Township of Palmer, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Palmer 11-7-1966 by Ord. No. 81; amended in its entirety 9-17-1973 by Ord. No. 145. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 60.
Electrical Code — See Ch. 72.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 81.
Mechanical Code — See Ch. 99.
One- and Two-Family Dwelling Unit Code — See Ch. 112.
Plumbing Code — See Ch. 124.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 128.
Individual sewage disposal systems — See Ch. 145.
Sewer use — See Ch. 147.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 158.
Street and sidewalk construction — See Ch. 160.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 165.
Zoning — See Ch. 190.

§ 55-1 Short title.

The short title of this ordinance shall be the "Palmer Township Basic Building Code."

§ 55-2 Code adopted.

[Amended 2-24-1976 by Ord. No. 161; 4-14-1981 by Ord. No. 186; 7-28-1987 by Ord. No. 221; 7-27-1993 by Ord. No. 253; 12-18-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-293]
The publication entitled the "International Building Code/2000," (hereafter "IBC"), and its amendments and errata sheets, published by International Code Council, hereinafter called the "code," is hereby accepted, adopted and incorporated in its entirety, except as may be hereinafter otherwise indicated, as the Palmer Township Basic Building Code. Wherever in said code blanks appear, the obvious required or indicated insertions are to be considered made; and wherever in said code the words "municipality" or "name of municipality" appear, the words "Palmer Township" are to be considered as inserted.

§ 55-3 Words inserted.

[Amended 2-24-1976 by Ord. No. 161; 7-28-1987 by Ord. No. 221; 12-18-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-293]
The following words and figures shall be considered inserted in the blanks appearing in the indicated sections of the code and any equivalent section of any revision of said code:
Section
Title
Words Inserted
101.1
Title
Palmer Township

§ 55-4 Amended sections.

[Added 12-18-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-293[1]]
The following sections of the code, denoting work not requiring permits, shall require a zoning permit, with such fees based upon the adopted construction valuation and fee schedule and subject to Zoning Ordinance requirements: Section 105.2 IBC, work exempt from permits, Building: numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the repeal of former § 55-4, Excluded sections, as amended.

§ 55-5 Construction of code.

Whenever a provision of this ordinance or the code conflicts with a provision of another township ordinance or law, the most restrictive of the two provisions shall prevail. Building height, setback and use regulations of the Township Zoning Ordinance[1] shall prevail over provisions pertaining to similar topics in this ordinance or the code. The standards contained in amended Township Ordinance No. 36 for street, sidewalk and curb construction[2] shall prevail over any standards in the code for construction of the same. Provisions of this ordinance shall prevail in any conflict with provisions of the code incorporated herein.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 190, Zoning.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 160, Street and Sidewalk Construction.

§ 55-6 Fees.

All fees chargeable hereunder shall be set by the Board of Supervisors by resolution. Unless separate provisions are made, the value of the building shall determine the fee for moving or demolition of the same.

§ 55-7 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 10-25-1988 by Ord. No. 227]
A. 
Any person, partnership, corporation, trust or other entity who or which is any way violates any of the provisions of this ordinance or the code or who or which refuses to obey any lawful order issued thereunder shall be liable, upon conviction in a summary proceeding before any Alderman, District Magistrate or Justice of the Peace, to pay a fine or penalty to the Township of Palmer and for the use of said township in an amount not less than $10 nor more than $1,000 or be sentenced to imprisonment in the county prison for a period not exceeding 30 days, as provided by law.
B. 
Each day of violation of the particular code or ordinance applicable shall be considered a separate offense, for which the fines and penalties stated herein may be imposed on a daily basis.
C. 
For collection of fines and penalties, see § 1-16E of Chapter 1, General Provisions.

§ 55-8 Appeals.

Any person, partnership, corporation, trust or other entity aggrieved or affected by any provision of this ordinance or the code or any order issued thereunder may appeal the same to the Township Board of Supervisors or the Board of Appeals.

§ 55-9 Frost line.

The frost line in Palmer Township shall always be taken to be three feet below finished grade line.

§ 55-10 Sewage and utilities.

Main building traps shall be provided, and whenever possible buildings accessible to public sewers, water and utilities shall be connected to the same as provided by amended Ordinance No. 107.[1] Unused private sewage systems and tanks shall be filled or secured. Depths given by the township for lateral connections cannot be guaranteed as more than approximate.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 147, Sewer Use, Art. II, Regulations.

§ 55-11 Curbing.

