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Township of Ross, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 2035, 12/9/2002, § 500; as amended by Ord. 2288, 4/12/2010]
1. 
The Board of Commissioners may from time to time amend, supplement, or repeal any of the regulations and provisions of this chapter. The procedure for the preparation of a proposed zoning ordinance as set forth in § 607 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10607, is hereby declared optional.
2. 
Before voting on the enactment of an amendment, the Board of Commissioners shall hold a public hearing thereon, pursuant to public notice. In addition, if the proposed amendment involves a Zoning Map change, notice of said public hearing shall be conspicuously posted by the Township at points deemed sufficient by the Township along the perimeter of the tract to notify potentially interested citizens. The affected tract or area shall be posted at least one week prior to the date of the hearing.
3. 
A. 
In addition to the requirement that notice be posted under Subsection 1, where the proposed amendment involves a zoning map change, notice of the public hearing shall be mailed by the Township at least 30 days prior to the date of the hearing by first class mail to the address to which real estate tax bills are sent for all real property located within the area being rezoned, as evidenced by tax records within the possession of the Township. The notice shall include the location, date and time of the public hearing. A good faith effort and substantial compliance shall satisfy the requirements of this paragraph.
B. 
This subsection shall not apply when the rezoning constitutes a comprehensive rezoning.
4. 
In the case of an amendment other than that prepared by the Planning Commission the Board of Commissioners shall submit each such amendment to the Planning Commission at least 30 days prior to the hearing on such proposed amendment to provide the Planning Commission an opportunity to submit recommendations.
5. 
If, after any public bearing held upon an amendment, the proposed amendment is changed substantially or is revised to include land previously not affected by it, the Board of Commissioners shall hold another public hearing, pursuant to public notice, before proceeding to vote on the amendment.
6. 
At least 30 days prior to the public hearing on the amendment by the Board of Commissioners, the Township shall submit the proposed amendment to the county planning agency for recommendations.
7. 
The Township may offer a mediation option as an aid in completing proceedings authorized by this section. In exercising such an option, the Township and mediating parties shall meet the stipulations and following the procedures set forth in Article IX of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10901 et seq.
8. 
Within 30 days after enactment, a copy of the amendment to this chapter shall be forwarded to the county planning agency.
[Ord. 2035, 12/9/2002, § 501; as amended by Ord. 2288, 4/12/2010]
1. 
A landowner who desires to challenge on substantive grounds the validity of this chapter or the Zoning Map, or any provision thereof, which prohibits or restricts the use or development of land in which he has an interest may submit a curative amendment to the Board of Commissioners with a written request that his challenge and proposed amendment be heard and decided as provided in § 916.1 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (hereinafter "MPC"), 53 P.S. § 10916.1. The curative amendment and challenge shall be referred to the Planning Commission and the county planning agency as provided in § 609 of the MPC, 53 P.S. § 10609, and notice of the hearing thereon shall be given as provided in §§ 610 and 916.1 of the MPC, 53 P.S. §§ 10610, 10916.1.
2. 
The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with § 908 of the MPC, 53 P.S. § 10908, and all references therein to the Zoning Hearing Board shall, for purposes of this section, be references to the Board of Commissioners; provided, however that the provisions of §§ 908(1.2) and (9), 53 P.S. §§ 10908(1.2) and (9), shall not apply and the provisions of § 916.1, 53 P.S. § 10916.1, shall control. If the Township does not accept a landowner's curative amendment brought in accordance with this subsection and a court subsequently rules that the challenge has merit, the court's decision shall not result in a declaration of invalidity for this entire chapter and Zoning Map, but only for those provisions which specifically relate to the landowner's curative amendment and challenge.
3. 
The Board of Commissioners, if it determines that a validity challenge has merit, may accept a landowner's curative amendment, with or without revision, or may adopt an alternative amendment which will cure the challenged defects. The Board of Commissioners shall consider the curative amendments, plans and explanatory material submitted by the landowner and shall also consider:
A. 
The impact of the proposal upon roads, sewer facilities, water supplies, schools and other public service facilities.
B. 
If the proposal is for a residential use, the impact of the proposal upon regional housing needs and the effectiveness of the proposal in providing housing units of a type actually available to and affordable by classes of persons otherwise unlawfully excluded by the challenged provisions of this chapter or Zoning Map.
C. 
The suitability of the site for the intensity of use proposed by the site's soils, slopes, woodlands, wetlands, floodplains, aquifers, natural resources and other natural features.
D. 
The impact of the proposed use on the site's soils, slopes, woodlands, wetlands, floodplains, natural resources and natural features, the degree to which these are protected or destroyed, the tolerance of the resources to development and any adverse environmental impacts.
