[Ord. 2011-02, 5/9/2011, § 27-601]
When used hereafter in this Part, the word "Board" shall mean the Zoning Hearing Board.
There shall be a Zoning Hearing Board which shall consist of five members who shall be appointed by resolution by the Board of Supervisors. The membership of the Board shall consist of residents of the Township. Their terms of office shall be five years and shall be so fixed that the term of office of one member shall expire each year. The Board shall promptly notify the Board of Supervisors of any vacancies which occur. Appointments to fill vacancies shall be only for the unexpired portion of the term. Members of the Board shall hold no other office in the Township. Any member of the Board may be removed for malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office or for other just cause by a majority vote of the Board of Supervisors taken after the member has received 15 days' advance notice of the intent to take such a vote. A hearing shall be held in connection with the vote if the member shall request it in writing.
The Board of Supervisors may appoint by resolution at least one, but no more than three, residents of the Township to serve as alternate members of the Board. The term of office of an alternate member shall be three years. When seated pursuant to the provisions of § 27-602, an alternate shall be entitled to participate in all proceedings and discussions of the Board to the same and full extent as provided by law for Board members, including specifically the right to cast a vote as a voting member during the proceedings, and shall have all the powers and duties set forth in this chapter and as otherwise provided by law. Alternates shall hold no other office in the Township, including membership on the Planning Commission and Zoning Officer. Any alternate may participate in any proceeding or discussion of the Board but shall not be entitled to vote as a member of the Board nor be compensated pursuant to § 27-602, unless acting as a voting alternate member pursuant to § 27-602 of this chapter.
[Ord. 2011-02, 5/9/2011, § 27-602]
The Board shall elect from its own membership its officers, who shall serve annual terms as such and may succeed themselves. For the conduct of any hearing and the taking of any action, a quorum shall be not less than a majority of all members of the Board, but the Board may appoint a hearing officer from its own membership to conduct any hearing on its behalf and the parties may waive further action by the Board as provide in § 27-604. Alternate members of the Board may participate and may vote in accordance with § 906 of the Act, 53 P.S. § 10906. The Board may make, alter, and rescind rules and forms for its procedure, consistent with ordinances of the Township and laws of the Commonwealth. The Board shall keep full public records of its business, which records shall be the property of the Township, and shall submit a report of its activities to the Board of Supervisors upon request.
[Ord. 2011-02, 5/9/2011, § 27-603]
Within the limits of funds appropriated by the Board of Supervisors, the Board may employ or contract for secretaries, clerks, legal counsel, consultants and other technical and clerical services. Members of the Board may receive compensation for the performance of their duties, as may be fixed by the Board of Supervisors. Alternate members of the Board may receive compensation, as may be fixed by the Board of Supervisors, for the performance of their duties when designated as alternate members pursuant to § 27-602, but in no case shall such compensation exceed the rate of compensation authorized to be paid to the members by the Board of Supervisors.
[Ord. 2011-02, 5/9/2011, § 27-604]
The Board shall conduct hearings and make decisions in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
The Zoning Hearing Board, in approving special exception or variance applications, may attach conditions to such approval, including conditions which are more restrictive than those established for other uses in the same district. The Zoning Officer shall have the power and duty to enforce conditions. The failure to comply with any condition the Zoning Hearing Board imposes constitutes a violation of this chapter and shall be subject to the penalties and remedies set forth in Part 7.
Any site plan presented in support of an application for a special exception or variance shall become an official part of the record for the special exception or variance, and approval of the application will also bind the use in accordance with the submitted site plan. Any subsequent change to the use of the property not reflected on the site plan shall require the applicant to obtain another special exception or variance approval. However, if the Board of Supervisors requires revisions to the site plan as part of the subdivision or land development process, such as the minor relocation of structures to address street design or stormwater management design issues, the applicant shall not be required to obtain another special exception or variance approval, unless the revisions are not covered by the original approval.
Effect of Zoning Hearing Board's Decision.
