Permits, Permits, Get Your Permits!

Permits, Permits, Get Your Permits!

So, you’re thinking about putting a pool in your backyard or adding an extra room off of your house. Most likely, the Township you’re in will require some type of grading permit. The type of permitting required will depend on what you’re doing, the size, and the amount of disturbance the project will create.

Depending on the size of your project, Townships will require a grading and erosion control permit but may or may not require stormwater management. Each Township will have thresholds for requiring stormwater management depending on the amount of impervious coverage that is being proposed. For example, a Township may allow you to add up to 500 square feet of impervious without having to plan for stormwater management, but anything over the 500 square feet threshold will require full stormwater management design. Other Township’s may require a simplified stormwater management design if the increase of impervious coverage is up to 1,000 square feet, which can save on cost for design and construction. Unfortunately, there are Township’s that will require a stormwater management design no matter what the increase in impervious coverage is.

Now the amount of disturbance necessary for what you want to do will also play into the type of permitting required. Disturbance up to an acre requires you to submit to the Township for their approval, but everything over an acre will require you to submit to the County’s Conservation District for an NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit. This will increase the permitting costs and lengthen the approval time. A few Townships also require submission to the County’s Conservation District for erosion control review for disturbances under one acre.

Here at DL Howell, we strive to provide the most cost-effective solutions to obtaining proper permitting for all your project needs. If you have any questions or concerns regarding starting a new project, give us a call and we’d be happy to help!

East Village Construction Update

East Village Construction Update

Home construction has begun for Phase 2 of East Village. This project is located in Downingtown at the border of Caln Township off Woodbine Road and across the street from Bishop Shanahan High School. D.L. Howell and Howell Kline Surveying have worked closely with Southdown Homes creating permit plans and staking out buildings for 44 single-family dwellings, 12 twins, and 7 townhouse buildings. Three entrance drives will be utilized to enter the development from Woodbine Road. Here are a few photos from the construction in progress.

Meadows at Hillview Construction Update

Home construction has begun at Meadows at Hillview!

The project is located at the border of Caln and Valley Townships off of Black Horse Hill Road and adjacent to the Villages at Hillview development. The construction will include 90 single-family dwellings along two roads. Four entrance drives will be utilized to enter the development from Black Horse Hill Road, Moore Road, Gibney Lane and Heston Road. DL Howell has been working with the project team and creating plot plans for individual lots with the requested footprint. Here are a few pictures from the construction in progress.

Caution – Roadwork Ahead

Caution – Roadwork Ahead

Oh no! Road construction ahead!?!

Road construction can sometimes be a real nuisance to your daily commute. Detours, road closures, and road safety crews are just a few examples of necessary but inconvenient obstacles.

When designing plans for a property that will be accessed from a PennDOT designated road and work will be done within the road right-of-way, we will have to create a PennDOT plan set for submission to receive a Highway Occupancy Permit (HOP). A PennDOT plan set needs to include PATA details showing where and how lane, shoulder, and roadway closures should be set up for traffic control. These precautions are in place for the safety of yourself and the workers. Yes, this can be a pain for your commute if you are late or had a bad day and want to be home, but I’m sure you would prefer to arrive safely rather than injured.

In 2019 Pennsylvania recorded 1,626 total crashes located within a work zone. Sixteen of these crashes were fatal, and 1,074 people were injured. Compared to the statistics from the previous five years, the total number of collisions within a work zone is trending down, but the fatalities fluctuate. Nationally, the U.S. estimated over 115,000 work zone crashes, resulting in 842 deaths and leaving over 39,000 people injured.

I’m sure some of these injuries or deaths could have been prevented simply by adding flag workers or motorists paying more attention while driving.

While driving through a work zone the other day, I started thinking about the laws that I knew of that are enforced within these zones. I knew that I needed to reduce my speed, turn my headlights on when traveling through the active work zone, and that all fines would be doubled. I was curious if there were any other laws concerning work zones that I did not know of, so I decided to do some research. For instance, I did not realize that your headlights must be on even if the work zone is not active. I also did not know that if you’re going 11 mph over the posted speed limit in a work zone, or if you’re involved in a crash within an active work zone and convicted of failing to drive at a safe speed, you will automatically lose your license for 15 days.

So, next time you’re traveling through a work zone, remember the things mentioned here to avoid becoming another number in a statistic. Safe travels!

The Many Facets of Civil Engineering

The Many Facets of Civil Engineering

There are many different facets of Civil Engineering, such as land planning, environmental and stormwater management, to name a few. Here at D.L. Howell & Associates, Inc., we are involved with several of these aspects. We have done work ranging from small residential building additions to large subdivisions involving individual lots and multi-family dwellings, commercial, and industrial developments. No job is too big or too small for us! Below I will discuss some of the reasons you should contact D.L. Howell & Associates to help plan your project.

Drainage Issues

Ponding water in a homeowner’s yard can cause many issues, such as breeding grounds for mosquitoes, areas where grass is unable to grow, and even allowing water to seep into your basement. Here at D.L. Howell, we can help with these issues by providing cost-effective improvements. On a smaller scale, these issues can be fixed by merely rerouting downspouts. On a larger scale, re-grading the yard is necessary or possibly designing an infiltration system such as an underground bed or a beautiful rain garden. Depending on the scale of the issue and the requirements of the township, it could be resolved by simply doing the work yourself without any permits or applying for a township grading and stormwater management permit.