E. 
The impact of the proposal on the preservation of agriculture and other land uses which are essential to public health and welfare.
[Ord. 2035, 12/9/2002, § 502]
1. 
If the Township determines that this chapter, or any portion hereof, is substantially invalid, it shall take the following actions:
A. 
The Township shall declare by formal action this chapter or portions hereof substantially invalid and propose to prepare a curative amendment to overcome such invalidity. Within 30 days such declaration and proposal the Board of Commissioners shall:
(1) 
By resolution make specific findings setting forth the declared invalidity of this chapter which may include:
(a) 
References to specific uses which are either not permitted or not permitted in sufficient quantity.
(b) 
Reference to a class of use or uses which requires revision.
(c) 
Reference to this entire chapter which requires revisions.
(2) 
Begin to prepare and consider a curative amendment to this chapter to correct the declared invalidity.
2. 
Within 180 days from the date of the declaration and proposal, the Township shall enact a curative amendment to validate, or reaffirm the validity of, this chapter pursuant to the provisions of § 609 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (hereinafter "MPC"), 53 P.S. § 10609, in order to cure the declared invalidity of this chapter.
3. 
Upon the initiation of the procedures as set forth in Subsection 1, the Board of Commissioners shall not be required to entertain or consider any landowner's curative amendment filed under § 609.1 of the MPC, 53 P.S. § 10609.1, nor shall the Zoning Hearing Board be required to give a report requested under §§ 909.1 or 916.1 of the MPC, 53 P.S. §§ 10909.1, 10916.1 subsequent to the declaration and proposal based upon the grounds identical or substantially similar to those specified by the resolution required by Subsection 1A. Upon completion of the procedures set forth in Subsections 1 and 2, no rights to a cure pursuant to the provisions of §§ 609.1 and 916.1 of the MPC, 53 P.S. §§ 10609.1 and 10916.1 shall, from the date of the declaration and proposal, accrue to any landowner on the basis of the substantive invalidity of this chapter for which there has been a curative amendment pursuant to this section.
4. 
The Township, having utilized the procedures set forth in this section, may not again utilize said procedure for a period of 36 months following the date of enactment of a curative amendment, or reaffirmation of the validity of this chapter; provided, however, if after the date of declaration and proposal there is a substantially new duty imposed upon the Township by virtue of a change in statute or by virtue of a Pennsylvania appellate court decision, the Township may utilize the provisions of this section to propose a curative amendment to this chapter to fulfill said duty or obligation.
[Ord. 2035, 12/9/2002, § 503]
1. 
A landowner who desires to challenge, on substantive grounds, the validity of this chapter or the Map thereof, which prohibits or restricts the use or development of land in which he has an interest shall submit the challenge either:
A. 
To the Zoning Hearing Board for a report thereon under § 27-603, Subsection 1A.
B. 
To the Township Commissioners under § 27-604, Subsection 2D, together with a request for a curative amendment under § 27-502.
2. 
Persons aggrieved by a use or development permitted on the land of another by an ordinance or map, or any provision thereof, who desires to challenge its validity on substantive grounds shall first submit their challenge to the zoning hearing board for a decision thereon under § 27-604, Subsection 1A-H.
3. 
The submissions referred to in Subsections 1 and 2 hereof shall be governed by the following:
A. 
In challenges before the Zoning Hearing Board, the challenging party shall make a written request to the Board that it hold a hearing on its challenge. The request shall contain the reasons for the challenge. Where the landowner desires to challenge the validity of such ordinance and elects to proceed by curative amendment under § 27-604, Subsection 2D, his application to the Board of Commissioners shall contain, in addition to the requirements of the written request hereof, the plans and explanatory materials describing the use or development proposed by the landowner in lieu of the use or development permitted by the challenged ordinance or map. Such plans or other materials shall not be required to meet the standards prescribed for preliminary, tentative or final approval or the issuance of a permit, so long as they provide reasonable notice of the proposed use or development and a sufficient basis for evaluating the challenged ordinance or map in light thereof. Nothing contained herein shall preclude the landowner from first seeking a final approval before submitting his challenge.
B. 
If the submission is made by the landowner to the Board of Commissioners under Subsection 1B, the request also shall be accompanied by an amendment or amendments to the ordinance proposed by the landowner to cure the alleged defects therein.
C. 
If the submission is made to the Board of Commissioners, the Township Solicitor shall represent and advise it at the hearing or hearings referred to in § 27-604, Subsection 2D.
D. 
The Board of Commissioners may retain an independent attorney to present the defense of the challenged ordinance or map on its behalf and to present their witnesses on its behalf.
