Borough of Doylestown, PA
Bucks County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 500]
The dimensional requirements for all zoning districts in Doylestown Borough are summarized in the Table of Dimensional Requirements (§ 502). The purpose of the summary is as a reference in making comparisons between dimensional requirements in the various districts. Covered in this Part are general dimensional requirements for special circumstances, applicable in all districts.
[Ord. 1972-10. 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 501, as amended by Ord. 1973-2, 1/15/1973, §§ 3 and 4; as amended by Ord. 1974-6, 5/20/1984, § 3; by Ord. 1974-10, 8/19/1974, §§ 6-8, 10, 13, 16, 18; by Ord. 1975-13, 7/7/1975, § 4; Ord. 1977-11, 8/15/1977, §§ 7, 8; by Ord. 1978-6, 5/15/1978, §§ 4, 18; by Ord. 1979-17, 9/17/1979, § 3; by Ord. 1985-8, 5/23/1985; by Ord. 1986-15, 12/15/1986; by Ord. 1995-7, 11/20/1995, § 3; by Ord. 1998-5, 6/15/1998, § 5; by Ord. 1999-9, 6/28/1999, § 4; by Ord. 2000-5, 6/26/2000, § 8; and by Ord. 2001-6, 5/21/2001, § 5; and by Ord. 2002-13, 12-16-2002, § 4; and by Ord. 2003-7, 8/18/2003, § 7]
The regulations for each district pertaining to maximum overall density, minimum lot area, minimum lot area per dwelling unit, minimum lot width, minimum front yard, minimum side yard, minimum rear yard, maximum height and maximum building coverage shall be as specified in this Part unless specifically stated for all particular use in the Table of Use Regulations in Part 4. (See Table in attachment at the end of this Chapter.)
A.
Density, Lot Area and Lot Width Regulations.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 502]
The maximum number of dwelling units per acre of land shall not exceed the numbers specified in § 502 for the district involved.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 503]
1. 
Where a minimum lot area is specified, no principal building nor use shall be created or established on any lot of lesser area, except as may be permitted in § 502.
2. 
The lot area and yards required for any new building or use shall not include any part of a lot that is required by any other building or use to comply with the requirements of this Chapter. No required lot area and yard shall include any property, the ownership of which has been transferred subsequent to the effective date of this Chapter if such property was a part of the area required for compliance with the dimensional requirements applicable to the lot from which such transfer was made.
3. 
Lot coverage shall not exceed the requirements specified in § 502 for the district involved.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 504]
Where a minimum lot width is specified, no principal building shall be erected on any part of a lot which has a width less than specified, except as may be permitted by § 506.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 505]
1. 
The provisions of § 502 shall not prevent the construction of a single-family dwelling, provided the yard requirements are observed, on any lot which was lawful when created and which prior to the effective date of this Chapter was in separate ownership duly recorded by plan or deed.
2. 
This exception shall not apply to any two or more contiguous lots in a single ownership as of or subsequent to the effective date of this Chapter in any case where a reparceling or replatting could create one or more lots which would conform to the provisions of § 502.
B.
Traffic Visibility Regulations.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 506]
1. 
In any district, no structure, fence nor planting shall be maintained between a plane two feet above curb level and a plane seven feet above curb level so as to interfere with traffic visibility across the corner within that part of the required front or side yard which is within a triangle bounded by the street lot line and a straight line drawn between points on each lot 25 feet from the intersection of said lot lines or extension thereof.
2. 
At each point where a private accessway intersects a public street or road, a clear-sight triangle of 10 feet measured from the point of intersection of the street line and the edge of the accessway shall be maintained, within which vegetation and other visual obstructions shall be limited to a height of not more than two feet above the street grade.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 507]
On a corner lot, the yard facing each street shall equal the required front yard for lots facing that street.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 508]
Where two or more main buildings for other than residential uses are proposed to be built upon property in one ownership, front, side and rear yards are required only at lot lines abutting other property. See § 521 for requirements for residential uses.
C.
Front Yard Regulations.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. Vi, § 509; as amended by Ord. 1981-3, 7/20/1981, § 4]
Where a minimum depth of front yard is specified in § 502 an open space of at least the specified depth shall be provided between the legal right-of-way, or the future right-of-way, wherever the latter exceeds the legal right-of-way, and the nearest point of any building or structure. Only landscaped areas, signs, and necessary drives and walks shall be permitted in the required front yard setback area except as may be provided in § 802(7).
