City of Scranton, PA
Lackawanna County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 445-24 Districts designated.

A. 
For the purpose of this chapter, the City of Scranton is hereby divided into the following zoning districts, as described in this chapter:
C-R
Conservation - Residential District
R-1
Low Density Residential District
R-1C
Low Density Residential - Cluster District
R-1A
Medium Low Density Residential District
R-2
Medium Density Residential District
R-2/O
Medium Density Residential - Office District (formerly R-4)
R-3
Medium High Density Residential District
C-D
Downtown Commercial District (formerly C-2)
C-N
Neighborhood Commercial District (formerly C-1)
C-G
General Commercial District (formerly C-3)
I-L
Light Industrial District (formerly M-1)
I-G
General Industrial/Commercial District (formerly M-2)
INS-G
General Institutional District
INS-L
Light Industrial - Residential District
HD
Historic Overlay District (reserved for future use; see the current City historic preservation ordinance which addresses designated areas and landmarks)
B. 
For the purposes of this chapter, the zoning districts named Subsection A shall be of the number, size, shape and location shown on the Official Zoning Map. Any use of the abbreviations listed in Subsection A shall mean the district name that is listed beside the abbreviation.
C. 
Floodplain. The floodplain area, as defined by this chapter, shall serve as an overlay area to all of the underlying districts. The documents and mapping referenced by the floodplain provisions of this chapter, as amended, are hereby included in this chapter by reference.

§ 445-25 Application of district regulations.

A. 
The regulations set by this chapter shall apply uniformly to each class or kind of structure or land, except as provided for in this chapter.
B. 
No building, structure or land shall hereafter be erected, used, constructed, reconstructed, moved or structurally altered and no building or structure or part thereof shall hereafter be used or occupied unless it is in conformity with the regulations herein specified for the use and district in which it is located.
C. 
No yard or lot existing at the time of passage of this chapter shall be reduced in dimension or area below the minimum requirements set forth herein. Yards or lots created after the effective date of this chapter shall meet at least the minimum requirements established by this chapter.
D. 
Any territory which may hereafter be annexed to the City shall be classified as the zoning district of the City most similar to the zoning of such territory before annexation (as determined by the Zoning Hearing Board) until otherwise classified.

§ 445-26 Zoning Map. [1]

A. 
A map entitled "City of Scranton Zoning Map" accompanies this chapter and is declared, by reference thereto, a part of this chapter. The Official Zoning Map shall bear the adoption date of this chapter and the words "Official Zoning Map."
B. 
Changes of any nature to the Official Zoning Map shall only be made in conformity with the amendment procedures set forth in this chapter. All changes should be noted by date with a brief description of the nature of the change.
C. 
Regardless of the existence of purported copies of the Official Zoning Map which may from time to time be made or published, the Official Zoning Map shall be located in the City office and shall be the final authority on boundaries and districts.
(1) 
If the Official Zoning Map becomes damaged, destroyed, lost or difficult to interpret because of changes and additions, the City Council may, by resolution, adopt a new Official Zoning Map which shall supersede the prior Official Zoning Map.
(2) 
The new Official Zoning Map may correct drafting or other errors or omissions in the prior Official Zoning Map, but no such correction shall include an amendment thereof, unless the amendment has been duly advertised and adopted.
(3) 
Unless the prior Official Zoning Map has been lost or has been totally destroyed, the prior map or any part or parts thereof remaining shall be preserved, together with all available records pertaining to its adoption or amendment.
[1]
Editor's Note: The Zoning Map is on file in the City offices.

§ 445-27 District boundaries.

Where uncertainty exists as to boundaries of any district as shown on the Zoning Map, the following rules shall apply:
A. 
Unless otherwise stated on the Zoning Map, zoning district boundary lines are intended to follow or be parallel to the center line of street/court rights-of-way, railroad rights-of-way, waterways and lot lines as they existed as of January 1, 1992.
(1) 
All references on the Zoning Map to tax maps are based upon lots, lot lines, lot depths, lot numbers and tax map numbers that existed as of January 1, 1992.
(2) 
Applicants or the City staff may provide recorded deeds, plans of record in the County Recorder of Deeds' office, official county tax maps and/or official PennDOT maps to provide evidence in the determination of exact district boundary lines.
(3) 
A subsequent change to or deletion of a lot line shall not by itself cause a change to a zoning district boundary.
B. 
Where a district boundary is not fixed by dimensions or other information on the Zoning Map and where the boundary approximately follows lot lines, such boundary shall be construed to follow such lot lines as they existed on January 1, 1992, unless specifically shown otherwise.
C. 
Where a district boundary is not fixed by information on the Zoning Map and where the line does not approximately follow lot lines, then the location of such boundary shall be determined by the use of the scale of the Zoning Map.
D. 
Interpretation of boundaries. See § 445-5D.

