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Township of Swatara, PA
Dauphin County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Findings. This article recognizes that to prevent the creation or establishment of airport hazards, state law requires every municipality having an airport hazard area within its territorial limits to adopt, administer and enforce airport zoning regulations for such airport hazard area. These regulations divide the area into zones and, within the zones, regulate the height to which structures may be erected or objects of natural growth may be allowed to grow.
B. 
Purposes:
(1) 
To carry out the authority conferred by Act 164 of 1984, codified at 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5911 et seq., in addition to the authority of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
(2) 
To recognize that an obstruction along an airport approach has the potential for endangering lives and property, and that an obstruction may affect existing and future instrument approach minimums of the Capital City and Harrisburg International Airports, and that an obstruction may reduce the size of areas available for the landing, takeoff and maneuvering of aircraft, thus tending to impair the utility of Capital City and Harrisburg International Airports and the public investment therein.
(3) 
To prevent the creation of obstructions that could be a hazard to air transportation.
The following definitions shall apply for the purposes of this article:
AIRCRAFT
Any contrivance, except an unpowered hang glider or parachute, used for manned ascent into or flight through the air.
AIRPORT
Capital City and Harrisburg International Airports or any other area of land or water which is used, or intended to be used, for the landing and takeoff of aircraft and any appurtenant areas which are used, or intended to be used, for airport buildings or air navigation facilities or rights-of-ways, together with all airport buildings and facilities thereon. As used herein, the term "airport" includes public airports but excludes private airports and heliports. Public and private airports are defined separately in this section.
AIRPORT ELEVATION
The highest point of an airport's usable landing area, measured in feet above sea level, which is:
A. 
Capital City Airport: 347 feet.
B. 
Harrisburg International Airport: 310 feet.
AIRPORT HAZARD
Any structure or object, natural or man-made, or use of land which obstructs the airspace required for flight or aircraft in landing or taking off at an airport or is otherwise hazardous as defined by "airport hazard" in 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5102.
AIRPORT HAZARD AREA
Any area of land or water upon which an airport hazard might be established if not prevented as provided for in this article and Act 164 of 1984 (Pennsylvania laws relating to aviation).
APPROACH SURFACE
A surface longitudinally centered on the extended runway center line, extending outward and upward from the end of the primary surface and at the same slope as the approach surface zone height limitation slope set forth in this article. In plan, the perimeter of the approach surface coincides with the perimeter of the approach surface zone.
APPROACH, TRANSITIONAL, HORIZONTAL, AND CONICAL SURFACE ZONES
These zones are set forth in this article.
CONICAL SURFACE
A surface extending outward and upward from the periphery of the horizontal surface at a slope of 20:1 for a horizontal distance of 4,000 feet.
DEPARTMENT
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
FAA
Federal Aviation Administration of the United States Department of Transportation.
HEIGHT
For the purpose of determining the height limits on all AP Airport Overlay District Zones set forth in this article and shown on the Airport Zoning Map,[1] the datum shall be mean sea level elevation unless otherwise specified.
HORIZONTAL SURFACE
A horizontal plane 150 feet above the established airport elevation, the perimeter of which, in plan, coincides with the perimeter of the horizontal surface zone.
LARGER THAN UTILITY RUNWAY
A runway that is constructed for and intended to be used by propeller-driven aircraft of greater than 12,500 pounds maximum gross weight and jet-powered aircraft.
NONCONFORMING USE
A use, whether of land, of an object of natural growth, or of structure, which does not comply with the applicable use provisions in this article, or amendment heretofore or hereafter enacted, where such use was lawfully in existence prior to the enactment of this article or amendment or prior to the application of this article or amendment to its location by reason of annexation.
NONPRECISION INSTRUMENT RUNWAY
A runway having an existing instrument approach procedure utilizing air navigation facilities with only horizontal guidance, or area-type navigation equipment, for which a straight-in nonprecision instrument approach procedure has been approved or planned.
OBSTRUCTION
Any structure, growth, or other object, including a mobile object, which exceeds a limiting height set forth in this article.
PERSON
An individual, firm, partnership, corporation, company, association, joint-stock association, governmental entity, or other legal entity; includes a trustee, a receiver, an assignee, or a similar representative of any of them.
