Township of Plymouth, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Nothing herein contained shall be construed to render inoperative any enforceable restriction established by covenants running with the land and which restrictions are not prohibited by or are not contrary to the regulations herein established.
[Ord. No. 793, § 1, 3-13-1978]
A lot which is of public record in single and separate ownership at the time of enactment of this ordinance may be used for a permitted use in the district in which it is located; provided, however, that the minimum and maximum regulations of the district are met, or when authorized as a special exception and upon submission of satisfactory evidence to the fact that the smaller lot area or width will provide safe and effective sanitary sewage disposal if the particular location in question is not served by sanitary sewers. Such evidence may include, but shall not be limited to, a specific recommendation from the official representative of the health advisory board having jurisdiction.
No lot area shall be so reduced that the area of the lot, or the dimensions of the open spaces, shall be smaller than herein prescribed.
This ordinance shall not apply to any existing or proposed building, or extension thereof, or to any land used or to be used by a public utility corporation if, upon petition of the corporation, the Public Utility Commission shall, after a public hearing, decide that the present or proposed situation or use of the building or land in question is reasonably necessary for the convenience or welfare of the public.
A pump, light standard, air tower, water outlet or similar installation of a gasoline filling station may be placed within the required front yard but in no case closer to the front lot line than 15 feet, unless otherwise specified in the district regulations.
[Ord. No. 1088, § 3, 11-18-1991]
When authorized as a special exception subject to the provisions of article XXI, section 2101.B. herein, where an unimproved lot of record is situated on the same street frontage with two (2) improved lots or one unimproved lot and one improved lot, the front yard requirement for that district may be modified so that the front yard shall be an average of the existing and as required front yard.
Dwelling quarters for watchmen and caretakers employed on the premises shall be permitted in connection with any administrative offices, laboratories or industrial establishments.
On any lot no wall, fence, sign or other structure shall be erected, altered or maintained and no hedge, tree, shrub or other growth shall be planted or maintained which shall interfere with a free and unobstructed view down and across lands located at or near the intersection of any two roads, or a road and railroad and railway, or at any curve in any road, as may be necessary to assure a full and unobstructed view in all directions at such crossings or curves and to so prevent the use of such lands for any purpose or in any manner which may interfere with or obstruct the vision of persons traveling upon such highways.
[Ord. No. 890, § 1, 1-10-1983; Ord. No. 920, § 1, 10-8-1984; Ord. No. 955, § 1, 11-10-1986; Ord. No. 1088, §§ 4, 5, 11-18-1991; Ord. No. 1195, § 1, 7-15-1996; Ord. No. 1268, § 3, 8-17-1998; Ord. No. 1382, § 12, 8-12-2002]
No building and no part of a building shall be erected within or shall project into or over any required yard in any district, except that:
A. 
An unenclosed porch, not more than 14 feet in height, may be erected to extend into a required front or rear yard a distance of not more than 10 feet, provided that in no case shall it extend into such front or rear yard more than one-half the required depth of the yard.
B. 
A terrace, not covered by a roof, canopy or trellis or wood deck, which does not extend above the level of the first floor of the building may be erected to extend into a required yard a distance of not more than 12 feet, provided that it shall not extend into such yard more than 40% of the required depth or width of the yard.
C. 
A patio, not covered by a roof, canopy or trellis, and any other impervious surfaces may be erected in a required yard area, provided that the patio or impervious surface is not closer than four (4) feet from the rear and/or side lot lines in all zoning districts, except in the D Residential District and D-1 Residential District where the distance to the rear and/or side lot lines shall be not less than three (3) feet.
D. 
A carport may be erected over a driveway in a required side yard, provided that such structure is:
1. 
Not more than 14 feet in height and shall not project beyond the front or rear of the dwelling.
2. 
Entirely open on at least three sides, exclusive of the necessary supporting columns and customary architectural features; and
3. 
At least three feet from the side lot line.
E. 
A buttress, chimney, cornice, pier or pilaster of a building may project not more than 18 inches into a required yard.
F. 
Open, unenclosed fire escape, steps, bay windows and balconies may project no more than three feet into a required yard.
G. 
_____
1. 
A detached private garage, storage shed or TV dish antenna may be erected within a rear or side yard, provided the private garage, storage shed or TV dish antenna is separated from the main dwelling and located at least ten (10) feet farther back from the front street line than the rearmost portion of the main dwelling. The private garage, storage shed or TV dish antenna shall not be closer than four (4) feet from the rear and side lot lines in all zoning districts except in D Residential District and D-1 Residential District where the distance to the rear and side lot lines shall be not less than three (3) feet.
