[Added 6-29-2011 by Ord. No. 389]
The purpose of this article is to establish an Airport Overlay District that considers safety issues around the Brandywine Airport, regulates and restricts the heights of constructed structures and objects of natural growth, creates appropriate zones, establishing the boundaries thereof and providing for changes in the restrictions and boundaries of such zones, creates the permitting process for use within said zones and provides for enforcement, assessment of violation penalties, an appeals process, and judicial review.
The Airport Overlay District shall not modify the boundaries of any underlying zoning district. Where identified, the Airport Overlay District shall impose certain requirements on land use and construction in addition to those contained in the underlying zoning district.
The following words and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings given to them in this section, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
- AIRPORT ELEVATION
- The highest point of an airport's usable landing area, measured in feet above sea level. The airport elevation of Brandywine Airport is 466 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 in 14 CFR Part 77 and 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 167 of 1984, Pennsylvania Laws Relating to Aviation.
- CONICAL SURFACE
- An imaginary surface extending outward and upward from the periphery of the horizontal surface at a slope of 20 feet horizontally to one foot vertically for a horizontal distance of 4,000 feet.
- CONICAL SURFACE ZONE
- The conical surface zone, as shown on Exhibit 3, is based on the conical surface.
- The Federal Aviation Administration of the United States Department of Transportation.
- For the purpose of determining the height limits in all zones set forth in this article, the datum shall be mean sea level elevation, unless otherwise specified.
- NONCONFORMING USE
- Any preexisting structure, object of natural growth, or use of land which is inconsistent with the provisions of this article or any amendment thereto.
- Any structure, growth, or other object, including a mobile object, that exceeds a limiting height as set forth by this article.
- The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
- A defined area of an airport prepared for landing and takeoff of aircraft along its length.
- Any object of natural growth.
The following zone, defined in § 325-53 and depicted on Exhibit 3, is hereby created and established within the Airport Overlay District insofar as it exists within the jurisdiction of the Township:
Conical Surface Zone.
As regulated by Act 164 and defined by 14 CFR Part 77.13(a), as may be amended or replaced, any person who plans to erect a new structure, to add to an existing structure, or to erect and maintain any object (natural or man-made) within any of the zones established by § 325-54 above shall first notify the PennDOT Bureau of Aviation ("BOA") by submitting PennDOT Form AV-57 to obtain an obstruction review of the proposal at least 30 days prior to commencement thereof. The BOA response must be included with this permit application for it to be considered complete. If the BOA returns a determination of no penetration of airspace, the permit request shall be considered in compliance with this article. If the BOA returns a determination of a penetration of airspace, the permit shall be denied, and the project sponsor shall have the right to seek a variance pursuant to § 325-56 below.
In the area within the limits of the Conical Surface Zone, no permit shall be required for any tree or structure less than 200 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 zone.
No BOA review 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.
Any request for a variance shall include documentation in compliance with 14 CFR Part 77, Subpart B (FAA Form 7460-1, as may be amended or replaced). Determinations of whether to grant a variance will depend on the determinations made by the FAA and the BOA as to the effect of the proposal on the operation of air navigation facilities and the safe, efficient use of navigable air space. In particular, the request for a variance shall consider in which of the following categories the FAA has placed the proposed construction:
No objection: The subject construction is determined not to exceed obstruction standards, and marking/lighting is not required to mitigate potential hazard. Under this determination, a variance shall be granted.
Conditional determination: The proposed construction/alteration is determined to create some level of encroachment into an airport hazard area which can be effectively mitigated. Under this determination, a variance shall be granted contingent upon implementation of mitigating measures as described below in § 325-58.1, Obstruction marking and lighting.
Objectionable: The proposed construction/alteration is determined to be a hazard and is thus objectionable. A variance shall be denied, and the reasons for this determination shall be outlined to the applicant.
Requests for variances shall be granted by the Zoning Hearing Board pursuant to the provisions of Article XIX where it is duly found that a literal application of enforcement of the regulations will result in unnecessary hardship and that relief granted will not be contrary to the public interest, will not create a hazard to air navigation, will do substantial justice, and will be in accordance with the intent of this article.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, no use shall be made of land or water within the Airport Overlay District in such a manner as to create electrical interference with navigational signals or radio communications between the airport and aircraft, to make it difficult for pilots to distinguish between airport lights and others, to impair visibility in the vicinity of the airport, to create bird-strike hazards, or to otherwise endanger or interfere with the landing, takeoff, or maneuvering of aircraft utilizing Brandywine Airport.
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 a nonconforming use. No nonconforming use shall be structurally altered or permitted to grow higher, so as to increase the nonconformity; and a nonconforming use, once discontinued (as described in § 325-105D) may only be reestablished consistent with the provisions herein.
Any permit or variance granted pursuant to the provisions of this article may be conditioned according to the process described in § 325-56 to require the owner of the structure or object of natural growth in question to permit the Township or to require the person requesting the permit or variance to install, operate, and maintain such marking or lighting as deemed necessary to assure both ground and air safety.