Township of Upper Chichester, PA
Delaware County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The purpose of this article is to set forth procedures for the administration and enforcement of this chapter, in accordance with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), Act 247, as amended.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
A. 
The administration, enforcement and amendment of this chapter shall be in accordance with the provisions of Article VI[1] and any other applicable sections of the MPC.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10601 et seq.
B. 
There shall be a Zoning Officer who shall be appointed by the Board of Commissioners and be responsible for the administration and enforcement of this chapter. The Zoning Officer shall not hold any elected office in the Township.
C. 
The Zoning Officer shall administer this chapter in accordance with its literal terms and shall not have the power to permit any construction, use or change of use which does not conform to this chapter.
D. 
The Zoning Officer may be authorized to institute civil enforcement proceedings as a means of enforcing this chapter.
E. 
Duties. The duties of the Zoning Officer shall include but not be limited to the following:
(1) 
Enforce all provisions of this chapter and all amendments thereto.
(2) 
Receive, examine, record and file all applications and fees for building permits and issue building permits only for any structure or use which conforms to this chapter.
(3) 
Issue permits for uses and construction by special exception or variance, only after such uses or buildings are approved by the Zoning Hearing Board, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Permits requiring approval by the Board of Commissioners shall be issued only after receipt of an authorization from the Board of Commissioners.
(4) 
Receive all required fees.
(5) 
Regularly inspect all areas of the Township to determine if there are any blatant violations of this chapter and review the validity of any reported zoning violations.
(6) 
Issue all necessary stop orders, and order in writing correction of all conditions found to be in violation of this chapter. It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any such order lawfully issued by the Zoning Officer, and any person violating such order shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter.
(7) 
Maintain, or cause to be maintained, a map or maps showing the current zoning classifications of all land in the Township.
(8) 
Identify and register all nonconforming uses, lots, structures and signs and keep filed a record of such nonconformities as a public record.
(9) 
Upon request of the Board of Commissioners, Planning Commission or Zoning Hearing Board, present facts, records and any similar information to such body on specific requests to assist these bodies in reaching their decisions.
F. 
Appeal from decisions of the Zoning Officer. An appeal from a decision or action of the Zoning Officer shall be made directly by a party in interest to the Zoning Hearing Board, and such appeal shall be made within 30 days after notice of the decision is made, or, if no decision is made, 30 days after the date when a decision is deemed to have been made, in accordance with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as amended.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
G. 
Violations. Whenever a violation of this chapter is alleged to have occurred, any person may file a written and signed complaint. Such complaint, stating fully the causes and basis thereof, shall be filed with the Zoning Officer who shall record such complaint promptly and immediately investigate and take action thereon as provided in this chapter.
A. 
Enforcement notice. If it appears to the Township that a violation of this chapter has occurred, the Township shall initiate enforcement proceedings by sending an enforcement notice to the owner of record of the parcel on which the violation has occurred, to any person who has filed a written request to receive an enforcement notice regarding that parcel, and to any other person requested in writing by the owner of record. An enforcement notice shall state at least the following:
(1) 
The name of the owner of record and any other person against whom the municipality intends to take action.
(2) 
The location of the property in violation.
(3) 
The specific violation with a description of the requirements which have not been met, citing in each instance the applicable provisions of this chapter.
(4) 
The date before which the steps for compliance must be commenced and the date before which the steps must be completed.
(5) 
That the recipient of the notice has the right to appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board within a prescribed period of time in accordance with procedures set forth in this chapter.
(6) 
That failure to comply with the notice within the time specified, unless extended by appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board, constitutes a violation, with possible sanctions clearly described.
B. 
Causes of action. In case any building, structure, landscaping or land is, or is proposed to be, erected, constructed, reconstructed, altered, converted, maintained or used in violation of this chapter, the governing body or, with the approval of the governing body, an officer of the Township, or any aggrieved owner or tenant of real property who shows that his property or person will be substantially affected by the alleged violation, in addition to other remedies, may institute any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent, restrain, correct or abate such building, structure, landscaping or land, or to prevent, in or about such premises, any act, conduct, business or use constituting a violation. When any such action is instituted by a landowner or tenant, notice of that action shall be served upon the municipality at least 30 days prior to the time the action is begun by serving a copy of the complaint on the governing body of the municipality. No such action may be maintained until such notice has been given.
C. 
Enforcement remedies.
(1) 
Any person, partnership or corporation who has violated or permitted violation of this chapter shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Township, pay a judgment of not more than $500 plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Township as a result thereof. No judgment shall commence or be imposed, levied or payable until the date of the determination of a violation by the Magisterial District Judge. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the municipality may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable rules of civil procedure. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation, unless the Magisterial District Judge determining that there has been a violation further determines that there was a good faith basis for the person, partnership or corporation violating the ordinance to have believed that there was no such violation, in which event there shall be deemed to have been only one such violation until the fifth day following the date of the determination of a violation by the Magisterial District Judge and thereafter each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation. All judgments, costs and reasonable attorney fees collected for the violation of this chapter shall be paid over to the Township.
(2) 
The Court of Common Pleas, upon petition, may grant an order of stay, upon cause shown, tolling per diem fine pending a final adjudication of the violation and judgment.