§ 445-28 Protection of dwellings across municipal boundaries.

A. 
The intent of this section is to continue compatibility of land uses across municipal boundaries.
B. 
Where this chapter requires a certain use to provide additional setbacks and/or a buffer yard if the use abuts an existing dwelling or a residential zoning district, the same additional setback and/or buffer requirements shall apply regardless of whether the dwelling or residential district is located within the City of Scranton or an abutting municipality.

§ 445-29 Table of permitted uses by district.

A. 
For the purposes of this section, the following abbreviations shall have the following meanings:
P Permitted by right (zoning decision by Zoning Officer)
C Conditional use (decision by the City Council after an opportunity for review by the Planning Commission)
SE Special exception use (decision by Zoning Hearing Board after an opportunity for review by the Planning Commission for uses other than home occupations)
N Not permitted
(§ 445-34) See additional requirements in § 445-34
(§ 445-35) See additional requirements in § 445-35
B. 
Unless otherwise provided by law or specifically stated in this chapter (including § 445-5B), land or structure shall only be used or occupied for a use specifically listed in this Article as being permitted in the respective zoning district, as listed below. Any use shall only be permitted if it complies with all other requirements of this chapter. Where different requirements are stated for the same use in this chapter, the most restrictive requirement shall apply. The following tables of permitted uses are divided into three tables: Residential Districts, Business Districts and Institutional Districts.[1]
(1) 
The uses specified above shall be permitted:
(a) 
On the same lot and abutting lots within the INS-G District; and
(b) 
On portions of the same lot as a hospital that are within a commercial district.
(2) 
The above uses shall be owned by and operated under the supervision of a United States Internal Revenue Service recognized nonprofit organization.
(3) 
The above uses shall comply with the nuisance and performance standards of this chapter.
(4) 
The above uses shall clearly serve primarily vocational training and rehabilitation needs of clients and patients of the parent institution.
[1]
Editor's Note: The permitted uses tables are included at the end of this chapter.
C. 
Permitted accessory uses in all districts. The following accessory uses are permitted by right as accessory uses to a permitted by right, special exception or conditional principal use in all districts, within the requirements of § 445-35 and all other requirements of this chapter:
(1) 
Air-conditioning equipment, other than central equipment for a commercial or industrial use.
(2) 
Antennae, household.
(3) 
Basketball backboard, which may be within a required setback area, provided that it is a minimum of two feet from any lot line of an abutting residence.
(4) 
Crop storage as an accessory use to crop farming.
(5) 
Family day-care center as an accessory use, within the limits on number of children in § 445-35 (see standard in § 445-35C).
(6) 
Fence or wall (see standard in § 445-35C).
(7) 
Flagpole.
(8) 
Garage, household.
(9) 
Garage sale (see standard in § 445-35C).
(10) 
Home gardening.
(11) 
Indoor storage, limited to materials that are customarily accessory to a permitted use.
(12) 
Keeping of pets (see standard in § 445-35C).
(13) 
Loading, off-street, only to serve a use that is permitted in that district.
(14) 
Parking, off-street, only to serve a use that is permitted in that district.
(15) 
Recreational facilities limited to use by employees of a lot or a development and their occasional guests.
(16) 
Recreational facilities limited to use by residents of a development and their occasional invited guests.
(17) 
Recycling collection center as an accessory use to a permitted principal business or institutional use.
(18) 
Recreational vehicle, storage of one or two (see standard in § 445-35C).
(19) 
Residential accessory structure (see definition in Article II and standard in § 445-35C).
(20) 
Satellite antennae (see standard in § 445-35C).
(21) 
Signs, as permitted by Article VII.
(22) 
Solar energy system.
(23) 
Stable, household (see standard in § 445-35C).
(24) 
Swimming pool, household.
(25) 
Tennis/racquetball court.
(26) 
Volleyball court.
(27) 
Windmill.
(28) 
Such other accessory use or structure that the applicant proves to the satisfaction of the Zoning Officer is clearly customary and incidental to a permitted by right, special exception or conditional principal use.
D. 
Permitted accessory uses to business and institutional uses. The following are permitted by right accessory uses on the same lot as a lawful commercial, industrial or institutional principal use, provided that all requirements of this chapter are met:
(1) 
Up to three amusement machines, coin or token operated (not including an adult use; see also amusement arcade for four or more machines).
(2) 
Food, beverage and toy machines, coin operated.
(3) 
Newspaper sales machines, coin operated.
(4) 
Telephones, coin operated.
(5) 
The following accessory uses are permitted, provided that such use is clearly limited to employees, patients, residents and families of employees of the use and their occasional guests:
(a) 
Cafeteria without drive-through service and without separate outside entrances or outdoor signs.
(b) 
Day-care center, child or adult.
(c) 
Noncommercial recreational facilities.
E. 
Essential services. The following are essential services that are permitted by right as a principal or as an accessory use in all districts:
(1) 
The following essential services are not required to meet the accessory or principal setback, lot area or other lot requirements of this chapter, except that any newly created lot shall meet the applicable lot requirements if future building or subdivision of the lot would reasonably be possible for a different use:
(a) 
Oil pipelines and natural gas transmission and distribution lines and accessory compressing stations.
(b) 
Electrical transformers as an accessory use to dwellings.
(c) 
Electrical, telephone and streetlight poles.
(d) 
Electrical transmission and distribution lines and meters.
(e) 
Wells, standpipes, water transmission lines, cisterns and meters.
(f) 
Sewage pumping stations, but not including a central sewage treatment plant, provided that such use be set back a minimum of 75 feet from any dwelling or any residential lot line.
(g) 
Cable television and telephone lines.
(h) 
Stormwater pipes, outfalls, detention basins, swales and catch basins.
(i) 
Shelters and benches for buses that transport school children or that are owned, operated or financed by a public transit authority and that do not include off-premises signs.
(j) 
United States mailboxes.
(k) 
Boxes for receiving individual newspapers.
(l) 
Railroad lines.
(m) 
Fire hydrants and emergency call boxes.
(n) 
Engineered retaining walls that are clearly necessary to hold back slopes.
(o) 
Sidewalks and curbs.
(p) 
Residential driveways.
(q) 
Accessory improvements that are clearly primarily intended to provide physical access for persons with disabilities, such as handicapped access ramps.
(r) 
Ground level porches that are not covered by a permanent roof.
(s) 
Steps leading into the entrance of a building.
(t) 
On-lot septic disposal systems.
(u) 
Construction. Temporary storage of vehicles and materials and/or construction office trailers that are clearly needed and being actively used for current construction during the time of an active City construction permit on the same or an adjacent lot or within the same subdivision, provided that such items are removed from the site within 30 days of completion of the portion of the construction that they relate to.
(2) 
The following are permitted essential services and are required (except within § 445-6) to meet all of the applicable requirements of this chapter:
(a) 
Electrical substations and bulk industrial or commercial transformers that are not an accessory use to dwellings. Electric substations involving outdoor structures at least 10 feet in height shall be required to provide evergreen screening within the requirements of § 445-74 on sides that are within 150 feet of a dwelling, undeveloped residentially zoned land or an expressway or an arterial street.
(b) 
Water towers (see height exemption in § 445-73), water filtration plants and pressure stations.
(c) 
Emergency and other electrical generators and compressors.
(d) 
Solid waste bulk dumpsters and bulk compactors.
(e) 
Telephone switching stations.
(f) 
Industrial or commercial central air-conditioning equipment.