PRECISION INSTRUMENT RUNWAY
A runway having an existing instrument approach procedure utilizing an instrument landing system (ILS) or a precisions approach radar (PAR). It also means a runway for which a precision approach system is planned and is so indicated on an approved airport layout plan or any other planning document.
PRIMARY SURFACE
A surface longitudinally centered on a runway. When the runway has a specially prepared hard surface, the primary surface extends 200 feet beyond each end of that runway. For military runways or when the runway has no specially prepared hard surface, or planned hard surface, the primary surface ends at each end of that runway. The width of the primary surface is set forth in this article. The elevation of any point on the primary surface is the same as the elevation of the nearest point on the runway center line.
PRIVATE AIRPORT
An airport which is privately owned and which is not open or intended to be open to the public as defined in 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5102.
PUBLIC AIRPORT
An airport which is either publicly or privately owned and which is open to the public as defined in 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5102.
RUNWAY
A defined area on an airport prepared for landing and takeoff of aircraft along its length.
STRUCTURE
Any man-made object having an ascertainable stationary location on or in land or water, or being mobile, whether or not affixed to the land, including, without limitation, buildings, towers, cranes, smokestacks, earth formations and overhead transmission lines, but not including trellises, birdbaths, mailboxes, and pole lights on residential properties.
TRANSITIONAL SURFACES
These surfaces extend outward at ninety-degree angles to the runway center line and the runway center line extended at a slope of seven feet horizontally for each foot vertically from the sides of the primary and approach surfaces to where they intersect the horizontal and conical surfaces. Transitional surfaces for those portions of the precision approach surfaces, which project through and beyond the limits of the conical surface, extend a distance of 5,000 feet, measured horizontally from the edge of the approach surface, and at ninety-degree angles to the extended runway center line.
TREE
An object of natural growth that may have a mature height greater than 25 feet.
UTILITY RUNWAY
A runway that is constructed for and intended to be used by propeller-driven aircraft of 12,500 pounds maximum gross weight or less.
VISUAL RUNWAY
A runway intended solely for the operation of aircraft using visual approach procedures.
[1]
Editor's Note: The Airport Zoning Map is on file in the Township offices.
The AP Airport Overlay District, as provided on the Airport Surface Zones Map,[1] shall serve as an overlay to all of the applicable underlying zoning districts. The Airport Overlay District regulations shall apply in addition to the underlying district regulations. If the overlay and underlying district regulations conflict regarding the same matter, the regulation that is most restrictive upon use, height and development shall apply.
[1]
Editor's Note: Said map is on file in the Township offices.
There are hereby created and established certain zones which include all of the land lying beneath the approach surfaces, transitional surfaces, horizontal surfaces and conical surfaces as they apply to the Capital City Airport and the Harrisburg International Airport. Such zones are shown on the Capital City Airport and Harrisburg International Airport Height Limitation and Zoning District Maps prepared by Robert Kimball and Associates in association with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Aviation and dated 1989, which are incorporated herein by reference and thereby made a part hereof.[1] An area located in more than one of the following zones is considered to be only in the zone with the more restrictive height limitation. The various zones are hereby established and defined as follows:
A. 
Utility runway visual approach surface zone: established beneath the visual approach surface. The inner edge of this zone coincides with the width of the primary surface and is 250 feet wide. The zone expands outward uniformly to a width of 1,250 feet at a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet from the primary surface. Its center line is the continuation of the center line of the runway.
B. 
Utility runway nonprecision instrument approach surface zone: established beneath the nonprecision instrument approach surface. The inner edge of this zone coincides with the width of the primary surface and is 500 feet wide. The zone expands outward uniformly to a width of 2,000 feet at a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet from the primary surface. Its center line is the continuation of the center line of the runway.
C. 
Runway larger than utility visual approach surface zone: established beneath the visual approach surface. The inner edge of this zone coincides with the width of the primary surface and is 500 feet wide. The zone expands outward uniformly to a width of 1,500 feet at a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet from the primary surface. Its center line is the continuation of the center line of the runway.
D. 
