Township of Lower Providence, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 4-16-2009 by Ord. No. 577]
Considering the historic, economic, aesthetic, cultural and identity values of our villages and other similar areas to Lower Providence Township; considering these values rest primarily on the existence of older and historic buildings in our villages and other similar areas; considering these values also rest on the overall character of the combined physical elements in our villages and other similar areas; considering the size, shape, and location of buildings and parking as well as some building features such as, but not limited to, gable roofs and porches, and some streetscape features determines the overall village character; and considering safe pedestrian circulation is important to the economic health of the village businesses, is desired by residents in surrounding residential areas, and contributes to community harmony and quality of life, it is the intent of the EVC Evansburg Village Commercial District to permit the development of land for limited commercial, office and residential uses, while preserving the distinct architectural character of important historic areas of Lower Providence Township. In addition, the specific intent of this article is as follows:
A. 
Overall site design.
(1) 
To provide regulating standards which are necessary to encourage orderly, well-planned development and to ensure the compatibility of development with the character of the Evansburg National Historic District and the surrounding areas.
(2) 
To allow larger properties the opportunity to build multiple village-scale buildings on one property.
(3) 
To regulate the location of buildings and parking so that the village character is maintained and to make commercial enterprises more attractive to pedestrians.
(4) 
To limit building footprints and encourage multistory buildings to remain or be constructed in order to retain and strengthen the character of the Evansburg National Historic District.
(5) 
To encourage owner-occupied mixed-use, small-scale professional buildings.
B. 
Historic preservation/adaptive reuse.
(1) 
To allow building conversions within existing certified historic structures or buildings built prior to 1899.
(2) 
To encourage the retention, rehabilitation, and reuse of existing certified historic structure(s) or building(s) built prior to 1899 while also allowing for new construction to occur elsewhere on the tract.
C. 
Architectural scale and character: to ensure that new buildings or building additions have an architectural scale and character commensurate with the existing Evansburg National Historic District architecture of the area.
D. 
Traffic control.
(1) 
To provide areas to accommodate nonresidential uses that do not generate large volumes of traffic, which minimize adverse impacts on abutting residential neighborhoods and which maintain the visual character and architectural scale of existing Evansburg National Historic District.
(2) 
To limit and discourage development of strip-type, highway-oriented commercial uses which create traffic hazards and congestion because they generate higher traffic volumes and/or require numerous individual curb cuts.
E. 
Existing neighborhood protection.
(1) 
To limit hours of operation in order to respect nearby noncommercial uses so they are not adversely affected at night by noise and other nuisances.
(2) 
To ensure that unsightly accessory uses such as trash, vending, or storage are not allowed or are completely hidden inside buildings.
(3) 
To ensure that neighboring noncommercial properties are protected from environmental impacts with measures such as, but not limited to, property line buffering and screening.
F. 
Signage: to provide for special signage regulations that help to retain and strengthen the village character and prevent the village character from being destroyed or diminished by signage that is not appropriate to the character of our villages.
G. 
Lighting: to ensure that lighting is provided for pedestrian and vehicular safety and to protect surrounding noncommercial properties from glare.
A. 
Class One uses permitted by right. The following uses shall be permitted by right when proposed to be conducted within an existing building with no expansion of interior floor space for the use or uses proposed:
(1) 
Single-family detached residence;
(2) 
Two-family residence;
(3) 
Family day-care home;
(4) 
Bed-and-breakfast;
(5) 
No-impact home-based businesses in accordance with the standards set forth in § 143-27A(9).
B. 
