The purpose of this article is to provide standards and procedures for uses permitted by special exception. In these cases, the Zoning Hearing Board may attach reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed in this article, as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter and those of the Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), Act 247.
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
In cases where this chapter does not provide specific dimensional standards for use permitted by special exception the following general dimensional standards will be applied by the Zoning Hearing Board.
In residential districts, the area, bulk and other applicable requirements shall be not less than those for single-family dwellings in that district.
In nonresidential districts, the area, bulk and any other applicable requirements shall be not less than those for the use which requires the greatest dimensions in the applicable nonresidential district.
The Zoning Hearing Board may require additional, reasonable but more stringent requirements than those required in Subsections A or B above, provided it makes one or more of the following determinations, that the requirements of Subsections A and B above are clearly:
Insufficient to accommodate the proposed building, facility or use and that larger dimensional requirements would alleviate that condition;
Insufficient to provide adequate area for parking and loading, as required by Article XVIII, and that larger dimensional requirements would alleviate that condition;
Insufficient to provide for lot areas and dimensions necessary to protect the adjacent area from the potential adverse impacts of the proposed use, such as noise, vibration, air pollution and similar impacts, and that larger dimensional requirements would substantially alleviate that condition.
Health clinics shall be permitted as a special exception in the R-1, C-1 and C-2 Districts.
A tract area of not less than 10 acres shall be provided.
The site shall have direct access to an arterial or collector road, as designated in the Township Comprehensive Plan.
Front yard setbacks shall be not less than 50 feet for each principal building.
Lot frontage shall be not less than 150 feet.
In the C-1 and C-2 Commercial Districts, a dwelling in existence at the time of the adoption of this chapter may be converted to a nonresidential use permitted in the district when such conversion is authorized by the Zoning Hearing Board as a special exception, provided that:
The proposed use shall comply with the yard, area and off-street parking requirements of the district and use.
No existing yards or required open space shall be reduced to less than the requirement of the district.
The proposed conversion shall be in keeping with the predominant character of the area in which the conversion would take place and shall not detract from the use of an adjoining property.
All requirements of the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (UCC) and any other applicable codes and ordinances shall be followed.
No dwelling shall be converted unless the Zoning Hearing Board is assured that, when completed, the building will comply with sound, current standards for the proposed use.
The Zoning Hearing Board may require any reasonable, additional conditions it may deem appropriate in connection with the proposed conversion and use.
Single-family semidetached dwellings (twins) are permitted in the R-3 District by special exception. Such dwellings shall comply with the standards below:
Lot size: 4,000 square feet.
Lot width: 40 feet per dwelling.
Building coverage: 45%, maximum.
Front yard: 25 feet.
Side yard: one side yard per dwelling, 12 feet, minimum.
Rear yard: 20 feet.
Height: two stories, with a maximum of 35 feet.
Impervious surface: 55%, maximum.
Wireless communication facilities (WCF) shall be permitted as a special exception in the R-1, R-2, C-1, C-2, I-C, and I Industrial Districts, subject to the requirements below:
To accommodate the need for WCF while regulating their location and number in the Township;
To minimize adverse visual effects of WCF through careful design, siting and vegetative screening;
To avoid potential damage to adjacent properties from WCF failure and falling ice and debris though engineering and careful siting of WCF; and to maximize the use of any new or existing WCF or other tall structure(s) so as to reduce the number of WCF needed in the future.
Application and interpretation. When interpreting the provisions of this article to determine the extent of the restriction upon the use of a property, the provisions shall be interpreted, where doubt exists as to the intended meaning of the language written and enacted, as permitting WCF sites that are appropriate and yet compatible with surrounding land uses.
Use, area, landscaping, fencing and height requirements.
A WCF with antenna that is attached to an existing wireless communications, cellular communications or personal communications services tower, smokestack, water tower, or other similar tall structures shall not exceed the height of the existing structure by more than 15 feet, and shall require a building and zoning permit.
A WCF with antenna that is not mounted on an existing antenna support structure shall not have an antenna height or tower height in excess of the minimum height necessary to effectively provide the wireless communications service, and not in excess of 180 feet, and shall require a building and zoning permit and land development approval pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 505, Subdivision and Land Development, of the Township Code.
If a new antenna support structure is constructed (as opposed to mounting the antenna on an existing tall structure), the minimum distance between the base of the support structure (excluding any guy wire anchors) and any property line shall be the largest of the following:
Any provisions of the Township Code, which are not addressed hereunder, shall remain in effect and shall not be considered altered or modified by this section, and shall apply to the proposed WCF and/or telecommunications equipment building.
Existing vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible.
