[Amended 3-16-2015 by Ord. No. 293-2015]
The purpose of agricultural zoning is to encourage the preservation of productive farmland as a finite and valuable natural resource and, therefore, to protect farmland against incompatible development and uses that could adversely affect the long-term economic viability of these lands.
Effective agricultural zoning can achieve good growth management by:
The Township has established the Agricultural District and the regulations for land use within the Agricultural District to implement the mandates of Sections 603(g)(1) and 603(h) of the MPC, which require that zoning ordinances protect prime agricultural land and encourage the continuity, development and viability of agricultural operations. The Township has also established the Agricultural District in accordance with MPC Section 604(3), which requires that provisions of a zoning ordinance be designed to preserve prime agricultural and farmland considering topography, soil type and classification, and present use.
Permitted-by-right uses shall be as follows:
Any form of agriculture, horticulture, silviculture, viticulture and related buildings and uses, subject to the provisions of § 135-212. These uses shall include general farming operations and plant nurseries.
Single-family detached dwellings.
Municipal uses, and related public utilities.
Greenhouses, including retail sales that are limited to a roadside produce stand meeting the requirements of § 135-258.
Agritourism enterprises on a lot with a minimum lot area of 10 acres, provided that the requirements of § 135-213 are met.
Stable, provided that any new lot meets the requirements of § 135-84, and any barn, stable or corral is located a minimum of 100 feet from any lot line and 200 feet from any dwelling, other than the dwelling of the owner of the animals.
Forestry and related uses; provided that the applicant provides copies of the permits and approvals from the DEP, and/or any other applicable state or federal permit authorizing such use to occur.
Nature preserves and related uses, including walking, hiking, biking and horseback riding trails and paths.
Accessory buildings and uses customarily incidental to the above-permitted uses.
The following uses are permitted when special exceptions are granted by written approval of the Zoning Hearing Board. In granting any special exception, the Board may attach certain conditions to its approval which it feels are necessary requirements in order to preserve and protect the character of the district in which the proposed use would locate. The burden shall be upon the applicant to prove that the approval of the application will not be detrimental to the health, safety and general welfare of the community.
Horse boarding facilities; including riding schools, academies and/or private riding clubs, in accordance with § 135-235.
Church, cemetery, or place of worship, and its customary accessory uses that lawfully existed prior to January 1, 1997, in the A-Agricultural District shall be considered to be a conforming use and may expand by special exception on its existing lot, provided that all dimensional and coverage requirements are met. However, no new place of worship or cemetery shall be permitted in the A-Agricultural District.
Farm-related business on a farm lot with a minimum lot area of 10 acres, in accordance with § 135-227.
Greenhouse and horticultural activities which include retail sales which are in excess of a roadside produce stand, in accordance with § 135-230.
Shooting ranges meeting all state and federal regulations regarding a firing range and the regulations of § 135-259.
Accessory structures and uses customarily incidental to the above special exception uses.
Maximum height. An additional side yard setback of one foot shall be provided for every two feet, or fraction thereof, increase in height above 35 feet. Buildings devoted to agricultural use shall be exempt from height regulations.
Creation of new lots from parent tracts or erection of single-family dwellings or other principal nonagricultural buildings on existing tracts shall be limited in accordance with the following requirements:
Owners of parent tracts shall not exceed the maximum number of lots which may be created or single-family detached dwellings or other principal nonagricultural buildings which may be erected upon a parent tract. It is the intention of the Board of Supervisors to limit both the number of lots which may be created from, or single-family detached dwellings or other principal nonagricultural buildings which may be erected upon, parent tracts.
The size of, ownership of and number of single-family dwellings on a parent tract as it existed on June 4, 1978, shall be used in determining the number of lots, or single-family detached dwellings, or other principal nonagricultural buildings which may be erected on a parent tract in accordance with the provisions of Subsection B(1), as defined through a chain of title document search of the parent tract in existence on or before June 4, 1978. In the event that a tract which was not classified as part of the A-Agricultural District on June 4, 1978, is hereafter classified as part of the A-Agricultural District, the size of, ownership of and number of single-family dwellings on such tract shall be determined as of the effective date of the change in the zoning classification.
The number of lots which may be created from or single-family dwellings or other principal nonagricultural buildings which may be erected on a parent tract shall not be increased by the subdivision of such parent tract. Any subsequent owner of a parent tract or land remaining from a parent tract after subdivision shall be bound by the actions of his predecessor.
Any single-family detached dwelling or principal nonagricultural building located in the A-Agricultural District which was in existence on June 4, 1978, or which is in existence on the effective date of any zoning amendment hereafter enacted, changing the zoning classification of a tract to A-Agricultural District, shall not be included in determining the number of single-family detached dwellings or other principal nonagricultural buildings or lots permitted in accordance with the provisions of Subsection B(1) above. If a parent tract was undeveloped on June 4, 1978, or on such later date when such parent tract was first classified A-Agricultural District, the erection of a single-family dwelling upon such parent tract shall be counted toward the permissible development of such parent tract.
Any subdivision or land development plan hereafter filed with the Township for subdivision or land development of a parent tract in the A-Agricultural District shall specify which lot or lots shall carry with it a right of further subdivision or erection of single-family dwellings or other principal nonagricultural buildings if any such right remains from the quota allocated to the parent tract in accordance with this section. This right of further subdivision or erection of single-family dwellings or other principal nonagricultural buildings or an indication that no further subdivision or erection of single-family dwellings or other principal nonagricultural buildings is permissible shall also be included in the deed to the newly created lot.
