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Township of Plainfield, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.1]
This is a chapter providing for the regulation and control of the subdivision of lots and the development of land; the approval of plans, plots, or replots of land laid out in building lots; standards for the design of streets, lots, easements, blocks and other improvements; certain minimum improvements and construction standards on all streets and required dedications; the administration of this Chapter by the Plainfield Township Planning Commission and the Plainfield Township Board of Supervisors; and, penalties for the violation of this Chapter pursuant to the authority set forth in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as amended (hereinafter referred to as the "MPC"), 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.2]
This Chapter shall be known, and may be cited as, the "Plainfield Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance."
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.3]
1. 
The purpose of this Chapter is to create conditions favorable to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the citizens of Plainfield Township by:
A. 
Ensuring sites suitable for building purposes and human habitation.
B. 
Providing for the harmonious development of the Township.
C. 
Securing adequate sites for recreation, conservation, historic, scenic and other open space purposes.
D. 
Providing for proper distribution of population.
E. 
Facilitating the efficient movement of traffic.
F. 
Encouraging well-planned subdivisions by establishing adequate standards for design and improvement.
G. 
Improving land records by establishing standards for surveys and plans.
H. 
Safeguarding the interests of the public, the homeowner, and the subdivider.
I. 
Securing the equitable handling of all subdivision and land development plans by providing uniform procedures and standards.
J. 
Providing for the submittal and processing of plats and specifications for such plats, including provisions for preliminary and final approval and for processing of final approval by stages or sections of development.
K. 
Providing regulations for insuring that the layout or arrangement of the subdivision or land development conforms to the Comprehensive Plan and to regulations or maps adopted in furtherance thereof; streets in and bordering a subdivision or land development shall be coordinated, and be of such width and grades and in such locations as deemed necessary to accommodate prospective traffic, and facilitate fire protection; adequate easements or rights-of-way shall be provided for drainage and utilities; reservations, if any, by the developer of any area designated for use as public grounds shall be of suitable size and location for their designated uses; and land which is subject to flooding, subsidence, or underground fires shall be made safe for the purpose for which such land is proposed to be used or such land shall be set aside for uses which shall not endanger life or property or further aggravate or increase the existing menace.
L. 
Providing regulations governing the standards by which streets shall be graded and improved and walkways, curbs, gutters, streetlights, fire hydrants, water and sewerage facilities and other improvements shall be installed as a condition precedent to final approval of plats.
M. 
Providing regulations which take into account land development not intended for the immediate erection of buildings where streets, curbs, gutters, streetlights, fire hydrants, water and sewer facilities and other improvements may not be possible to install as a condition precedent to final approval of plats, but where final approval may be given after the developer provides the Township with acceptable financial performance security in an amount sufficient to cover the costs of all required improvements for the phase of the proposed development which is under consideration for final approval.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.4]
1. 
No subdivision or land development of any lot, tract, or parcel of land shall be made, no street, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, water main or other improvements in connection therewith shall be laid out, constructed, opened, or dedicated for public use or travel or for the common use of occupants of buildings abutting thereon, except in accordance with this Chapter.
2. 
No lot in a proposed subdivision or land development may be sold, and no final permit to erect any building upon land in a subdivision or land development may be issued unless and until:
A. 
A final plan has been approved and recorded.
B. 
Either:
(1) 
The Township has been assured by means of a development agreement or agreements acceptable to the Board of Supervisors that the improvements will subsequently be installed.
(2) 
The required improvements in connection therewith have been constructed.
(3) 
The regulations of this Chapter shall apply to any subdivision or land development.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.5]
1. 
Approved Subdivisions.
A. 
From the time a complete application for approval of a plat, whether preliminary or final, has been approved or approved subject to conditions acceptable to the applicant, no subsequent change or amendment in the zoning, subdivision or other governing ordinance or plan shall be applied to adversely affect the right of the applicant to commence and to complete any aspect of the approved development in accordance with the terms of such approval within five years from such approval.
B. 
If final plan approval is preceded by preliminary plan approval, the five-year period shall be counted from the date of the preliminary plan approval.
2. 
Condominiums. The creation of a condominium out of an entire lot, parcel or tract of real estate, pursuant to the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act, 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 3101 et seq., shall not, in and of itself, constitute a subdivision or land development.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.6]
1. 
Standards.
A. 
The provisions of this Chapter shall be interpreted and applied as minimum requirements for the promotion of the public health, safety, comfort, convenience and general welfare.
B. 
Where provisions, standards, and specifications of this Chapter conflict with those of any state statute, other ordinance or regulation, the greater restriction shall be controlling regardless of its source, unless specified to the contrary.
2. 
Illustrations. The illustrations in this Chapter are not a part of this Chapter, but are included for purposes of explanation and clarification.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.7]
1. 
The Board of Supervisors or the Planning Commission, in the case of a minor subdivision or resubdivision, may grant a modification of the requirements of one or more provisions of this Chapter if the literal enforcement would result in undue hardship because of peculiar conditions pertaining to the land in question; provided, that such modifications will not be contrary to the public interest and that the purpose and intent of the chapter is observed.
2. 
All requests for a modification shall be in writing and shall be a part of the application for development. The request shall state in full the grounds and facts of unreasonableness or hardship on which the request is based, the provision or provisions of the chapter involved and the minimum modification necessary.
3. 
The Board of Supervisors may refer requests to the Planning Commission for advisory comments.
4. 
A written record of actions on all requests shall be kept by the Board of Supervisors or the Planning Commission as the case may be.
5. 
A notation of any waiver or modification of the requirements of this Chapter granted to an application shall be placed on the recorded plan.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.8]
1. 
A fee schedule for all proposed subdivision and land developments shall be established by resolution of the Board of Supervisors. Such schedule may be amended from time to time by future resolutions.
