City of Easton, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Zoning Code purpose. This Zoning Code is for regulating and restricting the height, number of stories and size of buildings and other structures, their construction, alteration, extension, repair, maintenance, replacement or removal, their density of occupancy, all facilities in or about them, their location and use, the use of them or of land for trade, industry, residence or other purposes, the percentage of lot they may occupy and the size of yards, courts and other open spaces, the establishment, maintenance or setting back of building lines upon the streets, protection and preservation of natural resources; for creating zoning districts for such purposes and establishing boundaries thereof; for establishing classes of buildings, other structures and land for such purposes; for defining certain terms used herein; and for providing for administration and amendment and for the Zoning Hearing Board; and for the imposition of penalties for violations thereof.
B. 
Short title. This chapter shall be known as and may be cited as the "Easton Zoning Code."
C. 
Zoning and block class maps incorporated; citation.
(1) 
The accompanying zoning district map is hereby declared to be part of this chapter and shall be known as and may be cited as the "Official Zoning Map" and the "Official Map of the City of Easton."[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The Official Zoning Map is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(2) 
The accompanying block class map is hereby declared to be part of this chapter and shall be known as and may be cited as the "Official Block Class Map."[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: The Official Block Class Map is included as an attachment to this chapter.
D. 
Severability and validity. If any section, subsection, provision, regulation, sentence, clause, phrase or word in this chapter or the zoning district boundaries as shown on the Zoning Map shall be for any reason declared to be illegal, unconstitutional or invalid by any Court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect or impair the validity of the remaining provisions of this chapter or the Zoning Map.
E. 
Council intention upon declaration of invalidity. Council hereby declares that it would have adopted this chapter and each section, subsection, provision, regulation, sentence, clause, phrase and word thereof and each zoning district boundary of the Zoning Map, irrespective of the fact that any one or more of the sections, subsections, provisions, regulations, sentences, clauses, phrases, words or boundaries may be declared illegal, unconstitutional or invalid.
A. 
Enumerated purposes of Zoning Code adoption. This Zoning Code is adopted pursuant to the provisions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code[1]; is made in accordance with the Official Comprehensive Development Plan of the City, hereinafter referred to as the Comprehensive Plan; and is intended to be interpreted and applied so as to be consistent with Traditional Neighborhood Development, City of Easton Code; Chapter 318, Historic Preservation; and the City of Easton Building Code. It is adopted for the following purposes:
(1) 
The promotion and protection of the public health, safety, morals, comfort, convenience and the general welfare of the people.
(2) 
The division of the City into districts, restricting and regulating therein the location, construction, reconstruction, alteration, intensity, use and form of buildings, structures and land for commercial, industrial, recreational, residential and other specified uses.
(3) 
The protection of the established character and maintenance of the stability of commercial, industrial, recreational and residential areas within the City and the promotion of orderly growth and beneficial development and redevelopment of such areas so that, even after the granting of permits by the Planning Commission and the granting of area variances and special exceptions by the Zoning Hearing Board, as herein provided, the character and stability of such areas will be preserved and protected from incompatible land use.
(4) 
The provision of adequate light, air, privacy and convenience of access to property.
(5) 
The provision of water, sewerage, schools, recreational facilities, public grounds, access to incident solar energy, police protection and a safe, reliable and adequate water supply for domestic, commercial or industrial use.
(6) 
The accommodation of reasonable overall community growth, including population and employment growth, and opportunities for development of a variety of residential dwelling types and nonresidential uses.
(7) 
The preservation of the City's natural and scenic values, the preservation of the City's historic resources and landmarks, and the preservation of environmentally sensitive lands, including forests, woodlands, wetlands, aquifers, steep slopes, waterways, and floodplains.
(8) 
The prevention of congestion in the public streets and the protection of the health, safety, convenience and general welfare by providing for off-street parking of motor vehicles and for the loading and unloading of commercial vehicles.
(9) 
The protection and extension of the City's traditional street grid for reasons of public safety, walkability, enhanced vehicular access and connectivity, and the preservation of the City's historic character.
(10) 
The prevention of overcrowding of land and undue concentration of structures by regulation of the size, height, bulk, location and use of buildings and structures in relation to the surrounding land.
(11) 
The protection against fire, explosion, noxious fumes and other hazards in the interest of public health, safety, comfort and general welfare.
(12) 
The conservation of taxable value of land and buildings throughout the City.
(13) 
The promotion in the public interest of the utilization of land for the purpose for which it is most appropriate.
(14) 
The definition of and limitations on the powers and duties of the administrative offices and bodies provided in this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
B. 
Statement of community development objectives; district purposes. Easton's community development objectives are encompassed in the City's Comprehensive Plan as adopted by resolution of Council in 2015.
(1) 
The College Hill District's purpose is to protect the character of this unique hillside neighborhood adjoining Lafayette College, accommodating a mix of housing types and development intensities, neighborhood retail and commercial services, green space, and appropriate infill.
(2) 
The College Hill/Institutional-1 Transitional Zone District's purpose is to provide for a mix of residential and nonresidential uses and development that will enhance the transition from Lafayette College campus to the College Hill community. Uses would allow students, staff, faculty, residents, and visitors to live, shop, dine and receive their wellness needs. The district encourages mixed-use buildings and alternative modes of transportation such as walking and biking, with an emphasis on promoting safe and attractive pedestrian-oriented landscapes as well as a reduction in the need for impervious surfaces for parking.
(3) 
The South Side District's purpose is to enhance the character of this neighborhood by accommodating a mix of housing types and development intensities, green space, local and regional commercial, retail, and appropriate infill and redevelopment and infill that maintains or extends the existing network of streets and alleys.
(4) 
The West Ward District's purpose is to protect and enhance the character of this existing neighborhood located on a similar topographic plane as the Downtown by accommodating a mix of housing types and development intensities, green space, neighborhood retail and commercial services, and appropriate infill and redevelopment that maintains or extends the existing network of streets and alleys.
