[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Upper Chichester 10-9-2003 by Ord. No. 605. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Blighted Property Review Committee — See Ch. 15.
Planning Commission — See Ch. 76.
Shade Tree Commission — See Ch. 112.
Damaged buildings — See Ch. 187.
Dangerous buildings — See Ch. 191.
Certificate of zoning classification — See Ch. 228.
Construction standards — See Ch. 240.
Contractors — See Ch. 244.
Grading and excavating — See Ch. 334.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 429.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 490.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 505.
Zoning — See Ch. 600.
It is hereby declared, as a matter of public policy, that the preservation and protection of buildings and structures of historic, architectural, cultural, educational and aesthetic merit are public necessities and are in the interests of the health, prosperity and welfare of all the citizens of Upper Chichester Township.
The purposes of this chapter are to:
Identify and provide an opportunity to preserve historic buildings and structures which are important to the education, culture, traditions and economic values of all citizens of Upper Chichester Township;
Maintain or improve property values in Upper Chichester Township;
Retain and enhance historic properties which contribute to the character of Upper Chichester Township;
Assure that new construction and subdivision of lots in Upper Chichester Township are compatible with existing historic buildings and structures;
Encourage the restoration and rehabilitation of historic buildings and structures in Upper Chichester Township;
Enhance the attractiveness of Upper Chichester Township, thereby supporting and promoting business, commerce, industry and tourism, as well as providing economic benefit to Upper Chichester Township;
Foster civic pride in the historical, architectural, cultural and educational accomplishments of Upper Chichester Township;
Promote the use of historic buildings and structures for the education, pleasure and welfare of all citizens of Upper Chichester Township;
Encourage orderly and efficient development that recognizes the special value to Upper Chichester Township of its fragile, nonrenewable historic and cultural resources; and
Encourage public participation in identifying and preserving historical, architectural and cultural resources through educational programs and general awareness campaigns.
The following words and phrases shall have the meaning ascribed to them in this section:
- The Upper Chichester Township Board of Commissioners.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Upper Chichester Township Building Inspector.
- CONSTRUCT or CONSTRUCTION
- The erection of a new building, structure or object upon a site.
- DEMOLITION or DEMOLISH
- The razing or destruction, whether entirely or in significant part, of a building or structure. Demolition includes the removal of a building or structure from its site.
- HISTORIC STRUCTURE
- Any structure listed in the Upper Chichester Township Historic Sites Survey as prepared by the Delaware County Planning Department dated June 1981-1982, as updated from time to time either by the Delaware County Planning Department or by the Township in accordance with the provisions of § 351-8 herein.
- A person, corporation, or other legal entity that has filed written objections to the issuance of a demolition permit pursuant to this chapter.
- An individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, government, governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality or any other legal or commercial entity.
- Upper Chichester Township, Delaware County, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
No person shall undertake demolition on any historic structure within the Township unless a demolition permit is first obtained from the Building Inspector.
Except as may be provided below, the Building Inspector shall not issue a demolition permit until the Board first reviews and approves the application for the demolition permit.
To obtain a demolition permit, an applicant must submit an application in writing on a form furnished by the Building Inspector for that purpose, together with the applicable fee(s). The fee for a demolition permit shall be based on the Township fee schedule. The minimum charge for the permit will be $150.
The contents of the demolition permit application are as follows:
Date of filing of application;
Name of applicant;
Address of building or structure to be demolished and owner of record if different from applicant;
Description of the building or structure to be demolished, including type of use, type of building construction, size and square footage and number of stories;
Site plan showing all buildings, structures and features of the property;
Reasons for demolition;
Method of demolition;
Approximate date of commencement and completion of demolition;
Projected uses of the site following demolition of the building or structure.
The applicant must submit three copies of said application to the Secretary of Upper Chichester Township.
The demolition permit application shall be signed by the applicant and such signature shall constitute a certification by the signer that the information contained in the application is true and correct.
Within 10 working days of receipt of an application for demolition permit, the Township shall publish notice of the application in a daily or weekly newspaper of substantial circulation in the Township. The notice required shall include the following:
That unless written objection stating specific reasons thereof is filed with the Building Inspector within 10 days of the publication of the notice the demolition permit will be issued after the expiration of such ten-day period.
If within 10 days after publication of the notice no written objection to the issuance of the permit is filed with the Building Inspector, then the demolition permit shall be issued to the applicant.
If within 10 days after application of the notice an objection is filed with the Building Inspector, then the Building Inspector shall forward the demolition permit application together with all attachments to the Board for its review. The objection shall be in writing and shall state the specific reasons for the objection.