§ 445-30 Table of lot and setback requirements by district.

A. 
For the purposes of this section, the following abbreviations shall have the following meanings:
sq. ft.
Square feet
ft.
Linear feet
SFD
Single-family detached dwelling
Public sewer
Service at the time of occupancy by public sewage service as defined by Article II
Public water
Service at the time of occupancy by public water service as defined by Article II
NA
Not applicable
B. 
The following requirements shall apply for each respective district, unless a more restrictive requirement is listed for a particular use in § 445-34 or 445-35 or elsewhere in this chapter.[1]
(1) 
Requirements for the R-1C District. See § 445-31.
(2) 
Table of requirements for the C-R, R-1 and R-1A Districts.
(3) 
Table of requirements for the R-2, R-3 and R-2/O Districts for uses other than manufactured/mobile home parks (for that use see § 445-34).
(4) 
Table of requirements for the C-D, C-N, C-G, I-L and I-G Districts.
(5) 
Table of requirements for the INS-L and INS-G Districts (other than residential uses permitted in an R-2 District).
[1]
Editor's Note: The Tables of Lot and Setback Requirements for Subsections B(1) through (5) are included at the end of this chapter.
C. 
See also additional requirements in the following sections:
(1) 
Additional requirements for specific types of principal uses, § 445-34.
(2) 
Additional requirements for specific types of accessory uses, § 445-34.
(3) 
Off-street parking: Article VI (including paved area setbacks in § 445-55).
(4) 
Signs: Article VII.
(5) 
Buffer yards: § 445-74.
(6) 
Steeply sloped areas: § 445-40.
(7) 
Environmental protection: Article V.
(8) 
Temporary structures: § 445-78.
(9) 
Site plan review for certain uses: §§ 445-16 and 445-17.
(10) 
Outdoor storage and display as an accessory use: § 445-34.