(5) 
The West Ward/Institutional-2 Transitional Zone Districts purpose is to provide a mix of uses and development that will enhance the transition from the Northampton County Government institutional campus to the West Ward Neighborhood. Existing and new uses would allow county staff, legal businesses and agencies, associated and ancillary businesses and neighborhood residents to live, work, receive personal and professional services, and dine. The district encourages a variety of uses and mixed-use building styles and both vehicle and alternative modes of transportation.
(6) 
The River Corridors and Other Green Areas District's purpose is to accommodate appropriate development while providing for adequate protection and buffering of the City's waterways and other natural resources; assist in flood management; protection of environmentally sensitive areas; and meet the need for local and regional greenways, open space, and recreation within the City.
(7) 
The Institutional-1 District's purpose is to accommodate the orderly development of educational campuses providing four-year or higher degree programs, such as Lafayette College.
(8) 
The Institutional-2 District's purpose is to accommodate the orderly development needed to meet the institutional needs of Northampton County.
(9) 
The Downtown District's purpose is to provide the highest intensity of development within the core of the City of Easton, while preserving the City's historic resources and context; to promote a mix of regional commercial and office space, with residential opportunity and neighborhood services; and to support mass transit and transit-oriented development.
(10) 
The Business and Entertainment District's purpose is to encourage active uses and storefronts that enhance Easton's Downtown as a place to visit, do business, and stay for evening dining and entertainment.
(11) 
The Adaptive Reuse District's purpose is to promote the redevelopment and revitalization of underutilized and underperforming areas of the City with residential, institutional, and commercial uses and industrial development in an environmentally sensitive manner.
(12) 
The Expressway Transitional District's purpose is to accommodate industrial, commercial, mixed and advertising uses in areas adjacent to multilane, controlled-access roads, to promote better safety and welfare within the City of Easton. These areas have traditionally been geared toward industry and commerce, with a minimal residential base. As such, the Expressway Transitional (ET) District is ideal for uses which are incompatible with residential areas.
(13) 
The Street Corridor Enhancement Overlay District's purpose is to accommodate medium- and high-intensity development at the gateways to the City and along the principal vehicular and pedestrian corridors, and to promote compact, walkable, mixed-use buildings with local and regional commercial services, compatibly scaled light industrial, and residential uses.
(14) 
The Innovation Overlay District's purpose is to protect the existing residential neighborhood while accommodating the expansion and enhancement of compatible light industrial and commercial opportunities that meet rigorous design standards and review.
C. 
Interpretation of provisions. In interpreting and applying the provisions of this chapter, they shall be held to be the minimum requirements for the promotion of the health, safety, morals and the general welfare of the City of Easton. The provisions of any statute, other sections of this chapter, law, rule or regulation which impose greater restrictions than this chapter shall be controlling. Conversely, the provisions of this chapter shall be controlling when such provisions impose greater restrictions than those of any other statute, other chapters of this Code, law, rule or regulations.
A. 
Amendments authorized. Whenever justified or deemed desirable and to meet the public needs, promote the public health and safety, morals or the general welfare of the City and in conformity with good zoning practice and the intent and purposes of this chapter, Council may, from time to time and after public notice and hearing, amend, supplement, change or repeal the regulations, restrictions or boundaries set forth in this chapter in accordance with the provisions of the Third Class City Code and the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See the Third Class City Code at 11 Pa.C.S.A. § 10101 et seq.; see the Municipalities Planning Code at 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
A. 
Word usage; terms and words defined.
(1) 
Words used in the present tense include the future; words in the masculine gender include the feminine and the neuter; the singular number includes the plural, and the plural the singular.
(2) 
The word "shall" or "must" is always mandatory; the word "may" is permissive; the words "used for" includes "designed for," "arranged for," "intended for," "maintained for," or "occupied for." The word "building" includes "structure" and shall be construed as if followed by the phrase "or part thereof." The word "person" includes "individual," "profit or nonprofit organization," "partnership," "company," "unincorporated association," "corporation" or other similar entities.
(3) 
When terms, phrases or words are not defined, they shall have their ordinarily accepted meanings or such as the context may imply.
(4) 
As used in this chapter, except where the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following words or phrases shall have the meanings indicated as follows:
ABANDONED or ABANDONMENT
The cessation of a use of property (land and/or structures) by the landowner for a period of one year, during which the landowner neither occupied, resumed the use or transferred the rights of the property to another person who used the property.
ACCESSIBLE
A site, building, facility, or portion thereof that incorporates design for persons with disabilities and is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.
ACCESSORY BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
A building subordinate to the principal permitted building which is located on the same lot as the principal permitted building and used for purposes customarily incidental to those of the principal permitted building.
ACCESSORY USE
A use, other than the principal use, of land or of a building or portion thereof, customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal use of the land or building and located on the same lot with such principal use.
ADAPTIVE REUSE
The development of a new use for an older building or for a building originally designed for a special or specific purpose which it no longer serves.
ADVERSE IMPACTS
Results contributing to a harmful or degraded condition and/or producing harm or degradation. Adverse impacts may include harmful effects on surrounding land uses, such as the diminution of property values or the degradation of historical resources; land use which is contrary to the Comprehensive Plan and the intent of this chapter; effects which may create a threat to the public health, safety and general welfare; and effects on physical and biological resources which will destroy flora and fauna, degrade water and air quality or create excessive soil erosion or flooding.
ALLEY
A street which is used primarily for vehicular service access to the rear or side of lots which is 20 feet or less in right-of-way width.
ALTERATION
Any change or rearrangement in the supporting members of an existing building, such as bearing walls, columns, beams, girders or interior partitions, as well as any change in doors or windows, or any enlargement to or diminution of a building or structure, whether horizontally or vertically, or the moving of a building or structure from one location to another.
ALTERNATIVES
Choices between or among two or more plans, layouts, approaches, solutions and/or results.
APPLICANT
A landowner or developer as hereinafter defined who has filed an application for development, including his heirs, successors and assigns.
APPLICATION
Every application, whether tentative, preliminary or final, required to be filed and approved prior to start of construction or development, including, but not limited to, an application for a building permit, for the approval of a subdivision plat or plan, or for the approval of a development plan and for a zoning permit.