[Ord. 2005-3, 3/3/2005, § 2]
Mechanical equipment such as air conditioners, compressors, generators and electrical transformers shall not be permitted within required front yards. Existing mechanical equipment that is situate within required front yard areas may be replaced in the same location, provided it is of the same size and capacity as the replaced equipment and is located no closer to the property line than the old equipment.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 510]
Ground-story bays and porches not over half the length of the front wall may project into any front yard 3 1/2 feet. Chimneys, flues, columns, sills, and ornamental features may project not more than one foot, and cornices and gutters not more than two feet, over a required front yard.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 511]
Subject to § 507, the provisions of § 502 shall not apply to front fences, hedges, nor walls less than seven feet high above the natural grade in the required front yard, nor to terraces, steps, uncovered porches, or other similar features not over three feet high above the level of the floor of the ground story.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 513]
Where there is an existing building on each of two lots adjacent on either side to a lot on which a proposed building is to be erected, where both such existing buildings have an alignment nearer to the street than the required front depth elsewhere specified in this Chapter, and when both such existing buildings are within 100 feet of the proposed building, the average of the existing front yard depths of such adjacent lots shall be the minimum required front yard depth of the lot on which the proposed building is to be erected.
D.
Side Yard Regulations.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 514]
Where a minimum width of side yard is specified in § 502, no building nor structure shall be erected within the specified distance from either side lot line, except as permitted in § 515.
[Ord. 2005-3, 3/3/2005, § 3]
Residential driveways and parking areas shall be permitted to be located in a required side yard, provided that they are located no closer than two feet from either side lot line. Nonresidential driveways and parking areas shall be located no closer than six feet from either side lot line and subject to the buffer requirements of § 803.1. This shall not prevent a driveway from taking access from public or private street by crossing a required side or rear yard.
[Ord. 2005-3, 3/3/2005, § 4]
Mechanical equipment such as air conditioners, compressors, generators and electrical transformers shall not be permitted within required side yards. Existing mechanical equipment that is situate within required side yard areas may be replaced in the same location, provided it is of the same size and capacity as the replaced equipment and is located no closer to the property line than the old equipment.
[Ord. 1972-10. 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 515]
Bays, balconies, chimneys, flues and fire escapes may project into a required side yard not more than 1/3 of its width, and not more than four feet in any case. Ground-story bays and porches not over half the length of the side wall may project into any side yard 3 1/2 feet.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 516]
Subject to § 507, the provisions of § 502 shall not apply to fences, hedges, or walls not over seven feet high above the natural grade, nor to terraces, steps, uncovered porches, or other similar features not over three feet high above the floor of the ground story.
E.
Rear Yard Regulations.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 517]
No building or structure shall be built within the minimum depth from the rear lot line specified in § 502, except as permitted in § 518.
[Ord. 2005-3, 3/3/2005, § 5]
Residential driveways and parking areas shall be permitted to be located in a required rear yard, provided that they are located no closer than two feet from either side lot line. Nonresidential driveways and parking areas shall be located no closer than six feet from rear lot lines, and subject to the buffer requirements of § 803.1. This shall not prevent a driveway from taking access from public or private street by crossing a required side or rear yard.
[Ord. 2005-3, 3/3/2005, § 6]
Mechanical equipment such as air conditioners, compressors, generators and electrical transformers shall not be permitted within required rear yards. Existing mechanical equipment that is situate within required rear yard areas may be replaced in the same location, provided it is of the same size and capacity as the replaced equipment and is located no closer to the property line than the old equipment.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 518]
Required rear yards may be occupied by an accessory garage for accessory garage use and other permitted accessory buildings, structures, or use, provided that:
1. 
Such accessory building, structure, or use shall be situated not less than the distance required for side yards in the district in which such building, structure or use is located;
2. 
Not less than 15 feet further back from the street line than the rearmost portion of the principal building; and
3. 
Such accessory building, structure, or use shall not exceed 15 feet in height.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 519]
In the case of a triangular lot with no rear lot line, the distance between any point on the building and corner of the lot farthest from the front lot line shall be at least twice the minimum depth specified in § 502.