2. 
On corner lots, detached structures set forth in subsection 1. above shall be subject to the same side yard setback from the side property line abutting or adjacent to the street line as is required for the principal structure.
3. 
On undersized lots, where a literal enforcement of this provision would preclude construction, construction closer than three feet to the rear and side lot lines may be authorized by special exception. The term "storage shed," as used herein, is a storage building with or without concrete slab or slab footing.
H. 
An access ramp for handicapped persons required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended or superseded, may be erected to extend into a required front, side or rear yard; provided, that in no case shall it extend into such front, side or rear yard more than 1/2 the required depth of the said yard.
[Ord. No. 920, § 1, 10-8-1984; Ord. No. 1133, § 17, 9-27-1993; Ord. No. 1268, § 4, 8-17-1998; Ord. No. 1320, § 14, 4-10-2000; Ord. No. 1600, § 4, 5-11-2015]
Within a residential district, there shall not be more than one detached private garage and one storage shed erected on the same lot as the principal dwelling, except that not more than one additional detached private garage may be permitted when authorized as a special exception pursuant to the provisions of Section 2101 hereof. In all events, compliance shall be required with the coverage provisions applicable in each residential district. Storage sheds shall not exceed 12 feet in width and 12 feet in depth nor shall they be more than 12 feet in height from the lowest point in grade to the peak or ridge of the roof. Detached garages shall not exceed 32 feet in width and 24 feet in depth in AA or A Residential Districts, and 24 feet in width and 24 feet in depth in any other residential district. In all residential districts, detached garages may not exceed 16 feet in height from the grade of the entrance to the peak of the roof or ridge.
[Ord. No. 793, § 1, 3-13-1978; Ord. No. 890, § 1, 1-10-1983; Ord. No. 1084, § 6, 11-29-1990; Ord. No. 1293, § 10, 6-15-1999]
A. 
No fence or wall over six feet in height, except a retaining wall or a wall of a building permitted under the terms of this ordinance, shall be erected within any of the open spaces required by this ordinance, except that a chain-link fence tennis court fence up to 10 feet in height may be erected, provided that the fence is not closer than five feet to the rear and/or side lot lines.
B. 
In the Heavy Industrial District and the Limited Industrial District, a barbed wire fence not to exceed one foot in height may be added to the fence or wall constructed, provided the overall height does not exceed seven feet.
C. 
No barbed wire fence shall be constructed in a residential district except in connection with an agricultural use. No wire fence, barbed or otherwise, shall be electrified unless the fence is accessory to an agricultural use. No wire fence, barbed or otherwise, shall contain any razor wire.
D. 
The owner of a barbed wire fence shall install a sign on such fence of not less than 144 square inches in size and at intervals of not less than 25 feet containing a conspicuous written notice and warning of the nature of such fence and of its electrification, if applicable.
E. 
Fences and walls in residential districts. No fence or wall in excess of two feet in height shall be erected within the required front yard setback in any residential district.
[Ord. No. 1579, § 1, 1-11-2013]
F. 
In all districts, fencing must be installed such that the finished side of the fence faces neighboring properties.
[Ord. No. 1600, § 5, 5-11-2015]
G. 
All fencing shall be installed in a manner that allows the free flow of surface water through or under the fence.
[Ord. No. 1600, § 5, 5-11-2015]
[Ord. No. 379, § 11, 11-13-1961; Ord. No. 793, §§ 3—5, 3-13-1978; Ord. No. 1088, § 6, 11-18-1991; Ord. No. 1133, §§ 18—20, 9-27-1993; Ord. No. 1382, § 13, 8-12-2002; Ord. No. 1389, §§ 2 and 3, 10-16-2002[1]; Ord. No. 1553, 3-14-2011]
Accessory uses authorized in this ordinance shall include, but not by way of limitation, the following:
A. 
Uses Accessory to Agriculture: Greenhouse, roadside stand for the sale of products produced on the premises, barn; keeping, breeding and management of livestock and poultry, but only in such quantities and to such extent as are customarily incidental to the principal use; preparation of products produced on the premises for use and the disposal thereof by marketing or otherwise.
B. 
Uses Accessory to Dwelling:
1. 
Private garage, private parking space, private stable, barn, shelter for pets; private swimming pool;
2. 
Private greenhouse;
3. 
Living quarters for household employees, caretakers or watchmen in the principal structure or in a structure accessory thereto, provided the accessory structure meets the front, side, [and] rear [yard and] building coverage and all other dimensional requirements pertaining to a principal structure in the applicable zoning district.
