Township of Lower Providence, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 9-21-2006 by Ord. No. 556]
The following regulations contained in this article shall govern all residential zoning districts.
[Amended 9-19-2002 by Ord. No. 472; 9-21-2006 by Ord. No. 556]
A. 
The following are permitted uses in all residential zoning districts:
(1) 
Residential dwellings.
(2) 
Agriculture.
(3) 
Telephone utility hub station.
(4) 
Firehouse, municipal building and municipal use.
(5) 
Professional in-home office, as defined in § 143-6 hereof.
[Amended 10-20-2011 by Ord. No. 602]
(6) 
Golf course and golf clubhouse, excluding a separate driving range and miniature golf course.
(7) 
The following uses when approved by the Zoning Hearing Board as a special exception:
(a) 
Private education institution, hospital or sanatorium and religious or philanthropic use, excluding correctional or penal institution.
(b) 
Public or nonprofit recreational use.
(c) 
Any public utility use other than a railway passenger station or bus passenger station.
(8) 
An additional, separate dwelling unit, on the same lot, and located only within the principal building or a detached garage thereon, shall be permitted subject to the following requirements. The property owner shall execute a written agreement with the Township, which shall be recorded against the owner's property, at the office of the Recorder of Deeds, Montgomery County, and which shall require that:
[Amended 10-20-2011 by Ord. No. 602]
(a) 
The property owner shall secure a zoning permit from Lower Providence Township authorizing the creation/occupancy of the additional dwelling unit.
(b) 
The use shall be limited to, and used by no more than, two members of the same family that occupies the principal single-family dwelling.
(c) 
The property owner shall submit a statement by January 15 of each calendar year certifying whether the person(s) identified as the persons for whom the living quarters were initially approved continues to occupy the premises.
(d) 
The property owner shall immediately remove all of the separate cooking facilities from the premises at such time as the premises are no longer occupied full time by the person(s) identified as the person(s) for whom the facilities were installed.
(e) 
The property owner shall notify Lower Providence within 30 days from the date when the person(s) for whom the facilities were installed discontinues full-time use of the premises.
(f) 
The property owner shall surrender the zoning permit issued by Lower Providence Township at the time of the owner's notification to the Township that the premises are no longer occupied by the person(s) for whom the family living quarters were permitted.
(g) 
Upon expiration of the zoning permit, the premises shall revert back to its original status as a single-family dwelling unit without additional living quarters for family members.
(h) 
The property owner shall pay all Township permit fees and Recorder of Deeds recording fees at the time of issuance of the permit.
(i) 
The property owner shall be responsible to pay any and all expenses incurred by Lower Providence Township, including reasonable attorney's fees, costs and expenses incurred for the enforcement of any of the provisions of this subsection and/or the agreement executed hereunder.
(9) 
No-impact home-based businesses. A business or commercial activity administered or conducted as an accessory use which is clearly secondary to the use as a residential dwelling and which involves no customer, client or patient traffic, whether vehicular or pedestrian, pickup, delivery or removal functions to or from the premises, in excess of those normally associated with residential use. The business or commercial activity must satisfy the following requirements:
(a) 
The business activity shall be compatible with the residential use of the property and surrounding residential uses.
(b) 
The business shall employ no employees other than family members residing in the dwelling.
(c) 
There shall be no display or sale of retail goods and no stockpiling or inventory of a substantial nature.
(d) 
There shall be no outside appearance of a business use, including, but not limited to, parking, signs or lights.
(e) 
The business activity may not use any equipment or process which creates noise, vibration, glare, fumes, odors or electrical interference, including interference with radio or television reception, which is detectable in the neighborhood.
(f) 
The business activity may not generate any solid waste or sewage discharge, in volume or type, which is not normally associated with residential use in the neighborhood.
(g) 
The business activity shall be conducted only within the dwelling and may not occupy more than 25% of the habitable floor area.
(h) 
The business may not involve any illegal activity.
(10) 
The following accessory uses and buildings/structures, as defined herein by § 143-6, and as limited by § 143-19A and B herein, shall be permitted on the same lot subject to the following limitations:
[Added 10-20-2011 by Ord. No. 602]
(a) 
No more than one accessory structure for the accessory use of a detached private garage, as defined herein, shall be permitted on the same lot.
