Borough of Adamstown, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Terms of office. Pursuant to Article IX of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as amended, the Borough Council does hereby create a Zoning Hearing Board. The membership of the Board shall consist of three residents of the municipality appointed by the Borough Council. The terms of office of the three-member board shall be three years and shall be so fixed that the term of office of one of the members shall expire each year. The Zoning Hearing Board shall promptly notify the Borough Council of any vacancies which occur. Vacancies shall be filled by resolution of the Borough Council and shall be only for the unexpired term of the member affected. Members of the Zoning Hearing Board shall hold no other office in the municipality.
B. 
Alternate members. The Borough Council may appoint by resolution at least one but no more than three residents of the municipality to serve as alternate members of the Zoning Hearing Board. The term of office of an alternate member shall be three years. When seated in accordance with § 320-103 pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, 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 Zoning Hearing 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 otherwise provided by law. Alternates shall hold no other office in the municipality, 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 § 320-104 unless designated as a voting alternate member of the Zoning Hearing Board pursuant to § 320-103 of this chapter.
C. 
Removal of members. Any member of the Zoning Hearing Board may be removed for malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in office or for other just cause by a majority vote of the Borough Council, 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.
A. 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall elect from its own membership its officers, who shall serve annual terms and as such may succeed themselves. For the conduct of any hearing and the taking of any action, a quorum shall not be less than a majority of all the 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 of the Board as provided in § 320-105 of this chapter.
B. 
If by reason of absence or disqualification of a member a quorum is not reached, the Chairman of the Board shall designate as many alternate members of the Board to sit on the Board as may be needed to provide a quorum. Any alternate member of the Board shall continue to serve on the Board in all proceedings involving the matter or case for which the alternate was initially appointed until the Board has made a final determination of the matter or case. Designation of an alternate pursuant to this section shall be made on a case-by-case basis in rotation according to declining seniority among all alternates.
C. 
The Zoning Hearing Board may make, alter and rescind rules and forms for its procedure, consistent with ordinances of the Borough and laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Zoning Hearing Board shall keep full public records of its business, which records shall be the property of the Borough, and shall submit a report of its activities to the Borough Council as requested by the Borough Council.
Within the limits of funds appropriated by the Borough Council, the Zoning Hearing Board may employ or contract for secretaries, clerks, legal counsel, consultants and other technical and clerical services. Members of the Zoning Hearing Board may receive compensation for the performance of their duties, as may be fixed by the Borough Council, but in no case shall it exceed the rate of compensation authorized to be paid to the members of the Borough Council. Alternate members of the Board may receive compensation, as may be fixed by the Borough Council, for the performance of their duties when designated as alternate members pursuant to § 320-103, but in no case shall such compensation exceed the rate of compensation authorized to be paid to the members of the Borough Council.
[Amended 4-3-2012 by Ord. No. 365]
The Zoning Hearing Board shall conduct hearings and make decisions in accordance with the provisions of the MPC.
A. 
Referral to Adamstown Borough Planning Commission. Applications before the Zoning Hearing Board shall be referred to the Adamstown Borough Planning Commission at least 30 days prior to the hearing on such application, to provide the Planning Commission an opportunity to submit recommendations.
B. 
Planning Commission review. Within 30 days of the Borough Planning Commission's receipt of an application, the Borough Planning Commission shall review said application together with all supporting information and forward its written recommendations to the Zoning Hearing Board. In its review, the Planning Commission shall take into consideration the public health, safety and welfare, the comfort and convenience of the public in general and of the residents of the immediate neighborhood in particular, and may recommend appropriate conditions and safeguards as may be required in order that the result of its action may, to the maximum extent possible, further the expressed intent of this chapter and the Borough's Comprehensive Plan. The Commission may recommend approval, disapproval or modification. In the case of disapproval or modification, the Commission shall set forth the reasons for the recommendation in writing, and a representative of the Planning Commission shall attend the Zoning Hearing to present the position of the Planning Commission.
A. 
Zoning Hearing Board's jurisdiction. The Zoning Hearing Board shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and render final adjudications as delineated in the MPC.
