Township of Lower Gwynedd, PA
Montgomery County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
STATUTORY REFERENCES
General planning and zoning provisions — See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
GENERAL REFERENCES
Establishment — See Ch. 1254, Section 1254.01.
Signs — See Ch. 1292.
Off-street parking and loading — See Ch. 1294.
Nonconforming uses — See Ch. 1296.
General provisions and definitions — See Ch. 1298.

§ 1258.01 Application of chapter.

[Ord. 246. Passed 12-22-1987]
In an A-1 Residential District, the regulations set forth in this chapter shall apply.

§ 1258.02 Permitted uses.

[Ord. 246. Passed 12-22-1987; Ord. 314. Passed 2-21-1995]
In an A-1 Residential District, a building may be erected or used, and a lot may be used or occupied, for any of the following purposes and no other:
(a) 
Farming.
(b) 
One single-family detached dwelling either:
(1) 
In accordance with the regulations applicable to an A Residential District; or
(2) 
In accordance with the regulations of this chapter.
(c) 
Municipal use.
(d) 
Cluster development as a conditional use in accordance with Section 1298.07 and the regulations set forth in this chapter.
(e) 
Cluster development with a density bonus as a conditional use for the preservation of increased open space in accordance with Section 1298.07 and the regulations set forth in this chapter.
(f) 
Cluster development with a density bonus for the preservation of a Township historic or cultural resource as a conditional use in accordance with Section 1298.07 and the regulations set forth in this chapter.
(g) 
The following uses, when developed in accordance with the regulations applicable to an A Residential District, Chapter 1257 and when authorized as a special exception, such uses to be subject to the following area requirements:
[Amended 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. 452]
Use
Minimum Lot Area
(acres)
Educational
20
Hospital or nursing home
20
Country club or recreational use (nonprofit in nature)
20
Religious
5
Post office
5
(h) 
Accessory uses in accordance with Section 1250.04(2) and Chapter 1298.
(i) 
A recreational/fitness use conducted by a nonprofit community service organization, when authorized as a conditional use by the Board of Supervisors and in accordance with the following regulations:
[Added 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. 452]
(1) 
Minimum lot area. A lot area of not less than 20 acres shall be provided.
(2) 
Minimum frontage on a public road. Public road frontage of not less than 500 feet shall be provided.
(3) 
Front yard. A front yard of not less than 400 feet shall be provided.
(4) 
Side yard. Two side yards, each not less than 300 feet shall be provided.
(5) 
Rear yard. A rear yard of not less than 200 feet shall be provided.
(6) 
Building coverage. The total building coverage shall not exceed 20%.
(7) 
Impervious coverage. The total impervious coverage shall not exceed 45%.
(8) 
Building height. The maximum building height shall not exceed 45 feet except for an entry feature which shall not exceed 55 feet in height, and that portion exceeding 45 feet shall not exceed 4% of the area of the ground floor of the building in which it is located.
(9) 
Off-street parking. Off-street parking shall be provided in sufficient quantity for the use as demonstrated by a traffic study performed by a qualified traffic engineer and taking into account similar facilities (if any) operated by the nonprofit community service organization in other locations. Notwithstanding any other provision in this Part 12, all parking and driveways, except for perpendicular access, shall be setback a minimum of 150 feet from the front and side property lines and 100 feet from the rear property line. A side property line adjacent to an access strip (too narrow to permit development under this Title) which serves another property may have a driveway within 50 feet of that side property line, but no closer.
(10) 
Loading area. Areas for loading and unloading of delivery trucks, service vehicles and for refuse collection shall be provided, shall be adequate in size, shall not interfere with parking on access roads, and shall be screened from view.
(11) 
Signs. The following signage is permitted. In addition to directional and informational signage, the following signage shall be permitted up to the specified amount by conditional use from the Board of Supervisors where site frontage exceeds 1,000 feet and with a minimum building setback of 150 feet for a single entity/facility containing multiple structures.
A. 
Wall signs. One wall sign identifying a facility’s name or logo (but not both) shall be permitted on each facade of the main building which either fronts on a public right-of-way or faces a property line less than 75 feet from a limited access, arterial highway. The face area of each sign shall not exceed 160 square feet, and shall not be internally illuminated.
B. 
Monument sign. One two-sided (double-faced) monument sign not to exceed six feet in height, nor 40 square feet of sign face per side shall be permitted, but no part or aspect of such monument sign shall be internally illuminated.
(12) 
Landscaping. All development shall be designed and maintained in accordance with Sections 1234.05, 1238.16 and 1238.17(f) of the Subdivision Regulations.[1] In addition, there shall be a suitable and effective landscape barrier at any perimeter of the property adjacent to a public street. Such buffer strip shall be at least 10 feet wide and shall channel motor vehicle ingress and egress from the property, providing a maximum of one access road per 200 feet of frontage and in no case more than two access roads per property. Parking lot landscaping shall be provided in accordance with a design developed and approved during the land development process.
[1]
Editor’s Note: For current provisions, see Ch. 1230, Subdivision and Land Development, Article VIII, Design Standards.
(13) 
Utilities. All development shall be served by public sewer and water. All utilities shall be underground.
(14) 
Outdoor land use. There shall be no outdoor storage or display of goods or materials for marketing, sale or any other purpose. The outdoor storage of trash shall be designed and maintained to be completely screened from view by a landscape buffer. Because this use is permitted in a residential district, no lighting or sound amplification of any kind shall be permitted within 600 feet of a property utilized for residential purposes not separated from the site by an arterial highway (except for security lighting and site lighting in connection with parking or pedestrian walkways which have been approved by the Township). Sound amplification shall be permitted, but only in such locations, at such times and at such volumes as shall be directed by the Board of Supervisors in the conditional use decision to protect nearby residential properties from adverse impact. No outdoor activities of any kind shall be permitted within the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., except for the use of the swimming pool.
(15) 
Site lighting. Exterior lighting provided in conjunction with any building shall be placed not higher than 14 feet above grade and shall be screened so as not to permit the source of illumination to be seen from off the premises. Only incandescent or color-corrected types of illumination shall be used. The hours of operation of such light shall be limited to normal business hours, and in no case shall lights (except as deemed minimally necessary for security in the opinion of the Board of Supervisors) remain illuminated between 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m., prevailing time.

