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Township of Bear Creek, PA
Luzerne County
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The definition of words included herein are provided to facilitate the interpretation of this chapter for administrative and enforcement purposes. Unless expressly stated otherwise, within the context of this chapter, the following shall apply:
A. 
Words used in the present tense shall include the future tense.
B. 
The word "person" shall include a profit or nonprofit corporation, company, partnership, individual or single proprietorship.
C. 
The words "used" or "occupied" as applied to any land or building shall include the words "intended," "arranged," or "designed" to be used or occupied.
D. 
The word "building" shall include "part thereof" and "structure."
E. 
The word "lot" shall include "plot" or "parcel."
F. 
The word "shall" is always mandatory.
G. 
The singular number shall include the plural, and the plural the singular.
H. 
The masculine gender shall include the feminine and neuter.
I. 
The word "street" shall include "road," "highway," and "lane."
When terms, phrases, or words are not defined, they shall have the meaning as defined in The Latest Illustrated Book of Development Definitions (H. S. Moskowitz and C. G. Lindbloom, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 2004) or if not defined therein, they shall have their ordinarily accepted meanings or such as the context may imply.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ABANDONMENT
To cease or discontinue a use or activity without intent to resume, but excluding temporary or short-term interruptions to a use or activity during periods of remodeling, maintaining, or otherwise improving or rearranging a facility, subject to completion of the work within one year from the issuance of a zoning permit and/or building permit.
ABUTTING
Having a common border with, or being separated from such a common border by a right-of-way, alley, or easement.
ACCESS
A way or means of approach to provide physical ingress and/or egress to a property.
ACCESSORY STRUCTURE
A subordinate structure detached from but located on the same lot as the principal structure, the use of which is incidental and accessory to that of the principal structure.
ACCESSORY USE
A use incidental to, and on the same lot as, a principal use.
AGRICULTURE
The use of land for agricultural purposes, including farming, dairying, pasturage, horticulture, floriculture, and animal and poultry husbandry and the necessary accessory uses. The term includes an enterprise that implements changes in production practices and procedures or types of crops, livestock, livestock products or commodities produced consistent with practices and procedures that are normally engaged by farmers or are consistent with technological development within the agricultural industry. The above uses shall not include concentrated animal feeding operations, commercial hog farms, fur farms, fertilizer plants or animal kennels. The keeping of more than two pieces of livestock upon a property, including but not limited to horses, cows, goats, sheep and similar types of animals shall be deemed to constitute an agricultural use.
ALTERATION
Any change, addition, or modification in construction or occupancy of an existing structure.
ALTERATION, STRUCTURAL
Any change in the supporting members of a building or structure, such as bearing walls, columns, beams, or girders or in the dimensions or configuration the roof and exterior walls.
AMENDMENT
A change in the regulations and provisions of the Bear Creek Township Zoning Ordinance, including changes to boundaries of zoning districts as provided upon the Zoning Map.
ANIMAL HOSPITAL
A structure or building where animals or pets are given medical or surgical treatment and the boarding of animals is limited to short-term care incidental to the hospital use.
ANIMAL KENNEL
Any structure or premises in which five or more dogs or cats or any combination thereof, at least six months of age, are boarded, kept or trained for commercial gain.
ANTENNA, COMMUNICATION
See "communications antenna."
AUTOMOBILE WRECKING YARD
(See also "junkyards.") The dismantling or wrecking of used motor vehicles or trailers, or the storage, sale, or dumping of dismantled or wrecked vehicles or their parts. The presence on any lot or parcel of land of two or more motor vehicles, which, for a period exceeding 30 days, have not been capable of operating under their own power and from which parts have been or are to be removed for reuse or sale, shall constitute prima-facie evidence of an automobile wrecking yard.
AUTOMOTIVE SALES
The use of any building, structure or land, other than a street, for the display and sale or rental of motor vehicles, which are in operable condition. The owner/operator of this business must have a valid state license for the sale or rental of such motor vehicles. Any related repair shall be conducted within an enclosed building and shall be an accessory use.
BASEMENT
That portion of a building that is partly or completely below grade. A basement shall be counted as a story if the vertical distance from the average adjoining grade to the ceiling is five feet or greater.
BED-AND-BREAKFAST
A residence occupied by an owner providing short-term lodging accommodations for compensation for transient guests. No more than five guest rooms shall be available for said accommodations. Any meals included as part of the services shall be restricted to individuals who have registered for lodging within said residence.
BILLBOARD
A sign that identifies or communicates a commercial or noncommercial message related to an activity conducted, a service rendered, or a commodity sold at a location other than where the sign is located.
BOARDINGHOUSE or ROOMING HOUSE
A structure or portion thereof that contains rooming units which are rented or leased, with the occupants of said units being nontransient, and using said location as a legal place of residence. The term "boardinghouse or rooming house" shall specifically exclude the following:
A. 
Dwelling.
B. 
Motel and/or hotel.
C. 
Group residence.
D. 
Dwelling unit.
E. 
Bed-and-breakfast facility.
BUFFER AREA
A method of improvements designed to separate and substantially obstruct the view of two adjacent land uses or properties from one another. For the purpose of this chapter, when a buffer area is required, it shall be deemed to represent a fence or stone wall with cork fitting, eight feet in height with two staggered rows of evergreen trees planted in front of the fence, with the spacing distance between trees not less than eight feet or greater than 10 feet. Said trees shall be not less than eight feet in height at the time of planting. Unless stated otherwise, a buffer area may be part of the minimum setback distance for the land use requiring said buffer.
BUILDING
Any structure having a roof supported by columns or walls and intended for shelter, housing or enclosure of persons, animals, or property.
A. 
Building, accessory. A subordinate structure on the same lot as the principal or main building or use occupied or devoted to a use incidental to the principal use.
B. 
Building coverage. The horizontal area measured within the outside of the exterior walls of the ground floor of all principal and accessory buildings on a lot.
C. 
Building envelope. An area of a lot upon which development may occur. Excluding deed restrictions, covenants, easements or other site conditions, the governing minimum setbacks requirements for a given zoning district establishes the building envelope.
D. 