E. 
Based upon the testimony presented at the hearing or hearings, the Board of Commissioners or the Zoning Hearing Board, as the case may be, shall determine whether the challenged ordinance or map is defective, as alleged by the landowner. If a challenge heard by the Board of Commissioners is found to have merit, Board of Commissioners shall proceed as provided in § 27-502. If a challenge heard by the Zoning Hearing Board is found to have merit, the decision of the Zoning Hearing Board shall include recommended amendments to the challenged ordinance which will cure the defects found. In reaching its decision, the Zoning Hearing Board shall consider the amendments, plans and explanatory material submitted by the landowner and shall also consider:
(1) 
The impact of the proposal upon roads, sewer facilities, water supplies, schools and other public service facilities.
(2) 
If the proposal is for a residential use, the impact of the proposal upon regional housing needs and the effectiveness of the proposal in providing housing units of a type actually available to and affordable b classes of persons otherwise unlawfully excluded by the challenged provisions of the ordinance or map.
(3) 
The suitability of the site for the intensity of use proposed by the site's soils, slopes, woodlands, wetlands, floodplains, aquifers, natural resources and other natural features.
(4) 
The impact of the proposed use on the site's soils, slopes, woodlands, wetlands, floodplains, natural resources and natural features, the degree to which these are protected or destroyed, the tolerance of the resources to development and any adverse environmental impacts.
(5) 
The impact of the proposal on the preservation of agriculture and other land uses which are essential to public health and welfare.
F. 
The Board of Commissioners or Zoning Hearing Board, as the case may be, shall render its decision within 45 days after the conclusion of the last hearing.
G. 
If the Board of Commissioners or Zoning Hearing Board, as the case may be, fails to act on the landowner's request within the time limits referred to in Subsection 3F above, a denial of the request is deemed to have occurred on the forty-sixth day after the close of the last hearing.
4. 
The Board of Commissioners or Zoning Hearing Board, as the case may be, shall commence its hearings within 60 days after the request is filed unless the landowner requests or consents to an extension of time.
5. 
Public notice of the hearing shall include notice that the validity of the ordinance or map is in question and shall give the place where and the times when a copy of the request, including any plans, explanatory material or proposed amendments may be examined by the public.
6. 
The challenge shall be deemed denied when:
A. 
The Board of Commissioners or Zoning Hearing Board, as the case may be, fails to commence the hearing within the time limits set forth in Subsection 4 above.
B. 
The Board of Commissioners notifies the landowner that it will not adopt the curative amendment.
C. 
The Board of Commissioners adopts another curative amendment which is unacceptable to the land-owner.
D. 
The Board of Commissioners or Zoning Hearing Board, as the case may be, fails to act on the request 45 days after the close of the last hearing on the request, unless the time is extended by mutual consent by the landowner and the Township.
7. 
A landowner who has challenged on substantive grounds the validity of a zoning ordinance or map, either by submission of a curative amendment to the Board of Commissioners or to the Zoning Hearing Board, shall not submit any additional substantive challenges involving the same parcel, group of parcels, or part thereof until such time as the status of the landowner's original challenge has been finally determined or withdrawn. However, if, after the date of the landowner's original challenge, Ross Township adopts a substantially new or different zoning ordinance or zoning map, the landowner may file a second substantive challenge to the new or different zoning ordinance or zoning map.
[Ord. 2035, 12/9/2002, § 504; as amended by Ord. 2288, 4/12/2010]
In the event any owner or owners of property petition for supplementing or changing the district boundaries or regulations herein established, as provided for in § 27-503, prior to such petition being heard by the Board of Commissioners, the Zoning Officer shall collect a fee for the payment of the costs of advertising the notice of hearing in such case and the preparation of this chapter.
[Ord. 2035, 12/9/2002, § 505]
1. 
Required Information. An application to rezone property within the Township shall be accompanied with the established fee in addition to the following documentation and information:
A. 
A letter of transmittal to the Planning Commission indicating the proposed use of the property which is the subject of such application. If more than one use is anticipated, describe all uses.
B. 
The names and addresses of the owners of all property situate wholly or partially within 300 feet of the perimeter on the property which is the subject of the application.
C. 
Twelve copies of the site survey.
D. 
Twelve copies of the site plan, which shall include the development of all the land within the area of the property which is the subject of the application in a preliminary form.
E. 
A legal description of the property by metes and bounds.
F. 
A recital of all existing easements and proposed easements and rights-of-way affecting the property.
G. 
Existing contours.
H. 
Means of ingress and egress to a public street.
I. 
Location of all existing structures.
J. 
Location of all proposed structures.
K. 
Location of parking areas and traffic zones.
