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Township of Middle Smithfield, PA
Monroe County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The Zoning Officer shall be appointed by the Board of Supervisors and shall meet qualifications established by the municipality and shall be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the municipality, a working knowledge of municipal zoning regulations. The Zoning Officer shall serve for such period as the governing body shall direct and shall receive such compensation as the governing body shall fix. The Board of Supervisors may designate other Township staffpersons to serve as Assistant Zoning Officer(s) who shall also meet qualifications established by the municipality and shall be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the municipality, a working knowledge of municipal zoning. The Assistant Zoning Officer(s) shall serve for such period as the governing body shall direct and shall receive such compensation as the governing body shall fix. The Assistant Zoning Officer(s) may serve with the same authority and duties as a Zoning Officer. Neither a Zoning Officer nor any Assistant Zoning Officer shall hold any elected office within the Township, but may hold other appointed offices.
The duties and powers of the Zoning Officer shall include the following:
A. 
Administer this chapter in accordance with its literal terms and shall not have the power to permit any construction or any use or change of use which does not conform to this chapter;
B. 
To receive and examine all applications for zoning permits and shall issue or deny a zoning permit in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
C. 
To receive applications for conditional use, use by special exception or requests for a variance and forward these applications to the Township Planning Commission, the Board of Supervisors and/or the Zoning Hearing Board for action thereon in accordance with all applicable provisions of this chapter.
D. 
Shall have the right at any reasonable hour and after giving appropriate notice to make an inspection of buildings or land necessary for the proper execution of his/her duties and shall issue a written notice of violation to any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this chapter;
E. 
Maintain records, whether issued or denied, of all applications, including permits, certificates of compliance and nonconformity, written decisions, variances, enforcement orders, reports and inspections;
F. 
Maintain map(s) showing current zoning classifications of all land within the Township;
G. 
At the request of the governing body, Planning Commission or Zoning Hearing Board, shall review subdivision and land development applications for compliance with this chapter;
H. 
Receive and act upon any written complaint alleging a zoning violation:
(1) 
A record of all written complaints and action taken shall be kept and maintained by the Zoning Officer;
(2) 
A Zoning Officer shall not act upon any oral or unsigned complaint unless he/she deems it advisable or necessary to maintain the health, safety and/or welfare of the citizens of the Township;
(3) 
Complaints involving intrusion into required yard setbacks shall be accompanied by verifiable proof of the alleged violation;
(4) 
Complaints not involving a violation of a Township ordinance or the Code shall not be acted upon by a Zoning Officer but shall be deemed a private matter. The determination of the course of action on any complaint shall be made by the Zoning Officer after proper investigation.
I. 
At the request of the governing body, the Planning Commission or the Zoning Hearing Board, present facts, records, reports and/or testimony;
J. 
Shall issue certificates of compliance, after a personal on-site inspection, to verify that the work is in conformity with all provisions of the zoning permit;
K. 
Issue written stop and cease-and-desist orders, and issue written directive(s) for the correction of violations found;
L. 
Institute, in the name of the Township, any appropriate action and/or enforcement proceedings to insure full compliance with this chapter, as amended from time to time;
M. 
Following refusal to issue a zoning permit, the Zoning Officer shall receive applications for interpretations, appeals and variances and forward these applications to the Zoning Hearing Board for action thereon;
N. 
Revoke any order or permit issued under a mistake of fact, contrary to the law or a Township ordinance or as a result of false and/or fraudulent information upon which the Zoning Officer or Zoning Hearing Board relied upon in issuing said order or permit; and
O. 
Serve such other functions as provided in this chapter.
If the Zoning Officer mistakenly issues a permit under this chapter, the Township shall not be liable for any later lawful withdrawal of such permit.
The Zoning Officer shall issue a notice of violation to any landowner, person or entity that shall commit or who shall permit any of the following actions to be committed in violation of this chapter:
A. 
Failure to secure a zoning permit prior to a change in use of land or structure;
B. 
