Township of Palmer, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The long title of this ordinance shall be "An Ordinance of Palmer Township Providing for the Regulation and Control of the Subdivision of Lots and the Development of Land; the Approval of Plans, Plots or Replots of Land Laid Out in Building Lots; Standards for the Design of Streets, Lots, Easements, Blocks and Other Improvements; Certain Minimum Improvements and Construction Standards on All Streets and Required Dedications; the Administration of This Ordinance by the Township Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors; and Penalties for the Violation of This Ordinance."
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Palmer Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance." This chapter shall serve as Chapter 165 of the codified ordinances of Palmer Township.
The purpose of these regulations is to create conditions favorable to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the citizens by:
A. 
Assisting in the orderly and efficient integration of subdivisions within the Township.
B. 
Ensuring conformance of subdivision plans with the public improvements plans of the Township.
C. 
Ensuring sites suitable for building purposes and human habitation.
D. 
Facilitating the efficient movement of traffic and avoiding traffic hazards and congestion.
E. 
Securing equitable handling of all subdivision plans by providing uniform procedures and standards.
F. 
Improving land records by establishing standards for surveys and plans.
G. 
Safeguarding the interests of the public, the homeowner, the subdivider and all municipalities.
H. 
Preserving natural and historic features.
I. 
Carrying out other objectives specified in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code[1] and the Township Comprehensive Plan.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
A. 
No subdivision or land development of any lot, tract or parcel of land shall be made and no street, sanitary sewer, water main, gas, oil or electric transmission line or other improvements in connection therewith shall be laid out, constructed, opened or dedicated for public use or travel or for the common use of occupants of buildings abutting thereon, except in accordance with this ordinance.
B. 
No lot in a proposed subdivision or land development may be sold and no final permit to erect any building upon land in a subdivision or land development may be issued unless and until:
(1) 
A final plan has been approved and recorded; and
(2) 
Either:
(a) 
The Township has been assured by means of a development agreement acceptable to the Board of Supervisors that the improvements will subsequently be installed; or
(b) 
The required improvements in connection therewith have been entirely completed.
C. 
The regulations of this ordinance shall apply to any subdivision or land development.
D. 
Landowner. No subdivision or land development shall be submitted to the Township for review except by the landowner of such land or his/her specifically authorized agent. (See definition of "landowner" in Article II.)
E. 
Work on improvements prior to final plan approval. See § 165-44.
A. 
Agriculture. The subdivision by lease of land for only agricultural purposes into parcels of more than 10 acres, not involving any new street or easement of access or residential dwelling shall be exempted from the regulations of this ordinance.
B. 
Approved subdivisions; changes in ordinances.
(1) 
From the time an application for approval of a plat, whether preliminary or final, has been approved or approved subject to conditions acceptable to the applicant, no subsequent change or amendment in the Zoning Ordinance,[1] Subdivision Ordinance or other governing ordinance or plan shall be applied to adversely affect the right of the applicant to commence and to complete any aspect of the approved development in accordance with the terms of such approval within five years from such approval.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 190, Zoning.
(2) 
If final plan approval is preceded by preliminary plan approval, the five-year period shall be counted from the date of the preliminary plan approval.
A. 
Standards.
(1) 
The provisions of this ordinance shall be interpreted and applied as minimum requirements for the promotion of the public health, safety, comfort, convenience and general welfare.
(2) 
Where any provision, standard or specification of this ordinance differs with those of any federal, state or Township law, ordinance or regulation, the greater restriction upon the applicant shall apply regardless of its source, unless specified to the contrary.
B. 
Illustrations. The illustrations in this ordinance are for general illustrative purposes and are not a part of the regulations of this ordinance.
A. 
An applicant seeking a modification of or an exception to a provision of this ordinance shall submit to the Plans Administrator a request in writing that states:
(1) 
The specific chapter section(s) involved.
(2) 
The reasons for the request.
B. 
