City of Lebanon, PA
Lebanon County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 2-1990, 91, § 3, passed 1-22-1990; Ord. 27-1986, 87, passed 10-27-1986]
(a) 
Pursuant to Article IX of Act 247 known as the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, a Zoning Hearing Board is hereby established, which shall consist of five members who shall be residents of the City, to be appointed by the Mayor and Council for terms of five years each. Appointments shall be so established that the term of office of no more than one member of the Board shall expire each year. Members of the Board may be removed from office by the Mayor and Council for cause upon written charges and after public hearing if the member requests such hearing in writing. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment by the Mayor and Council for the unexpired term of the member affected. Members of the Board shall hold no other office in the City.
(b) 
Board members shall receive a fee of $10 for each hearing attended.
[Ord. 27-1986, 87, passed 10-27-1986]
(a) 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall adopt rules necessary to the conduct of its affairs and in keeping with the provisions of this Zoning Code. Meetings shall be held at the call of the Chairman or, in his absence, the Acting Chairman. The Chairman or Acting Chairman may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. All meetings shall be open to the public.
(b) 
The Board shall keep minutes of its proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon each question or, if a member is absent or fails to vote, an indication of such fact, and shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions, all of which shall be a public record and immediately filed in the office of the Board.
[Ord. 2-1990, 91, § 4, passed 1-22-1990]
(a) 
Appeals to the Zoning Hearing Board concerning interpretation or administration of this Zoning Code may be taken by any person aggrieved or by any officer or bureau of the governing body of the City affected by any decision of the Zoning Officer. Such appeals shall be taken within a reasonable time, not to exceed 60 days or such lesser period as may be provided by the rules of the Board, by filing with the Officer and with the Board a notice of appeal specifying the grounds thereof. The Officer shall forthwith transmit to the Board all papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken.
Public notice of the hearing shall be given and written notice shall be given to the applicant, the Zoning Officer, and to any person who has made timely request for the same. Written notices shall be given at such time and in such manner as shall be prescribed by the rules of the Board. In addition to the written notice provided herein, written notice of such hearing shall be conspicuously posted on the affected tract of land at least one week prior to the hearing.
(b) 
The Board or hearing officer, as the case may be, shall render a written decision or, when no decision is called for, make written findings on the application within 45 days after the last hearing before the Board or hearing officer. The hearing shall be held within 60 days from the date of the applicant's request, unless the applicant has agreed in writing to an extension of time. Conclusions based on any provisions of this act or of any ordinance, rule or regulation shall contain a reference to the provision relied on and the reasons why the conclusion is deemed appropriate in the light of the facts found. If the hearing is conducted by a hearing officer, and there has been no stipulation that his decision or findings are final, the Board shall make his report and recommendations available to the parties and the parties shall be entitled to make written representations thereon to the Board prior to final decision or entry of findings, and the Board's decision shall be entered no later than 45 days after the decision of the hearing officer. Where the Board has power to render a decision and the Board or the hearing officer, as the case may be, fails to render the same within the period required by this subsection, the decision shall be deemed to have been rendered in favor of the applicant unless the applicant has agreed in writing to an extension of time. When a decision has been rendered in favor of the applicant because of the failure of the Board to meet or render a decision as herein above provided, the Board shall give public notice of such decision within 10 days from the last day it would have met to render a decision. If the Board shall fail to provide such notice, the applicant may do so.
Nothing in this subsection shall prejudice the right of any party opposing the application to urge that such a decision is erroneous.
(c) 
A copy of the final decision or, where no decision is called for, of the findings shall be delivered to the applicant and his attorney if so represented personally or mailed to him no later than the day following its date. To all other persons who have filed their name and address with the Board not later than the last day of the hearing, the Board shall provide by mail or otherwise, brief notice of the decision or findings and a statement of the place at which the full decision or findings may be examined.