BASEMENT
A space with less than 1/2 of its floor-to-ceiling height above the average finished grade of the adjoining ground or with a floor-to-ceiling height of less than 7.5 feet.
BENEFICIAL IMPACTS
Results contributing to an improvement in condition and/or producing favorable results, such as making a use more compatible with the intent of this chapter and the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, and promoting the public health, safety and general welfare.
BLOCK
A tract of land bounded by streets, public parks, railroad rights-of-way, and/or corporate boundary lines of the City.
BOARD
The Zoning Hearing Board of the City of Easton, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.
BUFFER
An area of required yard space not less in width than designated in this chapter which is landscaped for its full width with plantings such as evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs and/or with fences or walls which are permanently maintained. Buffers shall consist of such enhancements as will create an effective screen of sufficient density to provide a continuous visual buffer and shall be of sufficient height to minimize visibility from abutting properties or districts or from a distinct area of a lot.
BUILD-TO LINE
A line located parallel to, and measured from, the property line along the street or streets on which a building fronts, which defines the placement of the building and forms the street wall line (see Figure A). On a corner lot, the build-to line is located on each side of the lot abutting a street.
Figure A: Build-To Line
BUILDING
An enclosed structure or edifice built, erected and framed of component structural parts, designed for the shelter, support or enclosure of persons, animals or property of any kind. (See also, "structure.")
BUILDING FOOTPRINT
The area covered by a building's outermost wall at ground level (see Figure A).
BUILDING HEIGHT
(See also, "story.") The vertical distance of a building or structure measured from the lowest elevation of the finished grade of the building to:
The highest point of the roof in the case of a flat roof.
The mean height between eaves and ridge in the case of a pitched roof (see Figure B).
Exclusive of chimneys, mechanical towers, steeples and similar fixtures.
The above shall apply except that, in the case of a sloped site where the slope is greater than 5%, the building height may be measured separately for each forty-foot segment as measured along the primary facade.
Figure B: Building Height
BUILDING OFFICIAL
The officer or other designated authority charged with the administration and enforcement of Chapter 245, Construction, the Municipal Building Code of the City of Easton, or a duly authorized representative.
BUILDING PERMIT
An official document issued by the Building Official that authorizes the construction, alteration, repair, demolition, location, maintenance or installation relating to a building, structure, elevator, or equipment under the Uniform Construction Code as adopted by the City of Easton.
BUILDING SETBACK LINE
The line bounding that portion of a lot not contained within the required front, side, and rear yards, and within which the principal building shall be located. For purposes of this chapter, a building setback line along any street, except an alley, shall be considered a build-to line (see Figure C).
Figure C: Building Setback Line
CALIPER
The diameter of a tree trunk measured at a point 4 1/2 feet from the ground surface at the center of the base of the tree for all existing trees. For all trees to be planted in accordance with the requirements of this title, the tree trunk shall be measured at a point six inches from the ground surface at the center of the base of the tree.
CERTIFICATE OF USE AND OCCUPANCY
A statement based on an inspection by and signed by the Zoning Administrator setting forth that the use or structure conforms with the provisions of this chapter and may be lawfully employed for a specific use.
CITY
The City of Easton, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.
CLEAR-CUTTING
The indiscriminate removal of all trees on a site or portion of a site.
COLLEGE or UNIVERSITY
An institution of higher education and research authorized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that provides associate, undergraduate, or higher degrees.
COMMISSION
The Planning Commission of the City of Easton, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.
COMMON OPEN SPACE
A parcel or parcels of land or an area of water, or a combination of land and water, within a development site and designed and intended for the use or enjoyment of residents of the development in which it is located, not including streets, off-street parking areas and areas set aside for public facilities.
COMMUNICATION FACILITY
See § 595-36 for communication facility definitions.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
The adopted official plan of the City pertaining to the future development of the City of Easton.
CONDOMINIUM
A building or group of buildings in which dwelling units, offices or floor area are owned individually and the structure, common areas, and facilities are owned by all the owners on a proportional, undivided basis.
CONTROLLED ACCESS HIGHWAY
See "limited access highway."
COUNCIL
The Council of the City of Easton, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.
COUNTY
Northampton County, Pennsylvania.
DECK
An unroofed platform, either freestanding or attached to a building, that is commonly, but not necessarily, supported by pillars or posts.
DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS
Characteristics related to the distribution, density and vital statistics of populations.
DESIGN PROFESSIONAL
An architect, engineer, landscape architect, or land planner that, as required, is certified or licensed to practice their respective profession in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and who prepares reports and/or plans which are described in this chapter according to specific requirements set forth herein and/or in Chapter 520, Subdivision and Land Development, of the Code of the City of Easton. The City will consider geologists, wetlands scientists, arborists, and other such experts to be certified design professionals for the purpose of conducting studies and preparing plans and reports respective to their area of expertise.
DEVELOPER
A landowner, agent of such landowner or tenant with the permission of such landowner who makes or causes to be made a subdivision of land or a land development.
DEVELOPMENT
Any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including, but not limited to, buildings or structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations, or timber harvesting operations. Land development, as defined within this section, shall be included in this definition.
(a) 
Any man-made change to unimproved vacant parcels, vacant parcels which have previously had buildings or structures, or surface parking lots, within built areas. These areas are already served by public infrastructure such as transportation, water, wastewater, and other utilities.
DEVELOPMENT OF REGIONAL SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT
Any land development that, because of its character, magnitude or location, will have a substantial effect upon the health, safety or welfare of citizens in more than one municipality.
DRIVE-IN
Any use which is designed in such a way that the goods or services offered can be received by the customer while remaining in his/her vehicle.
DRIVEWAY
A private access to a parking area, such as a garage, parking lot, parking pad, or similar.
DUMP
A lot or land or part thereof used primarily for disposal by abandonment, dumping, burial, burning, incineration or any other means for whatever purpose, of garbage, offal, sewage, trash, refuse, junk, discarded machinery, vehicles or parts thereof, or waste material of any kind.