L. 
Identification of the zoning district designation of all adjoining property.
M. 
Approximate location of structures on all adjoining property.
N. 
Such additional studies as may be requested by the Board of Commissioners, such as traffic, geology, or similar information which is necessary to the proper review of the application.
2. 
Time Limits. Within 90 days from the enactment of an ordinance rezoning any property, pursuant to an application for rezoning, the applicant shall submit to the Zoning Officer a preliminary site plan, which shall contain all the information required as set forth in Part 7. The preliminary site plan shall include all of the land and the development of the same as proposed in the application for rezoning and shall adhere to the provisions enumerated in the letter of transmittal to the Planning Commission. Within six months from the date of approval of the preliminary site plan by the Commission, the applicant shall file final site plan with the Commission, which shall include all of the land and development as was set forth in the preliminary site plan. Within one year from the date of approval of the final site plan by the Board of Commissioners, the applicant shall apply for the building permit and all other required permits for the completion of the site. In the event that the applicant fails to obtain all required permits within the designated period of time, without filing for an extension of time, the site plan approval is automatically revoked. An applicant who desires an extension of time within which to comply with any of the foregoing requirements shall, at least 15 days prior to the date upon which any of the foregoing submittals are required, file a written request for such extension which may be required to the Board of Commissioners. The Board shall have the authority to grant such reasonable extension of time as may be required under the circumstances. Should the application for rezoning be denied by the Board of Commissioners, said applicant shall not reapply for rezoning reclassification for the same site for a period of one year.
[Ord. 2035, 12/9/2002, § 506; as amended by Ord. 2288, 4/12/2010]
1. 
Amendments to this chapter shall become effective only after a public hearing held pursuant to public notice. A brief summary setting forth the principal provisions of the proposed amendment and a reference to the place within the Township where copies of the proposed amendment may be secured or examined shall be incorporated in the public notice. Unless the proposed amendment shall have been prepared by the Planning Commission, the Board of Commissioners shall submit the amendment to the Planning Commission at least 30 days prior to the hearing on such amendment to provide the Planning Commission an opportunity to submit recommendations. In addition, because Allegheny County has adopted a County Comprehensive Plan, any proposed amendment of this chapter shall be submitted to the Allegheny County planning agency for its recommendations on the proposed amendment in accordance with § 304 of the Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10304. The recommendation of the county planning agency shall be made to the Board of Commissioners within 45 days and the proposed amendment shall not be adopted until such recommendation is made. If, however, the county planning agency fails to act within 45 days, the Board of Commissioners shall proceed without its recommendations.
2. 
Within 30 days after adoption, the Board of Commissioners shall forward a certified copy of the amendment to the county planning agency.
3. 
Proposed amendments shall not be enacted unless notice of proposed enactment is given in the manner set forth in this section, and shall include the time and place of the meeting at which passage will be considered, a reference to a place within the Township where copies of the proposed amendment may be examined without charge or obtained for a charge not greater than the cost thereof. The Board of Commissioners shall publish the proposed amendment once in a newspaper of general circulation in the Township not more than 60 days nor less than seven days prior to passage. Publication of the proposed amendment shall include either the full text thereof or the title and a brief summary, prepared by the Township Solicitor and setting forth all the provisions in reasonable detail. If the full text is not included:
A. 
A copy thereof shall be supplied to a newspaper of general circulation in the Township at the time the public notice is published.
B. 
An attested copy of the proposed amendment shall be filed in the county law library (or other county office designated by the County Commissioners).
4. 
In the event substantial amendments are made in the proposed amendment, before voting upon enactment, the Board of Commissioners shall, at least 10 days prior to enactment, readvertise, in one newspaper of general circulation in the Township, a brief summary setting forth all the provisions in reasonable detail together with a summary of the amendments.
5. 
Zoning ordinances and amendments may be incorporated into official ordinance books by reference with the same force and effect as if duly recorded therein.
[Ord. 2035, 12/9/2002, § 507]
1. 
When an application for either a special exception or a conditional use has been filed with either the Zoning Hearing Board or Board of Commissioners, and the subject matter of such application would ultimately constitute either a land development or a subdivision, no change or amendment of the zoning, subdivision or other governing ordinance or plans shall affect the decision on such application adversely to the applicant and the applicant shall be entitled to a decision in accordance with the provisions of the governing ordinances or plans as they stood at the time the application was duly filed. Should such an application be approved by either the Zoning Hearing Board or Board of Commissioners, the applicant shall be entitled to proceed with the submission of either land development or subdivision plans within a period of six months or longer or as may be approved by either the Zoning Hearing Board or the Board of Commissioners following the date of such approval.