[Ord. 2-1990, 91 § 5, passed 1-22-1990]
Upon filing an appeal and during its pendency before the Zoning Hearing Board, all land development pursuant to any challenged ordinance, order or approval of the Zoning Officer or of any agency or body, and all official action thereunder, shall be stayed unless the Zoning Officer certifies to the Board facts indicating that such stay would cause imminent peril to life or property, in which case the development or official action shall not be stayed otherwise than by a restraining order. Such an order may be granted by the Board or the court on petition, after notice to the Zoning Officer. When an application for development, preliminary or final, has been duly approved and proceedings designed to reverse or limit the approval are filed with the Board by persons other than the applicant, the applicant may petition the court to order such persons to post bond as a condition to continuing the proceedings before the Board.
[Ord. 27-1986, 87, passed 10-27-1986]
All appeals from a decision of the Zoning Officer and applications to the Board shall be in writing on forms prescribed by the Board. Every appeal or application shall include the following:
(a) 
The name and address of the applicant, or appellant;
(b) 
The name and address of the owner of the zone lot to be affected by such proposed change or appeal;
(c) 
A brief description and location of the zone lot to be affected by such proposed change, or appeal;
(d) 
A statement of the present zoning classification of the zone lot in question, the improvements thereon and the present use thereof;
(e) 
A statement of the section of this Zoning Ordinance under which the appeal is made, and reasons why it should be granted, or a statement of the section of this Zoning Ordinance governing the situation in which the alleged erroneous ruling is being appealed, and the reasons for this appeal; and
(f) 
A reasonably accurate description of the present improvements, and the additions or changes intended to be made under this application, indicating the size of such proposed improvements, material and general construction thereof. In addition, there shall be attached a plot plan of the real property to be affected, indicating the location and size of the lot and size of improvements thereof and proposed to be erected thereon.
[Ord. 27-1986, 87, passed 10-27-1986]
The Zoning Hearing Board shall hear and decide appeals in accordance with Section 1307.03 where it is alleged there is error in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by the Zoning Officer in the enforcement of this Zoning Code.
[Ord. 27-1986, 87, passed 10-27-1986]
The Zoning Hearing Board shall: hear and decide only such special exceptions as such Board is specifically authorized to pass on by the terms of this Zoning Code; decide such questions as are involved in determining whether special exceptions should be granted; and grant special exceptions with such conditions and safeguards as are appropriate under this Code, or deny a special exception when it is not in harmony with the purpose and intent of this Code. A special exception shall not be granted by the Board unless:
(a) 
A written application for a special exception is submitted by any landowner or tenant with the permission of the landowner indicating the section of this Code under which the special exception is sought and stating the grounds on which it is requested.
(b) 
Notice shall be given at least 14 days and no more than 30 days in advance of public hearing. The owner of the property for which a special exception is sought and the City Planning Committee shall be notified by mail. Notice of such hearings shall be given in a newspaper of general circulation in the City. The news article shall be published once each week for at least two successive weeks.
In addition, a notice shall be mailed to the owner or occupant of every lot adjoining the property which is the subject of the hearing and to at least 25% of the owners or occupants of lots within 300 feet of the property in question if along the same street and within 100 feet if not along the same street. Further, notice of such hearing shall be conspicuously posted on the affected tract of land. Failure to give notice by mail shall not invalidate any action taken by the Board.
(c) 
A public hearing is held. Any party may appear in person or by agent or attorney.
(d) 
The Board makes a finding that it is empowered to grant a special exception under the section of this Code described in the application for special exception and that the granting of the special exception will not adversely affect the public interest.
(e) 
Before any special exception is issued, the Board shall make written findings certifying compliance with the specific rules governing individual special exception and that satisfactory provision and arrangement has been made concerning the following, where applicable:
(1) 
Ingress and egress to property and proposed structures thereon with particular reference to automotive and pedestrian safety and conveniences, traffic flow and control and access in case of fire or catastrophe;
(2) 
Off-street parking and loading areas where required, with particular attention to the items in subsection (e)(1) hereof and the economic effect, noise, glare or odor resulting from the special exception on adjoining properties generally in the district;
(3) 
Refuse and service areas, with particular reference to the items in subsection (e)(1) and (2) hereof;
(4) 
Utilities, with reference to locations, availability and compatibility;
(5) 
Screening and buffering with reference to type, dimensions and character;
(6) 
Signs, if any, and proposed exterior lighting with reference to glare, traffic safety, economic effect and compatibility and harmony with properties in the district;
(7) 
Required yards and other open space; and
(8) 
General compatibility with adjacent properties and other properties in the district.
