Chapter 27 - Part 22 - Enforcement and Administrations
ENFORCEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
§2201. ZONING HEARING BOARD.
The Township Commissioners shall appoint a Zoning Hearing Board, which shall have the number of members, such duties, powers, jurisdiction and authority as set forth in Article IX of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (Act 417 of 1968) as enacted or amended. The duly established Zoning Hearing Board shall have the following functions:
A. Hearings. The Board shall conduct hearings and make decisions in accordance with §908 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as amended. Notice shall be given to the public, the applicant, the Zoning Officer, and any person who has made timely request for same. Notices shall be given at such time and in such manner as shall be prescribed by rules of the Board. In addition, notice shall be conspicuously posted on the affected tract of land.
B. Appeals. The Board shall hear and decide appeals where it is alleged by the appellant that the Zoning Officer has failed to follow prescribed procedures or has misinterpreted or misapplied any provision of a valid ordinance or map or any valid rule or regulation governing the action of the Zoning Officer. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to deny to the appellant the right to proceed directly in court where appropriate. [Ord. 98-7]
C. Challenge to Validity. Except as provided in §2201 below relating to variances, the Board shall have no power to pass upon the validity of any provision of an ordinance or map adopted by the Township Commissioners. Recognizing that challenges to the validity of an ordinance or map may present issues of fact and interpretation which may lie within the special competence of the Board, and to facilitate speedy disposition of such challenges by a court, the Board may hear all challenges wherein the validity of the ordinance or map presents any issue of fact or interpretation not hitherto properly determined at a hearing before another competent agency or body and shall take evidence and make a record thereon as provided in §2201(1) above. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board shall decide all contested questions of interpretation and make findings on all relevant issues of fact, which shall become part of the record on appeal to court.
D. Variances. The Board shall hear requests for variances where it is alleged that the provisions of this Chapter inflict unnecessary hardship upon the applicant. The Board shall by rule prescribe the form of application and require a preliminary application to the Zoning Officer. The Board may grant a variance, provided the following findings are made where relevant in a given case:
(1) That there are unique physical circumstances or conditions, including irregularity, narrowness or shallowness of lot size or shape, or exceptional topographical or other physical conditions peculiar to the particular property, and that the unnecessary hardship is due to such conditions, and not the circumstances or conditions generally created by the provisions of this Chapter in the neighborhood or district in which the property is located.
(2) That because of such physical circumstances or conditions, there is no possibility that the property can be developed in strict conformity with the provisions of this Chapter and that the authorization of a variance is therefore necessary to enable the reasonable use of the property.
(3) That such unnecessary hardship has not been created by the appellant.
(4) That the variance, if authorized, will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood or district in which the property is located, or substantially or permanently impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent property, or be detrimental to the public welfare.
(5) That the variance, if authorized, will represent the minimum variance which will afford relief and represent the least possible modification of the regulation in issue.
(6) In granting any variance, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of this Chapter and of the Municipalities Planning Code (Act 247 of 1968), as amended.
F. Special Exceptions. Special exceptions may be granted or denied by the Board pursuant to expressed standards and criteria set forth in this Chapter. The Board shall hear and decide requests for such special exceptions in accordance with such standards and criteria. In granting a special exception, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed in this Chapter, as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of this Chapter and of Act 247 of 1968, as amended. The Board shall pursue the following procedure:
(1) The Board's decision to grant a permit for special exception use shall be made only after public notice and hearing. Such permit shall apply specifically to the application and plans submitted and presented at said public hearing. Any subsequent amendments or conditions shall be subject to the provisions of this §2201.
(2) No permit shall be granted by the Zoning Hearing Board for any special exception use until said Board has first received and considered an advisory report thereon from the Planning Commission with respect to the location of such use in relation to the needs and growth pattern of the Township, and, where appropriate, with reference to the adequacy of the site area and the arrangement of buildings, driveways, parking areas, off?street truck loading spaces and other pertinent features of the site plan. The Planning Commission shall have 30 days from the date of its receipt of the application within which to file its report thereon. In the event that said Commission shall fail to file its report within 30 days, such application shall be deemed to have been approved by said Planning Commission. The Planning Commission may have representation at the public hearing held by the Zoning Hearing Board on such application. After receipt of the report, the Zoning Hearing Board shall hear and decide the application in the same manner and under the same procedure as required by law and this Chapter.