DWELLING
A room or group of rooms providing complete independent living facilities exclusively for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
DWELLING UNIT
Any room or group of rooms located within a building and forming a single, habitable unit with facilities used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking and eating by one or more persons.
EASEMENT
A vested or acquired right, either in the public generally or in private entities of persons, to the use of a parcel of land for a special purpose, including the location of utilities, storm drains or access, which right may include the use of the surface, subsurface and/or the air space over such land.
ECONOMIC AND FISCAL CHARACTERISTICS
Characteristics related to the expenditures and revenues in conjunction with the management of income of a household, private business, community, association and/or government.
ENCLOSED
Surrounded or closed off on all sides, by walls, windows, or the like. This shall not include insect screens, blinds, or other retractable or otherwise openable fixtures that are intended to restrict sunlight or insects but do not prohibit airflow when down or closed.
ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE LAND(S)
Any land that contains environmental resources reviewed or regulated under this chapter, including, but not limited to:
Floodplains;
Wetlands;
Wetland buffers;
Steep slopes;
Specimen trees;
Riparian buffers;
Carbonate bedrock; and
Surface waters.
A single person occupying a dwelling unit and maintaining a single housekeeping unit, including not more than one guest;
Two or more persons related by blood or marriage occupying a dwelling unit, living together and maintaining a single housekeeping unit, including not more than one guest; or
Not more than three unrelated persons occupying a dwelling unit, living together and maintaining a single housekeeping unit. A single housekeeping unit shall be deemed to exist if all members thereof have access to living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation areas of the dwelling unit.
FAST FOOD RESTAURANT
An establishment whose principal business is the sale of a limited variety of pre-prepared or rapidly prepared food and beverages directly to the consumer for consumption either on or off premises. Food is generally not served to the customers' tables, but is more often dispensed through a walk-up counter or drive-through or take-out window.
FENESTRATION
Windows and other openings on a building facade.
FLOOR AREA
The sum of the gross horizontal areas of all of the floors of a building or buildings, measured from the exterior faces of exterior walls or from the center lines of walls separating two attached buildings:
In particular, floor area includes:
Basement space in residential buildings.
Elevator shafts or stairwells at each floor.
Floor space in penthouses.
Attic space (whether or not a floor has been laid) providing structural headroom of 7.5 feet or more.
Floor space in interior balconies or mezzanines.
Any other floor spaces used for dwelling purposes, no matter where located within a building.
Floor space in accessory buildings.
Any other floor space not specifically excluded.
However, the floor area of a building shall not include:
Basement space in nonresidential buildings, except that basement space used for retailing shall be included for the purpose of calculating requirements for accessory off-street parking and loading.
Elevator or stair bulkheads, accessory water tanks or cooling towers.
Uncovered steps.
Floor space used for mechanical equipment.
FORESTRY
The management of forests and timberlands when practiced in accordance with accepted silvicultural principles, through developing, cultivating, harvesting, transporting and selling trees for commercial purposes, which does not involve any land development.
FRONT-LOADED (GARAGE)
A garage designed with the garage doors facing the same street as the primary façade(s) of the dwelling to which the garage is attached.
GOVERNING BODY
The Council of the City of Easton.
GRADE
The degree of the descent of a sloping surface.
GRADE, FINISHED
The final elevation of the ground surface after development.
HEDGE
A boundary or fence formed by closely growing bushes, shrubs, or trees. Also referred to as a hedgerow.
HISTORIC RESOURCE(S)
Sites, areas, structures and districts which are valued due to their significance as examples and/or locations of events, customs, skills, and/or arts of the past as designated by the state, county and/or City.
IMPACT
The power of an event or condition to produce direct or indirect changes in other conditions. In the context of impact exerted on the environment, changes that affect existing conditions and/or quality of a natural resource are of greatest concern.
IMPACT ASSESSMENT AND MITIGATION REPORT
An assessment in accordance with § 595-35, which objectively describes, analyzes and documents the beneficial and adverse impacts of a proposed subdivision and/or land development, and the measures to be undertaken to mitigate adverse impacts.
IMPERVIOUS SURFACE
Any material which prevents absorption of stormwater into the ground, including, but not limited to, buildings, covered decks, patios, driveways, walkways, swimming pools and other similar ground cover.
IMPERVIOUS SURFACE RATIO
A percentage of total lot area covered by impervious surfaces.
INFILL
The development of new housing or other uses on scattered vacant sites in a built-up area.
JUNK
Any scrap, waste, reclaimable material or debris, whether or not stored or used in conjunction with dismantling, processing, salvage, storage, baling, disposal or other use or disposition, including, but not limited to, vehicles, tires, vehicle parts, equipment, paper, rags, metal, glass, building materials, household appliances, brush, wood and lumber.
JUNKYARD
Any area, lot, land, parcel, building or structure or part thereof used for the storage, collection, processing, purchase, sale or abandonment of wastepaper, rags, scrap metal or other scrap or discarded goods, materials, machinery or two or more unregistered, inoperable motor vehicles or other type of junk.
The improvement of one lot or two or more contiguous lots, tracts or parcels of land for any purpose involving:
A group of two or more residential or nonresidential buildings, whether proposed initially or cumulatively, or a single nonresidential building on a lot or lots regardless of the number of occupants or tenure; or
The division or allocation of land or space, whether initially or cumulatively, between or among two or more existing or prospective occupants by means of or for the purpose of streets, common areas, leaseholds, condominiums, building groups or other features.
A subdivision of land.
Provisions for the exclusion of certain land development from the definition of land development only when such land development involves:
The conversion of an existing single-family detached dwelling or single-family semidetached dwelling into not more than three residential units, unless such units are intended to be condominium units;
The addition of an accessory building, including farm buildings, on a lot or lots subordinate to an existing principal building; or
The addition or conversion of buildings or rides within the confines of an enterprise which would be considered an amusement park. For purposes of this section, an "amusement park" is defined as a tract or area used principally as a location for permanent amusement structures or rides. This exclusion shall not apply to newly acquired acreage by an amusement park until initial plans for the expanded area have been approved by proper authorities.