If the variance or special exception is granted or the issuance of a permit is approved, or other action by the appellant or applicant is authorized, the necessary permit shall be secured and the authorized action begun within two years from the date when the variance or special exception is granted, or the issuance of a permit is approved or the other action by the appellant or applicant is authorized, and the building or alteration, as the case may be, shall be completed within four years of said date. For good cause the Zoning Hearing Board may, upon application in writing, state the reasons therefore, extend either the two-year or four-year period.
Should the appellant or applicant fail to obtain the necessary permits within said two-year period, or having obtained the permit should he fail to commence work thereunder within such two-year period, it shall be conclusively presumed that the appellant or applicant has waived, withdrawn, or abandoned his appeal or his application, and all provisions, variances and permits granted to him shall be deemed automatically rescinded by the Zoning Hearing Board.
Should the appellant or applicant commence construction or alteration within said two-year period, but should he fail to complete such construction or alteration within said four-year period, the Zoning Hearing Board may, upon 10 days' notice in writing, rescind or revoke the granted variance or special exception, or the issuance of the period, or permits, or the other action authorized to the appellant or applicant, if the Zoning Hearing Board finds that a good cause appears for the failure to complete the work within such four-year period, and if the Zoning Hearing Board further finds that conditions have so altered or changed in the interval since the granting of the variance, permit or action, that revocation or rescission of the action is justified.
[Ord. 2011-02, 5/9/2011, § 27-605]
The Zoning Hearing Board shall have the exclusive jurisdiction to hear and render final decisions as delineated in the Act, 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
In considering special exceptions as provided for in this chapter, the Zoning Hearing Board shall proceed as follows:
Specific Criteria. Each applicant shall demonstrate compliance with the specific criteria established in Part 4 for the use for which the applicant seeks a special exception, and with all other applicable criteria, such as area and bulk requirements, of the district in which the property is located.
General Criteria. Each applicant shall demonstrate, by credible evidence, compliance with the following:
The proposed use shall be consistent with the purpose and intent of the chapter.
The proposed use shall not detract from the use and enjoyment of adjoining or nearby properties.
The proposed use will not substantially change the character of the subject property's neighborhood.
Adequate public facilities are available to serve the proposed use (e.g., schools, fire, police and ambulance protection, sewer, water and other utilities, parks, solid waste disposal, vehicular access, etc.).
The proposed use shall comply with those criteria specifically attached to it. In addition, the proposed use must comply with all other applicable regulations contained in this chapter.
The traffic generated by the proposed use shall be safely and adequately accommodated during peak and non-peak periods, or that improvements made by the applicant shall be made in order to effect the same.
The proposed use shall be in and of itself properly designed with regard to internal circulation, parking, buffering, screening, and all other elements of proper design as required by this chapter and any other federal, state, or local ordinance, law, or regulation.
The proposed use will not have deleterious impact on adjoining properties or the neighborhood due to impacts and/or by-products of the proposed use, such as noise, dust, odor, smoke, litter, glare, heat, radiation, electromagnetic interference, etc.
The proposed use will not substantially impair the integrity of the Comprehensive Plan.
Variances. The Zoning Hearing Board shall hear requests for variances where it is alleged that the provisions of this chapter inflict unnecessary hardship upon the applicant. The Zoning Hearing Board may, by rule, prescribe the form of application to the Zoning Officer. The Zoning Hearing Board may grant a variance, provided that all of the following findings are made where relevant in a given case:
There are unique physical circumstances or conditions, including irregularity, narrowness, or shallowness of lot size or shape, or exceptional topographical or other physical conditions peculiar to the particular property and that the unnecessary hardship is due to such conditions, and not the circumstances or conditions generally created by the provisions of this chapter in the neighborhood or district in which the property is located.
Because of such physical circumstances or conditions, there is no possibility that the property can be developed in strict conformity with the provisions of this chapter and that the authorization of a variance is therefore necessary to enable reasonable use of the property.
Such unnecessary hardship has not been created by the applicant.
The variance, if authorized, will not alter the essential character of the district or neighborhood in which the property is located, nor substantially or permanently impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent property, not be detrimental to the public welfare.
The variance, if authorized, will represent the minimum variance that will afford relief and will represent the least modification possible of the regulations in issue.
In granting any variance, the Zoning Hearing Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter. These conditions shall be enforceable by the Zoning Officer and failure to comply with such conditions shall constitute a violation of this chapter and subject to the penalties described in Part 7.