A subdivision, the sole purpose of which is to transfer land to increase the size of a tract being used principally for agricultural purposes, where both the parent tract from which the land is taken and the tract to which the land is added will continue to be used principally for agricultural purposes after such subdivision, shall not be included when computing the permissible number of lots to be subdivided from a parent tract or the maximum area of the parent tract that may be developed as set forth in this section. The owner of both tracts shall have the burden to present evidence to demonstrate that both tracts shall be continued to be used principally for agriculture.
A subdivision to create a lot which will be transferred to the Township, a municipal authority created by the Township or any governmental agency with the power of eminent domain shall not be included when computing the permissible number of lots to be subdivided from, or dwellings or other principal nonagricultural buildings which can be erected upon, a parent tract as set forth herein.
If the owner of a parent tract also owns a second parent tract, the quota of single-family detached dwellings or lots which may be developed from one parent tract may be developed upon the second parent tract. Any subdivision plan proposing such development shall clearly show both parent tracts and shall contain appropriate notes describing the quota allotted to the sending parent tract; previous development of the sending tract using part of its quota (if any); the quota from the sending parent tract being used to permit development of the receiving parent tract; the quota remaining available to the sending parent tract (if any); the quota allotted to the receiving parent tract; previous development of the receiving tract using all or part of its quota (if any); and the quota remaining available to the receiving parent tract (if any). The landowner shall also record a document, in a form acceptable to the Township Solicitor and indexed against the sending parent tract, describing the transfer of the right of development and stating whether or not any further rights of development remain for the sending parent tract.
Lots of record and lots shown on certain subdivision plans.
A single-family detached dwelling may be erected on any single lot of record as of June 4, 1978, notwithstanding the limitations imposed by Subsection B(1) of this section. Such lot must be in single and separate ownership and not of continuous frontage with other lots in the same ownership. This provision shall apply even though such lot fails to meet the requirements of area or width, or both, that are applicable to this district, provided that yard dimensions and requirements other than those applying to area or width, or both, of the lot shall conform to the regulations of this district.
No agricultural activity or any of its appurtenances shall be or become a nuisance, private or public, by any changed conditions occurring after June 4, 1978, including the erection of a dwelling, on any lot referred to in Subsection B(11)(a) when such operation was not a nuisance at the time the operation began; provided, however, that this provision shall not apply whenever a nuisance results from the negligent or improper operation of any such agricultural activity or its appurtenances.
The setback requirements for poultry houses and livestock facilities set forth in § 135-212 of this chapter shall not apply to dwelling units hereafter erected on any lots referred to in Subsection B(11)(a) or to the property lines of any lot referred to in Subsection B(11)(a) on which a dwelling unit is hereafter erected; provided, however, that such poultry houses and livestock facilities shall comply with the setback requirements from streets set forth in § 135-212 and with the yard requirements otherwise applicable thereto under the provisions of this chapter.
Lot area requirements.
The minimum lot area for each single-family detached dwelling shall be one acre.
The maximum lot area for each single-family dwelling shall be 2.5 acres.
The maximum lot area shall not apply if the applicant can demonstrate by credible evidence that the area proposed for the dwelling lot: 1) does not predominately consist of Class I, II and/or III soils, as identified in the soil survey; or 2) is generally unsuitable for agricultural purposes; or 3) where additional lot area is needed to improve septic or water supply facilities for the lot.
Where an applicant proposes to subdivide an existing dwelling from the parent tract, the applicant may opt to impose the maximum lot area requirements of this section upon such existing dwelling rather than on a proposed dwelling to be constructed on the remainder of the parent tract.
The minimum lot size for any agricultural use shall be 25 acres, provided, however, that any agricultural use that has been lawfully established as of the effective date of this chapter on a smaller lot shall be authorized to continue as a use permitted by right and may expand the use by right, provided such expansion will meet all other requirements of this chapter. Lots containing an agricultural use may utilize any remaining subdivision rights left with the parent tract as of the effective date of this chapter, even if such subdivision will reduce the area of the parent tract below 25 acres. The subdivided lot shall meet all applicable requirements of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the lot area requirements for a single-family dwelling lot under this Subsection C.
The minimum lot size for all other uses shall be two acres.
Minimum lot width. The minimum lot width for all uses shall be 100 feet at the building setback line.
Minimum lot depth. The minimum lot depth shall be 150 feet.
Front yard minimum depth.
The minimum front yard building setback line for all single-family detached dwellings shall be 35 feet from the ultimate street right-of-way as designated in § 135-301. All other buildings shall contain a minimum front yard building setback line of 50 feet from the ultimate street right-of-way.
In developed areas, the minimum building setback line requirements may be adjusted by right so that the proposed building may be in proper relation to adjacent buildings. Under no circumstances shall a building be permitted to encroach any closer to the ultimate right-of-way than an adjacent building.
Side yard. There shall be two side yards, neither of which shall be less than 20 feet.
Rear yard. Rear yards shall be a minimum of 50 feet in depth.
The following regulations apply to unattached buildings for accessory use:
Maximum height. The maximum height shall be 20 feet, except that this restriction shall not be applicable to farm buildings and silos.
Front yard minimum depth. The minimum building setback lines for all accessory buildings shall be 50 feet from the ultimate road right-of-way as designated by § 135-301.
Side yard. The minimum distance to any interior side lot line shall be 10 feet.
Rear yard. The minimum distance to any rear lot line shall be 10 feet.