[Ord. 27-1986, 87, passed 10-27-1986]
The Zoning Hearing Board shall authorize upon appeal in specific cases such variance from the terms of this Zoning Code as will not be contrary to the public interest where, owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of this Code would result in unnecessary hardship. A variance from the terms of this Code shall not be granted by the Board unless:
(a) 
A written application for a variance is submitted by a landowner or a tenant with the landowner's permission demonstrating that:
(1) 
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 the Zoning Code in the neighborhood or district in which the property is located;
(2) 
Because of such physical circumstances or conditions, there is no possibility that the property can be developed in strict conformity with the provisions of the Zoning Code and that the authorization of a variance is therefore necessary to enable the reasonable use of the property;
(3) 
Such unnecessary hardship has not been created by the appellant;
(4) 
The variance, if authorized, will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood or district in which the property is located, nor substantially or permanently impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent property, nor be detrimental to the public welfare; and
(5) 
The variance, if authorized, will represent the minimum variance that will afford relief and will represent the least modification possible of the regulation in issue.
In granting any variance, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of this Zoning Code and any amendment thereto.
(b) 
Notice of public hearing shall be given as provided in Section 1307.07(b).
(c) 
A public hearing is held. Any party may appear in person, by agent or by attorney.
(d) 
The Board makes a finding that the requirements of subsection (a) hereof have been met by the applicant for a variance.
(e) 
The Board makes a finding that the reasons set forth in the application justify the granting of the variance that will make possible the reasonable use of the land, building or structure.
(f) 
The Board makes a finding that the granting of a variance will be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this Code and will not be injurious to the neighborhood or otherwise detrimental to the public welfare.
In granting any variance, the Board may prescribe appropriate conditions and safeguard in conformity with this Code. Violation of such conditions and safeguards, when made a part of the terms under which the variance is granted, shall be deemed a violation of this Code and punishable under Section 1305.99.
Unless otherwise specified by the Zoning Hearing Board of Appeals, a special exception or variance shall expire if the applicant fails to obtain a zoning permit or comply with conditions of the special exception or variance within one year from the date of authorization thereof.
[Ord. 27-1986, 87, passed 10-27-1986]
(a) 
In exercising its powers, the Zoning Hearing Board may, as long as such action is in conformity with the terms of this Zoning Code, reverse or affirm, wholly or in part, or may modify the order, requirement, decision or determination as necessary, and to that purpose shall have the powers of the Zoning Officer from whom the appeal is taken.
(b) 
A majority of the quorum of the Board shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement, decision or determination of the Officer, or to decide in favor of the applicant on any matter upon which it is required to pass in this Code, or to effect any variance in the application of this Code.
[Ord. 27-1986, 87, passed 10-27-1986]
Any person or persons, board or bureau of the City aggrieved by any decision of the Zoning Hearing Board may, within 30 days of the decision by the Zoning Hearing Board, seek review of such decision by a Court of Record, in the manner provided by the laws of the Commonwealth and particularly by Article 10 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
[Ord. 27-1986, 87, passed 10-27-1986]
(a) 
It is the intent of this Zoning Code that all questions of interpretation and enforcement shall be first presented to the Zoning Officer, and that such questions shall be presented to the Zoning Hearing Board only on appeal from the decision of the Officer, and that recourse from the decisions of the Board shall be to the courts as provided by law and particularly by Article 10 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
(b) 
It is further the intent of this Code that the duties of the Mayor and Council in connection with this Code shall not include hearing and deciding questions of interpretation and enforcement that may arise. The procedure for deciding such questions shall be as stated in this article and Code. Under this Code the Mayor and Council shall have only the duties of: considering and adopting or rejecting proposed amendments or the repeal of this Code or any section thereof, as provided by law; establishing a schedule of fees and charges as stated in Section 1309.01; and those duties specifically noted in other articles of this Code.