§ 445-31 R-1C District.

A. 
Purposes. To allow flexible, clustered development of areas with sensitive natural features such as to:
(1) 
Avoid severe soil erosion and sedimentation.
(2) 
Avoid severely increased stormwater flows and speeds, steer development to those areas that are more physically suited for it.
(3) 
Avoid construction of steep roads that are difficult, time-consuming and expensive to maintain and plow snow upon.
(4) 
Conserve forested areas that are an important part of the ecological cycle, that provide for groundwater recharge, that reduce air pollution and that serve as wildlife habitats.
(5) 
Reduce construction costs while allowing each property owner a reasonable use of their land, related directly to the natural features and location and accessibility of the land. In certain cases, this option will encourage the preservation of significant areas of common open space.
B. 
Applicability. This section allows an applicant to develop land based upon an average density within the R-1C District. The applicant shall prove, as a conditional use, to the satisfaction of the City Council that all of the requirements of this § 445-31 will be complied with.
C. 
Unified development.
(1) 
Land within the R-1C District shall be designed as a unified, coordinated residential development and shall be approved within a development plan controlled by a single developer. After final subdivision approval and within an approved development agreement, a developer may sell individual lots to different builders or home buyers, provided that the developer or his/her successor remains responsible for ensuring the compliance with the approved development plan.
(2) 
Phasing. The development shall include a phasing system that shall be approved by the City Planning Commission under the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.[1] Such phases shall ensure that the requirements of this § 445-31 would be met after the completion of any one phase and that the development could properly function without the construction of additional phases.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 423, Subdivision and Land Development.
D. 
Other requirements. A development within the R-1C District shall be required to comply with all requirements of this chapter and the procedural, improvement and all other requirements of the City Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.
E. 
Permitted uses.
(1) 
Only the following dwelling types shall be permitted within the R-1C District: single-family detached dwelling, single-family semidetached dwelling/twin dwelling or townhouses and shared-ownership facilities when located within a gated community/planned development community.
[Amended 1-28-1996 by Ord. No. 148-1996]
(a) 
Dwelling units within the R-1C District shall have a minimum building width and a minimum building length of not less than 18 feet.
[Amended 1-28-1996 by Ord. No. 148-1996]
(b) 
A group home is permitted by right within any lawful dwelling unit, provided that the requirements of § 445-34 for group homes are complied with.
(2) 
Any accessory use or nonresidential principal use permitted in the R-1 District shall also be permitted in the R-1C District, provided that the use meets all of the same procedures and conditions as would apply within the R-1 District. Permitted nonresidential principal uses shall be located on their own lots and shall not be considered in the calculation of the maximum residential density under this section.
F. 
Maximum density and preservation of natural features.
(1) 
Lot area and lot width. Provided that the maximum permitted average density established by this section is complied with, then any lot containing a single-family detached dwelling may have a minimum lot area of 5,000 square feet and a minimum lot width of 45 feet. A single-family detached dwelling shall have a minimum lot width of 35 feet. A townhouse dwelling shall have a minimum width as specified in § 445-34.
(2) 
For the purposes of this section, the term "total area of the tract" shall mean the total lot area or the total lot area of contiguous lots in common ownership, but not including areas within the existing and future rights-of-way of existing streets, but including the right-of-way of any new future streets proposed within the tract and any proposed common open space.
(3) 
All principal structures shall be served by both public water and public sewage service.
(4) 
The following maximum average density shall be permitted on any tract in the R-1C District: 2.5 dwelling units per acre, except within a gated community/planned development community which shall be 5.0 dwelling units per acre. The maximum number of dwelling units permitted on a tract shall be calculated based upon the total area of the tract (in acres) multiplied by 2.5 (or 5.0 in a gated community/planned development community). No single acre of land, after the deletion of street rights-of-way, shall include more than 15 dwelling units.
[Amended 1-28-1996 by Ord. No. 148-1996]
(5) 
Any areas used in the calculation of density which are not shown on the development plan as intended to be used for development or for which the Zoning Officer determines could possibly be subdivided for future development shall have a permanent conservation easement and/or deed restriction preventing the construction of buildings or parking lots or any commercial use upon such land.
G. 
Preservation of natural features.
(1) 
Slopes. No building shall be placed upon any land that has or had a natural slope of 25% or greater.
(2) 
Waterways. No building shall be placed within any of the following:
(a) 
The one-hundred-year floodplain.
(b) 
Seventy-five feet of the center line of any waterway shown on the Official Zoning Map.
(c) 
Seventy-five feet of the shoreline of any lake as determined by the City Engineer.
(3) 
All areas within the one-hundred-year floodplain and upon areas with a slope of 25% or greater shall be preserved in their natural vegetation, except for:
(a) 
Driveway, street and/or utility crossings.
(b) 
Permitted outdoor recreation facilities specifically approved as part of a subdivision or land development plan by the City.
(c) 
Routine clearance of brush and undesirable vegetation.
(d) 
The clearance of pedestrian trails and fire-fighting roads.
(e) 
Necessary stormwater and erosion control improvements.
(4) 
All areas within the one-hundred-year floodplain and areas with concentrations of slopes greater than 25% slope within the boundaries of the development shall include restrictions, through a ninety-nine-year minimum deed restriction or conservation easement, with all rights to enforce such restriction held by the City of Scranton, in addition to the City's authority to enforce this chapter.
(a) 
Such restriction should but is not required to be able to be enforced by a homeowners' association and/or a nature conservancy, in addition to the authority required to be granted to the City.
(5) 
Any development in the R-1C District shall be designed in full consideration of important natural features, including mature woodlands, creek valleys, steep slopes and wetlands.
H. 
Setbacks and lot requirements.
(1) 
No building shall be placed within 30 feet of the right-of-way of any public street that existed at the time of adoption of this chapter and/or 20 feet of any other public or private street right-of-way.
(2) 
Townhouses shall comply with the provisions of § 445-34 for that use, other than density. A maximum of six townhouse dwelling units may be attached.
(3) 
If two or more principal buildings are on the same lot, each such building shall be set back a minimum of 15 feet from any other principal building.
(4) 
If two principal buildings are not attached to each other and are located on abutting lots, then each building shall have a minimum setback along such abutting lot line of six feet.
(5) 
Principal and accessory structure setbacks, other than those specified by this section, shall be regulated under the same restrictions as would apply within the R-2 District.
(6) 
The maximum height of all buildings shall be 2.5 stories or 35 feet, whichever is more restrictive. The maximum height of any shared-ownership facility shall be six stories.
[Amended 1-29-1997 by Ord. No. 148-1996]
I. 
Open space. If any area of a tract is not part of a privately owned lot, then the applicant shall prove to the satisfaction of the City Council that a permanent method for the oversight and maintenance of such land is provided. Such method may be any of the following:
(1) 
Dedication to a formal homeowners' association as common nonpublic open space, with such homeowners being legally bound to ensure the maintenance and preservation of such land.
(a) 
Any homeowners' association agreement shall be subject to review by the City Solicitor, and the Planning Commission may require reasonable adjustments to such agreement based upon such review. The provisions of § 705(f), Subdivision (1) and (2), of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code,[2] as amended, or such successor sections shall serve as a general guide for such agreement.
[2]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. 10705(f)(1) and (2).
(2) 
Dedication to the City or the county, if such entity agree, in writing, in advance to accept such land for public recreation.
(3) 
Dedication as a nature preserve to a well-established nature conservancy acceptable to the City Council.
J. 
Improvements to open spaces. The application shall include a detailed and legally binding (if approved) description of what improvements the applicant will make to any land intended to be publicly dedicated to make it suitable for its intended purpose.
(1) 
Examples of such improvements for areas intended for passive recreation include preservation and planting of trees, development of nature, bicycle or jogging trails, the stabilization of creek banks and the removal of undesirable vegetation.
(2) 
All proposed open spaces shall be cleared of construction debris, materials from illegal dumping and any rocks that were not naturally on the land, unless those rocks are incorporated into landscaping improvements.
K. 
Access. Development within the R-1C District shall have an interior street system that minimizes or avoids the need for individual driveways entering directly onto arterial or collector streets.

§ 445-32 Uses without public water and/or sewage service.

A. 
Any lot that will not be served by either public water or public sewage service at the time of occupancy by humans of any principal buildings shall be required to have a minimum lot area of one acre per equivalent dwelling unit and a minimum lot width of 150 feet, unless a more restrictive requirement is established by another section of this chapter.
B. 
Any lot that will be served by public water service but not public sewage service or by public sewage service but not public water service at the time of occupancy by humans of any principal buildings shall be required to have a minimum lot area of 30,000 square feet per equivalent dwelling unit and a minimum lot width of 120 feet, unless a more restrictive requirement is established by another section of this chapter.