(3) A special exception use for which a permit is granted by the Zoning Hearing Board pursuant to the provisions of this Section shall constitute a conforming use.
G. Time Limitations. The time limitations for raising certain issues and filing certain proceedings with the Board shall be the following:
(1) No person shall be allowed to file any proceeding with the Board later than 30 days after any application for development, preliminary or final, has been approved by any appropriate municipal officer, agency or body if such proceeding is designed to secure reversal or to limit the approval in any manner unless such person alleges and proves that he had no notice, knowledge, or reason to believe that such approval had been given. If such person has succeeded to his interest after such approval, he shall be bound by the knowledge of his predecessor in interest.
(2) The failure of anyone other than the landowner to appeal from an adverse decision on a tentative or preliminary plan by the Board of Commissioners or from an adverse decision by the Zoning Officer on a challenge to the validity of an ordinance or map shall preclude an appeal from a final approval except in the case where the final submission substantially deviates from the approved tentative or preliminary approval.
H. Stay of Proceedings. Upon filing of any proceedings referred to in this item and during its pendency before the Board, all land development pursuant to any challenged ordinance, order or approval of the Zoning Officer or any agency or body and all official action thereunder shall be stayed, unless the Zoning Officer or any other appropriate agency or body certify to the Board facts indicating that such stay would cause imminent peril to life or property; in which case, the development or official action shall not be stayed otherwise than by a restraining order which may be granted by the Board or the court having jurisdiction of zoning appeals on petition after notice to the Zoning Officer or other appropriate agency or body. When an application for development, preliminary or final, has been duly approved and proceedings designed to reverse or limit the approval are filed with the Board by persons other than the applicant, the applicant may petition the court having jurisdiction of zoning appeals to order such persons to post bond as a condition to continuing the proceedings before the Board. The question of whether or not such petition should be granted and the amount of the bond shall be within the sole discretion of the court.
(Ord. 84?2, 3/29/1984, §2100; as amended by Ord. 98-7, 8/27/1998)
§2202. ZONING APPEALS TO COURT.
The procedure to be followed in filing appeals to the courts shall be in accordance with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (Act 247 of 1968), as amended.
(Ord. 84?2, 3/29/1984, §2101)
§2203. ZONING OFFICER.
It shall be the duty of the Zoning Officer, and he is hereby given the necessary power and authority to enforce the provisions of this Chapter. The Zoning Officer shall examine all applications for permits, issue permits for construction and uses which are in accordance with the requirements of this Chapter, record and file all applications for permits with accompanying plans and documents, and make such reports as the Township Commissioners may require. The Zoning Officer may seek the advice and recommendation of the Planning Commission. Permits for construction and uses which are a special exception or a variance to requirements of this Chapter shall be issued only upon written order of the Zoning Hearing Board.
(Ord. 84?2, 3/29/84, §2102, Ord. 15-06, 4/2/15))
1. Requirement of Permits. A zoning permit shall be required prior to the erection, addition or alteration of any building or structure or portions thereof, prior to the use or change in the use of a building or land, and prior to the change or extension of a nonconforming use. It shall be unlawful for any person to commence work for the erection or alteration of any building or structure for a change in land use, until a permit has been duly issued therefor. No zoning permit shall be required in cases of normal maintenance and repairs which do not structurally change a building or structure. [Ord. 98-7]
2. Applications for Permits. All applications for permits shall be accompanied by a plan, in duplicate, drawn to scale, showing the actual shape and dimensions of the lot to be built upon, the exact size and location of any buildings existing on the lot, the lines within which the proposed building or structure shall be erected or altered, the existing and intended use of each building, the number of families or dwelling units the building is designed to accommodate, and such other information as may be necessary to determine compliance with this Chapter and all other pertinent ordinances. One copy of the plans shall be returned to the owner when the plans are approved by the Zoning Officer or other appropriate person or body.