[Amended 11-17-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-342]
It is the intent of this ordinance that all roads in Palmer Township shall be curbed. The Board of Supervisors may implement this provision from time to time and place to place by ordinance and charge expenses to abutting property owners. In addition, all new Township roads shall be curbed and all lots upon which new buildings of 1,000 square feet or more are constructed shall be fully curbed on all sides. Curbing shall be constructed according to the specifications of Township Ordinance No. 36 as amended.[1] The Township Engineer shall supply grades for curbing when curbing is going to be installed.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 160, Street and Sidewalk Construction.

§ 55-12 Sidewalks.

[Amended 11-17-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-342]
Sidewalks shall be provided when a new building of 1,000 square feet or more is built upon a lot fronting on a road designated on the Township Zoning Map as minor arterial or when the street is already equipped with a sidewalk or when the same is necessary to assure safety or when the same is required by the Township Supervisors by ordinance. Sidewalks shall be constructed according to the specifications of Township Ordinance No. 36 as amended.[1] The Township Engineer shall supply grades for sidewalks when sidewalks are going to be installed.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 160, Street and Sidewalk Construction.

§ 55-13 Streets and driveways.

Dedicated public streets shall adjoin lots containing buildings of 1,000 square feet or more unless special permission is given by the Board of Supervisors for a private road. If the lot upon which a building of 1,000 square feet or more adjoins an unaccepted or unopened street, an appropriate bond or unaccepted street agreement authorizing opening of the street and providing for payment of the costs of the same and utilities by the lot owner shall be filed. Specifications for street and driveway construction shall be as set by Township Ordinance No. 36 as amended.[1] A permit shall be required to construct or reconstruct any driveway.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 160, Street and Sidewalk Construction.

§ 55-14 Enforcement.

The Zoning Officer shall have authority to enforce the provisions of this code in addition to the code enforcement personnel appointed by virtue of this ordinance.

§ 55-15 Building grades.

The grade and elevation for the foundation and surrounding grounds of all buildings shall be supplied or approved by the township. Grounds, utility splice boxes and the top of the foundation shall not be below street level without special permission, and lots built up or filled shall have easements at least 20 feet wide with pipes and catch basins if natural watercourses are encroached. Wood and wood scraps shall not be buried underground as fill, and grading shall not cause water puddles.

§ 55-16 Notification of completion or deviation from plans.

Persons to whom permits are issued shall notify the Building Inspector upon the completion of work or if deviations are to be made from original plans.

§ 55-17 Labor and industry approval.

No building or other permit shall be issued for any structure requiring labor and industry or other similar approval until such approval has been given.

§ 55-18 Safety during construction.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act and other safety requirements shall be fully complied with during construction of structures. Buildings under construction shall be locked, when unattended, as soon as feasible. Lumber and building materials shall be stacked in a safe manner and location. Cellar excavations shall be fenced when unattended if required by the Building Inspector and shall be kept free of water. Temporary services shall be raintight and sealed or locked so that there is no access to electrically charged conductors, plug fuses, lugs, bus bars or knife switches. Ladders shall be taken down when unattended. Portable space heaters shall not be left unattended or used unless there is adequate ventilation to the outside. Power tools shall not be left unattended in operable condition.

§ 55-19 Hours of work.

Unless special permission is given, construction which is noise producing shall not commence until 7:00 a.m. and shall be discontinued by 11:00 p.m.

§ 55-20 Severability.

The provisions of this ordinance and the code are severable. If any provision of this ordinance or the code is for any reason invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the remaining provisions of this ordinance or the code. It is hereby declared to be the intent of the Board of Supervisors that this ordinance or the code would have been enacted without such invalid provision.

§ 55-21 Repealer.

All ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

§ 55-22 When effective.

This ordinance shall take effect five days from the date of this enactment.

§ 55-23 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 55-23, Smoke detectors, as amended 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164, was repealed 12-18-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-293.

§ 55-24 Official placards and stickers.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164]
Unless authorized, no person shall remove, deface or alter any official township placard, sign, poster, zoning hearing notice or sticker.

§ 55-25 Construction in floodplains.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164]
Sections 55-25 through 55-38 of the Building Code shall apply, in addition to all other applicable sections of the Palmer Code, to all construction, substantial improvements, alterations, reconstruction and related activities, including earth moving, in any flood-prone area, floodplain district established by the Zoning Ordinance in § 190-14A, or elsewhere, and any relatively flat or low land area or other area adjoining a stream, river or watercourse found by the Zoning Officer or Code Enforcement Department to be a flood-prone area because it is subject to the unusual and rapid accumulation of surface waters from any source. New construction in any such area or district is hereby prohibited, and the alteration or reconstruction of existing buildings or structures is hereby prohibited except as expressly provided herein.