Runway larger than utility with a visibility minimum greater than 3/4 mile nonprecision instrument approach surface zone (Capital City Airport): established beneath the nonprecision instrument approach surface. The inner edge of this zone coincides with the width of the primary surface and is 500 feet wide. The zone expands outward uniformly to a width of 3,500 feet at a horizontal distance of 10,000 feet from the primary surface. Its center line is the continuation of the center line of the runway.
E. 
Runway larger than utility with a visibility minimum as low as 3/4 mile nonprecision instrument approach surface zone: established beneath the nonprecision instrument approach surface. The inner edge of this zone coincides with the width of the primary surface and is 1,000 feet wide. The zone expands outward uniformly to a width of 4,000 feet at a horizontal distance of 10,000 feet from the primary surface. Its center line is the continuation of the center line of the runway.
F. 
Precision instrument runway approach surface zone (Harrisburg International Airport): established beneath the precision instrument approach surface. The inner edge of this zone coincides with the width of the primary surface and is 1,000 feet wide. The zone expands outward uniformly to a width of 16,000 feet at a horizontal distance of 50,000 feet from the primary surface. Its center line is the continuation of the center line of the runway.
G. 
Transitional surface zones: established beneath the transitional surfaces adjacent to each runway and approach surface as indicated on the Height Limitation and Zoning District Map.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Said map is on file in the Township offices.
H. 
Horizontal surface zone: established beneath the horizontal surface, 150 feet above the established airport elevation, the perimeter of which is constructed by swinging arcs of 5,000 feet and 10,000 feet radii from the center of each end of the primary surface of each runway and connecting the adjacent arcs by drawing lines tangent to those arcs. The radius of each arc is 5,000 feet for all runways designated as utility or visual and 10,000 feet for all other runways. The radius of the arc specified for each end of a runway will have the same arithmetical value. The value will be the highest determined for either end of the runway. When a five-thousand-foot arc is encompassed by tangents connecting two adjacent ten-thousand-foot arcs, the five-thousand-foot arc shall be disregarded on the construction of the perimeter of the horizontal surface. The horizontal surface zone does not include the approach surface and transitional surface zones.
I. 
Conical surface zone: established beneath the conical surface. This zone commences at the periphery of the horizontal surface and extends outward therefrom a horizontal distance of 4,000 feet.
[1]
Editor's Note: Said maps are on file in the Township offices.
Except as otherwise provided in this article, no structure shall be erected, altered, or maintained and no tree shall be allowed to grow in any zone created by this article to a height in excess of the applicable height limit herein established for such zone. Such applicable height limitations are hereby established for each of the zones in question as follows:
A. 
Utility runway visual approach surface zone: slopes 20 feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the end of and at the same elevation as the primary surface and extending to a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet along the extended runway center line.
B. 
Utility runway nonprecision instrument approach surface zone: slopes 20 feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the end of and at the same elevation as the primary surface and extending to a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet along the extended runway center line.
C. 
Runway larger than utility visual approach surface zone: slopes 20 feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the end of and at the same elevation as the primary surface and extending to a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet along the extended runway center line.
D. 
Runway larger than utility with a visibility minimum greater than 3/4 mile nonprecision instrument approach surface zone (Capital City Airport): slopes 34 feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the end of and at the same elevation as the primary surface and extending to a horizontal distance of 10,000 feet along the extended runway center line.
E. 
Runway larger than utility with a visibility minimum as low as 3/4 mile nonprecision instrument approach surface zone: slopes 34 feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the end of and at the same elevation as the primary surface and extending to a horizontal distance of 10,000 feet along the extended runway center line.
F. 
Precision instrument runway approach surface zone (Harrisburg International Airport): slopes 50 feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the end of and at the same elevation as the primary surface and extending to a horizontal distance of 10,000 feet along the extended runway center line; thence slopes upward 40 feet horizontally for each foot vertically to an additional horizontal distance of 40,000 feet along the extended runway center line.
G. 