LAND DISTURBANCE
A construction or other human activity which disturbs the surface of the land, including, but not limited to, clearing and grubbing, grading, excavations, embankments, road maintenance, building construction and the moving, depositing, stockpiling or storing of soil, rock or earth materials.
LANDOWNER
The legal or beneficial owner or owners of land, including the holder of an option or contract to purchase, whether or not such option or contract is subject to any condition. A lessee, if he/she is authorized under the lease to exercise the rights of the landowner, or other persons having a proprietary interest in land shall be deemed to be a landowner for the purpose of this chapter.
LIMITED ACCESS HIGHWAY
A highway in respect to which owners or occupants of abutting lands and other persons have no legal right of access except at points and in the manner determined by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway. Within the municipal and jurisdictional limits of the City of Easton, this shall include, but is not necessarily limited to, all portions of US-22 and I-78.
LOT
A designated parcel, tract or area of land established by plat, subdivision or otherwise and permitted by law to be used, developed or build upon as a unit. For the purpose of this chapter, a "lot" is further identified as:
The total of all lands described in a legal deed or record; or
The total of two or more contiguous parcels described in separate legal deeds of record owned by the same person.
LOT AREA
The total horizontal area of the lot lying within the lot lines, excluding any existing or designated future street rights-of-way.
LOT LINE
A property boundary line of any lot held in single and separate ownership. In the case of any lot abutting a street, the lot line for such portion of the lot as abuts such street shall be deemed to be the same as the street line.
LOT LINE, FRONT
The lot line abutting a street and coinciding with the street line. In the case of a corner lot, both lot lines abutting a street shall be deemed the front lot line.
LOT LINE, REAR
A lot line opposite and most distant from the front lot line. In a case of an unconventional or odd-shaped lot, the rear lot line shall be deemed to be a line wholly within the lot, 10 feet in length between side lot lines, and parallel to and at the maximum distance from the front lot line.
LOT LINE, SIDE
Any lot line that is not a front lot line or rear lot line.
LOT WIDTH
The horizontal distance between side lot lines as measured along the build-to line.
LOT, CORNER
A lot or parcel of land abutting upon two or more streets at their intersection or on two parts of the same street forming an interior angle of less than 135°.
LOT, ODD SHAPED
A lot with an irregular configuration and unconventional number of changes in direction (i.e., a lot that is not generally pie-shaped or rectangular, has small projections or acute angles, or has rear lines not generally parallel to street lines).
LOWEST FLOOR
The lowest floor of the lowest fully enclosed area (including basement). An unfinished, flood-resistant, partially enclosed area, used solely for parking of vehicles, building access, and incidental storage, in an area other than a basement area is not considered the lowest floor of a building, provided that such space is not designed and built so that the structure is in violation of the applicable nonelevation design requirements of this chapter.
MANUFACTURED HOME
A structure which complies with local and state building codes and appropriate federal agencies and is certified by said agencies, transportable in one or more sections, which is built on a permanent chassis and is designed for use with or without a permanent foundation when attached to the required utilities. The term includes park trailers, travel trailers, recreational and other similar vehicles which are placed on a site for more than 180 consecutive days.
MANUFACTURED HOME LOT
A parcel of land in a mobile home park improved with the necessary utility connections and other appurtenances necessary for the erections thereon of a single manufactured home.
MANUFACTURED HOME PARK
Any site, lot, field or tract of land, privately or publicly owned or operated, upon which two or more manufactured homes, used for living, eating or sleeping quarters by persons not related to the proprietor or his agent, are or are intended to be located, whether operated for or without compensation by whatsoever name or title they are colloquially or commercially termed.
MITIGATION
The act of precluding a potentially adverse impact and/or making a potentially adverse impact less severe through measures that will improve a condition and/or lessen the impact.
MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT
A combination of two or more uses located within one building or on a lot and designed as an integrated building or development.
MOBILE HOME
See "manufactured home."
MONTH
A period of time between the same dates in successive calendar months, ranging between 28 and 31 days.
OBSTRUCTION
Any dam, wall, wharf, embankment, levee, dike, pile, abutment, projection, excavation, channel rectification, bridge, conduit, culvert, building, wire, fence, rock, gravel, refuse, fill, structure or matter in, along, across or projecting into any channel, watercourse or regulatory floodway area which may impede, retard or change the direction of the flow of water, either in itself or by catching or collecting debris carried by such water, or that is placed where the flow of water might carry the same downstream to the damage of life or property.
OFFICIAL COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT PLAN
See "comprehensive plan."
OWNER
An individual, firm, association, syndicate, partnership or corporation.
PARKING AREA
Any public or private land area designed and used for parking motor vehicles, including parking lots, parking pads, parking decks, and garages.
PARKING LOT
An off-street ground-level area used for the temporary parking of more than four motor vehicles and available for use by the public whether for free, for compensation, or to accommodate employees, clients or customers, but not including private driveways.
PLAT
The map or plan of a subdivision or land development, whether preliminary or final.
POLICE FACILITY
A building or portion thereof which serves to accommodate police officers and other members of Police Department staff. These buildings often contain offices and accommodation for personnel and vehicles, along with locker rooms, temporary holding cells and interview/interrogation rooms.
PORCH
A roofed-over structure projecting from the front, side or rear wall of a building.
PRIMARY FAÇADE
The exterior wall or walls of that portion of a building that faces a street. For purposes of this definition, a wall facing an alley shall not be considered a primary façade.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING
A building in which is conducted the principal use of the lot on which it is situated, including all attached buildings such as garages, breezeways, carports, decks and porches.
PRINCIPAL USE
The primary or predominant use of any lot. In the case of mixed-use development or a college campus, there may be more than one principal use on a lot.
PROJECT
A subdivision, land development or any development involving the construction or alteration of buildings or structures or the grading or excavation of land to accommodate a building, structure or use.
PUBLIC
Relating to or affecting all people; accessible to or shared by all members of the community.
PUBLIC GROUNDS
Includes:
Public open space, parks, playgrounds, trails, paths, and other recreational or public areas;
Sites for community facilities, schools, sewerage treatment, refuse disposal and other publicly owned or operated facilities; and
Publicly owned or operated scenic and historic sites.