Building, principal. A building in which is conducted the principal use of the lot on which it is located.
E. 
Building height. The vertical distance of a building measure from the average elevation of the proposed finished grade within 20 feet of the structure to the highest point of the roof for flat roofs; to the deck line of mansard roofs and to the average height between eaves and the ridge for gable, hip and gambrel roofs, excluding chimneys.
BULK FUEL STORAGE FACILITY
Any facility where:
A. 
Gasoline is stored in bulk for distribution by delivery truck;
B. 
Fuel, including but not limited to kerosene, home heating oil, diesel fuel, gasoline, or propane, is stored in large volume tanks for distribution to retail or wholesale establishments; or
C. 
The total combined on-site storage of fuel exceeds 20,000 gallons.
CAMPGROUNDS
An area to be used for transient occupancy by camping in tents, camp trailers, recreational vehicles, travel trailers, or similar movable or temporary sleeping quarters.
CAMPING UNIT
Any tent, trailer, recreational vehicle, or similar structure established or maintained and operated in a campground as temporary living quarters for recreational, or vocational purposes.
CAMPSITE
Any plot of land within a campground intended for exclusive occupancy by a camping unit or units under the control of a camper.
CARPORT
A roofed structure opened on two or more sides and used for the storage of private motor vehicles. It may be constructed as a separate accessory structure or part of the principal structure.
CELLAR
The portion of any building which is located partly underground, but having 1/2 or more of its height, measured from finished floor grade to finished ceiling, below the average grade of the adjoining land. A cellar shall not be counted as a story for the purposes of administering height regulations of this chapter.
CEMETERY
Land used or intended to be used for the burial of the dead and dedicated for cemetery purposes, including crematories, mausoleums, and mortuaries when operated in conjunction with and within the boundaries of such cemetery.
CHANGE OF USE
Any use which differs from the previous use of a building, structure or land.
CHILD-CARE FACILITY
See "day-care facility."
CHIMNEY
A vertical structure containing one or more flues for drawing off emissions from a stationary source of combustion, including but not limited to those attached to an outdoor fuel furnace.
CHURCH
See "place of worship."
CLEAR SIGHT TRIANGLE
An area of unobstructed vision at street intersections defined by lines of sight between points at a given distance from the corner so as not to interfere with traffic visibility across the corner.
CLINIC (MEDICAL)
A facility comprised of professional offices, for the examination and treatment of persons as outpatients by physicians, dentists or other licensed medical specialists, in which said medical practitioners work in cooperative association. Said clinics may provide medical services customarily available at hospitals, excluding overnight care of patients and twenty-four-hour emergency service.
CLUB/PRIVATE LODGE
An area of land or building used by a recreational, civic, social, fraternal, religious, political or labor union association of persons for meetings and routine socializing and recreation that are limited to bona fide members and their occasional guests, and persons specifically invited to special celebrations, but which is not routinely open to members of the general public and which is not primarily operated as a for-profit business. The club shall involve a meaningful and substantial membership system, as opposed to a token system. This use shall not include a target range for outdoor shooting, boarding house, a tavern, a restaurant or an auditorium unless that particular use is permitted in that district and the requirements of that use are met.
COMMERCIAL COMMUNICATION ANTENNA
Any device used for the transmission or reception of radio, television, wireless telephone, pager, commercial mobile radio services, or any wireless communication signals, including without rotation, omnidirectional or whip antennas and directional or panel antennas, owned and operated by any person or entity licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate such device. This definition shall not include private residence-mounted satellite dishes or television antennas or amateur radio equipment, including without limitation, ham or citizen band radio antennas.
COMMERCIAL COMMUNICATION TOWER
A structure other than a building, such as a monopole, self-supporting or guyed tower, designed and used to support a commercial communication antenna.
COMMERCIAL COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT BUILDING
An unmanned building or cabinet containing communication equipment for the operation of a commercial communication antenna and covering an area on the ground not greater than 250 square feet.
COMMERCIAL COMMUNICATIONS TOWER; HEIGHT
The vertical distance measured from the ground to the highest point on a communications tower, including antennas mounted on the tower.
COMMERCIAL USE
An occupation, employment, or enterprise that is carried on for profit by the owner, lessee, or licensee.
COMMON OPEN SPACE
A parcel or parcels of land, which may include an area of water, within a development site and designated and intended for the use or enjoyment of residents of a planned residential development, exclusive of streets, off-street parking areas and areas set aside for public facilities.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
The Comprehensive Plan of Bear Creek Township, including any amendments, updates, or revisions thereto.
CONDITIONAL USE
A use that, owing to some special characteristics attendant to its operation or installation, is permitted in a zoning district subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors and subject to special requirements, different from those usual requirements for the zoning district in which the conditional use may be located.
CONDOMINIUM
A set of individual dwelling units or other areas of building each owned by an individual person(s) in fee simple, with such owners assigned a proportionate interest in the remainder of the real estate which is designated for common ownership, and which was created under the PA Uniform Condominium Act of 1980, as amended.[1]
CONTRACTOR'S STORAGE
A lot, building, or part thereof, used to store materials used by a contractor in the construction of a road, highway, structure or building, landscaping or utilities.
CONVENIENCE STORE
Any retail establishment offering for sale prepackaged food products, household items, and other goods commonly associated with the same.
CONVENIENCE STORE WITH GAS SALES
Any retail establishment offering for sale prepackaged food products, household items, and other goods commonly associated with the same, along with the retail sales of gasoline and related fuel products.
COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION
The Planning Commission of Luzerne County.
CRITICAL AREAS
An area with one or more of the following characteristics: stream corridors, streams, floodplain areas, wetlands, slopes which equal or exceed 15%, soils classified as highly acidic or highly erodible, soils classified as having a high water table, land and associated soils which display poor percolation, mature stands of native vegetation and aquifer recharge and discharge area.
DAY-CARE CENTER
A structure in which day-care services are provided, with no portion of the structure being jointly used as a portion of a family residence.
DAY-CARE FACILITY
A facility for the provision of out-of-home care for children or adults for part of a twenty-four-hour day, excluding care provided by relatives, and licensed as such by the state.