§ 55-26 Existing structures in floodplains.

[Amended 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164]
Structures in any floodplain district or flood-prone area which lawfully existed before the enactment of this ordinance, but which are not in compliance with the provisions of this ordinance, may continue to remain, subject to the following:
A. 
Existing structures located in such area or district shall not be extended, expanded or enlarged, unless any effect of the proposed extension, expansion or enlargement on flood heights is fully offset by accompanying stream improvements.
B. 
Any modification, alteration, repair, reconstruction or improvement of any kind to an existing structure, to an extent or amount of less than 50% of its market value, shall be elevated and/or floodproofed at least 1 1/2 feet above the standard project flood or the one-hundred-year flood, whichever is greater, to the greatest extent possible.
C. 
Any modification, alteration, reconstruction, repair or improvement of any kind to an existing structure, to an extent or amount of 50% or more of its market value, shall be undertaken only in full compliance with the provisions of this ordinance and all other applicable ordinances and regulations.

§ 55-27 Plan required for floodplain permits.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164]
Any application for a building or zoning permit concerning a property which is located in or adjacent to a floodplain district or flood-prone area as defined in § 55-25 shall, as a minimum, be accompanied by the following:
A. 
A plan which accurately locates the construction proposal with respect to the floodplain district or flood-prone area boundaries, stream channel and existing flood-prone developments. Included shall be all plans for proposed subdivision and/or land development to assure that all such proposals are consistent with the need to minimize flood damage; that all public utilities and facilities, such as sewer, gas, electrical and water systems are located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage; and that adequate drainage is provided so as to reduce exposure to flood hazards.
B. 
Such plan shall also include existing and proposed contours and elevations of the ground, storage elevations, size of the structure, elevation of the lowest floor of the structure, location and elevations of streets, water supply, sanitary facilities, soil types and floodproofing measures.
[Amended 8-1-1977 by Ord. No. 167]
C. 
A document certified by a registered professional engineer or architect that adequate precautions against flood damage have been taken with respect to the design of any building or structure and that the plans for the development of the site adhere to the requirements and provisions of the Palmer Code, including this ordinance.

§ 55-28 Review of floodplain plans.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164]
A. 
A copy of all applications and plans for construction, alterations or reconstruction in any floodplain district or flood-prone area to be considered for approval shall be submitted by the Zoning Officer to the County Conservation District for review and comment prior to the issuance of a building permit. The recommendations of the Conservation District shall be considered by the Zoning Officer for possible incorporation into the proposed plan, and the plans and applications may be submitted by the Zoning Officer to any other appropriate agencies and/or individuals (e.g., Planning Commission, Municipal Engineer, etc.) for review and comment.
B. 
If the plan involves changes in the boundaries of a floodplain district or flood-prone area, a copy of such plan shall be forwarded to the Federal Insurance Administration, and no modifications to the boundaries of the floodplain district or flood-prone area, due to natural or man-made physical changes, shall be made without the prior approval of the Federal Insurance Administration.

§ 55-29 Elevations in floodplains.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164; amended 8-1-1977 by Ord. No. 167]
In a floodplain district or flood-prone area:
A. 
All lowest floor levels and basements in residential structures shall be constructed at an elevation of at least 1 1/2 feet above the standard project flood elevation or the one-hundred-year-flood elevation, whichever is greater.
B. 
Lowest floor levels and basements in nonresidential buildings may be constructed below the level of the standard project flood, provided that they and their attendant utilities and sanitary facilities are designed so that below the base flood level the structure is watertight with walls substantially impermeable to the passage of water and with structural components having the capability of resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads and effects of buoyancy.

§ 55-30 Fill in floodplain area.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164]
If fill is used, in a floodplain district or flood-prone area, it shall:
A. 
Extend laterally at least 15 feet beyond the building line from all points.
B. 
Consist of soil or small rock materials only. Sanitary landfills shall not be permitted.
C. 
Be compacted to provide the necessary permeability and resistance to erosion, scouring or settling.
D. 
Be no steeper than one vertical to two horizontal, unless substantiating data justifying steeper slopes is submitted to and approved by the Building Permit Officer.
E. 
Be used to the extent to which it does not adversely affect adjacent properties.