PUBLIC NOTICE
A notice published once a week for two successive weeks prior to a Zoning Board hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the City. Such notice shall state the time and place of a public hearing and the particular nature of the matter to be considered at the hearing.
PUBLIC OPEN SPACE
A parcel or parcels of land or an area of water, or a combination of land and water, designed and intended for the use and enjoyment of the general public, typically in the form of a park, plaza, playground, playfield, promenade, trail or other similar area.
RIPARIAN BUFFER
A riparian buffer is an area typically vegetated with trees and other vegetation adjacent to a watercourse that forms a transition area between the aquatic and terrestrial environment. The riparian buffer is designed to intercept runoff from upland sources for the purpose of mitigating the effects of nutrients, sediment, organic matter, pesticides or other pollutants prior to entry into surface waters.
SECONDARY EFFECTS
The results of an indirect or nonimmediate influence of one entity or condition on another.
SELECTIVE CUTTING
The felling of certain, but not all, trees in an area for the purpose of removing dead, diseased, damaged, mature or marketable timber or for improving the quality of a tree stand. The removal of more than 35% of trees in an area shall be defined as timber harvesting, and the requirements for a timber harvesting operation shall apply.
SETBACK
The minimum horizontal distance between the front, rear or side lines of a lot and the respective front, rear or side lines of a building or a projection thereof.
SIGN
See § 595-34 for sign definitions.
SINGLE HOUSEKEEPING UNIT
Any household whose members are a nontransient interactive group of persons jointly occupying a dwelling unit, including joint access to and use of all common areas, including living, kitchen and eating areas within the dwelling unit, and sharing household activities and responsibilities such as meals, chores, expenses and maintenance, and whose makeup is determined by the members of the unit rather than by the landlord, property manager, or other third party. This does not include a boardinghouse or rooming house.
SLOPED LAND
A geographical area, whether natural or man-made, and whether on one or more lots, which has a ratio of vertical distance to horizontal distance of greater than or equal to 12%, based on two-foot contour interval, and occurs over three consecutive two-foot contour intervals. More specifically, this chapter defines or classifies sloped land as follows:
(a) 
Lands that have been altered by development and can contain such features as cut slopes, fill slopes, rock slopes, retaining walls, and disturbed terrain features which include repairs to landslide scars or comprise a series of composite cut and/or fill slopes where the ground surface has been disturbed.
(b) 
The natural deviation of the surface of the land, usually expressed in percent or degrees.
(c) 
Sloped land that has a ratio of vertical distance to horizontal distance of greater than or equal to 12%, but less than 25%, based on a two-foot contour interval.
(d) 
Sloped land that has a ratio of vertical distance to horizontal distance of greater than or equal to 35%, based on a two-foot contour interval.
(e) 
Sloped land that has a ratio of vertical distance to horizontal distance of greater than 25%, but less than 35%, based on a two-foot contour interval.
SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
See § 595-37 for solar energy system definitions.
STORY
That portion of a building included between the surface of any floor and the ceiling or surface of the floor next above it, which ranges from 10 feet to 15 feet measured vertically.
STREET
Includes the rights-of-way and cartways of a street, avenue, boulevard, road, roadway, highway, parkway, lane, alley, and any other ways used or intended to be used by vehicular traffic or pedestrians, whether public or private.
STREET LINES
The lines that form the boundary of the street right-of-way as shown on the official City right-of-way map, or as amended and on file in the office of the City Engineer.
STREET WALL
The wall formed by buildings or other elements, such as fences, walls, pillars and colonnades, located along a build-to line.
STREET, ARTERIAL
A street which is used primarily for large volumes of traffic and includes facilities classified as primary and secondary highways by the State Department of Transportation.
[Added 9-24-2008 by Ord. No. 5120]
STRUCTURE
Any man-made object having an ascertainable stationary location on or in land or water, whether or not affixed to the land.
SUBDIVISION
The division or redivision of a lot, tract or parcel of land by any means into two or more lots, tracts, parcels or other divisions of land, including changes in existing lot lines for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of lease, transfer of ownership or building or lot development; provided, however that the subdivision by lease of land for agricultural purposes into parcels of more than 10 acres not involving any new street or easement of access or residential dwellings shall be exempted.
SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE
Damage from any cause sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50% or more of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.
Any repair, reconstruction, addition or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the start of construction of the improvement. This term includes structures which have incurred substantial damage or repetitive loss regardless of the actual repair work performed.
For the purposes of this definition, "substantial improvement" is considered to occur when the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor or other structural part of the building commences, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the structure. The term does not, however, include any alteration of a structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
TOP OF BANK
A point above the mean water surface of a watercourse which defines the maximum depth of channel flow in the watercourse. It is either determined visually or computed as an elevation using the peak rate of runoff from a two-year storm event.
TRADITIONAL NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT
An area of land developed for a compatible mixture of residential units for various income levels and nonresidential commercial and workplace uses, including some structures that provide for a mix of uses within the same building. Residences, shops, offices, workplaces, public buildings, and parks are interwoven within the neighborhood so that all are within relatively close proximity to each other. Traditional neighborhood development is relatively compact, limited in size and oriented toward pedestrian activity. It has an identifiable center and a discernible edge. The center of the neighborhood is in the form of a public park, commons, plaza, square or prominent intersection of two or more major streets. Generally, there is a hierarchy of streets laid out in a rectilinear or grid pattern of interconnecting streets and blocks that provides multiple routes from origins to destinations and are appropriately designed to serve the needs of pedestrians and vehicles equally.
USE
The purpose for which a structure or tract of land may be designed, arranged, intended, maintained or occupied and any activity, occupation, business or operation carried on or intended to be carried on in a structure, building or on a lot.
WETLAND BUFFER
The transitional area extending from the outer limit of a wetland for a minimum width of 50 feet.
WETLANDS
All lands regulated as wetlands by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In the event there is a conflict between the definitions of these agencies, the more restrictive definition shall apply.