(b) 
No more than one accessory building/structure for the accessory use of storage of lawn equipment, lawn care products and household goods, in addition to the one permitted in § 143-19B(3), shall be permitted on the same lot, provided said additional building/structure is located within the zoning setbacks of the district.[1]
[1]
Editor’s Note: Former Subsection B, which provided floor area restrictions for accessory uses made of the basement or the first floor of dwellings, which immediately followed, was repealed 10-20-2011 by Ord. No. 602.
(11) 
Solar energy systems. The following provisions shall be applicable to solar energy systems in all residential zoning districts:
[Added 4-7-2016 by Ord. No. 637]
(a) 
Ground-mounted solar energy systems (GMSES).
[1] 
No GMSES shall be permitted in a front yard.
[2] 
All GMSESs shall meet the following setbacks from the property lines:
[a] 
The side yard setback shall meet the principal use side yard setback requirement for the zoning district the GMSES is located within.
[b] 
The rear yard setback shall be equal to the sum of the horizon length of the GMSES measured between the two furthest points along the system's longest side, which are equidistant from the existing grade and the vertical distance of the GMSES measured from the average elevation of the existing grade around the system to the highest point of the GMSES, or the principal use rear yard setback requirement for the zoning district the GMSES is located within, whichever is greater.
[3] 
No GMSES shall exceed 20 feet in height, as measured from the average elevation of the existing grade around the system to the highest point of the GMSES.
[4] 
No more than 20% of a lot may be covered with a GMSES.
[5] 
GMSESs shall be located and/or arranged so that any reflection and/or glare is directed away or buffered from neighboring properties, sidewalks, and roadways.
(b) 
Roof-mounted solar energy systems (RMSES), including, but not limited to, solar hot water systems.
[1] 
RMSES may include integrated solar panels as the surface layer of the roof structure of a structure on the parcel with no additional apparent change in relief or projection (i.e., BIPV systems), or other types of solar panels, including, but not limited to, separate flush-mounted panels attached to the roof surface.
[2] 
Peaked roof. RMSESs and related equipment/materials installed on the highest roof on the structure shall not project vertically above the peak of the peaked roof to which they are attached.
[3] 
Flat roof. RMSESs and related equipment/materials installed on the highest roof on the structure shall not project vertically more than five feet above the flat roof to which they are attached.
[4] 
Lower roof. RMSESs and related equipment/materials installed on a roof or area of the roof that is lower than the highest roof on the structure shall not project vertically above this highest roof.
[5] 
RMSESs shall be located and/or arranged so that any reflection and/or glare is directed away or buffered from neighboring properties, sidewalks, and roadways.
(c) 
Design and installation.
[1] 
To the extent applicable, a solar energy system shall comply with the Pennsylvania Construction Code (Act 45 of 1999), 35 P.S. § 7210.101 et seq., as amended, and the applicable regulations adopted by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (34 Pa. Code § 401 et seq.), as amended.
[2] 
The applicant shall certify that the solar energy system, including its design, meets all applicable industry standards and all applicable electric utility regulations needed for interconnection.
[3] 
RMSESs and related equipment/materials shall be set back a minimum of three feet from the edge of any roof they are installed on.
(d) 
Discontinued use of solar energy systems.
[1] 
Any solar energy system which has not been active and/or in service for a period of one year or more shall be completely removed by the property owner from the property and properly disposed of, including any and all related equipment/materials.
[2] 
The former site of the solar energy system shall be restored by the property owner to its prior natural condition within six months of the date of removal of the system from the property.
Site development within an R-3, R-4 and R-5 District shall be in conformance with an overall plan for locating buildings and structures, providing for safe and efficient circulation of vehicles and pedestrians, preservation and extension of the natural amenities of the site and providing for the continued maintenance of the land and improvements thereon. The design and the operation and maintenance of the site and improvements shall meet at least the following minimum standards and requirements:
A. 
The architectural character of buildings and structures shall be harmonious.
(1) 
The Township wishes to encourage the creation of visual interest in buildings and to discourage visual monotony due to long, flat building planes. There are many ways to develop visual interest, e.g., wing walls, patios, fences, walls, landscaping, overhanging roofs, projecting rooms from the building face, balconies, detailing and building breaks, vertical and horizontal. The Township recommends use of any or all of the above methods.