2. 
In addition to the filing fee, actual legal, engineering, and other costs and expenses incurred by the Township, in connection with the review and processing of a subdivision or any proposed land development, shall be reimbursed to the Township by the subdivider or developer.
3. 
No final plan shall be approved unless all fees and charges have been paid in full.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.9]
1. 
Revised Plans.
A. 
Until a submission is approved or rejected by the Board of Supervisors, the applicant may withdraw the submission (or a part thereof) and submit a revised plan following the submission and review procedures which apply to that plan.
B. 
No submission fee shall be charged for any revised plan; provided, that the revised plan submission generally follows the scheme and layout of the original submission, or the revised plan is being submitted in order to comply with conditions and recommendations suggested or imposed by the Township reviewing body.
C. 
Any revised plan (and any subsequent revised plan) which is significantly different as determined by the Planning Commission upon advice by the Township Engineer from the original plan submission with respect to, among other things, lot layouts, street layouts, etc., and which revised plan is not being submitted in order to comply with conditions and recommendations suggested or imposed by the Township reviewing body, shall be considered a new plan submission requiring the payment of a new submission fee.
2. 
Alternate Plan. If the applicant submits a plan for the subdivision or development of the same lands which are the subject of a pending submission, the newly submitted plan shall be considered an alternate plan for which a new submission fee shall be required.
3. 
Resubdivision. The revision of a recorded or final subdivision or land development plan approved by the Board of Supervisors which involves only a change in lot lines shall not be considered a new subdivision, but rather, shall be deemed a resubdivision. Any replatting of land on an approved and/or recorded final subdivision or land development plan resulting in the creation of new lots, the creation of any new streets, any extensions or improvements to an existing street, or any changes to or extensions of public facilities, shall be considered a new subdivision or land development plan which shall be subject to the requirements of this Chapter.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.10]
The Township Planning Commission and the Township Board of Supervisors shall keep a record of their findings, decisions, and/or recommendations relative to all subdivision or land development plans filed for review. Such records shall be made available to the public for review.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.11]
1. 
The regulations set forth in this Chapter may, from time to time, be amended by the Board of Supervisors by ordinance.
2. 
A public hearing held pursuant to public notice on the proposed amendment shall be held by the Board of Supervisors.
3. 
The Board of Supervisors shall submit each proposed amendment (other than an amendment prepared by the Planning Commission) to the Planning Commission for recommendations at least 30 days prior to the date set for the public hearing on such proposed amendment.
4. 
The Board of Supervisors shall submit any proposed amendment to the Joint Planning Commission of Lehigh-Northampton Counties. The proposed action shall not be taken until the Joint Planning Commission recommendation is made or until 30 days have elapsed, whichever occurs first.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.12]
A decision of the Board of Supervisors, or the Planning Commission, in the case of a minor subdivision or resubdivision, may be appealed in accordance with the applicable provisions of the MPC.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.13]
1. 
The Board of Supervisors shall appoint one or more inspectors or agents to enforce the provisions of this Chapter and the accompanying design standards and improvement specifications required under this Chapter.
2. 
Review of actual construction under any approved subdivision or land development plan to determine compliance with this Chapter, and any conditions of approval for any such plan, shall be undertaken solely by the Township.
3. 
Any action inconsistent with the provisions of this Chapter shall be subject to a cease-and-desist order and other appropriate measures by the Board of Supervisors.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.14; as amended by A.O.]
1. 
Violations.
A. 
Any person, being the owner or agent of any lot, tract, or parcel of land, who:
(1) 
Lays out, constructs, opens, or dedicates any street, sanitary or storm sewer, water main, or other improvement for public use, travel, or other purposes or for the common use of occupants of buildings abutting thereon.
(2) 
Sells, transfers, or agrees or enters into an agreement to sell any land in a subdivision or land development (whether by reference to or by other use of a plat of such subdivision or land development).
(3) 
Erects any building thereon before a final plat has been prepared and recorded in full compliance with the provisions of this Chapter shall be subject to legal action provided under 53 P.S. §§ 10515.1, 10515.2 and 10515.3 of the Municipalities Planning Code, as amended.
B. 
The description by metes and bounds in the instrument of transfer, or other document used in the process of selling or transferring shall not exempt the seller or transferor from such penalties or from the remedies herein provided.
C. 
Any person, partnership or corporation who or which has violated the provisions of any subdivision or land development ordinance enacted under this act or prior enabling laws shall, upon being found liable therefore in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by a municipality, pay a judgment of not more than $500 plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the municipality as a result thereof. No judgment shall commence or be imposed, levied or payable until the date of a determination of a violation by the magisterial district judge.
(1) 
If a defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the municipality may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable Rules of Civil Procedure.
(2) 
Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation, unless the District Justice 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 determination of a violation by the District Justice, and thereafter each day that the violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.
(3) 
Fines collected for any such violation shall be paid to Plainfield Township.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.15]
Neither the approval nor the granting of any building permit, floodplain permit, site plan review, subdivision approval, land development approval, zoning permit, erosion review, stormwater runoff review, steep slope review or any other review or permit of this Chapter, involving any land governed by the provisions of this Chapter, by an officer, employee or agency of the Township, shall constitute a representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind by the Township, or its employees, officials or agencies, of the practicality or safety of any structure, use or subdivision, and shall create no liability upon, nor a cause of action against such public body, official nor employee for any damage that may result pursuant thereto.
[Ord. 3/6/1991, § 1.16; as amended by A.O.]
All plans shall comply with applicable state professional certification laws, including the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law, 3 P.S. § 148 et seq. All preliminary and final plans for a subdivision or land development and all stormwater calculations shall be certified, signed and stamped by a registered professional engineer. All subdivisions of land shall be certified, signed and stamped by a registered surveyor.