Class Two uses permitted by right. The following uses shall be permitted by right when proposed to be conducted within an existing building with no expansion of interior floor space for the use or uses proposed:
(1) 
Dwelling unit above a Class Two nonresidential use;
(2) 
Antique store;
(3) 
Art dealers;
(4) 
Baked goods stores;
(5) 
Bookstores;
(6) 
Camera and photographic supplies stores;
(7) 
Children's and infants' clothing stores;
(8) 
Clothing accessories stores;
(9) 
Coffee shops, on-premises brewing;
(10) 
Computer and software stores;
(11) 
Confectionery and nut stores;
(12) 
Cookie shops;
(13) 
Fish and seafood markets;
(14) 
Florists;
(15) 
Floor covering store;
(16) 
Fruit and vegetable markets;
(17) 
Furniture store;
(18) 
Gift, novelty, and souvenir stores, excluding adult novelty stores;
(19) 
Grocery store;
(20) 
Hardware store;
(21) 
Historic artisans;
(22) 
Hobby, toy, and game stores;
(23) 
Household appliance stores;
(24) 
Ice cream parlors;
(25) 
Jewelry stores;
(26) 
Luggage and leather goods stores;
(27) 
Meat markets, excluding meat processing;
(28) 
Medical/dental office;
(29) 
Men's clothing stores;
(30) 
Music or fine art studio;
(31) 
Musical instrument and supplies stores;
(32) 
News dealers and newsstands;
(33) 
Office;
(34) 
Office supplies and stationery stores;
(35) 
Optical goods stores;
(36) 
Paint and wallpaper store;
(37) 
Personal service;
(38) 
Pets/pet supply stores, excluding kennels;
(39) 
Pharmacy;
(40) 
Post office;
(41) 
Prerecorded tape, compact disc, and record stores;
(42) 
Produce shop;
(43) 
Publishing, printing, or copy-related activity;
(44) 
Radio, television, and other electronics stores;
(45) 
Restaurant, excluding drive-throughs;
(46) 
Sewing, needlework, and piece goods stores;
(47) 
Shoe stores;
(48) 
Specialty food stores, excluding meat processing;
(49) 
Sporting goods stores;
(50) 
Window treatment stores;
(51) 
Women's clothing stores;
(52) 
Dance studio;
(53) 
Indoor fitness center;
(54) 
Day spa;
(55) 
Library;
(56) 
Museum.
C. 
Class Three uses permitted by conditional use. The following uses shall be permitted by conditional use when proposed to be conducted within an existing building when expansion of interior floor space is proposed and/or when a new building is proposed:
(1) 
All uses permitted in Class One and Class Two, including combinations of uses;
(2) 
Beer/wine/liquor store;
(3) 
Bank, only without a drive-through;
(4) 
Multiple buildings on the same property with permitted and/or conditional use or uses;
(5) 
Establishment serving alcoholic beverages;
(6) 
Place of worship.
D. 
Prohibited uses. Any use not specifically allowed shall be prohibited in this district. This shall include, but not be limited to, any drive-through facilities, communications antennas, utility structures, sexually oriented businesses, parking lots as a primary use, criminal treatment center, drug or alcohol treatment centers, group homes operated as a criminal, alcohol, or drug treatment center or halfway house, and any retail or specialty retail unless specified above, and any establishment selling vehicles of any kind, including, but not limited to, new or used automobiles, new or used trucks, new or used recreational vehicles or new and used boats.
A. 
Dimensional and coverage standards for all Evansburg Village Commercial uses shall be in compliance with the following. At the adoption of this article, if any certified pre-1899 structure exists on a tract within the designated district boundaries, those structures must be rehabilitated, retained, and reused, pursuant to § 143-279 of this article.