Transitional surface zones: slopes seven feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the sides of and at the same elevation as the primary surface and the approach surface and extending to a height of 150 feet above the airport elevation which is (Capital City Airport: 347 feet; Harrisburg International Airport: 310 feet) above mean sea level. In addition to the foregoing, when an airport has a precision instrument runway approach zone, there are established height limits sloping seven feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the sides of and at the same elevation as the approach surface and extending to where they intersect the conical surface. Where the precision instrument runway approach zone projects beyond the conical zone, there are established height limits sloping seven feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the sides of and at the same elevation as the approach surface and extending a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet measured at ninety-degree angles to the extended runway center line.
H. 
Horizontal surface zone: established at 150 feet above the established airport elevation or at a height of 497 feet, for areas relating to Capital City Airport, and 460 feet, for areas relating to the Harrisburg International Airport, above mean sea level.
I. 
Conical surface zone: slopes 20 feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the periphery of the horizontal surface and at 150 feet above the established airport elevation and extending to a height of 350 feet above the established airport elevation or at a height of 697 feet (Capital City Airport) and 660 feet (Harrisburg International Airport) above mean sea level.
J. 
Excepted height limitations. Nothing in this article shall be construed as prohibiting the construction or maintenance of any structure or growth of any tree to a height up to 75 feet above the surface of the land.
A. 
Use restrictions. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, no use may be made of land or water within any zone established by this article in such manner as to create electrical interference with navigational signals or radio communication between the airport and aircraft, make it difficult for pilots to distinguish between airport lights and others, result in glare in the eyes of pilots using the airport, impair visibility in the vicinity of the airport, create bird strike hazards, or otherwise in any way endanger or interfere with the landing, takeoff, or maneuvering of aircraft intending to use the airport.
B. 
Nonconforming uses.
(1) 
Regulations not retroactive. The regulations prescribed by this article shall not be construed to require the removal, lowering, or other change or alteration of any structure or tree not conforming to the regulations as of the effective date of this article, or otherwise interfere with the continuance of any nonconforming use, except as provided in § 295-133 (relating to permits and variances). Nothing contained herein shall require any change in the construction, alteration, or intended use of any structure, the construction or alteration of which was begun prior to the effective date of this article and is diligently executed.
(2) 
Marking and lighting. Notwithstanding the preceding provision of this section, the owner of any existing nonconforming structure or tree is hereby required to permit the installation, operation, and maintenance thereon or nearby of such markers and lights as shall be deemed necessary by the Zoning Officer to indicate to the operators of aircraft in the vicinity of the airport the presence of such airport obstruction. Such markers and lights shall be installed, operated, and maintained at the expense of the owner.
A. 
Future uses. Except as specifically provided in Subsection A(1), (2) and (3) hereunder, no material change shall be made in the use of land, no structure shall be erected or otherwise established, and no tree shall be planted in any zone hereby created unless a permit therefor shall have been applied for and granted. Each application for a permit shall indicate the purpose for which the permit is desired, with sufficient particularly to permit it to be determined whether the resulting use, structure, or tree would conform to the regulations herein prescribed. If such determination is in the affirmative, the permit shall be granted. No permit for a use inconsistent with the provisions of this article shall be granted unless a variance has been approved in accordance with Subsection D.
(1) 
In the area lying within the limits of the horizontal zone and conical zone, no permit shall be required for any tree or structure less than 75 feet of vertical height above the ground, except when, because of terrain, land contour, or topographic features, such tree or structure would extend above the height limits prescribed for such zones.
(2) 
In areas lying within the limits of the approach zones, but at a horizontal distance of not less than 4,200 feet from each end of the runway, no permit shall be required for any tree or structure less than 75 feet of vertical height above the ground, except when, because of terrain, land contour or topographic features, such tree or structure would extend above the height limit prescribed for such approach zones.
(3) 
In the areas lying within the limits of the transition zones beyond the perimeter of the horizontal zones, no permit shall be required for any tree or structure less than 75 feet of vertical height above the ground, except when such tree or structure, because of terrain, land contour, or topographic feature, would extend above the height limit prescribed for such transition zones.
(4) 
Nothing contained in any of the foregoing exceptions shall be construed as permitting or intending to permit any construction or alteration of any structure or growth of any tree in excess of any of the height limits established by this article, except that no permit is required to make maintenance repairs to or to replace parts of existing structures which do not enlarge or increase the height of an existing structure.
B. 