DAY-CARE HOME
A residential structure in which day-care services are provided for not more than six persons at any one time, where the care areas are also used as a portion of a family residence.
DAY-CARE SERVICES
The provision of out-of-home care for children or adults for part of a twenty-four-hour day, excluding care provided by relatives.
DECISION
Final adjudication of any board or other body granted jurisdiction under any land use ordinance or this chapter to do so, either by reason of the grant of exclusive jurisdiction or by reason of appeals from determinations. All decisions shall be subject to appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County.
DENSITY
The number of dwelling units permitted per net unit of land.
DETENTION FACILITY
A publicly operated or sponsored facility used to house and/or rehabilitate individuals detained, sentenced by, or under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system, including but not limited to, jails, prisons, penitentiaries, reformatories, halfway houses and similar facilities.
A. 
Final action by an officer, body or agency charged with the administration of any land use ordinance or applications thereunder, except the following:
(1) 
The governing body;
(2) 
The Zoning Hearing Board; or
(3) 
The Planning Commission, only if and to the extent the Planning Commission is charged with final decision on preliminary or final plans under the subdivision and land development ordinance or planned residential development provisions.
B. 
Determinations may be appealed only to the Boards designated as having jurisdiction for such appeal.
DEVELOPMENT
Any man-made improvements to improved or unimproved real estate. The construction, reconstruction, conversion, structural alteration, relocation, or enlargement of any building or structure, any mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation, drilling, land disturbance and any use or extension of the use of land shall be deemed to constitute a development.
DEVELOPMENT PLAN
The provisions for development included within an application for a subdivision and/or land development, including all covenants relating to use, location and bulk of buildings and other structure intensity of use or density of development, streets, ways and parking facilities, common open space, easements and public facilities. The phrase "development plan" shall mean the written and graphic materials referred to in this definition.
DISTRICT
See "zoning district."
DRIVEWAY
A privately owned and constructed vehicular access from an approved private or public road into a lot or parcel having a frontage on the road.
A. 
A detached building arranged or used for occupancy by one family. A mobile home or similar manufactured housing unit which is constructed to be permanently attached and anchored to a permanent foundation shall be deemed to be a single-family dwelling unit.
B. 
A detached or semidetached building where not more than two individual family or dwelling units are entirely separated by vertical walls or horizontal floors, unpierced except by access to the outside or to a common cellar.
C. 
A building containing three or more dwelling units entirely separated by vertical walls or horizontal floors, unpierced except by access to the outside or to a common cellar. The term "townhouse" is excluded under this term. (See definition of "townhouse.")
D. 
A single structure consisting of not less than three or more than six dwelling units. Each dwelling unit shall have direct ground level access to the outdoors and connected to other dwelling units by one or more party walls with no opening or connecting interior access between units. No dwelling units shall be located over or below another unit.
E. 
A transportable, single-family dwelling intended for permanent occupancy, contained in one unit, or in two or more units designed to be joined into one integral unit capable of again being separated for repeated towing, which arrives at a site complete and ready for occupancy except for minor and incidental unpacking and assembly operations, and constructed so that it may be used without a permanent foundation.
DWELLING UNIT
One or more habitable rooms which are occupied, or which are intended or designed to be occupied as a residence by one family, with permanent facilities for living, sleeping, cooking, and sanitary facilities for exclusive use by the family residing therein.
EARTH DISTURBANCE ACTIVITY
Any construction or other activity which disturbs the surface of the land, including but not limited to excavations, embankments, land development, subdivision development, mineral extraction and the moving, depositing or storing of soil, rock or earth.
EASEMENT
A grant of one or more of the property rights by the property owner to and/or for the use by the public, a corporation or another person or entity.
EASEMENT, DRAINAGE
An easement required for the installation of stormwater sewers or drainage ditches, and/or required for the preservation or maintenance of a natural stream or watercourse or other drainage facility.
ENTERTAINMENT FACILITIES
Commercial establishments, excluding any sexually oriented business, engaged in providing entertainment for a fee or an admission charge, such as an arcade, bowling alley, billiard hall, roller-skating rink or similar facilities.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
A report and/or series of reports on the effect of a proposed development or major action which may significantly affect the environment and associated features thereunder.
EXCAVATION and EXTRACTION OF MINERALS
The removal or recovery by any means whatsoever of minerals, as so defined in this chapter from land or water, on or above the surface thereof, or beneath the land surface, whether exposed or submerged. It shall include the incidental screening, washing, crushing and grading of materials originating on the site, and mineral processing as an accessory use.
FAMILY
One or more persons occupying a dwelling unit and living together as a single nonprofit housekeeping unit. Foster children placed into the care and custody of a family shall be deemed to be a member of the family. A group in excess of four individuals who are not related by blood, marriage or legal adoption, shall not be deemed to constitute a family.
FENCE
A structure functioning as a boundary or barrier constructed of materials recognized by the fencing industry. Hedges, shrubbery and/or similar vegetation shall not be deemed or considered to be a fence.
FLOOR AREA, GROSS
The sum of the total horizontal areas of the several floors of all buildings on a lot, measured from the interior faces of exterior walls.
FORESTRY
(Also see § 127-70M, Timbering harvesting.) The management of forests and timberlands when practiced in accordance with accepted silvicultural principles, through developing, cultivating, harvesting, transporting and selling trees for commercial purposes which does not involve any land development.
FRONTAGE
The length of the front lot line measured at the street right-of-way line.
GARAGE, PRIVATE
A noncommercial building for the private use of the owner or occupant of a principal building situated on the same lot of the principal building for the storage of motor vehicles with no facilities for mechanical service or repair of a commercial or public nature.
GARAGE, REPAIR
(See also "service station.") A commercial building designed and used for the storage, care, repair, or refinishing of motor vehicles including both minor and major mechanical overhauling, paint, and body work.
GARDEN CENTER
A place of business where products and produce are sold to the general public. These centers may include a nursery and/or greenhouses, plants, nursery products and stock, potting soil, hardware, power equipment and machinery, hoes, rakes, shovels, and other garden and farm variety tools and utensils.
