Borough of Fox Chapel, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The Board of Adjustment of Fox Chapel Borough is hereby redesignated the Zoning Hearing Board, and the members of the Board of Adjustment shall serve out their respective terms as members of the Zoning Hearing Board.
[Amended 9-19-1989 by Ord. No. 500]
A. 
The membership of the Zoning Hearing Board shall consist of three residents of Fox Chapel Borough appointed by resolution by Borough Council. Their terms of office shall be three years and shall be so fixed that the term of one member shall expire each year. The Board shall promptly notify Borough Council 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 Fox Chapel Borough, nor shall any member be an employee of the municipality.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
B. 
Council may appoint by resolution at least one but no more than three residents of the Borough to serve as alternate members of the Board. The term of office for an alternate member shall be three years. When seated pursuant to the provisions of § 400-41C below, 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 powers and duties set forth in this Part 1, the Planning Code and as otherwise provided by law. Alternates shall hold no other office in the Borough, including membership on the Planning Commission or 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 unless designated as a voting alternate member pursuant to § 400-41C below.
C. 
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 designated to sit on 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-to-case basis in rotation according to declining seniority among all alternates.
[Amended 9-19-1989 by Ord. No. 500]
The Zoning Hearing Board shall perform the following functions in accordance with Article IX of the Planning Code and shall hear and render final adjudications in the following matters:
A. 
Substantive challenges to the validity of any land use ordinance, except those properly brought before Council.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original Section 103 subsection 2, concerning challenges on procedural questions or alleged defects, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
B. 
Appeals from the determination of the Zoning Officer, including, but not limited to, the granting or denial of any permit or failure to act on the application therefor, the issuance of any cease and desist order or the registration or refusal to register any nonconforming use, structure or lot.
C. 
Appeals from a determination by the Borough Engineer or the Zoning Officer with reference to the administration of any floodplain or flood hazard ordinance or such provisions within a land use ordinance.
D. 
Applications for variances from the terms of the Zoning Ordinance in this part or any flood hazard ordinance or such provisions within a land use ordinance.
E. 
Applications for special exceptions under this Zoning Ordinance or any floodplain or flood hazard ordinance or such provisions within a land use ordinance. In granting a special exception, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed in this Part 1, as it may deem necessary to implement the purpose of the Planning Code and this Zoning Ordinance.
F. 
Appeals from the determination of any officer or agency charged with the administration of any performance density provisions of this Zoning Ordinance.
G. 
Appeals from the Zoning Officer's determination under Section 916.2 of the Planning Code.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10916.2.
H. 
Appeals from the determination of the Zoning Officer or Borough Engineer in the administration of any land use ordinance or provision thereof with reference to sedimentation and erosion control and stormwater management insofar as the same relate to development not involving subdivision or planned residential developments.
I. 
Requests for variances where it is alleged that the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance 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 Board may grant a variance, provided that all of the following findings are made where relevant in a given case:
(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 this Zoning Ordinance 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 Zoning Ordinance 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, not substantially or permanently impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent property, nor be detrimental to the public welfare;
(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; and
(6) 
In granting any variance, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of the Planning Code and the Zoning Ordinance.
[Amended 3-20-1978 by Ord. No. 389; 9-19-1989 by Ord. No. 500]
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 the members of the Board, but the Board may appoint a hearing officer from its own membership to conduct any hearings on its own behalf, and the parties may waive further action by the Board as provided by law. The Board shall adopt rules consistent with this Part 1 and the Planning Code. Such rules shall include, but not be limited to, the manner of filing appeals, the manner of filing applications for special exceptions and variances, and the manner of giving notice of public hearings. The Borough Manager or his representative shall serve as Secretary to the Zoning Hearing Board. The 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 Council as requested by Council.
Appeals to the Zoning Hearing Board may be taken by any person aggrieved or by an officer of the Borough affected by any decision of the Zoning Officer. Such appeal shall be taken within such period as is provided for by the rules of the Board by filing with the Zoning Officer and with the Board a notice of appeal specifying the grounds thereof. The Zoning Officer shall then forthwith transmit to the Board all the papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken.
[Amended 3-20-1978 by Ord. No. 389]
Meetings of the Zoning Hearing Board shall be held at the call of the Chairman and at such other times as the Board may determine. All meetings of the Board shall be open to the public. The Board shall keep minutes of its proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon each question or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact, and shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions, all of which shall be immediately filed in the office of the Board and shall be a public record. Upon the filing with the Board of an appeal, a request for interpretations or findings of fact concerning any contested ordinance or map, or of an application for a special exception or variance, the Board shall fix a time and place for a public hearing and shall, in the manner prescribed by its rules and the Planning Code, give public notice thereof, as well as due notice to the parties in interest, who shall include those persons whose properties adjoin the property in question. Any party may appear at a public hearing in person or by agent authorized in writing or by an attorney. The Chairman or Acting Chairman of the Board or the hearing officer presiding shall have power to administer oaths and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant documents and papers, including witnesses and documents requested by the parties. The Board or the 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 from the date of the completion of the hearing. The applicant shall be promptly notified of said decision or findings as provided by law.
[Amended 9-19-1989 by Ord. No. 500]
Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Zoning Hearing Board or any officer or agency of Fox Chapel Borough may, within 30 days after issuance of notice of the decision or report of the Board, file a zoning appeal with the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County (Civil Division) in the manner prescribed by Article X-A of the Planning Code.