4. 
Professional office or studio of a doctor, dentist, optometrist, podiatrist, chiropractor, teacher, artist, architect, landscape architect, musician, lawyer, engineer or practitioner of a similar character; provided as follows:
a. 
The office, studio or rooms are located in the dwelling in which the practitioner resides or in a building accessory thereto;
b. 
The activities carried on therein shall be limited to the practitioner and not more than one secretarial, clerical or nonprofessional assistant; and
c. 
Additional off-street parking shall be provided for the office use in accordance with article XVII, Off-Street Parking and Loading.
5. 
The following home occupations shall be allowed:
a. 
Custom dress making, millinery, tailoring, sewing of fabrics for custom apparel and custom home furnishing.
b. 
Foster family care.
c. 
(Reserved)
d. 
Tutoring.
e. 
Fine arts studio in which are created only individual works of art.
6. 
Dwelling quarters for watchmen and caretakers employed on the premises shall be permitted in connection with any administrative offices, laboratories or industrial establishments, provided that the accessory building meets the front, side, [and] rear [yard and] building coverage and all other dimensional requirements pertaining to a principal structure in the applicable zoning district.
7. 
No-impact home-based businesses.
8. 
Additional living quarters (not a dwelling unit) may be established as accessory to a principal single-family dwelling unit for immediate family members only, if the following requirements are met:
a. 
Immediate family members are limited to parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, stepparents and stepchildren.
b. 
The principal dwelling unit shall be owner-occupied.
c. 
The additional living quarters shall be totally enclosed within the principal building.
d. 
An internal connection shall always be maintained as a means of access between the principal dwelling unit and the additional living quarters, such as a stairway or door. The additional living quarters shall not be located in a separate freestanding building joined to the dwelling by a corridor or breezeway.
e. 
The owner must agree to annually renew the permit by proving that the additional living quarters is still occupied by immediate family members of the owner and to make the property available for Township inspection if requested by the Zoning Officer.
f. 
If an on-lot septic system will be utilized, it shall be found adequate by the County Health Department for the expanded use.
g. 
Any exterior changes to the principal building to incorporate an attached additional living quarters shall not decrease its appearance as a single-family detached dwelling as viewed from a street or another property.
h. 
Detached additional living quarters and additional dwelling units are specifically prohibited.
i. 
The owner shall not lease or rent the additional living quarters as an apartment or separate dwelling unit.
j. 
The owner is required to remove the cooking facilities in the additional living quarters within six months after the living quarters is no longer occupied by a member(s) of the owner's immediate family.
k. 
The owner shall prepare and file with the Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds, a deed restriction in a form acceptable to the Township Solicitor, containing the conditions set forth in subsections B(8)(a) through (j) above, which shall reflect that the property is encumbered with those specific conditions. The deed restriction must run with the land.
1. 
A one-year renewable permit issued by the Township Zoning Officer shall be required to ensure compliance with this section. The fee for this permit shall be established by resolution of Township Council.
C. 
Uses authorized in this ordinance as accessory to a dwelling shall not be deemed to include a business, hospital, clinic, animal hospital, barbershop, beauty parlor, other personal service shop, tearoom, hotel or any similar use.
D. 
Uses Accessory to Noncommercial Recreation Use: Customary recreational, refreshment and services uses and buildings in any noncommercial recreational area.
E. 
All accessory buildings shall meet the front yard, side yard, rear yard, building coverage and all other dimensional requirements in the applicable zoning district as to principal structure unless otherwise provided in this Ordinance.
F. 
A private swimming pool under section 1910.B.1. shall comply with the following requirements:
1. 
The private swimming pool shall be used primarily for the enjoyment of the occupants of the principal use of the property on which it is located;
2. 
A private swimming pool shall be located, including any paved areas or accessory structures which are part of the swimming pool development, a minimum of ten (10) feet from any property line on which it is located, but no private swimming pool shall be located within the front yard; and
3. 
A private swimming pool shall be walled and fenced to prevent uncontrolled access by persons, particularly children, from adjacent areas; said fence or wall shall not be less than four (4) feet in height and maintained in good condition with a self-closing and self-latching gate and key-operated lock that swings outwards and is not less than forty-eight (48) inches in height.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance provided for an effective date of 12-1-2002.