GASOLINE SERVICE STATION
A structure, building or area of land or portion thereof that is used for the retail sale of gasoline or any other motor vehicle fuel that may or may not include as an accessory use, the sale and installation of lubricants, tires, batteries, and similar accessories and other minor servicing and engine tune-ups of motor vehicles, excluding the major mechanical overhauling, paint, and body work of any type of vehicle. Gasoline service stations shall not include service and maintenance activities which include or are comparable to those provided for under the definition of a "repair garage."
GENERAL NUISANCE
Any use of property considered to be substantially inconsistent with the public comfort, convenience, health, safety, and general welfare, exhibiting characteristics that include, but may not be limited to the following:
A. 
Properties in a continuing state of disrepair that are not fit for habitation and/or occupancy;
B. 
Properties, lacking zoning approval for use a junkyard and/or an automobile wrecking yard, that contain and accumulate trash, junk and/or two or more inoperable vehicles;
C. 
Fire and explosion hazards;
D. 
Electrical and radioactive disturbances;
E. 
Noise and vibration;
F. 
Dust, dirt, and fly ash;
G. 
Glare;
H. 
Smoke and odors and other forms of air pollution.
GOVERNING BODY
The Board of Supervisors of Bear Creek Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
GREENHOUSE, COMMERCIAL
Retail business whose principal activity is the selling of plants grown on the site and having outside storage, growing, and/or display.
GROUP RESIDENCE
A dwelling unit which is shared under congregate living arrangements by more than four persons, who are residents of the dwelling unit by virtue of their need to receive supervised services limited to health, social and/or rehabilitative services provided by a person or persons or their licensed or certified agents, a governmental agency or their licensed or certified agents, a responsible corporation or their licensed or certified agents, a partnership or limited partnership or their licensed or certified agents or any other legal entity. Such services shall be provided on a continuous basis in a family-like environment to persons who are in need of supervision and/or specialized services in a residential setting. The following shall not be deemed to constitute a "group residence":
A. 
A boarding home and/or a personal care boarding home.
B. 
A facility providing shelter and/or rehabilitative care or treatment of persons for alcoholism and/or an addiction to a controlled substance.
C. 
A facility for persons released from or under the jurisdiction of a governmental bureau of corrections or similar institution.
A. 
Any material that, by reason of its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical or infectious characteristics may:
(1) 
Cause, or significantly contribute to, an increase in mortality or an increase in a serious irreversible or incapacitating irreversible illness.
(2) 
Pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, disposed of or otherwise managed.
B. 
This definition shall be deemed to include radioactive material, medical waste and any incendiary device and/or explosive device or material.
HEALTH/RECREATION FACILITY
An indoor facility including uses such as game courts, exercise equipment, locker rooms, and related facilities.
HIGHWAY OCCUPANCY PERMIT
A permit, issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Luzerne County Road and Bridge Department or Bear Creek Township which authorizes access from a parcel of land onto a highway, road or street which is under the respective jurisdiction of the above entities.
HOME OCCUPATION
An occupation, profession, activity, or use that is clearly a customary, incidental, and secondary use of a residential dwelling unit and which does not alter the exterior of the property or affect the existing residential character of the neighborhood.
HORSE FARM
A building or structure and/or land whose operator keeps equines primarily for breeding and boarding and which operation may or may not be incidental to the owner's primary occupation.
HOTEL
(Also see "motel.") A facility offering transient lodging accommodations on a daily rate to the general public and providing additional services, such as restaurants, meeting rooms, and recreational facilities.
HUB HEIGHT
The distance measured from the surface of the tower's foundation to the height of the wind turbine hub to which the blade is attached.
IMPACT ANALYSIS
A study and/or report which may be required at the discretion of the Bear Creek Township Board of Supervisors prior to approval of a conditional use application and/or a rezoning application or by the Zoning Hearing Board prior to approval of an application for a special exception and/or variance to determine the potential impact of the proposed use on activities, utilities, traffic generation and circulation, surrounding land uses, community facilities, environmental features, critical areas, the public health, safety and welfare and other factors directly, indirectly or potentially affected. The applicant shall be responsible for all costs related to any and all reports and/or studies required by the Bear Creek Township Board of Supervisors or Zoning Hearing Board under or within the context of the term "impact analysis."
IMPERVIOUS SURFACE
Any material and/or development that substantially reduces or prevents the infiltration of stormwater into previously undeveloped land. Impervious surfaces shall include, but may not be limited to, buildings, roofs, surfaced, graveled or compacted parking areas, streets, sidewalks, driveways and similar vehicular and/or pedestrian rights-of-way.
IMPROVEMENTS
Man-made physical additions, alterations, and/or changes to buildings or other structures which become part of, placed upon, or affixed to real estate.
INDUSTRY, HEAVY
A use engaged in the basic processing and manufacturing of materials or products predominately from extracted or raw materials, or a use engaged in storage of, or manufacturing processes using flammable or explosive materials, or storage or manufacturing processes that potentially involve hazardous or commonly recognized offensive conditions.
INDUSTRY, LIGHT
A use engaged in the manufacture, predominantly from previously prepared materials, of finished products or parts, including processing, fabrication, assembly, treatment, packaging, incidental storage, sales, and distribution of such products, but excluding basic industrial processing.
INSTITUTIONAL USE
A structure or facility which provides medical, health, educational, social and/or rehabilitative services to more than eight persons on a continuous and/or regular basis, excluding a facility for persons released from or under the jurisdiction of a governmental bureau of corrections or similar institution.
JUNK
Old, dilapidated, scrap or abandoned metal, paper, building material and equipment, bottles, glass, appliances, furniture, beds and bedding, rags, rubber, motor vehicles, and parts thereof.
JUNKYARD
(See also "automobile wrecking yard.") An open area where wastes or used or secondhand materials are bought, sold, exchanged, stored, processed, or handled. Materials shall include but are not limited to scrap iron and other metals, paper, rags, rubber tires, and bottles. An automobile wrecking yard is also considered a junkyard.
A. 