Dimensional and Coverage Standards
Class 1 and Class 2 Uses
Class 3 Uses
(1)
Maximum building footprint for new construction only, not including unenclosed portions (square feet)
NA
5,000
(2)
Maximum building footprint for a pre-1899 building, including additions, not including unenclosed portions (square feet)
NA
5,000
(3)
Maximum building height
Not to exceed 35 feet; decorative architectural elements not to exceed an additional 5 feet
(4)
Maximum building width facing street (feet):
(a)
The maximum building width facing the street
40
50
(b)
The maximum building width for a structure to be located 50 feet from the ultimate right-of-way:
40
80
(5)
Maximum building coverage
10%
20%
(6)
Maximum impervious coverage
30%
50%
(7)
Maximum impervious coverage if provisions1 for the preservation/restoration/adaptive reuse of any pre-1899 structures as well as shared parking and driveways are provided to adjacent properties that are zoned EVC Evansburg Village Commercial
50%
85%
(8)
Minimum vegetation, trees or landscaping if provisions1 for the preservation/restoration/adaptive reuse of any pre-1899 structures as well as shared parking and driveways are provided to adjacent properties that are zoned EVC Evansburg Village Commercial
50%
15%
(9)
Minimum lot size (square feet)
20,000
20,000
(10)
Minimum lot width at building setback line (feet)
100
100
(11)
Minimum street frontage (feet)
50
50
NOTE:
1 "Provisions" means construction of shared parking and driveways or, if adjacent parcel does not have any nearby parking or driveway, aisles and easements that would facilitate shared parking and driveways when the adjacent parcel is further developed.
B. 
Building location and minimum setbacks shall be as follows:
Building Location and Setback Standards
Class 1 and Class 2 Uses
Class 3 Uses
(1)
Front yard
Building shall be located not less than 2 feet nor more than 15 feet from the ultimate right-of-way or within +/- 10 feet of the average front yard setback to the ultimate right-of-way of all of the buildings within 200 feet of either side of the subject tract
(2)
Minimum side yard (feet)
20
20
(3)
Minimum rear yard (feet)
30
30
(4)
Minimum setback to a residential district (feet)
40
40
(5)
Minimum setback to a residential district where there is more than one building on the lot (feet)
80
80
(6)
Minimum distance between buildings on the same lot (feet)
15
15
(7)
Maximum distance between buildings on the same lot (feet)
85
85
C. 
Minimum parking area or vehicular circulation setbacks:
Parking and Circulation Setback Standards
Class 1 and Class 2 Uses
Class 3 Uses
(1)
From ultimate right-of-way; street (feet)
30
30
(2)
From all nonresidential property lines (feet)
6, unless parking is shared between properties
6, unless parking is shared between properties
(3)
From all residential districts (feet)
15, or 10 if an eight-foot-high fence or wall that is landscaped on both sides is provided as a screen
25, or 10 if an eight-foot-high fence or wall that is landscaped on both sides is provided as a screen
(4)
From the rear of all buildings (feet)
5 for parking; 5 for vehicular circulation
5 for parking; 5 for vehicular circulation
D. 
Separate individual buildings on the same lot may be connected to each other with a covered, but not enclosed, walkway.
In addition to the parking requirements in Article XII, the following regulations shall apply:
A. 
The parking area shall be designed to permit vehicles to turn around on the lot. Backing onto a public street from off-street parking areas is prohibited.
B. 
The minimum setback of parking areas and vehicular circulation areas from property lines shall be observed unless a parking or vehicular circulation area is shared by one or more abutting lots, in which case the parking or vehicular circulation area may cross property lines. Access easements or other legal mechanisms acceptable to the Board of Supervisors shall be provided for shared parking areas and vehicular circulation areas.
C. 
Shared parking areas between nonresidential tracts are encouraged where they will reduce the paved area on the affected lots and where the impact of parking areas upon historic buildings will be reduced.
D. 
The total parking requirement for a property may be reduced pursuant to § 143-73 if shared parking is provided or, in the case of no existing adjacent parking areas but a reserved parking area is physically possible, paved connections to the property line and cross easements are provided. Bike racks must also be provided close to the building entry(ies).
E. 
There shall be no parking in the front yard.
F. 
The number of driveways onto a collector or higher-classification street, for each property under single and separate ownership at the time this article is adopted, shall be limited to one unless additional driveways are approved by the Board of Supervisors.
Where a nonresidential use abuts a residential district, a ten-foot screening buffer pursuant to § 123-50C of the Lower Providence Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance shall be provided.
A. 