§ 1258.03 Lot area, density and width.

[Ord. 246. Passed 12-22-1987]
(a) 
Minimum lot area.
(1) 
In an A-1 Residential District, a lot area of not less than 80,000 square feet shall be provided for every dwelling or other building where neither public sewer nor public water is available.
(2) 
Where either public sewer or public water is available, a lot area of not less than 60,000 square feet shall be provided for every dwelling or other building.
(3) 
Where both public sewer and public water are available, a lot area of not less than 35,000 square feet shall be provided for every dwelling or other building.
(b) 
Density. The number of dwelling unit shall not exceed 0.90 dwelling unit per developable acre over the developable area of the entire tract, including that portion of the tract to be reserved as permanent or common open space. This limitation shall in all cases govern density.
(c) 
Minimum Lot Width. A lot width of not less than 175 feet at the building line shall be provided for every dwelling or other building.

§ 1258.04 Yards.

[Ord. 246. Passed 12-22-1987]
(a) 
Front yards. In an A-1 Residential District, there shall be a front yard on each lot, which yard shall be not less than 65 feet in depth.
(b) 
Side yards. There shall be two side yards on each lot, neither of which shall be less than 45 feet in width.
(c) 
Rear yards. There shall be a rear yard on each lot, which yard shall be not less than 65 feet in depth. An accessory use structure, if entirely separate from the main building and located at least 10 feet farther back than the rear of the main building, may be erected in the rear yard, but not within 10 feet of the rear or side property lines.
(d) 
Corner lots. Yards for corner lots are regulated by Section 1298.09.

§ 1258.05 Lot coverage.

[Ord. 246. Passed 12-22-1987]
(a) 
Building coverage.
(1) 
In an A-1 Residential District, the total building coverage shall not exceed 10%.
(2) 
Where either public sewer or public water is available, the total building coverage shall not exceed 15%.
(3) 
Where both public sewer and public water are available, the total building coverage shall not exceed 20%.
(b) 
Impervious coverage.
(1) 
The total impervious coverage shall not exceed 25% for a single-family residential use.
(2) 
The total impervious coverage shall not exceed 45% for all nonresidential uses.

§ 1258.06 Building height.