The improvement of one lot or two or more contiguous lots, tracts or parcels of land for any purpose involving:
(1) 
A group of two or more residential or nonresidential buildings, whether proposed initially or cumulatively, or a single nonresidential building on a lot or lots, regardless of the number of occupants or tenure.
(2) 
The division or allocation of land or space, whether initially or cumulatively, between or among two or more existing or prospective occupants by means of, or for the purpose of streets, common areas, leaseholds, condominiums, building groups or other features.
(3) 
A subdivision of land.
(4) 
The conversion of an existing single-family detached dwelling or single-family semidetached dwelling into more than three residential units. Any conversion described above that is intended to be a condominium shall be exempt from classification as a land development.
(5) 
Any nonresidential use of land, with or without structures, excluding agricultural use of land.
(6) 
The development of a mobile home park or the expansion of an existing mobile home park within the context of the definition of said term as contained within this chapter.
B. 
A development of a parcel of land which contains not more than three detached single-family residential structures, whether developed initially or cumulatively, shall be classified as a minor land development; all other uses classified as a land development shall be deemed to be a major land development.
LANDOWNER
The legal or beneficial owner or owners of land, including the holder of an option or contract to purchase (whether or not such option or contract is subject to any condition), a lessee if he is authorized under the lease to exercise the rights of the landowner, or other person having a propriety interest in land.
LOT
A designated parcel, tract or area of land established by a plat or otherwise as permitted by law and to be used, developed or built upon as a unit, for principal and accessory buildings or structures.
LOT AREA
The total horizontal area within the lot lines of a lot.
LOT AREA, GROSS
The area of land contained within the limits of the legally described property lines bounding the lot.
LOT AREA, NET
The area of land contained within the limits of the legally described property lines bounding the lot, exclusive of any street or railroad rights-of-way, common open space, easements for the purposes of access, utility, or stormwater management, prohibitively steep slopes, the Floodplain Conservation District, and wetlands as defined by this chapter.
LOT, CORNER
A lot abutting on and at the intersection of two or more streets.
LOT COVERAGE
Determined by dividing that area of a lot which is occupied or covered by the total horizontal projected surface of all buildings, including covered porches and accessory buildings and structures, by the gross area of that lot.
LOT DEPTH
The average horizontal distance between the front and rear lot lines.
LOT LINE, FRONT
The lot line separating a lot from a street right-of-way.
LOT LINE
A line dividing one lot from another lot or from a street or alley.
LOT LINE, REAR
The lot line not intersecting a front lot line that is most distant from and most closely parallel to the front lot line. A lot bounded by only three lot lines will not have a rear lot line.
LOT LINE, SIDE
Any lot line not a front or rear lot line.
LOT OF RECORD
A lot which exists as shown or described upon a plat or deed and duly recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, on the effective date of the adoption of this chapter.
LOT, THROUGH
A lot having both its front and rear yards abutting on a street.
LOT WIDTH
The horizontal distance between side lot lines, measured at the required front setback line.
MANUFACTURED HOME
A structure, transportable in one or more sections, which is built upon a chassis and is designed for use with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities. The term shall include park trailers, travel trailers, recreational and other similar vehicles placed upon a site for more than 180 consecutive days.
MANUFACTURED HOME PARK
A parcel, or contiguous parcels of land, which has been planned and improved for the placement of two or more manufactured homes.
MEDIATION
A voluntary negotiating process in which parties in a dispute mutually select a neutral mediator to assist them in jointly exploring and settling their differences, culminating in a written agreement which the parties themselves create and consider acceptable.
METHADONE TREATMENT FACILITY
A facility licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to use the drug methadone in the treatment, maintenance or detoxification of persons.
MINERAL PROCESSING
The refinement of minerals by the removal of impurities, reduction in size, transformation in state, or other means to specifications for sale or use, and the use of minerals in any manufacturing process such as, but not limited to, concrete or cement batching plants, asphalt plants and manufacture of concrete and clay products.
MINERALS
Any aggregate or mass of mineral matter, whether or not coherent. The term shall include, but it is not limited to, limestone and dolomite, sand and gravel, rock and stone, earth, fill, slag, iron ore, zinc ore, vermiculite and clay, anthracite and bituminous coal, coal refuse, peat, and crude oil and natural gas.
MOBILE HOME
A transportable, single-family dwelling intended for permanent occupancy, contained in one unit, or in two or more units designed to be joined into one integral unit capable of again being separated for repeated towing, which arrives at a site complete and ready for occupancy, except for minor and incidental unpacking and assembly operations, and constructed so that it may be used without a permanent foundation.
MOBILE HOME LOT
A parcel of land in a mobile home park, improved with the necessary utility connections and other appurtenances necessary for the erections thereon of a single mobile home.
MOBILE HOME PARK
A parcel or contiguous parcels of land which has been so designated and improved that it contains two or more mobile home lots for the placement thereon of mobile homes.
MOTEL
(Also see "hotel.") A building or group of buildings containing apartments and/or rooming units, each of which maintains a separate outside entrance and primarily offering transient lodging accommodations to the general public. Such building or group of buildings may also provide additional services such as restaurants, meeting rooms, and recreational facilities.
MUNICIPALITY
The Township of Bear Creek, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
NO-IMPACT HOME-BASED BUSINESS
A business or commercial activity administered or conducted as an accessory use which is clearly secondary to the use as a residential dwelling, and which involves no customer, client or patient traffic, whether vehicular or pedestrian, pickup, delivery, or removal functions to or from the premises in excess with those normally associated with a residential use. The business or commercial activity must also comply with the applicable supplemental requirements contained in Article VIII of this chapter.
NONCONFORMING LOT
A lot the area or dimension of which was lawful prior to the adoption or amendment of a zoning ordinance, but which fails to conform to the requirements of the zoning district in which it is located by reasons of such adoption or amendment.
NONCONFORMING STRUCTURE
A structure or part of a structure manifestly not designed to comply with the applicable use or extent of use provisions in the zoning ordinance or amendment heretofore or hereafter enacted, where such structure lawfully existed prior to the enactment of such ordinance or amendment or prior to the application of such ordinance or amendment to its location by reason of annexation. Such nonconforming structures include, but are not limited to, nonconforming signs.