(3) 
Nothing contained in this section shall be construed or interpreted to grant to any person or entity other than the Township the right to commence any action for enforcement pursuant to this section.
D. 
Jurisdiction. Magisterial District Judges shall have initial jurisdiction over proceedings brought under § 600-205 above.
A. 
Requirement for permits. A permit shall be required prior to the erection or alteration of any building, structure or portion thereof, including signs; prior to the use or change in use of a building or land; and prior to the change or extension of a nonconforming use of structure.
B. 
Application for permits. Application for permits shall be made to the Township Zoning Officer on such forms as may be furnished by the Township. Each application shall contain all information necessary to ascertain whether the proposed erection, alteration, use or change in use complies with the provisions of this chapter.
C. 
Issuance of permits.
(1) 
No building or use permit shall be issued until the Zoning Officer has certified that the proposed building or alteration and the proposed use of the property comply with the provisions of this chapter.
(2) 
Permits shall be granted or refused within 45 days after date of application. In case of refusal, the applicant shall be informed of his right to appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board.
D. 
Expiration of permits. Permits for the erection, razing, change, alteration or removal of a building shall be valid or effective for a period of not more than six months from the date of issuance thereof and shall thereafter be void, unless the work authorized by such permit shall have been substantially commenced within that period and continues with due diligence from that time forward. In no event shall a zoning permit be construed to authorize the development activities for more than a three-year period of time, after which time a new permit must be sought. If, however, the applicant has been delayed in proceeding with the work for which the permit was granted for reasons beyond his or her control and demonstrably not due to his or her own negligence, at the discretion of the Zoning Officer the permit may be renewed without additional cost to the applicant.
E. 
Certificate of occupancy.
(1) 
Upon completion of the erection or alteration of any building or portion thereof authorized by any permit obtained in compliance with this chapter, the holder of the permit shall notify the Zoning Officer of completion. No permit shall be considered complete or permanently effective until, the Zoning Officer has issued a certificate of occupancy certifying that the work has been inspected and approved as being in conformity with the permit and the provisions of this chapter.
(2) 
Prior to the transfer of ownership, lease or use of property, a certificate of occupancy must be obtained from the Zoning Officer.
(3) 
A certificate of occupancy shall be granted or refused within 15 days after the Zoning Officer has been notified of completion of construction or within 15 days of application to occupy premises or land.
F. 
Fees.
(1) 
The Board of Commissioners shall establish, by resolution, a schedule of fees, charges, expenses and collection procedures for building permits, certificates of occupancy, sign permits, special exceptions, variances, appeals, amendments and other matters pertaining to this chapter.
(2) 
A schedule of fees shall be posted in the office of the Zoning Officer and may be altered or amended by the Board of Commissioners only.
(3) 
No action shall be taken on any application for any special exception, variance, appeal or other similar matter pertaining to this chapter until all application fees, charges and expenses have been paid in full.
A. 
Power to amend. The regulations, restrictions, boundaries and requirements set forth in this chapter may be amended, supplemented, changed or repealed by the Board of Commissioners by amending this chapter in accordance with the provisions of Article VI of the Planning Code,[1] as amended, and the terms of this article.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10601 et seq.
B. 
Procedure for amendment.
(1) 
An ordinance amending, supplementing or changing the district boundaries (Zoning Map) or the regulations established herein may be initiated:
(a) 
By the Board of Commissioners, upon its own initiative or upon recommendation of the-Planning Commission.
(b) 
Upon a petition to the Board of Commissioners signed by the owners of 50% or more of the frontage of any area, which shall be not less than the area contained between two streets, wherein a change of zoning regulations is being sought.
(c) 
By a landowner requesting an amendment or repeal. In the case of a curative amendment, the special requirements of the Planning Code shall apply.
(2) 
Before voting on the enactment of an amendment, the Board of Commissioners shall hold a public hearing thereon, pursuant to public notice. If the proposed amendment involves a map change, notice of said public hearing shall be conspicuously posted along the perimeter of the tract at least one week prior to the hearing.
(3) 
The Board of Commissioners shall submit each proposed zoning amendment, other than one prepared by the Planning Commission, to the Planning Commission at least 30 days prior to any hearing which is to be held on the proposed amendment to provide the Planning Commission with an opportunity to submit its recommendations prior to final action.
(4) 
If, after any public hearing held upon an amendment, the proposed amendment is revised, or further revised, to include land previously not affected by it, the Board of Commissioners shall hold another public hearing as required by law pursuant to public notice, before proceeding to vote on the amendment.
(5) 
As required by the Planning Code, a copy of any proposed zoning amendment shall also be sent to the County Planning Commission at least 30 days prior to any hearing on the proposed amendment, in order to provide the County Planning Commission an opportunity to submit its recommendations prior to final action on the amendment.
(6) 
The Township may offer a mediation option as an aid in completing proceedings authorized in this section. In exercising such an option, the Township and mediating parties shall meet the stipulations of Section 908.1 of the Planning Code, as amended by Act 170, relating to the mediation option.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: see 53 P.S. § 10908.1.
(7) 
Within 30 days after enactment, a copy of the amendment to this chapter shall be forwarded to the Delaware County Planning Commission.