[Ord. 246. Passed 12-22-1987; Ord. 257. Passed 6-21-1988; Ord. 409. Passed 7-22-2003]
(a) 
The maximum height for dwellings, buildings or other structures erected or enlarged in an A-1 Residential District shall be 45 feet, not exceeding 2 1/2 stories.
(b) 
The maximum height for any building accessory to any dwelling shall be 14 feet, not exceeding one story, except that by special exception, the height of accessory buildings constructed entirely outside any mandatory set-back areas on lots exceeding 40,000 square feet shall not exceed 35 feet or 2 1/2 stories.

§ 1258.07 Off-street parking.

[Ord. 246. Passed 12-22-1987]
(a) 
Residential. For each dwelling unit in an A-1 Residential District, two all-weather off-street parking spaces shall be provided in accordance with Chapter 1294.
(b) 
Nonresidential. For any permitted use other than a residential use, parking facilities shall be provided in accordance with Chapter 1294. Further, such parking shall not occupy any portion of the front, side or rear yards required under this chapter.
(c) 
Setbacks. No parking area or driveway shall be located closer than five feet to any property line, except the portion of the driveway required for normal ingress and egress.

§ 1258.08 Special requirements.

[Ord. 246. Passed 12-22-1987]
(a) 
Permanent open space. With the exception of a development in accordance with the regulations of the A Residential District, as permitted in Section 1258.02(b)(1), not less than 10% of the gross area of a tract in an A-1 Residential District shall be preserved as permanent open space. Such permanent open space shall be provided in accordance with Section 1258.11(a) and shall not consist of any undevelopable land. The permanent open space may be offered for dedication, but shall not be required to be offered. Any organization which shall own the permanent open space shall comply with the requirements of Section 1258.11(b)(2) or (3).
(b) 
Signs. Signs shall be permitted in accordance with Chapter 1292.
(c) 
Swimming pools; tennis courts; equine facilities. Accessory structures such as swimming pools, tennis courts and equine facilities shall be permitted subject to Chapter 1298.
(d) 
Detention basins in yards. Detention basin shall be allowed in yard areas only in accordance with Section 1298.14.

§ 1258.09 Criteria for cluster developments.

[Ord. 246. Passed 12-22-1987]
Cluster developments in accordance with the development standards contained in Section 1258.10 shall be permitted in an A-1 Residential District, as a conditional use subject to the provisions of Section 1298.07 on sites meeting the following criteria:
(a) 
The tract of land to be developed shall be a minimum of 10 acres and shall be in single and separate ownership or shall be the subject of an application filed jointly by all the owners of the entire tract, who shall stipulate that the entire tract will be developed in accordance with the approved plan.
(b) 
A planned cluster development shall be serviced by public water and public sewerage acceptable to the Board of Supervisors and subject to the approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources or any applicable local authority.
(c) 
Not less than 10% of the total developable area of the tract and all nondevelopable area shall be preserved as common open space in accordance with Section 1258.11.

§ 1258.10 Development standards for cluster developments.

[Ord. 246. Passed 12-22-1987. Ord. 377. Passed 9-25-2000]
Cluster developments in an A-1 Residential District shall be developed in accordance with the provisions for development in such District, above, except as specifically modified by this section and by Section 1258.11.
(a) 
Use regulations. In a cluster development, single-family detached residential dwellings, open space and recreational areas and structures shall be permitted.
(b) 
Density. The number of dwelling units shall not exceed 1.00 per developable acre over the developable area of the entire tract, including that portion of the tract to be permanently reserved as common open space. This limitation shall in all cases govern density.
(c) 
Lot area. A lot area of not less than 23,000 square feet shall be provided for every dwelling. Undevelopable land shall not be counted when calculating the minimum lot area, although such undevelopable land may be included within individual lots if permitted by the Board of Supervisors.
(d) 
Minimum lot width. A lot width of not less than 140 feet at the building line shall be provided for every dwelling.
(e) 
Yard regulations.
(1) 
Front yards. There shall be a front yard on each lot, which yard shall be not less than 50 feet in depth.
(2) 
Side yards. There shall be two side yards on each lot, neither of which shall be less than 35 feet in width.
(3) 
Rear yards. There shall be a rear yard on each lot, which yard shall be not less than 60 feet in depth.
An accessory use structure, if entirely separate from the main building and located at least 10 feet farther back than the rear of the main building, may be erected in the rear yard, but shall not be located within eight feet of the rear or side property line.
(4) 
Yards adjacent to single-family residential districts. Yard areas shall be provided on lots adjacent to lands in other Single-Family Residential Districts, as required, so that individual lots in an A-1 District shall not have smaller adjacent yards than those required for individual lots in the adjacent Residential District. In the event that the specific lot in the immediate adjacent residential district is eligible for cluster development (and, therefore, a reduction of yard regulations), this provision shall not apply.
(5) 
Corner lots. Yards for corner lots are regulated by Section 1298.09.
(f) 
Lot coverage.
(1) 
Building coverage. The total building coverage shall not exceed 25%.
(2) 
Impervious coverage. The total impervious coverage shall not exceed 35%.