YARD
An open area on a lot extending along a lot line and inward from such line. The minimum dimension of a required yard, as defined for each district, shall measure as the shortest distance between the lot line and a line parallel to such line. (See "building setback line.")
(a) 
The yard nearest the street extending across the full width of the lot between the front lot line and the building setback line. (See "build-to line.")
(b) 
A yard extending the full width of the lot between the rear lot line and the building setback line.
(c) 
A yard between the adjacent side lot lines extending from the front yard to the rear yard and the building setback line.
ZONING ADMINISTRATOR
The agent or official charged by law with the administration and enforcement of this chapter.
ZONING CODE
The Zoning Ordinance of the City of Easton and amendments thereto enacted under the provision of Act 247[1] by City Council.
ZONING PERMIT
An official document issued by the Zoning Administrator that authorizes the use or alteration of land, buildings, or structures for a specified purpose.
[1]
Editor's Note: See the Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
A. 
Zoning permit required. No person shall excavate for or store material, machinery or equipment on a lot in connection with the erection, enlargement, construction, placement, reconstruction, alteration, repair, extension, replacement, installation, restoration or conversion of any building or structure, or change the use, increase the intensity of use or extend or displace the use of any building, structure and/or lot or portion thereof in the City, nor cause any land disturbance, changes in grade, or development of land without first filing an application with the office of the Zoning Administrator, in writing, and obtaining the required zoning permit therefor. The application for a zoning permit shall be made prior to the time an application for a building permit is filed with the municipal officer who is authorized and designated to issue building permits. For purposes of administration, the zoning permit required herein may be made part of a building permit but shall at no time be construed to be a building permit.
B. 
Application form. The application for a zoning permit shall be submitted in such form as the Zoning Administrator may prescribe.
C. 
Who makes application. Application for a zoning permit shall be made by the owner or lessee or agent or either of the building, other structure and/or lot, or by the contractor or certified design professional employed in connection with the proposed work. If the application is made by a person other than the owner in fee, it shall be accompanied by a duly verified affidavit of the owner or the qualified person making the application that the proposed work is authorized by the owner in fee and that the applicant is authorized to make such application. The full names and addresses of the owner, lessee, applicant and of the responsible officers, if the owner or lessee is a corporate body, shall be stated in the application.
D. 
Permit time limitation.
(1) 
A zoning permit shall be deemed to have been abandoned six months after date of issue unless the authorized development, use and/or construction has been diligently prosecuted, except that, for reasonable cause, the Zoning Administrator may grant up to two extensions of time for additional periods not exceeding 90 days each.
(2) 
If the time period for a corresponding variance or other action has expired, the zoning permit shall also expire.
E. 
Action on application.
(1) 
The Zoning Administrator shall examine or cause to be examined all applications for permits and amendments thereto within 90 days of the filing of the application. If the application or the plans do not conform to the provisions of this chapter, he/she shall reject such application, in writing, stating the reasons therefor. He/she may also have the right to reject the applications or plans if the provisions of any City, county, state or federal laws have not been complied with. He shall also inform the applicant of his right to appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board.
(2) 
If he/she is satisfied that the proposed use conforms with the regulations and provisions of this chapter and all laws and ordinances applicable thereto, and that the certificate of use and occupancy as required herein has been applied for, he/she shall issue a permit thereafter as soon as practical.
F. 
Compliance with chapter required. A zoning permit shall not be construed as authority to violate, cancel or set aside any of the regulations and provisions of this chapter, except as specifically stipulated by modification or legally granted variance or special exception by the Zoning Hearing Board; nor shall a zoning permit be construed as a permit to build.
G. 
Posting permit. The zoning permit required under this section shall be kept posted upon the premises for which it was issued. It shall be displayed so that it can be seen from the street during the entire time the authorized development and/or construction as defined in the application is being performed.
H. 
Permit revocation. The Zoning Administrator may revoke a permit, certificate or approval issued under the provisions of this chapter in case of any false statement or misrepresentation of fact in the application or on the plans on which the permit or approval was based.
I. 
SUSPENSION OF WORK. Any zoning permit issued shall become invalid if the development is suspended or abandoned for a period of six months after the time of commencing such development as approved by the permit, except that, for reasonable cause, the Zoning Administrator may grant up to two extensions of time for additional periods not exceeding 90 days each.
J. 
Certificate of use and occupancy required. No change in the use or character of the occupancy of land nor any change in the use or character of occupancy in an existing building or structure shall be made, nor shall any new building or structure be occupied for any purpose, until a certificate of use and occupancy has been issued by the office of the Zoning Administrator. A certificate of use and occupancy shall be required for each lot or use where applicable.
K. 
Application for certificate. No permit as required under this section shall be issued until an application for a certificate of use and occupancy has been made. Every application for a change in use of a building or structure or for a new or changed use of land where no building permit is required shall be made directly to the office of the Zoning Administrator. The application for such certificate shall be submitted in such form as the Zoning Administrator may prescribe and shall be accompanied by the required fees as prescribed in § 595-05Q.
L. 
Certificate issuance. No certificate of use and occupancy shall be issued until the erection, construction or alteration has been completed or the use established and inspected and approved by the office of the Zoning Administrator, and the building or premises shall not be occupied until the certificate of use and occupancy is issued, provided that such certificate shall be issued or written notice shall be given to the applicant stating why a certificate cannot be issued not later than 14 days after the office of the Zoning Administrator is notified, in writing, that the building or premises is ready for occupancy.
M. 
Temporary certificate. Upon request of a holder of a permit, the Zoning Administrator may issue a temporary certificate of use and occupancy for the completion of a structure, building and/or lot, or portion thereof, before the total development covered by the permit shall have been completed, provided such portion may be used and/or occupied safely prior to full completion of the work without endangering life or public welfare. The Zoning Administrator may also issue a temporary certificate of use and occupancy for such temporary uses as a tent, use of land for religious or other public or semipublic purposes, and/or for similar temporary use and/or occupancy. Such temporary certificates shall be for the period of time to be determined by the Zoning Administrator, in no case for a period exceeding six months.
N. 