3. Issuance of Permits. No permit shall be issued until the Zoning Officer has certified that the proposed use of land, building, addition or alteration complies with all the provisions of this Chapter, as well as with all the provisions of any existing or hereafter enacted Building Permit Ordinance or other ordinance or provision thereof pertaining to building permits. A permit issued hereunder shall become void 12 months after the issuance date. The applicant and owner shall comply with all terms and conditions of any zoning permit issues and failure to do so shall constitute a violation of this Section. [Ord11-05]
(Ord. 84-2, 3/29/1984, §2103; as amended by Ord. 98-7, 8/27/1998, and by Ord. 2017-02, 03/02/2017
§2205. APPLICATION FOR CONDITIONAL USES.
Conditional uses as provided for as herein above shall be allowed or denied by action of the Board of Commissioners. Applications for any conditional use specified in this Chapter shall be made to the Zoning Officer who shall refer such applications to the Chairman of the Planning Commission at least 20 days before the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission shall review the application pursuant to the conditions, standards and criteria set forth in Part 19 of this Chapter, and shall submit its recommendations to the Township Board of Commissioners.
(Ord. 84?2, 3/29/1984, §2104; as amended by Ord. 98-7, 8/27/1998)
§2206. APPLICATION FOR SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS.
Applications for any special exception specified in this Chapter shall be made to the Zoning Hearing Board through the Zoning Officer. The Zoning Hearing Board shall refer the matter to the Planning Commission for a report thereon, but shall not be bound thereby. The general standards and findings set forth in §2201 of this Chapter shall be used as guidelines by the Planning Commission in making its report and by the Zoning Hearing Board in acting upon the application for special exception.
(Ord. 84?2, 3/29/1984, §2105)
1. The Board of Township Commissioners shall from time to time by resolution establish, fix and amend the fees for filing and/or applying for all permits, certificates, appeals, applications and other matters under this Chapter including, but not limited to, the following:
A. Zoning permits.
B. Certificates of use.
C. Certificates of nonconformance.
D. Appeals to Zoning Hearing Board involving:
(1) A residential use.
(2) A nonresidential use.
E. Changes to or amendments of this Chapter or Zoning Map. [Ord. 92-5]
2. The Board of Township Commissioners may by separate resolutions from time to time change, amend, modify or add to the fee schedule to conform with then prevailing costs and economic conditions. (Ord. 84-2, 3/29/1984, §2106; as amended by Ord. 92-5, 2/4/1992, §18)
§2208. INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT.
1. It shall be the duty of the Zoning Officer or his duly appointed representative to make such inspections of the property for which a zoning permit has been issued as necessary to assume compliance with such permit and this Chapter.
2. At the beginning of construction, a record shall be made indicating the time and date of the inspection and the findings in regard to conformance of the construction with plans submitted with the application for the permit.
3. If the actual use or construction does not conform with the Zoning Permit, a written notice of a violation shall be issued by the Zoning Officer, or his duly appointed representative, and construction shall be discontinued. Upon proper correction of the violation and receipt of written notice from the Zoning Officer, or his duly appointed representative, construction may proceed.
4. At the completion of construction, a record shall be made indicating the time and date of the inspection, the findings of the Zoning Officer or his duly appointed representative in regard to the issuance of a certificate of use.
(Ord. 84?2, 3/29/1984, §2107)
§2209. CERTIFICATE OF USE.
1. A certificate of use shall be a written statement by the Zoning Officer, or his duly appointed representative, setting forth either that a building, structure or parcel of land complies with the provisions of this Chapter, or that a building or structure lawfully may be employed for specified uses under the provisions of this Chapter, or both.
2. No vacant land shall be occupied, used or changed in use, and no building or structure, hereafter erected or structurally altered, shall be occupied, used or changed in use, until a certificate of use shall have been regularly issued therefor by the Zoning Officer, or his duly appointed representative. The applicant or owner shall comply with all terms and conditions of any certificate of use issued and failure to do so shall constitute a violation of this Section. [Ord11-05]
3. A certificate of use, either for the whole or for a part of a new building or for the alteration of an existing building, shall be applied for coincident with the application for a building permit, and shall be issued within 90 days after the erection or alteration of such building or part has been completed in conformity with the provisions of this Chapter. [Ord. 92-5]
4. A certificate of use for the use or occupancy of vacant land, or for a change in the use of the land, or for a change in the use of an existing building, shall be applied for and issued before any such land shall be occupied or used, or such land or building shall be changed in use, and shall be issued within 90 days after proper application has been made, provided that such proposed use is in conformity with the provisions of this Chapter.