§ 1258.11 Regulations for common open space.

[Ord. 246. Passed 12-22-1987. Ord. 377. Passed 9-25-2000]
(a) 
Common open space in an A-1 Residential District shall be designed in accordance with the following standards:
(1) 
Common open space shall be so designated on the plans, and the plans shall contain a notation stating: "Common open space shall not be separately sold and shall not be further developed or subdivided."
(2) 
Common open space areas shall be designed as a continuous system of open space and shall be interconnected with open space areas on abutting parcels whenever possible.
(3) 
Common open space shall be provided with safe and convenient access to the residentially developed area of the tract by adjoining frontage on streets or easements capable of accommodating pedestrian, bicycle and maintenance vehicle traffic. Common open space shall contain appropriate access improvements and shall be provided with perimeter parking areas as appropriate.
(4) 
Common open space shall consist predominantly of natural environmental features or planted and maintained vegetation which may contain walking, biking or equestrian trails.
(5) 
The common open space shall be acceptable to the Board of Supervisors.
(6) 
Common open space shall be designed, wherever possible, to complement and preserve the tract's natural resources, including, but not limited to, trees, wetlands, floodplains, riparian buffers, steep slopes, wildlife habitat, scenic views and interconnected greenways.
(7) 
Common open space may be designed to provide active recreation opportunities.
(8) 
Common open space shall be designed to preserve or enhance historic landscapes or attractive streetscapes within and around the proposed cluster development.
(9) 
Common open space shall not be provided in narrow strips of land less than 50 feet in width unless such strips contain perimeter trails or trail connections or unless such strips have frontage on public roads and provide access to larger contiguous areas of common open space.
(10) 
Common open space shall be designed in accordance with the Lower Gwynedd Township Open Space Plan.
(11) 
When common open space is proposed for any cluster development under this chapter, a note or notes on the record subdivision plan shall indicate the proposed uses as well as the proposed types and schedules of maintenance for each open space parcel shown on the plan without regard to the proposed ownership of such open space parcel by the township, a homeowners association to be created or an organization permitted under Section 1256.11(b)(2) below. The plan itself shall also depict a method of physically delineating private lots from common open space areas by the use of fencing, sections of fencing, easily visible corner posts or other monuments or methods acceptable to the Board of Supervisors.
(b) 
Provision for ownership and maintenance of common open space shall be made in a manner so as to ensure its preservation. This shall be accomplished in one of the following ways:
(1) 
The developer shall offer the common open space for dedication for public use and maintenance, if required by the Township. However, the Township need not require that the common open space be dedicated, nor accept a dedication of the common open space if offered.
(2) 
With permission of the Township, and with appropriate deed restrictions in favor of the Township and in language acceptable to the Township Solicitor, the developer may transfer the fee simple title in the common open space, or a portion thereof, to a private, nonprofit organization, among whose purposes is the conservation of open space land and/or natural resources, provided that:
A. 
The organization is acceptable to the Township and is a bona fide conservation organization with a perpetual existence.
B. 
The conveyance contains appropriate provision for proper retransfer or reverter in the event that the organization becomes unable or unwilling to continue to carry out its functions.
C. 
A maintenance agreement acceptable to the Township is entered into by the developer, organization and Township.
(3) 
If the Township does not require dedication or permit transfer to a conservation organization as permitted in paragraph (b)(2) hereof, the developer shall provide for and establish an organization for the ownership and maintenance of the common open space consistent with the requirements for unit owners' associations found in the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act, 68 Pa. C.S. 3101 et seq. If such an organization is created, the deeds and agreements of sale for the common open space and for all individual lots within the tract shall contain the following requirements in language acceptable to the Township Solicitor:
A. 
Such organization shall not dispose of the common open space by sale or otherwise except to the Township or other governmental body, unless the Township has given prior approval. Such transfer shall be made only to another organization which shall maintain the common open space in accordance with this chapter.
B. 
The organization and all lot owners within the development shall agree to be bound by the provisions of Section 705(d)(2) and (3) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, No. 247, as amended, 53 P.S. 10705(d)(2) and (3), relating to Township maintenance of deteriorating open space, and providing for the ability of the Township to access and lien the properties within the development.
C. 
All lot owners within the development shall be required to become members of the organization and pay assessments for the maintenance of the common open space, which assessments may be increased for inflation and which may provide for professional management.
D. 
The Township may require the formation of a reserve fund to cover capital improvements to the common open space.