(2) 
In order to establish a minimal involvement with aesthetic concerns and to encourage buildings to conform to the surface grade, the following standards are proposed for building breaks. These are not to be considered mandatory or inflexible. However, if the developer does not conform to these standards, he shall demonstrate to the Township's satisfaction what other steps he has taken to alleviate aesthetic monotony and to conform to grade.
(a) 
Vertical breaks: a total break footage of four vertical feet in minimum increments of 16 inches in every 160 horizontal building feet or within three fire walls.
(b) 
Horizontal breaks: a total break footage of eight horizontal feet in minimum increments of 32 inches in every 160 horizontal building feet or within three fire walls. In addition, angles in the building wall of 22º or more will be considered equivalent to the five-foot break.
B. 
Landscaping. The site shall be landscaped in accordance with an overall site landscaping plan providing for at least the following requirements:
(1) 
Screening requirements.
(a) 
When the site to be developed adjoins an area not within the zoned district, the buffer area of the site shall contain a planted screen to act as a visual barrier unless, upon approval of the Board of Supervisors, equivalent screening is provided by natural areas, topography or recreational areas. The planted screen shall be composed of plants and trees arranged to form both high-level and low-level screening.
(b) 
The high-level screen shall be composed of evergreen trees at least eight feet in height. Such trees shall be planted in two parallel rows eight feet apart. The rows shall be offset and shall be planted with trees spaced at intervals of not more than eight feet.
(c) 
The low-level screen may be any plant materials approved by the Planning Commission. Plants shall be not less than two feet in height and spaced at intervals of no more than five feet.
(2) 
Any area not used for buildings, structures, paved areas or screening shall be planted with an all-season ground cover and other landscaping materials in accordance with the landscaping and screening plan. Existing vegetative materials shall be preserved wherever possible.
C. 
Lighting in the R-4 and R-5 Districts. The site shall be provided with lighting facilities in accordance with an overall site lighting plan consistent with the light level standards set by the electrical utility company for various conditions of pedestrian and vehicle safety and security. Sites adjoining highways and neighboring property shall be protected from direct glare.
D. 
Circulation. A unified circulation system for vehicle and pedestrian use shall be provided in accordance with an overall circulation plan and shall meet the following requirements:
(1) 
Dwelling unit location shall correspond to a locator or address system to provide an efficient identification of address location for emergency service or delivery service.
(2) 
Every dwelling unit shall be accessible to the circulation system and be no further than 150 feet from the closest point of servicing by emergency, delivery and collection vehicles. All buildings and structures must be accessible to fire emergency equipment under all weather conditions, and the routes of accessibility must be designed to avoid entrapment of vehicles and equipment and the constraining of fire-fighting operations.
(3) 
All land areas on the site to be used in common by the residents shall be accessible to every dwelling unit by a system of walkways and natural paths as provided for under the Subdivision and Land Development Regulations of the Township.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 123, Subdivision and Development of Land.
(4) 
Provision shall be made for safe and efficient ingress to and egress from public streets and highways without undue congestion or interference with normal traffic flow. All points of vehicular access to and from public streets shall be located not less than 200 feet from the intersection of any two public streets.
E. 
Utility systems. All utility lines servicing the development must be placed underground. All utility distribution systems must be acceptable to the selective cutting of service during fire and other emergencies and shall be identified on a plan and furnished to the Township.
F. 
Operation and maintenance. The development shall be designed to provide for the normal accouterments and community requirements of household living and property maintenance, including the following:
(1) 
Identification of responsible party and the equipment and facilities required for the maintenance and landscaping of buildings and other structures, including storage and maintenance areas.
(2) 
A system for storage and collection of solid waste generated on the site that is consistent with the standards of solid waste management.
(3) 
A system for the removal and storage of snow and ice accumulations upon streets, walkways and parking areas within four hours after the snow has ceased to fall.
(4) 
A system for prevention, reporting and soliciting of aid in response to the threat of property and person from fire, natural disaster or criminal intent.
(5) 
A television antenna or receiving system that requires no more than one visible outside antenna per building but is capable of servicing all dwelling units within the building.