NONCONFORMING USE
A use, whether of land or of structure, which does not comply with the applicable use and/or other provisions in the Zoning Ordinance or amendment heretofore or hereafter enacted, where such use was lawfully in existence prior to the enactment of such ordinance or amendment to its location by reason of annexation.
NURSING HOME
A facility, as defined under current state licensing requirements, that provides nursing care and related medical or other health services for a period of twenty-four hours or more for individuals not in need of hospitalization, but who because of age, illness or other infirmity, require high-intensity comprehensive planned nursing care.
OFFICE
A building or portion thereof containing rooms and/or space for conducting the affairs of a business, profession, service, industry or government.
OPEN SPACE
An area that is intended to provide light and air, and is designed for environmental, scenic, or recreational purposes. Open space may include, but is not limited to, lawns, decorative planting, walkways, active and passive recreation areas, playgrounds, fountains, swimming pools, wooded areas, and watercourses. Open space shall not be deemed to include driveways, parking lots, or other surfaces designed or intended for vehicular travel.
OUTDOOR FUEL FURNACE
An outdoor fuel-burning appliance designed and constructed to burn wood, coal or other recognized fuel in compliance with the manufacturer's recommended specifications. An outdoor fuel furnace shall be deemed to be an accessory structure intended for heating a structure that may be detached and separate from the accessory structure which contains the outdoor fuel furnace.
OUTDOOR STORAGE (COMMERCIAL)
The keeping, in an unroofed area, of any goods, material, merchandise, equipment or vehicles which are related to the operation of a commercial business, excluding the storage of solid waste, hazardous substances, refuse, junk, junked vehicles, discarded and/or any inoperative durable items.
PARCEL
A continuous quantity of land in the possession of or owned by, or recorded as the property of, the same person or persons.
PARKING SPACE
An unobstructed space or area other than a street or alley that is permanently reserved and maintained for the parking of one motor vehicle.
PATIO
An open recreational area or structure, without roof, constructed no higher than six inches from the ground level and resting directly on the ground. It may be attached to or detached from the principal building and may be constructed using wood, masonry, pavement, stone, or other material suitable for that purpose.
PERMANENT FOUNDATION
A support for a building or structure, reaching below the frost line, consisting of a full poured concrete or masonry foundation or any other type which is permitted under the design standards of the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, on which the building or structure is anchored and is intended to remain indefinitely.
PERSONAL SERVICES
Any enterprise conducted for gain, which primarily offers services to the general public, such as shoe repair, valet service, watch repairing, barber shops, beauty parlors, and related activities.
PERSONAL-CARE HOME
A facility, as defined under current state licensing requirements, and licensed as a such, in which food, shelter and personal assistance or supervision are provided for a period exceeding 24 consecutive hours for more than three adults who are not relatives of the operator of the facility and who require assistance or supervision in such matters as dressing, bathing, diet or medication prescribed for self administration but who do not require hospitalization or care in a skilled nursing or intermediate care facility.
PLACE OF WORSHIP
A building used for religious services, including churches, synagogues, mosques and similar edifices.
PLANNED RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
An area of land, controlled by a landowner, to be developed as a single entity for a number of dwelling units, with a development plan which does not correspond in lot size, bulk or type of dwelling density, lot coverage and required open space to the regulations established in any one residential district created, from time to time, under the provisions of this chapter.
PLANNING COMMISSION
The Planning Commission of Bear Creek Township.
PRINCIPAL USE
The main use of land or structures, as distinguished from a secondary or accessory use.
PRIVATE
Something owned, operated and supported by private individuals or a corporation, rather than by government, and not available for public use.
PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION
A nonprofit corporation organized by the developer or home owners of a residential development for the purpose of establishing an association of all property owners in a private development which purposes shall include the ownership and maintenance of open space common area and all development improvements and facilities.
PUBLIC
Something owned, operated and supported by the community, residents or other entity, governmental or private, for the use and benefit of the general public.
PUBLIC HEARING
A formal meeting held pursuant to public notice by the Bear Creek Township Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission or Zoning Hearing Board, which is intended to inform and obtain public comment prior to taking action on a particular subject matter or development.
PUBLIC MEETING
A forum held pursuant to notice under the Act of July 3, 1986 (P.L. 388, No. 84), known as the "Sunshine Act."[2]
PUBLIC NOTICE
Notice published once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality. Such notice shall state the time and place of the hearing and the particular nature of the matter to be considered at the hearing. The first publication shall not be more than 30 days and the second publication shall not be less than seven days from the date of the hearing.
PUBLIC USES
Public parks and administrative, cultural and service buildings, excluding public land or buildings primarily devoted to the storage and maintenance of equipment or material.
PUBLIC UTILITIES FACILITIES (ESSENTIAL)
Telephone, electric and cable television lines, poles, equipment and structures; water or gas pipes, mains, valves, or structures, pumping stations; telephone exchanges, and all other facilities, equipment and structures necessary for conducting a service by a public utility under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, in accordance with Section 619 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act 247, as amended.[3]
PUBLIC UTILITY
A private corporation or municipal authority with an exclusive franchise for providing a public service that operates under regulations of federal, state and/or local government.
PUBLIC UTILITY TRANSMISSION TOWER
A structure, owned and operated by a public utility electric company regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, designed and used to support overhead electricity transmission lines.
RECREATIONAL FACILITIES, COMMERCIAL
Recreational facilities operated as a business and open to the public for a fee.
RECREATIONAL FACILITIES, PRIVATE
Recreational facilities other than commercial or public, not operated for a profit, and only open to its members and their guests.
RECREATIONAL FACILITIES, PUBLIC
Recreational facilities operated as a nonprofit enterprise by a governmental entity or a nonprofit organization, and open to the general public.
REPORT
Any letter, review, memorandum, compilation or similar writing made by any body, board, officer or consultant other than a solicitor to any other body, board, officer or consultant for the purpose of assisting the recipient of such report in the rendering of any decision or determination. All reports shall be deemed as a recommendation and advisory only and shall not be binding upon the recipient, board, officer, body or agency, nor shall any appeal lie therefrom. Any report used, received or considered by the body, board, officer or agency rendering a determination or decision shall be made available for inspection to the applicant and all other parties to any proceedings upon request, with copies thereof provided at the cost of reproduction.