B. 
Borough Council's jurisdiction. The Borough Council shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and render final adjudications as delineated in the MPC.
A. 
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 Board may by rule prescribe the form of application and may require preliminary 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:
(1) 
That 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;
(2) 
That 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 the reasonable use of the property;
(3) 
That such unnecessary hardship has not been created by the appellant;
(4) 
That 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) 
That 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.
B. 
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 and the Municipalities Planning Code.
The Zoning Hearing Board shall hear and decide requests for special exceptions in accordance with the standards and criteria set forth in this chapter. In granting a special exception, the Zoning Hearing Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed in this chapter, as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter and of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
The Borough Council shall hear and decide petitions for conditional uses specifically authorized in this chapter. Decisions to grant or deny the petition shall be subject to the following.
A. 
General criteria.
(1) 
The proposed use shall be consistent with the purpose and intent of the chapter and shall be a use specifically permitted as a conditional use;
(2) 
The proposed use shall comply with those criteria specifically listed in Article VII of this chapter. In addition, the proposed use must comply with all other applicable regulations of the chapter.
(3) 
Conditional use applications for uses in the Mixed Use (MU) District shall also be subject to the requirements of § 320-19D of this chapter.
B. 
Conditional use application. A conditional use application must include all the plan requirements listed in § 320-57 of this chapter.
C. 
Conditions. The Borough Council in approving conditional use applications may attach reasonable conditions considered necessary to protect the public welfare and the purposes listed above, including conditions which are more restrictive than those established for other uses in the same zone. These conditions shall be enforceable by the Zoning Officer and failure to comply with such conditions shall constitute a violation of this chapter and be subject to the penalties described in this chapter.
D. 
Hearing procedures. Hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the MPC.
A. 
The granting or approval of a special exception or variance by the Zoning Hearing Board or a conditional use by the Borough Council shall be valid only for the petitioner and the property specified in the petition. Alterations or changes to the use or building authorized by the Zoning Hearing Board, or the Borough Council in the case of a conditional use, shall require reapplication to the Board (or to the Borough Council in the case of a conditional use). If a special exception, variance or conditional use is granted, the necessary permit shall be secured within one year after the date when such approval is finally granted, provided that, if the necessary permit is not secured within the aforesaid time period due to reasons beyond the applicant's control (such as ongoing appeals), failure of governmental bodies other than the Borough to issue permits which are a condition precedent to the issuance of the permit, or the failure of the Borough or its agencies to proceed diligently and in good faith in the consideration of the permit application, the one-year period shall not apply. The Board, or the Borough Council in the case of a conditional use, upon written application for and reasonable cause shown, may extend the approval for an additional period of one year. If the special exception, variance or conditional use has not been implemented within the required time period, including approved extensions thereof, from the date of the Zoning Hearing Board (or the Borough Council in the case of a conditional use) approval, said approval shall expire and become null and void.
B. 
The Zoning Hearing Board may revoke approval of a variance or special exception, and the Borough Council may revoke approval of a conditional use, where:
(1) 
The petitioner repeatedly violates conditions or safeguards specified in the Zoning Hearing Board's (or Borough Council's) decision; or
(2) 
The petitioner initiates use or construction contrary to the Zoning Hearing Board's (or Borough Council's) decision; or
(3) 
The petitioner is found to have misrepresented or falsified information pertinent to the Zoning Hearing Board's (or Borough Council's) decision; or
(4) 
The Zoning Hearing Board's (or Borough Council's) decision was in error, and the revocation is instituted within 30 days of the original decision or prior to substantial reliance thereon by the petitioner.
C. 
Violation of the conditions or safeguards for a use or construction contrary to that specified by the Zoning Hearing Board's (or Borough Council's) decision shall be deemed a violation of this chapter, punishable under Article XIII of this chapter. Revocation of the Zoning Hearing Board's (or Borough Council's) approval shall not preclude the Zoning Officer from instituting civil enforcement procedures or the Borough from proceeding in a court of law or equity to prevent or remedy violations of this chapter.
Appeals may be filed in accordance with the procedures defined in the MPC.