§ 55-31 Placement of structures in floodplains.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164]
In floodplain districts and flood-prone areas, all buildings and structures shall be designed, located and constructed so as to offer the minimum obstruction to the flow of water and shall be designed to have a minimum effect upon the flow and height of floodwater.

§ 55-32 Anchoring in floodplain areas.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164; amended 8-1-1977 by Ord. No. 167]
In floodplain districts and flood-prone areas:
A. 
All buildings and structures shall be firmly anchored in accordance with accepted engineering practices to prevent flotation, collapse and lateral movement, thus reducing the threat to life and property and decreasing the possibility of the blockage of bridge openings and other restricted sections of the watercourse.
B. 
All air ducts, large pipes and storage tanks located at or below the first-floor level shall be firmly anchored to prevent flotation.

§ 55-33 Floors, walls and ceilings in floodplains.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164]
In floodplain districts and flood-prone areas:
A. 
Wood flooring used at or below the first-floor level shall be installed to accommodate a lateral expansion of the flooring, perpendicular to the flooring grain, without incurring structural damage to the building.
B. 
Plywood used at or below the first-floor level shall be of any exterior or marine grade and of a water-resistant or waterproof variety.
C. 
Basement ceilings in nonresidential structures shall have sufficient wet strength and be so installed as to survive inundation.
D. 
Window frames, door frames and door jambs used at or below the first-floor level shall be made of metal.

§ 55-34 Electrical systems in floodplains.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164]
In floodplain districts and flood-prone areas:
A. 
All electric water heaters, electric furnaces, electric air-conditioning and ventilating systems and other critical electrical installations shall be permitted only at elevations of 1 1/2 feet or more above the standard project flood elevation or the one-hundred-year-flood elevation, whichever is greater.
B. 
No electrical distribution panels shall be allowed at an elevation less than three feet above the level of the standard project flood elevation or the one-hundred-year-flood elevation, whichever is greater.
C. 
Separate electrical circuits shall serve lower levels and shall be dropped from above.

§ 55-35 Plumbing in floodplains.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164]
In floodplain districts and flood-prone areas:
A. 
Water heaters, furnaces and other critical mechanical installations shall be permitted only at elevations of 1 1/2 feet or more above the standard project flood elevation or the one-hundred-year-flood elevation, whichever is greater.
B. 
No part of any on-site sewage disposal system shall be constructed within any flood-prone area or floodplain district.
C. 
Water supply systems and sanitary sewage systems shall be designed to preclude infiltration of floodwaters into the systems and discharges from the system into floodwaters.
D. 
All gas and oil supply systems shall be designed to preclude the infiltration of floodwaters into the systems and discharges from the system into floodwaters. Additional provisions shall be made for the drainage of these systems in the event that floodwater infiltration occurs.

§ 55-36 Paints and adhesives in floodplains.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164]
In floodplain districts and flood-prone areas:
A. 
Adhesives used at or below the first-floor level shall have a bonding strength that is unaffected by inundation.
B. 
Doors and all wood trim at or below the first-floor level shall be sealed with a waterproof paint or similar product.
C. 
Paints or other finishes used at or below the first-floor level shall be capable of surviving inundation.

§ 55-37 Storage in floodplains.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164]
In floodplain districts and flood-prone areas no materials that are buoyant, flammable, explosive or, in times of flooding, could be injurious to human, animal or plant life shall be stored below an elevation 1 1/2 feet above the standard project flood elevation or the one-hundred-year-flood elevation, whichever is greater.

§ 55-38 Applicability of Zoning Ordinance.

[Added 12-6-1976 by Ord. No. 164]
Section 190-154 of the Zoning Ordinance which pertains to floodplains is expressly incorporated herein by reference. No construction, substantial improvement reconstruction or alterations shall be made hereunder until the requirements of these sections of the Zoning Ordinance have also been complied with.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 190, Zoning.

§ 55-39 Residential basements.

[Added 7-18-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-359]
A. 
A building permit shall be required where a proposed construction, renovation or conversion of any new or old basement of a residential structure involves constructing, renovating or converting such residential basement into a habitable space regardless of whether such construction, renovation or conversion is structural or nonstructural in nature.
B. 
The applicant seeking to construct a residential basement shall be required to comply with Section R310 of the 2003 International Residential Code, as amended, entitled Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings, as adopted by the Palmer Township Board of Supervisors by Ordinance No. 2004-352 on June 29, 2004.
C. 
This section shall not apply to any residential basement made habitable prior to July 6, 2004.

§ 55-40 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 55-40, Individual lot grading plan required, added 5-27-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-377, was repealed 9-25-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-413.