Certificate contents. The certificate of use and occupancy shall certify compliance with the provisions of this chapter or, if a lawfully existing nonconforming use, building or structure, it shall state wherein the use, building or structure is nonconforming.
O. 
Right of entry. In the discharge of his/her duties, the Zoning Administrator or his/her authorized representative shall have the authority to enter at any reasonable hour any building, structure or premises to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
P. 
Previous approvals. Nothing in this chapter shall require changes in the plans, construction or designated use of a building, structure and/or lot for which a lawful permit has been issued or otherwise lawfully authorized before the effective date of this chapter and the construction or use of which shall have been actively prosecuted within 14 days after the effective date of this chapter. Any construction or use for which such permit has been issued or otherwise lawfully authorized, which has not been actually prosecuted within the above time limit, shall be required to conform with the regulations and provisions of this chapter.
Q. 
Fee schedule.
(1) 
Permits. A fee shall be submitted with each zoning permit application as provided in Chapter 285, Fees, of the Code of the City of Easton.
(2) 
Certificate of use and occupancy.
(a) 
Application. No fee shall be charged for an application for a certificate of use and occupancy.
(b) 
Issuance. The fees charged for the issuance or copy of a certificate of use and occupancy shall be collected at the time of application and as provided in Chapter 285, Fees, of the Code of the City of Easton.
A. 
Establishment of office; deputies and employees. There is hereby established the office of Zoning Administrator. As appointed by the Director of the Department of Planning and Codes and approved by the Mayor, the Zoning Administrator shall be executive head of this office. Deputies who shall exercise all the powers of the Zoning Administrator may be designated by the Administrator. The compensation of the officials and employees of the office of Zoning Administrator shall be fixed in the usual manner by Council.
B. 
Powers and duties. It shall be the duty of the Zoning Administrator, and he/she shall have the power to:
(1) 
Receive, examine and process all applications for zoning permits;
(2) 
Issue zoning permits and certificates of use and occupancy only where there is compliance with the provisions of this chapter and other governing statutes. Permits for construction or uses requiring a special exception or variance shall be issued only upon order of the Zoning Hearing Board. Permits requiring approval from Council or other governing bodies shall be issued only after receipt of approval from the same;
(3) 
Receive applications for curative amendments and zoning changes, forwarding such requests to Council, the Planning Commission and other appropriate agencies;
(4) 
Receive applications for special exceptions and forward these applications to the Planning Commission for review and recommendations and to the Zoning Hearing Board for action thereon;
(5) 
Following refusal of a permit, receive applications for interpretation, appeals and variances and forward these applications to the Zoning Hearing Board for action thereon;
(6) 
Conduct inspections and surveys to determine compliance or noncompliance with the terms of this chapter;
(7) 
Issue stop-work and cease-and-desist orders and order, in writing, correction of all provisions of all applicable City codes. Such written orders shall be served personally or by certified mail upon persons, firms or corporations deemed by the Zoning Administrator to be violating the terms of this chapter. It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any such order issued lawfully by the Zoning Administrator, and any person violating such order shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter;
(8) 
Institute in the name of the City any appropriate action or proceedings to prevent the unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, conversion, maintenance or use; to restrain, correct or abate such violation; so as to prevent the occupancy or use of any building, structure or land or to prevent any illegal act, conduct, business or use in or about such premises;
(9) 
Revoke any order or zoning permit issued under a mistake of fact or contrary to the law or the provisions of this chapter;
(10) 
Record and file all applications for zoning permits with accompanying plans and documents. All applications, plans and documents shall be public record;
(11) 
Maintain a map or maps showing the current zoning and block classification of all land in the City; and
(12) 
Maintain records of all applications for uses proposed in a floodplain area.
A. 
Zoning duties. To ensure compliance with the terms of this chapter, the City Comprehensive Plan and the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code,[1] where applicable, the Planning Commission shall review applications for:
(1) 
Curative amendments;
(2) 
Zoning Code amendments;
(3) 
Zoning Map amendments; and
(4) 
Special exceptions.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
B. 
Time limit on Commission action. The Planning Commission shall submit, by resolution, its findings and recommendations to the appropriate jurisdiction within 90 days of receipt of an application.
C. 
Special exception considerations. In the review and resulting recommendation for requests for special exception, the Planning Commission shall consider:
(1) 
Design and layout of existing and proposed structures;
(2) 
Adequacy of stormwater runoff provisions;
(3) 
Adequacy of pedestrian and vehicular access and circulation;
(4) 
Adequacy of lighting facilities;
(5) 
General requirements and criteria outlined in § 595-40C for special exceptions;
(6) 
Health and safety considerations; and
(7) 
Impact assessment and mitigation in accordance with § 595-35.
A. 
Compliance required. Unless otherwise provided by law or in this chapter, no building or structure shall be constructed, erected or extended, and no building, structure or land shall be used or occupied, except for the purposes permitted herein.
B. 
Remedial actions or proceedings. In case any building or structure is erected, constructed, reconstructed, altered, repaired, converted or maintained or any building, structure or land is used in violation of this chapter, the Zoning Administrator shall institute in the name of the City any appropriate action or proceedings to prevent such unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alterations, repair, conversion, maintenance or use; to restrain, correct or abate such violation; to prevent the occupancy of such building, structure or land; or to prevent any illegal act, conduct, business or use in or about such premises. The rights and remedies provided are cumulative and are in addition to all other remedies provided by law.
C. 
Violations and penalties. Any person, partnership or corporation who or which violates any provision of this chapter enacted under Act 247[1] or prior enabling laws shall, upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $25 and not more than $1,000. In default of payment of the fine, such persons, the members of such partnership, or the officers of such corporation, shall be liable to imprisonment for not more than 60 days. Each day that a violation is continued shall constitute a separate offense, unless the Magisterial District Judge determining that there has been a violation further determines that there was a good-faith basis for the person, partnership or corporation violating the chapter 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 the determination of a violation by the Magisterial District Judge, and thereafter each day that violation continues shall constitute a separate violation. All fines collected for the violation of this chapter shall be paid over to the City of Easton.
[1]
Editor's Notes: See the Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.