RESTAURANT
A business establishment whose principal business is the selling of unpackaged food to the customer in a ready-to-consume state, in individual servings, or in indispensable containers, and where the customer consumes these foods while seated at tables or counters located within the building.
RESTAURANT, FAST-FOOD
An establishment which offers quick food service, including drive-through service, which is accomplished through a limited menu of items already prepared or prepared, fried, or grilled quickly. Orders are not generally taken at the customer's table and food is generally served in disposable wrapping or containers.
RIGHT-OF-WAY
A strip of land occupied or intended to be occupied by a street, crosswalk, railroad, electric transmission line, oil or gas pipeline, water main, sanitary or storm sewer line, or other special use.
RIPARIAN LAND
Land that is traversed or bounded by a natural watercourse.
ROOMING UNIT
A room or rooms, in a boardinghouse and/or rooming house forming a single habitable unit intended for living quarters but lacking separate bathroom, toilet and sanitary facilities and facilities for cooking and sleeping for exclusive use by occupant or occupants of the rooming unit.
SATELLITE DISH ANTENNA
A device incorporating a reflective surface that is solid, open mesh, or bar configured and is in the shape of a shallow dish, cone, horn, or cornucopia. Such device shall be used to transmit and/or receive radio or electromagnetic waves between terrestrial and orbital based uses. This definition is meant to include but not be limited to what are commonly referred to as satellite earth stations. TVROs (television-reception-only satellite dish antennas), and satellite microwave antennas. A satellite dish antenna that does not exceed three feet in diameter and is attached to a building shall be exempt from securing zoning approval.
SCHOOL
A facility that provides a curriculum of elementary and secondary academic instruction, including kindergartens, elementary schools, junior high schools, and high schools that are licensed by the state as such.
SCREENING
The method by which a view of one site from another adjacent site is shielded, concealed, or hidden. Screening techniques include fences, walls, hedges, berms, or other features.
SEATING CAPACITY
The actual seating capacity of an area based upon the number of seats or one seat per 18 inches of bench or pew length. For other areas where seats are not fixed, the seating capacity shall be determined as indicated by the most recent standards under the BOCA Code or Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, based upon the more restrictive standards.
SELF-SERVICE STORAGE FACILITY
A building or group of buildings in a controlled access and fenced compound that contains varying sizes of individual compartmentalized, and controlled access stalls or lockers which are leased to individuals for the storage of the individual's property, possessions or wares.
SETBACK
The required minimum horizontal distance between the building line and the related front, side or rear property line.
SEWAGE DISPOSAL, CENTRALIZED
A sanitary sewage collection system, approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, in which sewage is carried from individual lots by a system of pipes to a central treatment and disposal facility.
SEWAGE DISPOSAL, ON-LOT
Any facility designed to biochemically treat sewage within the boundaries of an individual lot in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
A. 
An establishment that has as a substantial portion of its stock-in-trade and offers for sale, for any form of consideration, any one or more of the following:
(1) 
Books, magazines, periodicals, or other printed matter, or photographs, films, motion pictures, videocassettes, slides, or other visual representations that are characterized by an emphasis upon the depiction or description of specified sexual activities or specified anatomical areas; or
(2) 
Instruments, devices, or paraphernalia that are designed for use in connection with specified sexual activities.
B. 
A nightclub, bar, restaurant, club or similar establishment that regularly features live performances that are characterized by the exposure of specified anatomical areas or by specified sexual activities, or films, motion pictures, videocassettes, slides, or other photographic reproductions in which a substantial portion of the total presentation time is devoted to the showing of material that is characterized by an emphasis upon the depiction or description of specified sexual activities or specified anatomical areas.
C. 
An establishment where, for any form of consideration, massage, alcohol rub, fomentation, electric or magnetic treatment, or similar treatment or manipulation of the human body is administered, unless such treatment or manipulation is administered by a medical practitioner, chiropractor, acupuncturist, physical therapist, or similar professional person licensed by the state. This definition does not include an athletic club, health club, school, gymnasium, reducing salon, spa, or similar establishment where massage or similar manipulation of the human body is offered as an incidental or accessory service.
D. 
Specified anatomical areas, as used above within the definitions of "adult bookstore" and "adult entertainment" means and includes any of the following:
(1) 
Less than completely and opaquely covered human genitals, pubic region, buttocks, anus, or female breasts below a point immediately above the top of the areolae; or
(2) 
Human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, even if completely and opaquely covered.
E. 
Specified sexual activities as used above within the definitions of "adult bookstore" and "adult entertainment" means and includes any of the following:
(1) 
The fondling or other erotic touching of human genitals, pubic region, buttocks, anus, or female breasts;
(2) 
Sex acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated, including intercourse, oral copulation, or sodomy;
(3) 
Masturbation, actual or simulated; or
(4) 
Excretory functions as part of or in connection with any of the activities set forth as an "adult use."
SHOPPING CENTER
A group of commercial establishments planned, constructed, and managed as a total entity with customer and employee parking provided on-site and designed for the provision of goods delivery separated from customer access.
SIGN
A structure or device designed or intended to convey information to the public in written or pictorial form.
SIGN AREA
The entire area within a continuous perimeter, enclosing the extreme limits of sign display, including any frame or border. Curved, spherical, or any other shaped sign face shall be computed on the basis of actual surface area. The copy of signs composed of individual letters, numerals, or other devices shall be the sum of the area of the smallest rectangle or other geometric figure encompassing each of said letter or devices. The calculation for a double-faced sign shall be the area of one face only. Double-faced signs shall be so constructed that the perimeter of both faces coincide and are parallel and not more than 24 inches apart.
SITE PLAN
A plan prepared to scale, showing accurately and with complete dimensions, the boundaries of a site and the location of all buildings, structures, uses, and features proposed for a specific parcel of land.