[Added by Ord. 1982-23, 1/17/1983, § 1]
Subject to § 507, the provisions of § 502 shall not apply to fences, hedges, or walls not over seven feet high above natural grade, nor to terraces, steps, uncovered porches, or other similar features not over three feet high above the floor of the ground story.
F.
Building Spacing an Height Regulations.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 520]
The building spacing percent, as specified in § 502, is the minimum percent ratio of horizontal distance between facing walls of any two buildings on one lot, one of which is residential, and the height of the taller of the two buildings.
1. 
The minimum horizontal distance between facing walls of any two buildings on one lot, one of which is a residential building, shall be at their closest point at least the greater of (i) 25 feet; or (ii) the distance which bears the minimum ratio specified in § 502, Table of Dimensional Requirements.
2. 
Facing walls are defined as walls opposite to and parallel with one another or wall lines or extensions of wall lines of opposite walls which intersect at angles of less than 65°.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 521; as amended by Ord. 1978-6, 5/15/1978, § 5; and by Ord. 2005-3, 3/3/2005, § 7]
1. 
No building shall exceed the maximum height of buildings specified in § 502 except as specified in § 523.
2. 
Height shall be measured from the grade plane of the building to the highest point of the roof for flat roofs, to the decklines of mansard roofs and to the mean height between eaves and ridge for gable, hip and gambrel roofs.
3. 
For height exceptions of rooftop mechanical systems or elevator penthouses see § 523.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 522; as amended by Ord. 1978-6, 5/15/1978, § 6]
Penthouses whose purpose is to handle the equipment necessary for required elevator installation or rooftop mechanical equipment shall not exceed 12 feet in height above the finished roof line. All rooftop mechanical systems shall be visually screened, the design of which shall be subject to the approval of the Planning Commission and Borough Council.
G.
Building Coverage and Floor Area.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 523; as amended by Ord. 1978-6, 5/15/1978, § 7]
The lot coverage is the maximum percent of the total lot area which may be covered by the ground floor area of any building or buildings.
For any building or group of buildings on a lot, neither the building coverage nor the floor area requirements shall exceed the maximum percentiles specified in § 502.
1. 
The floor area ratio is the maximum square-foot amount of total floor area permitted for each square foot of lot area.
2. 
Where a maximum floor area ratio is specified in § 502, no development shall be permitted which exceeds the floor area permitted as specified.
3. 
For all multifamily low-rise and high-rise dwellings, lot coverage shall include all impervious surfaces in addition to land covered by the ground floor area of any building or buildings. Coverage of the gross site area by impervious surfaces shall not exceed 40% for multifamily low rise dwellings and 42% for multifamily high-rise dwellings.
H.
Open Space and Recreation Space Requirements.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 524; as amended by Ord. 1978-6, 5/15/1978, § 8]
1. 
Open space is land that shall be provided for the purpose of recreation, resource protection, amenity, or buffers; is freely accessible to all residents; and is protected by the provisions of this Chapter to ensure that it remains in such uses. Open space does not include land occupied by buildings, roads, or road rights-of-way; nor does it include the yards or lots of single or multifamily dwelling units or parking areas as required by the provisions of this Chapter. Open space shall be left in a natural state except in the case of recreation uses which may contain impervious surfaces. Such impervious surfaces shall be included in the calculation of the impervious surface ratio.
2. 
Where a minimum amount of open space is specified in § 502, no development shall be permitted which provides less open space than that specified.
3. 
Cluster Development (R-2-A District), multifamily low-rise and multifamily high-rise development shall meet the open space requirements of the Zoning Chapter. The plan shall contain or be supplemented by such material as required to establish the method by which open space shall be perpetuated, maintained, and administered. The plan and other materials shall be construed as a contract between the land owner(s) and the municipality, and shall be noted on all deeds.
4. 
The open space shall be laid out in accordance with the best principles of site design. It is intended that the open space shall be as close to all residences as possible, with greenways leading to major recreation spaces and community facilities.
5. 
All land held for open space shall be so designated on the plans. The plans shall contain the following statement for the lands in categories A, B, or C below: "Open space land may not be separately sold, nor shall such land be further developed or subdivided." All subdivision plans shall further designate the use of open space, the type of maintenance to be provided, and a planting plan or schedule. In designating use and maintenance, the following classes may be used.
A. 