[Ord. 2011-02, 5/9/2011, § 27-606]
Appeals under § 27-605 may be filed with the Board in writing by the landowner affected, any officer or agency of the Township, or any person aggrieved. Requests for a variance under § 27-605.3 and for special exception under § 27-605.2 may be filed with the Board by any landowner or any tenant with the permission of such landowner. Any appeal shall state:
The name and address of the appellant and applicant.
The name and address of the landowner of the real estate to be affected.
A brief description and location of the real estate to be affected by such proposed change together with a plot plan drawn to scale with sufficient clarity to show the nature and character of the request.
A statement of the present zoning classification of the real estate in question, the improvements thereon, and the present use thereof.
A statement of the section of this chapter under which the request may be allowed, and reasons why it should, or should not be granted.
[Ord. 2011-02, 5/9/2011, § 27-607]
The time period to file an appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board or to the Court of Common Pleas shall be as set forth in the Act, 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
[Ord. 2011-02, 5/9/2011, § 27-608]
Any stay of any proceeding shall be governed by the provisions of Articles IX and X-A of the Act, 53 P.S. §§ 10901 et seq., 11001 et seq.
[Ord. 2011-02, 5/9/2011, § 27-609]
Any person, taxpayer, or the Township aggrieved by any decision of the Zoning Hearing Board may seek review by the Court of Common Pleas of such decision in the manner provided by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Article X-A of the Act, as amended, 53 P.S. § 11001-A et seq.
[Ord. 2011-02, 5/9/2011, § 27-610]
All applications, including appeals, to the Zoning Hearing Board shall be submitted to the Zoning Officer. All applications shall be made on the form supplied by the Township and shall contain all information requested on such form. All applications shall contain the following information:
Name and address of the applicant and, if different, the name and address of the landowner. If the applicant is not the landowner of record, information demonstrating that the applicant has the legal right to make the application shall accompany the application.
Dimensions and shape of the lot to be developed, and the exact location and dimensions of any structure existing or to be erected.
The height of any proposed buildings or structures.
Existing and proposed uses of all existing and proposed structures.
Existing and proposed off-street parking and loading spaces.
A site plan with sufficient detail and accuracy to demonstrate compliance with all applicable provisions of this chapter.
A written description of the proposed use in sufficient detail to demonstrate compliance with all applicable provisions of this chapter, if requesting a special exception or demonstrating unnecessary hardship, If requesting a variance or explaining how the Zoning Officer erred in an appeal from a determination of this chapter.
A reference to all sections of the chapter which are relevant to the application or appeal.
A listing of all special exceptions and/or variances which the applicant is requesting.
Applications shall include the appropriate fee established by resolution or ordinance by the Board of Supervisors. Failure to pay the required filing fee shall render the application incomplete.
The Zoning Officer shall review the application to determine if it is generally in a form that complies with the terms of this chapter. If, within five working days from the date of submission, the Zoning Officer may return the application to the applicant and inform the applicant that his application is incomplete. If the Zoning Officer fails to return an application to the applicant within the five-day period, it shall not be deemed an acknowledgment by the Township that the application meets the requirements of this chapter. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Zoning Officer shall not return appeals from a determination of the Zoning Officer.
After the Zoning Officer has reviewed the application, and any supplemental information submitted before the hearing has been advertised for completeness, the application shall be considered closed. The applicant shall not be permitted at the hearing to change the application or supplement the application with plans or other information, and the Zoning Hearing Board shall consider the application as filed. The Zoning Hearing Board shall not reform any application and shall not be required to grant parts of an application. If an applicant desires to change an application after it is submitted, the applicant shall withdraw the application by filing a request to withdraw and submit another application in the form provided by the Township. This application will be considered filed on the date it is submitted to the Zoning Officer and a new application fee is paid. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the applicant shall be permitted to make minor revisions to the application, such as providing additional copies of documents or plans. The Board, in its discretion, may permit other amendments at the time of the hearing in the interest of administrative economy. The amendments cannot be prejudicial to other parties or may continue the hearing subject to other parties or may continue the hearing subject to the applicant paying any fee established by the Township for continuances.