property lines. New survey markers will be placed when corners markers are missing, and the new marker will contain the identification and license number of our Professional Land Surveyor, and painted wooden stakes will be placed next to all monuments. The lines between monuments are flagged with surveyor's ribbon, and all major improvements such as the house, driveway, and sheds, for example, are located and shown on the final map, which is a complete record of the survey work performed.

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Q. I think there are wetlands on my property. Is there mapping which would identify them?

A. National Wetland Identification (NWI) mapping shows the locations of large wetland complexes throughout the United States. However, this mapping is completed with the use of aerial photography and typically only identifies larger wetland areas that are very saturated or inundated. The only way to determine for sure if regulated wetlands exist on your property, and to what extent, is to have a wetland delineator examine the site.

Our Environmental Scientists can conduct a wetland determination, which simply identifies if wetlands exist on the property or not, or a wetland delineation, where the upland/wetland boundary is flagged in the field. This will identify the extent of wetlands on the property and if there are any impacts to your proposed project.

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Q. How do I get a septic permit for my new home construction?

A. The first requirement is to perform a soils probe evaluation for suitability of on-lot sewage disposal. After suitable soils are found on your lot, a percolation test is performed. The results of the soils probe and percolation test will allow an engineer or other system designer to specify an appropriate sewage disposal system. If the soils evaluation reveals soils that are not suitable for a sand-mound or other conventional system, other sewage disposal solutions, such as spray irrigation, may be feasible for your site. We can also provide you with a septic system design, which is the final step necessary prior to obtaining a septic permit from the local municipality. With the permit in hand, the system can then be constructed.

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Q. Our Community includes a Category 2 dam. What are our responsibilities?

A. The owner/operator must conduct quarterly inspections of the dam, its appurtenant structures and operating valves, and maintain written logs of the inspections. The owner/operator is required to perform maintenance, as well as timely repairs when needed.

The owner must develop an Emergency Action Plan (EAP), including a downstream inundation map. The EAP is reviewed by PEMA and approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP). Every five years the EAP, including the inundation map, must be reviewed and revised, as necessary.

An engineer must conduct annual inspections of the dam, including a field review of the downstream inundation map in the EAP. The report must be signed and sealed by a professional engineer registered in Pennsylvania and submitted to the PaDEP.

We can assist with the inspection and reporting requirements, and development of the inundation map and EAP, as described above.

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Builders and DevelopersBuilders & Developers

Q. Can you provide professional services to supervise the construction of my project?

A. Constructing a project according to the approved plans and specifications is mandatory. Having a professional construction supervisor on site is optional, however a professional construction supervisor is crucial to the success of any construction project. Our professionals can help you with construction observation and construction administration for any size land development project.

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Q. What are the criteria governing an NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) Permit?

A. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, any project involving ground disturbance of one acre or more with a point-source discharge of stormwater to the Waters of the Commonwealth requires an NPDES Permit. Disturbance of up to five acres of ground without a point-source discharge is exempt from permitting requirements. Also, these rules apply to residential, as well as commercial projects.

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Q. Will I need a Traffic Impact Study (TIS) in connection with my project?

A. According to PennDOT guidelines, an application for access shall include a TIS if:

  • the access is expected to have an ADT (Average Daily Traffic) of 3000 vehicles or more; during any one hour time period;
  • the development is expected to generate either 100 or more new trips entering or 100 or more new trips exiting the development; or
  • PennDOT feels the development will have a significant effect on highway safety or traffic flow, regardless of 1) or 2), above.

In addition, some municipality's rules regarding a TIS are more stringent than PennDOT's guidelines. Guidance can be found in the municipality's ordinances.

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Q. Soils testing on the site of my development has revealed soils unsuitable for individual septic mounds. Are there sewage treatment alternatives?

A. Yes. Spray irrigation is a sewage treatment system involving settling, filtering, disinfection and storage prior to spraying treated effluent on to undisturbed ground. The method is subject to PaDEP regulations and permitting. We have incorporated this treatment process into some of our land development and residential designs.

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Q. Wetlands have been identified in my project area. What does this mean?

A. All wetlands are regulated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and those which have a "significant nexus" with other waters are regulated by the Federal Government. This means that almost any activity proposed in a wetland area requires a permit from the State and in most cases the Army Corps of Engineers. The level and difficulty of the permitting varies based upon the proposed activity and whether or not the wetland is considered a "special-protection" water. Each project must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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Municipalities and GovernmentMunicipalities/Government

Q. How can we locate monumentation along 52 miles of shoreline around a recreational lake?

A. Using our state-of-the-art GPS surveying equipment, we have the ability to accurately locate the boundary monumentation over large distances. In addition to presenting the data in map form, we have the capability to format the data so it can be used in hand-held GPS equipment, which will allow the client to re-locate any of the monumentation at a later date.

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Q. Our municipality has received grant money to be used for roadway rehabilitation in the town park. Are you familiar with the rules governing how this grant money can be used for this project?

A. We can assist you with the design of plans and specifications and the preparation of a specification manual and bid package in compliance with Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Part 85-Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State, Local and Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments.

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Professional FirmsProfessional Firms

Q. Regarding the Marcellus Shale formation, can you assist with natural gas development?

A. Our surveyors, engineers and environmental professionals can help you with all aspects of gas well permitting. We can assist with surveying and mapping; site approvals, permitting, and E&S planning; highway occupancy permitting; water management; River Basin Commission approvals; GIS and data management; and operational and emergency planning.

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Q. I am an architect. Can you provide me with a site survey and topography for my project?

A. We often provide services to other professionals to assist them with their projects. We can provide survey base mapping of any size property in almost any current electronic file format. We can also assist you with any other requirements related to municipal land approvals.

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Business OwnersBusiness Owners

Q. I am a small business owner and I have recently purchased property on which to expand my company. How can you help me navigate the municipal approval process?

A. We can assist with boundary and topographic surveys to be used in conjunction with the site design; lot subdivision or consolidation issues; zoning compliance; storm water management; erosion and sedimentation control planning; environmental permitting; parking design and internal traffic flow; driveway permitting; site lighting; and landscape planning.

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Q. I am planning to change my business operations to provide new services, and I've been advised by my municipality that I need to have a "Conditional Use" hearing. What is normally required for my presentation?

A. Even if you don't intend any physical changes to the property, the municipality will usually require a scaled site plan showing all existing improvements, parking facilities and traffic patterns within the property to determine if your intended use will be adequately served by the existing facilities. In addition, you may be required to submit current PennDOT driveway permits that are matched to the intended use, and also demonstrate adequacy of the existing sewage-disposal system. We can prepare a plan for you, compile the necessary supporting documentation, and even provide professional testimony on your behalf.

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