§ 1258.12 Density bonus for increased preservation of open space.

[Ord. 246. Passed 12-22-1987. Ord. 377. Passed 9-25-2000]
In order to provide for increased preservation of open space, a developer of a tract within an A-1 Residential District may request as a conditional use, in accordance with Section 1298.07, that the tract be permitted to be developed at a higher density if there is preservation of open space in addition to that required by Section 1258.09. All developments under these density bonus provisions shall meet the following requirements and shall comply with all applicable requirements for cluster developments provided in this chapter, and all common open space shall comply with Section 1258.11.
(a) 
Use regulations. In a cluster development with density bonus, single-family detached residential dwellings, open space and recreational areas and structures shall be permitted. All residential uses shall be subject to the general regulations applicable to an A-1 Residential District, except as specifically modified by Sections 1258.09 through 1258.11 and this section.
(b) 
Density regulations. The total number of dwelling units which shall be permitted in a cluster development with density bonus shall be contingent upon the percentage of the gross area of the tract reserved for common open space uses in addition to all undevelopable areas. For every five percent of the gross area of the tract reserved for common open space above the minimum required under Section 1258.09(c) (which consists of ten percent of the gross area of the tract plus all undevelopable land), a corresponding five-percent increase shall be allowed in the density as set forth in Section 1258.10(b) up to the maximum of 1.25 dwelling units per developable acre. The maximum density computed by this method, as set forth in the table below, shall in all cases govern density.
Minimum Open Space
Maximum Density in Dwelling Units Per Developable Acre
15% of the gross area of the tract plus all undevelopable area
1.05
20% of the gross area of the tract plus all undevelopable area
1.10
25% of the gross area of the tract plus all undevelopable area
1.15
30% of the gross area of the tract plus all undevelopable area
1.20
35% of the gross area of the tract plus all undevelopable area.
1.25
(c) 
Development standards. The minimum area of any lot and the minimum dimensions of lot width at the building line, front yard, side yards and rear yard which shall be permitted in a cluster development with density bonus shall be contingent upon the percentage of the gross area of the tract reserved for common open space uses in addition to all undevelopable areas. For every 5% of the gross area of the tract reserved for common open space above the minimum required under Section 1258.09(c) (which consists of ten percent of the gross area of the tract plus all undevelopable land) to be reserved for common open space, to a maximum of 35% of the gross area of the tract plus all undevelopable area, a corresponding decrease shall be allowed in the minimum area of any lot and the minimum dimensions for lot width at the building line, front yard, side yards and rear yard as set forth in Section 1256.10. The yard required by Section 1256.10(e)(4) shall not be reduced under this section.
(d) 
Historic or cultural resources. In a cluster development with density bonus under this section, as a conditional use, the maximum permitted tract density may be increased by 5% of the 1.00 dwelling unit per developable acre, in addition to the increase set forth in subsection (b) hereof, where the tract contains one or more Township historic or cultural resources, and such Township historic or cultural resources shall be preserved as a part of the development plan.
A Township historic or cultural resource shall be defined as a site or structure listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Pennsylvania Historic Resources Survey, the Montgomery County Inventory of Historic and Cultural Resources, a listing of historic and cultural resources compiled by the Board of Supervisors or the Planning Commission, or other appropriate documentation, or a site or structure seeking listing as a historic resource from any or all of the above listings.

§ 1258.13 Application procedure for cluster development or cluster development with density bonus.

[Ord. 246. Passed 12-22-1987]
A cluster development or cluster development with a density bonus shall be available as a conditional use in an A-1 Residential District. All applications for this conditional use shall be made in accordance with the provisions of Section 1299.07. Such applications shall be subsequently considered as a subdivision and/or land development application and shall follow the procedures set forth in the Subdivision and Land Development Regulations.