Landscaping shall be required to screen and buffer as much of the WCF as possible, and the fence surrounding the WCF, and any other ground-level features of the WCF from the abutting properties.
Where the WCF abuts residentially developed land, residential zoning districts, public land, or streets, the WCF perimeter shall be landscaped with at least one row of deciduous trees, not less than 3 1/2 inches in caliper, spaced not more than 30 feet apart, on center, and within 40 feet of the WCF boundary, as well as at least one row of evergreen trees or shrubs, at least 14 feet high when planted and spaced not more than 15 feet apart of the WCF boundary.
A security fence shall be required around the WCF, unless the antenna is mounted on an existing tall structure. The security fence shall be a minimum of eight feet in height; the type of fencing shall be solid wood as approved by the Township.
In the event a WCF is attached to a nonresidential building or structure in a residential district, the maximum antenna height shall be 20 feet above the existing building or structure.
Uses ancillary to the WCF, including without limitation a business office, maintenance depot, vehicle storage, etc., are prohibited from the land site, unless otherwise permitted in the zoning district in which the land site is located.
The WCF shall be fully automated and unattended on a daily basis, and shall be visited only for periodic maintenance.
The following standards of approval shall apply to WCF:
The applicant shall demonstrate, using accepted technological evidence, that the antenna and antenna support structure must be located where proposed in order to satisfy its function in the applicant's grid system.
If the applicant proposes to build a tower (as opposed to mounting the antenna on an existing tall structure), it is required to demonstrate that it contacted the owners of tall structures within a one-mile radius of the site proposed, requested permission to install the antenna on those tall structures and was denied permission for reasons other than economic reasons. The term "tall structures" includes smokestacks, water towers, antenna support structures of other cellular phone companies and other communications towers (fire, police, etc.). If the antenna can be physically and legally accommodated on an existing tall structure, the Township may deny the application to construct a new tower.
The applicant shall demonstrate that the antenna height is the minimum required to function satisfactorily. No antenna height taller than this minimum height shall be approved, unless the applicant provides proof that another provider of wireless, cellular or personal communication services has already agreed to co-locate on the applicant's antenna support structure at a greater height than is required by the applicant.
The applicant shall demonstrate that the proposed antenna and antenna support structure are safe and the surrounding properties will not be negatively affected by antenna support structure failure, falling ice or other debris. All antenna support structures shall be fitted with anti-climbing devices, as approved by the manufacturers and the Township.
In order to reduce the number of antenna support structures needed in the future, the proposed antenna support structure shall be required to accommodate, where possible, other users, including other wireless communication, cellular communication and personal communication service provider companies, and local police, fire, and ambulance companies. Applicants shall provide evidence that all other authorized users have been contacted by the applicant with an offer of co-location on the applicant's proposed antenna support structure.
The applicant must demonstrate that it is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide wireless communications, cellular communications and/or personal communications services. The applicant shall, if requested, provide the Township with a copy of its current FCC license.
As the wireless communications facility is fully automated, adequate parking shall be required for maintenance workers.
Antenna support structures shall, to the extent possible, be finished so as to reduce the visual impact. Support structures may be painted green up to the height of nearby trees and shall meet all Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
A full site plan shall be required for all land sites, showing the antenna and antenna support structure, together with any building, fencing, buffering, access and all other items required in the Township Code, Chapter 505, Subdivision and Land Development, for a land development application.
A plan shall be required for all WCFs showing the antenna array for current and future use, support structure, building, fencing, buffering, access, and such other information as the Township may require the plan to illustrate the relationship between the proposed facility and the adjacent structures and property lines.
Towers shall be designed and constructed to all applicable standards of the American National Standards Institute, ANSI/EID-222-E Manual as amended from time to time.
A soil report complying with the standards of Appendix I: Geotechnical Investigations, ANSI/EIA-222-E, as amended, shall be submitted to the Township to document and verify the design specifications of the foundation for the tower, and anchors for the guy wires if used.
Towers and antennas shall be designed to withstand wind gusts of at least 100 miles per hour.
An antenna may not be located on a building or structure that is listed on the Township's Historic Resources Map.
No antenna or its support structure may be artificially lighted except when required by the Federal Aviation Agency.
The applicant shall maintain with the Township the current name, address and emergency telephone number of the owner or operator of the support or attachment structure on which the antenna array is mounted.
The WCF shall be maintained and kept in good order and repair and in compliance with all applicable federal and state requirements and the Codes of the Township Applicant shall provide Township with an annual inspection report certifying the foregoing.
In the event a WCF is not used by its owner/operator for a period of six months, it shall be conclusively presumed to be abandoned. All such abandoned facilities shall be removed within six months after the presumed abandonment.