(6) 
A storage system for securing personal property that includes consideration of storage needs for immediate use, long-range storage and ground-level protection of bicycles, perambulators and similar types of equipment.
G. 
In R-3, R-4 and R-5 Zoning Districts, no dwelling unit shall be used and no use and occupancy permit shall be issued until it has been adequately provided with both public water and public sanitary sewer service.
H. 
Open space in R-3, R-4 and R-5 Districts.
(1) 
In R-3, R-4 and R-5 Zoning Districts, open space, as defined by this chapter, shall be indicated on the site plan.
(a) 
A maximum of 20% of the gross site area shall be dedicated as open space, of which a maximum 20% may consist of floodplain areas.
[Amended 9-21-2006 by Ord. No. 556]
(b) 
Such land set aside shall be suitable to serve the purpose of active and/or passive recreation by reason of its size, shape, location and topography and shall be subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors, after having received the recommendations of the Staff Development Review Committee, the Parks and Recreation Board and the Planning Commission.
(c) 
The developer shall satisfy the Township that there are adequate provisions to assure retention and all future maintenance of such recreation areas by maintaining ownership, or by providing for and establishing an organization for the ownership and maintenance of the recreation area, and such organization shall not be dissolved nor shall it dispose of the recreation area by sale or otherwise, except to an organization conceived and established to own and maintain the recreation area, without first offering to dedicate the same to the Township. Should the developer or organization retain ownership of the recreation area, the following shall be required:
[1] 
A maintenance bond in the amount of 50% of the appraised value of the recreation area and all improvements shall be provided to the Township by the developer or organization.
[2] 
A certificate of insurance with liability coverage of $500,000 per incident and $1,000,000 aggregate shall be furnished to the Township and renewed annually.
[Amended 9-21-2006 by Ord. No. 556]
(d) 
The site or sites should be easily and safely accessible for all areas of the development to be served, have good ingress and egress and have access to a public road. Where access to a public road is by frontage, the frontage shall be a minimum of 50 feet in width. Where access is through easements, a minimum of two easements with a minimum width of 20 feet each shall be provided.
(e) 
The site or sites should have suitable topography and soil conditions for use and development as a recreation area. Water surfaces and continuously wet soils should be deleted from the gross area for all calculations, unless the area is a floodplain.
(f) 
Size and shape for the site or sites should be suitable for development as a park. A guideline is that no single side of a property with a rectangular configuration shall amount to more than 40% of the tract's perimeter. An example of an unacceptable piece of land is one that is 30 feet wide and 1,500 feet long, unless it is to be developed as a bicycle route or as a connecting trail to other facilities.
(g) 
It is desirable for the intended park or open space to be in several well-placed, adequately sized areas so that it can accommodate the anticipated uses, rather than to have numerous useless smaller parcels. A suggested guideline is that no tract shall be less than 40% of the total acreage of contributed land.
(h) 
The site or sites should, to the greatest extent practical, be easily accessible to essential utilities, including power, water, sewage and telephone. If any of these facilities are placed underground, no part of them or their supportive equipment shall protrude above ground level, except as approved by the Board of Supervisors.
(i) 
Fifty percent of the finished grade of the site or sites to be contributed shall have a slope of 3% or less.
(j) 
The site or sites should be compatible with the objectives, guidelines and recommendations as set forth in the Lower Providence Township Park and Recreation Plan as amended and the requirements of Lower Providence Township Recreation Land and Fees, as amended (please refer to § 123-140).
[Amended 9-21-2006 by Ord. No. 556]
(k) 
Any design or development of these recreation areas shall be done according to current standards established by the National Recreation and Parks Association.
(2) 
Should a developer contributing a portion of land fail to meet the quantity requirements as outlined elsewhere in this chapter or should the Board of Supervisors determine the land contribution insufficient due to the inclusion of unacceptable parcels of land as defined in Subsection H(1)(a) through (k), monetary contributions shall be required to supplement the required land contribution.