[Ord. No. 793, § 6, 3-13-1978; Ord. No. 840, § 1, 9-8-1980; Ord. No. 1019, § 8, 11-13-1989]
(A) 
No trailer house or house trailer shall be used for residential or business purpose in this township for a period in excess of thirty (30) days in any calendar year, except that a trailer may be used as a temporary office in connection with the construction, reconstruction or alteration of a permanent facility upon the issuance of a special permit therefor by the zoning officer; and further provided, that such trailer is connected to electric, water and sewage facilities. This section shall not be construed to preclude the use for dwelling purposes of a mobile or modular home where such use is permitted by this Ordinance when the unit is connected to electric, water and sewage facilities and provided that all zoning requirements of the district are met.
(B) 
The storage of motor trucks being dispatched from a motor truck terminal shall not be a permitted use in any district in the township, except that motor truck terminal shall be a permitted use in a Heavy Industrial District. This restriction shall not, however, be construed to prohibit the owner or operator of a business from parking trucks incidentally utilized in the operation of that business on the same premises as that from which the business is operated.
[Ord. No. 793, §§ 1, 7, 3-13-1978]
The zoning hearing board may allow as a special exception the conversion of a single-family dwelling into a dwelling for a greater number of families, subject to the following requirements:
A. 
A petition in favor of such exception is filed with the zoning hearing board signed by the owners of sixty (60) percent, or more of the frontage on the same street within five hundred (500) feet of the designated lot.
B. 
Each dwelling unit shall have not less than five hundred (500) square feet of floor area.
C. 
The lot area per family is not reduced thereby to an amount less than seventy-five (75) percent of that required by this Ordinance for the district in which the designated lot is located.
D. 
The yard and building area requirements for the district in which the building is located shall not be reduced.
E. 
There is no external alteration of the building except as may be necessary for reasons of safety. Fire escapes, and outside stairways, shall, where practicable be located to the rear of the building.
F. 
The zoning hearing board shall specify the maximum number of families permitted to occupy such building, and may prescribe such further conditions and restrictions as the board may consider appropriate.
G. 
The off-street parking requirements of this Ordinance, or as otherwise stipulated by the zoning hearing board are met.
H. 
The conversion shall be authorized only for a large dwelling with relatively little economic usefulness as a conforming use, or for any other arrangement within the intent and purpose of this ordinance, which may be deemed appropriate by the zoning hearing board.
[Ord. No. 793, § 8, 3-13-1978; Ord. No. 1048, § 7, 11-29-1990; Ord. No. 1476, § 27, 6-11-2007]
No lot shall hereafter be created which does not abut a public street for at least fifty (50) feet at the right-of-way line, except for those lots in D Residential Districts, in which districts the minimum lot width abutting a public street at the right-of-way line shall be twenty (20) feet, provided, however, that where townhouses in a D Residential District have private streets, the minimum lot width abutting such private street shall be twenty (20) feet, provided the private street has access to a public street for at least fifty (50) feet at the right-of-way line of the public street.
[Ord. No. 659, § 1, 9-11-1972]
No person, firm or corporation shall store, stockpile or cause to be stored, stockpiled or maintained, at any place outside of a building enclosure within the limits of the Township of Plymouth any industrial supplies, by-products or waste materials in excess of forty (40) feet in height from ground level. No such stockpile shall be closer than one hundred (100) feet to any residential district. Where such supplies, by-products, or waste materials are stored or stockpiled out of doors on ground within three hundred (300) feet of a residential district, the maximum height of such storage piles shall not exceed twenty (20) feet in height from ground level. For the purpose of this ordinance where the stockpile is maintained on ground within three hundred (300) feet of a residential district then the words "ground level" shall be considered to mean the ground level of the residential district at the point at which it abuts the industrial district.
A. 
No building permit shall be issued or plat recorded for any land development, as defined herein, in Plymouth Township:
1. 
Without compliance with the Plymouth Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance of 1980, as it may be amended, superseded and adopted, and approval or waiver of specific provisions therein, with or without conditions, by Township Council.
2. 
Without compliance or waiver therefrom by township council with all other applicable criteria and standards of the Plymouth Township Ordinances and any other applicable state or federal regulations governing the same.
3. 
Without proof or waiver therefrom by township council that the owners and/or users of said development shall provide adequate public facilities including streets, water supply, sanitary sewerage, fire protection, stormwater control, parks and recreation uses, and other public facilities and services made necessary by said development.
[Ord. No. 1195, § 1, 7-15-1996]
This ordinance shall not apply to any existing or proposed lot, use or building, or extension thereof, owned and/or used or to be used by the Home Rule Municipality of Plymouth Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
[Ord. No. 1284, § 2, 5-24-1999; Ord. No. 1505, §§ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12-8-2008]
A. 