5. A record of all certificates of use shall be kept on file in the Office of the Zoning Officer, or his duly appointed representative, and a copy shall be furnished on request to any person having a proprietary or tenancy interest in the building or land affected.
(Ord. 84?2, 3/29/1984, §2108; as amended by Ord. 92-5, 2/4/1992, §19)
1. It shall be unlawful to erect, construct, reconstruct, alter, maintain or use any building or structure or to use any land in violation of any provision of this Chapter or any duly enacted amendment thereto.
2. When written notice of a violation of any of the provisions of this Chapter has been served by the Zoning Officer or his duly appointed representative on the Owner, agent, occupant, contractor, or is posted on the building, such violation shall be discontinued immediately.
(Ord. 84?2, 3/29/1984, §2109)
§2211. ENFORCEMENT NOTICE.
1. If it appears to the Township that a violation of this Chapter has occurred, the Township shall initiate enforcement proceedings by sending an enforcement notice as provided in this Section.
2. The enforcement notice shall be sent to the owner of record and/or tenant of the parcel on which the violation has occurred, to any person who has filed a written request to receive enforcement notices regarding that parcel and to any other person requested in writing by the owner of record.
3. An enforcement notice shall state at least the following:
A. The name of the owner of record and any other person against whom the Township intends to take action.
B. The location of the property in violation.
C. The specific violation with a description of the requirements which have not been met, citing in each instance the applicable provisions of this Chapter.
D. The date before which the steps for compliance must be commenced and the date before which the steps must be completed.
E. That the recipient of the notice has the right to appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board within a period of 10 days.
F. That failure to comply with the notice within the time specified, unless extended by appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board, constitutes a violation, with possible sanctions clearly described.
(Ord. 84-2, 3/29/1984, §2110; as added by Ord. 98-7, 8/27/1998)
1. Any person, partnership, association or corporation who or which shall violate any provision of this Chapter shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding after a hearing before a district justice, pay a judgment not exceeding $500 plus all court costs, together with Township's reasonable attorneys fees incurred as a result of such violation. [Ord. 95-3]
2. Each day that a violation is continued shall constitute a separate offense.
(Ord. 84?2, 3/29/1984, §2110; as amended by Ord. 95-3, 6/1/1995, §1)
In case any building, structure, or land is, or is proposed to be, erected, constructed, reconstructed, altered, converted, maintained or used in violation of this Chapter, or any duly enacted amendment hereof, the Township Commissioners or, with the approval of the Township Commissioners, any officer of the Township may, in addition to any other remedies provided by law, institute in the name of the Township any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent, restrain, correct, or abate such building, structure or land, or to prevent in or about such premises, any act, conduct, business or use constituting a violation.
(Ord. 84?2, 3/29/1984, §2111)
§2214. APPEALS AND APPLICATIONS.
An appeal or application for a special exception or variance from the terms of this Chapter, shall be filed with the Zoning Officer, or his duly appointed representative, and shall state:
A. The name and address of the applicant.
B. The name and address of the owner of the real estate to be affected by such appeal or application.
C. A brief description and location of the real estate to be affected by such appeal or application.
D. A statement of the present zoning classification of the real estate in question, the improvements thereon, and the present use thereof.
E. A statement of the Section of this Chapter under which the relief requested may be allowed, and the reasons it should be granted.
F. An accurate description of the present improvements, and the additions intended to be made under this application, indicating the size of such proposed improvements, material and general construction thereof. In addition, there shall be attached a plot plan of the real estate to be affected, prepared and certified by a surveyor or engineer registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which plan shall indicate the location and size of the lot, the size of the improvements now existing and proposed to be erected thereon, and any other information required to be shown on plot plans accompanying applications for building permits.
(Ord. 84?2, 3/29/1984, 2112)