SMALL WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEM (SMALL WECS)
A wind energy conversion system that is incidental and subordinate to another use on the same parcel and supplies electrical power solely for on-site use, which is intended to primarily reduce consumption of utility power at that location and not for resale.
SOLID WASTE FACILITY
Any facility whose operations include the following as defined and regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: landfills, transfer facilities, refuse vehicle staging areas, resource recovery facilities, waste disposal and processing facilities, and recycling facilities.
SOLID WASTE or WASTE
Any garbage, refuse, industrial, lunchroom or office waste or other material including solid, liquid, semisolid or contained in gaseous material, resulting from the operation of residential, municipal, commercial or institutional establishments and from community activities, excluding "hazardous substances" as so defined by this chapter and "hazardous waste," as so defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, pursuant to Chapter 271.1, under the Solid Waste Management Act, as amended.[4]
SPECIAL EXCEPTION
A use which may only be permitted in a particular zoning district, by special approval, granted by the Zoning Hearing Board in accordance with the applicable provisions of this chapter.
STORY
That portion of a building included between the surface of any floor and the surface of the floor next above it, or if there is no floor above it, the space between such floor and the ceiling above. A basement shall be counted as a story if its ceiling equals or exceeds five feet of the finished ground surface adjoining the exterior walls of such story.
STREET
A public (dedicated) or private (undedicated) right-of-way, whether or not improved, intended for use by vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
STRUCTURE
Any man-made object, the use of which requires an ascertainable stationary location on land, whether or not it is affixed to the land.
SUBDIVISION
The division or redivision of a lot, tract or parcel of land into two or more lots, tracts or parcels or other divisions of land including changes in existing lot lines for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of lease, partition by the court for distribution to heirs or devisees, transfer of ownership of buildings or lot development.
TIMBER HARVESTING
(See Article VIII, Supplemental Regulations.) The cutting and removal of trees from their growing site, including the attendant operation of cutting and skidding machinery, for commercial purposes which does not involve any land development.
TOWER
(Also see "communications tower.") A structure situated on a nonresidential site or lot which is intended for transmitting or receiving television, radio, or telephone communications.
TOWNHOUSE
A single structure consisting of not less than three or more than six dwelling units. Each dwelling unit shall have direct ground-level access to the outdoors and connected to other dwelling units by one or more party walls with no opening or connecting interior access between units. No dwelling units shall be located over or below another unit.
TOWNSHIP
Township of Bear Creek, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
TRANSFER STATION
A facility which receives and temporarily stores solid waste at a location other than the generation site, which facilitates the bulk transfer of accumulated solid waste to another facility or site for further processing and/or disposal of said solid waste. Said use shall be classified and regulated as a "solid waste facility."
TRUCKING FACILITY
A structure, building and/or land consisting of a storage area, management and dispatch office and loading and unloading facilities connected with receipt or delivery of freight shipped by truck.
TURBINE HEIGHT
The distance measured from the surface of the tower's foundation to the highest point of the turbine rotor plane at its furthest vertical extension.
VARIANCE
A waiver granted by the Zoning Hearing Board from the terms and requirements of this chapter in accordance with § 127-60 of this chapter.
WAREHOUSE
A building used primarily for storage of goods and material.
WAREHOUSING AND DISTRIBUTION
A use engaged in storage, wholesale and distribution of manufactured products, supplies and equipment, excluding the bulk storage of material that are flammable, explosive, hazardous or commonly recognized as offensive.
WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM, CENTRALIZED
A public or privately owned system, under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, designed to transmit potable water from a common source to users, and in compliance with the governing standards of all applicable state agencies. Any water supply system not deemed as a centralized water supply system shall be deemed to be an on-site water supply system.
WATERCOURSE, NATURAL
Any stream, creek, river, channel or similar waterway in which water flows in a definite direction or course, either continuously or intermittently, and has a definite channel, bed, and banks.
WECS, COMMERCIAL
A WECS that is the prime use on a parcel of land and supplies electrical power for off-site use.
WETLANDS
Those areas that are inundated or saturated by the surface or ground water at a frequency or duration sufficient to support, and under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, including swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas. The term includes but is not limited to wetland areas listed in the State Water Plan, the United States Forest Service Wetlands Inventory of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Coastal Zone Management Plan and any wetland area designated by a river basin commission.
WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEM (WECS)
A machine designed for the purpose of converting wind energy into electrical energy. (Commonly known as "wind turbine" or "windmill".) The term "WECS" shall be used interchangeably with the terms "wind turbine" or "windmill," with said terms having the same meaning as a "wind energy conversion system" (WECS).
WIND ENERGY FACILITY
A commercial electric generating facility, whose main purpose is to supply electricity to off-site customer(s), consisting of one or more commercial WECS, and other accessory structures and buildings, including substations, meteorological towers, electrical infrastructure, transmission lines and other appurtenant structures and facilities.
YARD
An open space that lies between the principal building and the nearest lot line. Such yard is unoccupied and unobstructed from the ground up except for accessory buildings or projections which are expressly permitted by this chapter.
YARD, FRONT
A space extending the full width of the lot between the principal building and the front lot line and measured perpendicular to the building at the closest point to the front lot line.
YARD, REAR
A space extending the full width of the lot between the principal building and the rear lot line and measured perpendicular to the building at the closest point to the rear lot line.
YARD, SIDE
A space extending from the front yard to the rear yard between the principal building and the side lot line measured perpendicular from the side lot line to the closest point of the principal building.
ZONING DISTRICT
A portion of Bear Creek Township illustrated upon the Official Zoning Map, within which certain uniform regulations and requirements apply under the provisions of this chapter.
ZONING HEARING BOARD
The Zoning Hearing Board of Bear Creek Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
ZONING MAP
The Official Map which is part of this chapter and indicates and delineates the zoning districts of Bear Creek Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
ZONING OFFICER
The administrative officer appointed by the governing body to administer and enforce the Zoning Ordinance of Bear Creek Township, Luzerne County.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 3101 et seq.
[2]
Editor's Note: See 65 P.S. § 271 et seq.
[3]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10619.
[4]
Editor's Note: See 35 P.S. § 6018.101 et seq.