Erosions Issues

Have you noticed ruts being created in your yard by runoff or areas of dirt beginning to wash away? Like drainage issues, this could be fixed by rerouting downspouts to another part of the yard, or some lot grading may be needed to prevent runoff from becoming channelized. Even planting some shrubbery or plants could help correct these issues. D.L. Howell & Associates can provide solutions to fix these issues and insight into how to prevent erosion issues from occurring in other areas.

Residential Building Additions

Are you planning to create that extra space needed to house your growing family? Are you interested in creating that lovely breakfast nook that you have always dreamed of having? No problem! We will analyze the township’s ordinances and permitting to see what is allowable for your property. Some municipalities will require full stormwater design when the impervious addition is over so many square feet. They may need a simplified stormwater method if the added impervious is less than a certain square footage. It all depends on how big you want to go.

Land Development

You recently purchased a property and would like to begin the process of building a row of stores. We can help with that too! We will work with you to design a practical layout that includes parking, stormwater management, and lot grading within the requirements of the township ordinances. We will also work on getting all necessary approvals from the township and other agencies to build what you have envisioned for your project.

Subdivision

So, you want to subdivide your existing lot into multiple lots. As civil engineers, we can provide a complete zoning analysis on your lot to see if you can subdivide and how many lots you could achieve. Once you have approved the layout of lots, we can take the necessary steps to begin the process of township approval. The size and constraints of the project will dictate what is required to reach full and final approval.  

D.L. Howell & Associates, Inc. can help with all your civil engineering needs so don’t be afraid to call, we’d love to talk with you!

DLH Gift Ideas!

DLH Gift Ideas!

It’s the wonderful time of year again when the traffic gets heavier and the weather gets colder.  It’s Christmas time!  It’s that time where everyone loves to give presents to make everyone happy and if you have a special someone who is an engineer that you would like to treat, here are a few gift ideas for them.

Novelty Gifts

Who doesn’t love a good novelty gift?  A t-shirt that says “World’s Best Engineer” or a coffee mug that has some sort of equation on it.  You could even a get shot glass with E=mc² for those long days working in the office.

Desk Decor

Anything personalized for the desk is always a good idea.  A nice name plate stand with a pencil holder attached or a vintage looking lamp.  You could even get a little creative and get a replica bobblehead made for that person.

Wall Art

There are many different ideas regarding what can be hung up on the wall.  To start, you can look at getting some sort of clock for the office.  It can be someone’s favorite sports team themed or just a plain old white and black clock.  Another idea is to get a motivational quote framed from one of the great engineers.  One out of the box ideas would be to find an original plan from where your engineer grew up at and get it framed for them.

Grilling Gear

Let’s be honest, almost everyone loves to grill and why not get them an engineered themed grill set.  Along with that you can get a cooking apron that says, “Trust me, I’m an engineer”.  There are all sorts of things out there like engineering cutting boards or burger molds for shaping the meat into bolts and such.

So, while you’re spreading holiday cheer to everyone, don’t forget to spoil your favorite engineer with one of these gifts!  Happy Holidays from everyone here at DL Howell & Associates!

Public Sewer Connection

Public Sewer Connection

So, you’re thinking about switching to a public sewer system rather than your on-lot septic system. That sounds like a great idea. There are some advantages to being able to connect to a public system such as low maintenance and no repairs. However, the process, depending on the location of the existing sewer main, can be rather time-consuming and expensive or quick and painless.

The first step in this process would be to find out if you have the potential to connect to an existing sewer main located near your property. An easy check for this is to call the Township and see if a sewer connection is available. If yes, then you are off to a great start. Next would be to locate the area where the sewer tie in would occur. If there is a sewer main located within proximity to the house in a Township road, it could be a quick process. If not, things can get tricky. Say the existing sewer main ends at a manhole in the road several properties away from yours. The Township could require a sewer main extension from that manhole to your property to make sewer available for the neighboring properties if they are not already connected. The Township will require some sort of plan submission for their review and approval for the Sewer Permit. This could require some survey work on and off your property depending on what the Township wants to see. They will also require you to pay for tie in fees.

Now you notice that this existing sewer main is located in the PennDOT Right-Of-Way. That would require a Utility Highway Occupancy Permit as well as the Township Permit. No problem, PennDOT approves these all the time. But wait, what about this stream you must cross to get to the existing sewer main? This would require a General Permit 5 from DEP (Department of Environmental Protection). They will also require a fee and a separate plan submission, but more importantly, could lengthen the process. A PNDI will need to be submitted to check whether if there are any threatened and endangered species, and special concern species located in the area. If the PNDI comes back clear and there are no issues, then no further action is needed for DEP except for the General Permit 5. If there is a hit on the PNDI, some more time will need to be put into ways to protect whatever hit comes about.

Finally, after receiving all the necessary permits, the installation of your sanitary line can commence. Although this process could possibly take months and months, the end result can be very beneficial for you, your family and your property. Please contact D.L. Howell with any questions on converting from on-lot septic system septic to public sewer.