(3) 
The monetary amount shall be equal to the fair market value of the acreage which the developer has failed to contribute. The fair market value shall be determined by an appraisal, conducted by an appraiser selected by the Township and paid for by the subdeveloper, of the predevelopment value of the subdivision property. Said contribution shall be made prior to procurement of a building permit, and all money paid to the Township pursuant to this chapter shall be kept in a parks and recreation capital revenue fund. Moneys in such fund shall be used for the acquisition of land or capital improvements for parks and recreation purposes.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Former § 143-28H(4), regarding expenditures of funds being confined to a particular area, which immediately followed this subsection, and former § 143-28I, regarding a monetary contribution for residential subdivisions of two to 30 lots, which immediately followed § 143-28H(4), were both repealed 9-21-2006 by Ord. No. 556.
All development in a residential district shall be subject to the application and review procedure set out in the Subdivision and Land Development Code of the Township of Lower Providence.[1]
A. 
In the event that an approved subdivision plan contains a combination of two or more housing types (i.e., single-family detached with townhouses), the amount of open space to be provided shall be determined by the higher-density dwelling classification.
B. 
If any section or part of a section, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter shall be construed to be unconstitutional or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining provisions hereof shall remain in full force and effective.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 123, Subdivision and Development of Land.
[Amended 9-21-2006 by Ord. No. 556]
A. 
Projection of unenclosed awnings, patio covers, patios and decks. Projection of unenclosed awnings, patio covers, patios and decks shall be permitted in all residential districts subject to the following provisions:
(1) 
Front/side yard intrusion.
(a) 
In all residential districts except the R-4 and R-5 Zoning Districts, unenclosed awnings, patio covers, patios and decks may project or extend into the front yard setback area a distance not to exceed eight feet beyond the building line; provided, however, that in no event shall said unenclosed awning, patio cover, patio or deck be closer than 20 feet to the front lot line or closer than 10 feet to any side yard property line.
(b) 
Front/side yard intrusion in R-4 and R-5 Districts. Unenclosed awnings, patio covers, patios and decks may project or extend into the front yard setback areas a distance not to exceed eight feet beyond the building line; however, in no event shall any such extension on any attached residential structure extend or connect to such similar unenclosed awnings, patio covers, patios or decks of adjoining attached residences, and no projection or extensions of unenclosed awnings, patio covers, patios or decks on any end units constructed in the R4 or R-5 District shall be located closer than 10 feet to any side yard property line.
(2) 
Rear yard intrusion.
(a) 
In all residential districts except in the R-4 and R-5 Districts, unenclosed awnings, patio covers, patios and decks shall be permitted to extend or project into the rear yard lot area a distance not to exceed 16 feet; provided, however, that in no event shall any unenclosed awning, patio cover, patio or deck extend closer than 20 feet to the rear lot line or closer than 10 feet to any side property line.
(b) 
Rear yard intrusions in the R-4 and R-5 Districts. Unenclosed awnings, patio covers, patios and decks shall be permitted to project or extend into the rear yard lot area a distance not to exceed 16 feet; provided, however, that no rear yard extension of said awnings, patio covers, patios or decks shall be permitted into any common open space, green space or landscaping set aside in the original development plan for the residential community developed pursuant to the provisions of the R-4 and R-5 Zoning Districts. In the case of attached residential structures, no unenclosed awning, patio cover, patio or deck shall be connected to any other adjoining unenclosed awning, patio cover, patio or deck, and no unenclosed awning, patio cover, patio or deck on any end unit constructed pursuant to the provisions of the R-4 or R-5 District shall be connected to any adjoining unenclosed awning, patio cover, patio or deck or be located closer than 10 feet to any side yard property line.
B. 
Building coverage. For the purpose of calculating building coverage of any lot in a residential district, the square footage of any area occupied by any extension of awning, patio cover, patio or deck beyond the building line shall be included in the total calculation of building coverage and shall otherwise comply with said building coverage regulations contained in the Zoning Ordinance, as amended.
C. 
Enclosure of projected area. No awning, patio or deck which may be extended into the front yard or rear yard setback areas shall be enclosed, except with insect screening, if desired. Open railings at a height not to exceed 40 inches shall be permitted and shall not be considered as an enclosure.
D. 
Use as garage/carport/storage shed. Any patio, deck awning area or patio cover which is projected into the front, rear or side yard setback areas shall not be used as a garage, carport or storage shed.