Lawn. A grass area with or without trees which may be used by the residents for a variety of purposes and which shall be mowed regularly to insure a neat and tidy appearance.
B. 
Natural Area. An area of natural vegetation undisturbed during construction, or replanted. Such areas may contain pathways. Meadows shall be maintained as such and not left to become weed-infested. Maintenance may be minimal, but shall prevent the proliferation of weeds and undesirable plants such as honeysuckle and poison ivy. Litter, dead trees and brush shall be removed, and streams shall be kept in free-flowing condition.
C. 
Recreation Area. An area designated for a specific use, including but not limited to tennis, swimming, shuffle board, playfield, and tot lot. Such areas shall be maintained so as to avoid creating a hazard or nuisance, and shall perpetuate the proposed use.
6. 
Designated planting and recreation facilities within the open space areas shall be provided by the developer. A performance bond or other securities may be required to cover costs of installation in accordance with provisions of the subdivision ordinance.
7. 
All open space, shown on the Final Development Plan as filed in the office of the Borough Manager of Doylestown and subsequently recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds of Bucks County, must be conveyed in accordance with one or more of the following methods:
A. 
Dedication in fee-simple to the Borough of Doylestown may, but shall not be required to, accept any portion of the open space, provided:
(1) 
Such land is freely accessible to, and of benefit to the general public of Doylestown Borough;
(2) 
There is no cost involved;
(3) 
The Borough agrees to and has access to maintain such lands, and;
(4) 
It must be acceptable with regard to size, shape, location and improvement.
B. 
By conveying title (including beneficial ownership) to a corporation, association, funded community trust, condominium or other legal entity.
(1) 
The terms of such instrument of conveyance must include provisions suitable to the Borough for guaranteeing:
(a) 
The continued use of such land for the intent purpose;
(b) 
Continuity of proper maintenance for those portions of the open space requiring maintenance;
(c) 
The availability of funds required for such maintenance;
(d) 
Adequate insurance protection;
(e) 
Provisions for payment of applicable taxes;
(f) 
Recovery for loss sustained by casualty, condemnation, or otherwise;
(g) 
Such other covenants and/or easements that the Borough shall deem desirable to fulfill the purposes and intent of this Chapter.
(2) 
The following are prerequisites for such a corporation or association:
(a) 
It must be set up before any homes or dwelling units are sold or leased or otherwise conveyed.
(b) 
Membership must be mandatory for each buyer and/or lessee and any successive buyer and/or lessee.
(c) 
It must be responsible for liability insurance, taxes, recovery for loss sustained by casualty, condemnation or otherwise, and the maintenance of recreation and other facilities.
(d) 
Members of beneficiaries must pay their pro rata share of the costs, and the assessment levied can become a lien on the property.
(e) 
It must be able to adjust the assessment to meet conditions.
(f) 
Such corporation or association shall not be dissolved nor shall it dispose of the open space, by sale or otherwise, except to an organization conceived and established to own and maintain the open space. The corporation or association must first offer to dedicate the open space to the Borough before any such sale or disposition of the open space.
(3) 
The dedication of open space, streets or other lands in common ownership of the corporation, association or other legal entity, or the Borough, shall be absolute and not subject to reversion for possible future use for further development.
(4) 
All documents pertaining to the conveyance and maintenance of the open space shall meet the approval of the Borough Solicitor as to legal form and effect and to the Planning Commission as to suitability for the proposed use of the open space.
[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. V, § 525; as amended by Ord. 1978-6, 5/15/1978, § 9]
1. 
Definition: recreation space is defined as the part or parts of a lot designed and developed for use by the occupants of the lot for recreation, gardens, or any leisure activities. Such spaces shall be effectively separated from automobile traffic and readily accessible by all those for whom it is required. At least 75% of the area shall have a grade of less than 8% and all recreation space counted in this computation shall be at least 20 feet away from any residential wall containing a window. Finally, each individual recreation space counted shall have minimum dimensions of 100 feet.
2. 
Where a minimum amount of recreation space is specified in § 502, no development shall be permitted which provides less recreation space than that specified.
3. 
A minimum percentage of the required open space in any multifamily low-rise or high-rise development shall be devoted to recreation space according to the following requirements:
A. 
Multifamily low-rise: 10%.
B. 
Multifamily high-rise: 16%.