All existing certified historic structure(s) or a structure(s) built prior to 1899 located on a lot must be retained, rehabilitated, and reused on site in its original existing condition. All pre-1899 structures must be occupied with a permitted use(s) prior to the issuance of any building occupancy permit for any new construction or use.
(1) 
If the applicant can prove that the existing structures(s) cannot be reused for a use permitted in the district, then the applicant must then offer dedication of the structure(s) on the same lot to a not-for-profit historical preservation agency or similar organization in the following order: first, to an organization currently operating in Lower Providence Township; second, to a similar organization operating in Montgomery County; third, to a similar organization in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and finally, to a similar national organization, provided that the applicant establishes that the structure meets all Township codes and that the structure(s) has obtained a certificate of compliance permit.
(2) 
If the applicant can prove that no such organization will accept the existing structures(s) for dedication, then the applicant shall offer dedication of the structure(s) on the same lot to Lower Providence Township, provided that the applicant establishes that the structure meets all Township codes and that the structure(s) has obtained a certificate of compliance permit. Notwithstanding, the Township shall have no obligation to accept dedication of the structure(s).
(3) 
Only when all these avenues have been exhausted to the satisfaction of the Board of Supervisors at a public hearing that has been advertised two weeks in advance may the structure be removed, and then the property may be permitted as a Class Three use.
B. 
New buildings or building additions must have an architectural scale and character commensurate with architectural styles of 1700 to 1899 typical of the Evansburg area.
(1) 
Any additions to existing buildings on a lot must be located to the rear or side and must be constructed of natural materials such as stone, brick, wood siding, shingles, slate, or materials of similar nature. Industrial or artificial materials such as raw concrete finish, anodized or galvanized metal, tinted glass, plastics, vinyls, or materials of similar nature are prohibited, unless these materials are used in such a way as to resemble historic characteristics.
(2) 
The facade of all newly constructed building(s) shall avoid any long, monotonous uninterrupted wall(s) or roof plane(s). All architectural scale and character must be in keeping with a village character. The scale and massing of the facade shall be designed to present a residential appearance. Roofs shall be pitched, and architectural features such as porches, staggered setbacks, bay windows, and various types of wall facing(s) may also be used to achieve a more intimate and varied village appearance. Architectural features such as gables, dormers, or chimneys may be used. Historic architectural details such as shutters, trim, eave brackets, fluted columns, etc., are encouraged if they contribute to the historic character of the area.
C. 
The applicant shall submit sufficient information at the time of application in the form of architectural elevations or sketches of building additions, restoration of existing structures and architectural renderings in an electronic media format in order to determine to what extent the design guidelines are being followed. A survey of architectural features of nearby historic buildings may be required to be provided by an applicant.
D. 
In order to facilitate traffic circulation, all parking areas for a proposed use(s) with an existing structure(s) built prior to 1899 or certified historic structure(s) located on the site shall be directly connected to nonresidential parking areas on adjacent lots. If a connection cannot be made when the proposed use is constructed, a driveway shall be provided extending to the adjacent property line in a location where a future connection can be made.
E. 
Each nonresidential use shall provide access easements for its parking aisles and driveways guaranteeing access to all abutting nonresidential lots, whether a physical access connection currently exists or not. The parking area shall be so designed to readily accommodate shared access.
F. 
For new construction and additions, historic period streetlighting shall be provided.
G. 
For new construction and additions, crosswalks shall be provided across all driveways and at intersections adjacent to the subject property.
H. 
Sidewalks shall be required and shall be at least five feet in width. Sidewalks shall be constructed with special materials or a decorative surface treatment pursuant to the adopted design manual. Sidewalks internal to the site may be covered by a porch or other sun or rain sheltering structure.
I. 
Any other reasonable request requested by the Board of Supervisors, provided that the request improves the overall health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of Lower Providence Township.
J. 
The applicant shall comply with the requirements of § 143-80 regarding procedures for consideration of conditional use applications.