The Planning Commission shall be given an opportunity to make a recommendation on the matter at a legally advertised meeting. The Board of Supervisors may, by written resolution, grant a waiver or modification concerning a specific provision(s) of this ordinance if the applicant proves that the request meets one or more of the following conditions:
(1) 
Will avoid an undue hardship that was not self-created and that results from the peculiar and uncommon characteristics of the property.
(2) 
Will avoid a clearly unreasonable requirement that would not serve any valid public purpose in this situation.
(3) 
Will allow an alternative standard that is clearly proven by the applicant to provide equal or better results.
(4) 
Will allow a layout of improvements that would clearly be more in the public interest than what would occur if the modification would not be granted.
(5) 
Will remove a requirement that is not applicable, especially because of the small size of the proposed project.
A. 
The Board of Supervisors has established, by resolution and which may be amended by future resolution, a schedule of fees[1] and a collection procedure for all applications and other matters pertaining to this ordinance. These fees are intended to compensate the Township for its expenses, including but not limited to application review, engineering review, inspection, preparation of agreements and legal matters.
[1]
Editor's Note: The schedule of fees is on file in the Township offices and may be examined there during regular business hours.
B. 
The applicant is also required to submit any required fee to the Joint Planning Commission and the County Conservation District.
C. 
Plans shall not be considered filed until all fees are paid and the applications are properly signed as required.
D. 
The applicant shall have 14 days from receipt of a bill from Palmer Township to dispute the amount of review fees. If Palmer Township and the applicant cannot agree on this amount, then the parties shall use the alternative dispute resolution method outlined in the Municipalities Planning Code[2] to resolve the dispute. The professional resolving the dispute shall be in the same profession as the consultant's whose fees are being disputed.
[Added 2-19-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-298]
[2]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
A. 
Multiple plans. Only one plan concerning any single specific area of land shall be actively before the Township for review and approval at any one time, unless the Planning Commission specifically determines that the consideration of two or more alternative plans by the same applicant would be in the public interest.
B. 
Resubdivisions.
(1) 
A revision or resubdivision of a recorded plan or a final plan approved by the Board of Supervisors shall be considered as a new subdivision and shall come under the jurisdiction of this ordinance, except:
(a) 
If the Planning Commission determines that a revision of an approved plan is only to correct erroneous data or minor omissions, it shall not be considered a resubdivision but may instead be simply reapproved by the Board of Supervisors at a legally advertised meeting.
(2) 
If lot lines are changed from a previously recorded plan, the following standards shall be met in addition to other requirements of this ordinance:
(a) 
No new lot shall be created that does not conform to the Township Zoning Ordinance,[1] unless a zoning variance is granted. This specifically shall include, but not be limited to, zoning requirements for access onto a public street.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 190, Zoning.
(b) 
If an existing lot is nonconforming according to the Township Zoning Ordinance, it shall not be made more nonconforming.
(c) 
Drainage and utility easements shall not be removed or changed unless the applicant proves to the satisfaction of the Board of Supervisors that alternative easements will be provided.
(d) 
The applicant shall seek to orient any buildings and lot lines to maximize compatibility with any existing adjacent single-family detached dwellings.
The staff and/or Secretary of the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors shall keep a record of the findings, decisions, recommendations and actions relative to all subdivision or land development plans that are duly submitted. Such records shall be open to the public for review.
A. 
The regulations set forth in this ordinance may, from time to time, be amended by the Board of Supervisors.
B. 
A public hearing (held pursuant to public notice) on the proposed amendment shall be held by the Board of Supervisors.
C. 
The Board of Supervisors shall submit each proposed amendment (other than an amendment prepared by the Planning Commission) to the Commission for recommendations at least 30 days prior to the date set for the public hearing on such proposed amendment.
D. 
The Board of Supervisors shall submit any proposed amendment to the Joint Planning Commission. The proposed action shall not be taken until the Joint Planning Commission recommendation is made or until the time limit specified in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code[1] has passed.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
E. 