Within 45 days after receipt by the Board of an application for a demolition permit to which application an objection has been filed, or such later period not to exceed an additional 60 days as may be agreed to by the Board and the applicant, the Board shall hold a public meeting on the application and objections thereto and make a decision whether to approve or deny the application for issuance of the demolition permit. The person applying for the demolition permit shall be given a minimum of five days' advance written notice by mail of the time and place of the hearing. If a special hearing, being a hearing other than a regularly scheduled Board meeting, is required to meet the time frame for the public hearing required herein or is otherwise requested by the applicant, the applicant shall be responsible for payment of the required fee for such special hearing as provided for in the Township fee schedule. Failure of the Board to make a determination within the required time period shall be deemed to constitute an approval of the application.
At any time after filing an objection to the issuance of the permit, the objecting party may withdraw the objection by giving written notice of such withdrawal to the Board and the Building Inspector and, upon receipt of such withdrawal, provided the initial ten-day period after publication has expired and provided there are not other objections which remain outstanding, the permit shall be issued and any pending public hearing on the permit shall be canceled.
At the public hearing held on the application, the Board, the objector, and the applicant may agree to postpone the public hearing to a later date, such postponement not to exceed an additional 60 days from the date of that public hearing.
After the hearing when the Board reviews an application for a demolition permit, the Board shall consider the following factors, among other factors deemed appropriate by the Board, before reaching its decision on the application:
The purposes of this chapter.
The historical, architectural or aesthetic significance of the building or structure.
The design and compatibility of the proposed work with the character of its site, including the effect of the proposed work on neighboring structures.
Whether the building or structure can be used for any purpose for which it is or may be reasonably adapted. To that end, the owner must demonstrate that the sale of the property is impracticable, and that rental cannot provide a reasonable rate of return. The objector must also provide his/her or its recommendations for the continued use of the building in question.
Where an application for demolition is based on economic hardship, the Board may lessen its requirements in order to account for the economic situation involved.
Every decision of the Board shall be in writing and shall state the reasons for the decision. The decision shall contain the findings of fact that constitute the basis for the decision. The Board shall furnish the applicant and objector with a copy of the Board's decision, together with a copy of any recommendations the Board may have for changes necessary before the application will be reconsidered by the Board.
The Board may approve the application for a demolition permit subject to conditions.
In cases where the Board approves of a demolition permit, the Board shall require that the building or structure be recorded, at the applicant's expense, according to the documentation standards of the Historic American Buildings Survey and the Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER), with such written, drafted and photographic documentation being deposited with the Board and any other historical preservation agency or group by the Board deems necessary. In no case will the applicant be forced to spend more than an additional $200 on this survey. Any additional expenses will be borne by the objecting party.
In the case of a demonstrated economic hardship, the Board may prescribe a less stringent form of documentation.
In cases where the Board approves the issuance of a demolition permit, the permit will be good for a six-month period, unless upon written request the Board agrees to extend the time.
This article shall not be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of any building or structure, where such work does not require a permit by law, and where the purpose and effect of such work is to correct any deterioration or decay of, or damage to, a building or structure and to restore the same to its condition prior to the occurrence of such deterioration, decay or damage.
Any party to the hearing before the Board aggrieved by a decision of the Board may, within 30 days after receiving notice of the decision, seek judicial review of that decision in any court of competent jurisdiction.
The following penalties and remedies shall be applicable to violations of this chapter:
Penalties. Failure to perform any action required by this chapter or performance of any action, which is prohibited by this chapter, shall constitute a violation hereof. Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a fine of not more than $600 for each offense plus court costs, including reasonable attorney fees incurred as a result thereof, and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, shall be subject to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation. All fines collected shall be deposited into the Township general fund. At the discretion of the Board, these funds may be used for historic preservation to further the achievement of the purposes described in § 351-1.
The Board may add structures to the Township list, which the Board finds to be significant to the Township for its ability to meet one or any combination of the following criteria:
Listed in or determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as provided in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, 16 U.S.C. § 470 et seq.
Editor's Note: On 12-19-2014, Public Law 13-287 moved the Act’s provisions from Title 16 of the U.S.C. to Title 54, with minimal and nonsubstantive changes and a reordering of some provisions
Listed in the Upper Chichester Township Historic Sites Survey prepared by the Delaware County Planning Department dated June 1981-1982, as updated from time to time.
Has significant character, interest, or value as an example of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of the Township, the county, the commonwealth, or the United States.
Is the site of a significant historic event.
Exemplifies the cultural, political, economic, social or historical heritage of the community.
Embodies distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style or engineering specimen.
Is the work of a designer, architect, landscape architect or engineer whose individual work has significantly influenced the development of the Township, the county, the commonwealth or the United States.
Contains elements of design, detail, materials or craftsmanship, which represent a significant innovation.
Is the singular example of a design or use of material or style of architecture within the Township.
Is part of the historic context of a square, park or other distinctive area which should be preserved according to a plan based on a historic, cultural or an architectural context.
Is a landmark; that is, an established and familiar visual feature which assists in defining the character of the neighborhood, community, or Township due to is unique location or singular physical characteristic.
Has yielded or is likely to yield information of importance to the history of the Township, the county, or the commonwealth.