Existing uses. Before any nonconforming structure may be replaced, substantially altered or rebuilt or tree allowed to grow higher or be replanted, a permit must be secured from the Township authorizing the replacement or change. No permit shall be granted that would allow the establishment or creation of an obstruction or permit a nonconforming use, structure, or tree to become a greater hazard to air navigation than it was on the effective date of this article, or any amendments thereto, or than it is when the application for a permit is made.
C. 
Nonconforming uses abandoned or destroyed. Whenever the Zoning Officer determines that a nonconforming tree or structure has been abandoned or more than 80% torn down, physically deteriorated, or decayed, no permit shall be granted that would allow such structure or tree to exceed the applicable height limit or otherwise deviate from this article.
D. 
Variance. Any person desiring to erect any structure or increase the height of any structure or permit the growth of any object of natural growth or otherwise use his property in violation of airport zoning regulations may apply for a variance from the zoning regulations in question pursuant to Article I. A variance shall only be granted after the requirements of § 295-13D(3) are satisfied. A variance may be allowed where a literal application or enforcement of the regulations would result in practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship, and the relief granted would not be contrary to the public interest but would do substantial justice and would be in accordance with the spirit of the regulations and this article. Any variance may be granted subject to any reasonable conditions that the Zoning Hearing Board may deem necessary to effectuate the purposes of this article. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the Zoning Hearing Board decides to grant a permit or variance under this article, it shall notify the Department of Transportation of its decision. This notice shall be in writing and shall be sent so as to reach the Department at least 10 days before the date upon which the decision is to issue.
(1) 
The application for variance shall be accompanied by a determination from the Federal Aviation Administration as to the effect of the proposal on the operation of air navigation facilities and the safe, efficient use of navigable airspace. Additionally, no application for variance to the requirements of this article may be considered by the Zoning Hearing Board unless a copy of the application has been furnished to the Airport Manager (or person of equivalent description) for advice as to the aeronautical effects of the variance. If the Airport Manager (or person of equivalent description) does not respond to the application within 15 days after receipt, the Zoning Hearing Board may act without such input to grant or deny said application.
E. 
Hazard marking and lighting. In granting any permit or variance under this section, the Zoning Hearing Board shall, if it deems the action advisable to effectuate the purpose of this article and reasonable under the circumstances, so condition the permit or variance as to require the owner of the structure or object of natural growth in question to permit the Township, at its own expense, or require the person or persons requesting the permit or variance, to install, operate and maintain thereon, at the owner's expense, such markers and lights as may be required by guidelines or regulations adopted by the FAA.
F. 
Conflicts. In the event of conflict between any airport zoning regulations adopted under this article and any other regulations applicable to the same area, whether the conflict be with respect to the height of structures or trees, and the use of land, or any other matter, and whether the other regulations were adopted by the municipality which adopted the airport zoning regulations or by some other municipality or otherwise, the more stringent limitation or requirement shall govern and prevail.
The Zoning Hearing Board shall, in addition to the other powers granted to it, have and exercise the following powers:
A. 
To hear and decide appeals from any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by the Zoning Officer in the enforcement of this article;
B. 
To hear and decide special exceptions to the terms of this article, upon which such Zoning Hearing Board may be required to pass; and
C. 
To hear and decide specific variances.
A. 
In any case in which it is desired to remove, lower or otherwise terminate a nonconforming structure or use, or the approach protection necessary cannot, because of constitutional limitations, be provided by airport zoning regulations, or it appears advisable that the necessary approach protection be provided by acquisition of property rights, rather than by airport zoning regulations, the municipality within which the property or nonconforming use is located, or the municipality or municipal authority owning the airport or served by it, may acquire, by purchase, grant or condemnation, in the manner provided by the law under which municipalities are authorized to acquire real property for public purposes, such air right, aviation easement or other estate or interest in the property or nonconforming structure or use in question as may be necessary to effectuate the purpose of the State Airport Zoning Act.
B. 
In the case of the purchase of any property or any easement or estate, or interest therein, or the acquisition thereof by the power of eminent domain, the municipality making the purchase or exercising the power shall, in addition to the damages for the taking, injury or destruction of property, also pay the cost of the removal and relocation of any structure or any public utility which is required to be moved to a new location.