Any changes to the Preliminary Plan for Major Subdivision or Land Development Requirements, Final Plan for Major Subdivision or Land Development Checklist and List of Submittal Requirements, Lot Line Adjustments, Annexations and Minor Revisions of Approved Plans Checklist and List of Submittal Requirements shall be made by way of Resolution.
[Added 7-1-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-319]
Decisions of the Board of Supervisors may be appealed in accordance with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as amended.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
A. 
Enforcement. The Board of Supervisors shall appoint one or more persons to enforce the provisions of this ordinance and the accompanying design standards and improvement specifications.
B. 
Inspection. Any action under this ordinance shall be subject to on-site inspection by the Township or its authorized representatives to ensure that there is compliance with this ordinance, other Township ordinances and the approved plans.
C. 
Remedies. Any action inconsistent with the provisions of this ordinance shall be subject to a cease and desist order and other appropriate measures by the Board of Supervisors or its authorized representatives.
A. 
Any person, partnership or corporation who or which has violated any provision(s) of this ordinance shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Board of Supervisors or its authorized representatives, pay a judgment of not more than $500, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the municipality as a result thereof, unless a higher penalty is established under state law. This shall include, but not be limited to, any person, partnership or corporation that accomplishes any act listed under § 165-4, Applicability, without following the applicable procedures of this ordinance.
B. 
The description by metes and bounds in the instrument of transfer or other document used in the process of selling or transferring shall not exempt the seller or transferor from such penalties or from the remedies herein provided.
C. 
See Section 515.3, Enforcement remedies, of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code[1] regarding each day of violation being considered a separate violation. See also the remedies provisions of § 165-13C of this ordinance. All fines collected for such violations shall be paid over to the Township.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10515.3.
Neither the approval nor the granting of any building permit, floodplain permit, site plan review, subdivision approval, land development approval, zoning permit, erosion review, wetland review, stormwater runoff review, steep slope review or any other review or permit of this ordinance, involving any land governed by the provisions of this ordinance, by an officer, employee or agency of the Township, shall constitute a representation, guaranty or warranty of any kind by the Township or its employees, officials or agencies of the practicality or safety of any structure, use or subdivision and shall create no liability upon nor a cause of action against such public body, official or employee for any damage that may result pursuant thereto.
All plans shall comply with applicable state professional certification laws, including the State Professional Engineers Registration Law.[1] All preliminary and final plans for a subdivision or land development and all stormwater calculations shall be certified, signed and stamped by a registered professional engineer. All subdivisions of land shall be certified, signed and stamped by a registered surveyor.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 63 P.S. § 148 et seq.
It is hereby declared to be the legislative intent that:
A. 
If a court of competent jurisdiction declares any provisions of this ordinance to be invalid or ineffective in whole or in part, the effect of such decision shall be limited to those provisions which are expressly stated in the decision to be invalid or ineffective, and all other provisions of this ordinance shall continue to be separately and fully effective.
B. 
The Board of Supervisors hereby declares that it would have passed this ordinance and each section or part thereof irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections or parts thereof are declared invalid.
All other Township ordinances or parts thereof that were adopted prior to this ordinance and are in conflict with this ordinance are hereby repealed, including the preexisting Palmer Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, as amended.
Any provisions of this ordinance that only repeat or reference provisions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code[1] shall be deemed to be automatically superseded and replaced by any applicable amendment of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
See § 165-32 which specifies the requirements for different types of land developments (other than subdivisions). Unless otherwise stated, a land development shall meet all of the same improvement and design requirements as a subdivision.
Wherever two or more Township requirements or definitions, within this ordinance or within this ordinance and another Township ordinance, apply to the same situation or regulate the same matter, the regulation or definition that would be more restrictive and more limiting upon the applicant shall apply, unless specifically stated otherwise.
This ordinance shall become effective five days after adoption by the Board of Supervisors.