Failure to secure a zoning permit prior to the erection, construction, demolition and/or modification of any structure or portion thereof;
C. 
Failure to secure a zoning permit prior to the excavation of land to prepare for the erection, modification, construction and/or alteration of any structure or portion thereof;
D. 
Placement of false statements on, or omitting relevant information from, an application for a zoning permit;
E. 
Undertaking an action in a manner which does not comply with a zoning permit; and/or
F. 
Violation of any condition imposed by a decision of the Zoning Hearing Board or the Board of Supervisors.
[Amended 3-10-2016 by Ord. No. 206]
A. 
General. Enforcement of this Zoning Ordinance shall be in accordance with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC).[1] If it appears that a violation of the Zoning Ordinance has occurred, the Zoning Officer shall initiate enforcement proceedings by sending an enforcement notice as provided for in the MPC and notify, in writing, the governing body. Prior to sending an official enforcement notice, the Zoning Officer may, at his/her discretion, informally request compliance.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
B. 
Formal notice. An official enforcement notice shall be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested and postage prepaid, to the owner of record of the parcel on which the alleged violation has occurred, to the address the owner of record has provided to the Township or, if none given, to the most-recent address maintained with the Monroe County Tax Assessment Office or Tax Claim Bureau for real estate tax notifications, to any person who has filed a written request to receive enforcement notices regarding the parcel, and to any other person requested in writing by the owner of record. Formal notice may also be served by personal delivery.
C. 
Notice requirements. An enforcement notice shall state at least the following:
(1) 
The name of the owner of record and any other person against whom the municipality intends to take action;
(2) 
The location of the property in violation;
(3) 
The specific violation with a description of the requirements which have not been met, citing in each instance the applicable provisions of the ordinance;
(4) 
The date before which the steps for compliance must be commenced and the date before which the steps must be completed;
(5) 
That the recipient of the notice has the right to appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board within 20 days of receipt of the notice of violation; and
(6) 
That failure to comply with the notice within the time specified, unless extended by appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board, constitutes a violation.
D. 
Presenting party. In any appeal of an enforcement notice to the Zoning Hearing Board, the municipality shall have the responsibility of presenting its evidence first.
E. 
Filing fees. Any filing fee paid by a party to appeal an enforcement notice to the Zoning Hearing Board shall be returned to the appealing party by the Township if the Zoning Hearing Board, or any court in a subsequent appeal, rules in the appealing party's favor.
F. 
Causes of action. The enforcement provisions of this section are not in lieu of, and are not intended to limit in any way, the Township's causes of action under Section 617 of the MPC and authority to institute any appropriate action or proceeding at law or in equity to enforce, prevent, restrain, correct or abate zoning violation(s) or to require the removal or termination of the unlawful use of the structure, building, sign, landscaping, land or other activity in violation of the provisions of this chapter. Further, the enforcement provisions, and the Township's causes of action under Section 617 of the MPC are in addition to, and not exclusive to, any other remedies available to the Township as a result of violation of the Zoning Ordinance.
A. 
Any person, partnership or corporation who or which has violated or permitted the violation of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Township, pay a judgment of not more than $500, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the Township as a result thereof.
B. 
Magisterial district judge. No judgment shall commence or be imposed, levied or payable until the date of the determination of a violation by the magisterial district judge. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the Township may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable rules of civil procedure.
C. 
Separate violations. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation, unless the magisterial district judge determining that there has been a violation further determines that there was a good faith basis for the person, partnership or corporation violating this chapter to have believed that there was no such violation, in which event there shall be deemed to have been only one violation until the fifth day following the date of determination of a violation by the magisterial district judge, and thereafter each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.
D. 
Fees. All judgments, costs and reasonable attorney's fees collected for the violation of this chapter, as amended from time to time, shall be paid over to the Township.
E. 
Stay of proceedings. The court of common pleas, upon petition, may grant an order of stay, upon cause shown, tolling the per diem fine pending a final adjudication of the violation and judgment.
The provisions for "Appeals to Court," as stated in the MPC, as amended from time to time, shall apply.