Placement of public transportation shelters as conditional uses. The placement of public transportation shelters throughout the township shall only be permitted when authorized as conditional use under Article XXXVI of this Ordinance, subject to the following criteria:
1. 
If placed in the public rights-of-way, the location of the public transportation shelter shall receive the prior written approval, where applicable, of Montgomery County, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and/or the Township.
2. 
Placement shall be at a conspicuous location with a clear sight distance in the direction of all traffic flow of no less than three hundred (300) feet.
3. 
Except where public transportation shelters may be on opposite sides of the same street, no public transportation shelter shall be placed closer to another public transportation shelter than three hundred fifty (350) feet without the prior written approval of the Township.
4. 
The placement of the public transportation shelter shall be on a properly graded foundation substantially anchored against the elements and constructed in such fashion as to be free from standing water and stormwater runoff, all to the prior satisfaction of the township engineer, and in accordance with the applicable ordinances, building codes and safety codes of federal, state and township.
5. 
Advertisements, maps or other informational displays on the public transportation shelter may only be placed on the two (2) surfaces of one side wall of the shelter. There shall be no advertisements for alcohol or tobacco products or of a sexually explicit or offensive nature.
6. 
The installer/operator/owner of the shelter shall be responsible and pay for the cost of the maintenance of the shelter in a first-class, clean and safe manner, and all lighting shall be regularly serviced by the installer/operator/owner in accordance with an agreement by and between the installer/operator/owner and the Township.
7. 
Lighting shall be provided, where applicable, in accordance with an agreement by and between the installer/operator/owner and the Township.
8. 
Size and structure. The dimensional and material specifications of a public transportation shelter and the concrete pad upon which it is erected, if any, shall be subject to the approval of the Township; but the public transportation shelter height shall not exceed fifteen (15) feet, maximum length shall not exceed twenty-two (22) feet and the maximum depth shall not exceed twelve (12) feet; and the concrete pad thickness shall not be less than four (4) inches.
B. 
Maintenance and use agreement. No conditional use shall be granted by township council to permit the installation or operation of any public transportation shelter in the township unless the installer/operator/owner shall first enter into an agreement with the township in a form satisfactory to the township for recording, binding upon the installer/operator/owner and their successors and assigns evidencing their agreement to the terms of the conditional use including, but not limited to, the use and maintenance of the public transportation shelter and providing for the removal of the public transportation shelter whether in the public right-of-way or on private property when specifically requested to do so in writing by township council for any reason whatsoever within the sole discretion of the township council.
[Ord. No. 1476, § 28, 6-11-2007]
No merchandise shall be displayed, sold or leased outside the walls of a building except:
A. 
Where specifically authorized by special exception in a nonresidential zoning district.
B. 
Seasonal or other special sales, or authorized by permit from the Zoning Officer for a period or periods not exceeding in the aggregate thirty (30) calendar days in any single calendar year.
[Ord. No. 1579, § 3, 11-11-2013]
The following regulations shall apply to any flag lot hereafter created:
A. 
A flag lot shall not be permitted for any use other than one single-family detached dwelling.
B. 
The applicant shall demonstrate that the parcel of land being developed is of such a shape, size and configuration that the use of a flag lots(s) is the only reasonable method of developing and providing access to the site.
C. 
No more than two flag lot access strips may be located adjacent to each other, and any additional flag lot access strip to another such lot shall be separated by a full, standard lot width, as required by the district in which the land is located.
D. 
Each flag lot shall abut a public street for a width of not less than 30 feet and this minimum width shall be maintained along the entire length of the access strip. The access strip shall in no case exceed 300 feet in length. The portion of a flag lot required for the access driveway shall not be included in calculating the required front, side, or rear yards, or the minimum required lot area.
E. 
The driveway serving a flag lot shall be paved and shall provide a minimum of 15 feet in width for its entire length, shall be unobstructed for a height of 13 feet 6 inches, and shall be capable of supporting a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds.
F. 
The front yard of a flag lot (the required yard closest to the street to which the flag lot gains access) must include a buffer planting, as required by the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance,[1] along the full width of the lot.
[1]
Editor’s Note: See Appendix C, Subdivision and Land Development.
G. 
Notwithstanding the general definition of "front yard" set forth in Section 200 of this article, the front yard of any flag lot shall be a yard extending the full width of the lot and extending in depth from the flag front line to the nearest point of any structure on the lot.
H. 
All flag lots hereafter created shall be served by public water and sewer service.