This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Zoning Ordinance of East Whiteland Township."
The regulations in this chapter are made in accordance with the conditions and procedures of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code for promoting the health, safety, morals, convenience, order, prosperity, and general welfare of the community.
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
These regulations have been designed to lessen congestion in the streets, to secure safety from fire, panic, and other dangers, to provide adequate light and air, to prevent the overcrowding of land, to avoid undue concentration of population, and to facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewage, parks, and other public requirements.
These regulations reflect the policy goals of East Whiteland Township as contained in the Goals and Policies section of the East Whiteland Township Comprehensive Plan; nonetheless the Board of Supervisors hereby expresses its intent that neither this chapter nor any amendment to it may be challenged on the basis of any alleged nonconformity with any planning document.
Subject to Article XVI of this chapter (Nonconformance), no person may use, occupy, or sell any land or buildings or authorize or permit the use, occupancy, or sale of land or buildings under his control except in accordance with all of the applicable provisions of this chapter. For purposes of this section, the "use" or "occupancy" of a building or land relates to anything and everything that is done to, on, or in that building or land.
This chapter shall take effect and be in force from and after its approval as required by law. Ordinance No. 5 adopted by East Whiteland Township on December 29, 1953, and all amendments thereto is hereby repealed in its entirety.
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 general welfare of the East Whiteland Township. It is not intended to interfere with, abrogate, or annul other rules, regulations, or ordinances of the Township, provided that where this chapter imposes a greater restriction upon the use of land or buildings or the configuration of improvements than are imposed by such other rules, regulations, or ordinances, the provisions of this chapter shall control.
The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the Zoning Officer. The Zoning Officer shall require that applications for building permits shall contain all the information necessary to enable him to ascertain whether the proposed building, alteration, or use complies with the provisions of this chapter. No building permit shall be issued until the Zoning Officer has certified that the proposed building, alteration, or use complies with all the provisions of this chapter.
In case any building, structure, or sign is erected, constructed, reconstructed, altered, repaired, converted, or maintained, or any building, structure, or land is used, or any hedge, tree, shrub, wall, or other growth is maintained in violation of this chapter or of any regulations made pursuant thereto, in addition to other remedies provided by law, any appropriate action or proceeding, whether by legal process or otherwise, may be instituted or taken to prevent such unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, conversion, maintenance, or use, to restrain, correct, or abate such violation, to prevent the occupancy of said building, structure, or land, or to prevent any illegal act, conduct, business, or use in or about such premises.
If it appears to the Township that a violation of this chapter has occurred, the Township shall initiate formal enforcement proceedings by sending an enforcement notice as provided in this section. The Zoning Officer may informally request compliance prior to instituting formal proceedings.
The enforcement notice shall be sent to the owner of record of the parcel in which the violation has occurred, to any person who has filed a written request to receive enforcement notices regarding that parcel and to any other person requested in writing by the owner of record.
An enforcement notice shall state at least the following:
The name of the owner of record and any other person against whom the Township intends to take action.
The location of the property in violation.
The specific violation with a description of the requirements which have not been met, citing in each instance the applicable provisions of this chapter.
The date before which the steps for compliance must be commenced and the date before which the steps must be completed.
That the recipient of the notice has the right to appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board within a prescribed period of time in accordance with procedure set forth in this chapter.
That failure to comply with the notice within the time specified, unless extended by appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board, constitutes a violation with possible sanctions clearly described.
In any appeal of an enforcement notice to the Zoning Hearing Board, the Township shall have the responsibility of presenting its evidence first.
Any filing fee paid by a party to appeal an enforcement notice to the Zoning Hearing Board shall be returned to the appealing party by the Township if the Zoning Hearing Board, or any court in a subsequent appeal, rules in the appealing party's favor.
Causes of action.
In the case that any building, structure, landscaping, or land is or is proposed to be erected, constructed, reconstructed, altered, converted, maintained, or used in violation of this chapter, the Board of Supervisors or, with the approval of the Board of Supervisors, the Zoning Officer or other duly authorized officer of the Township, or any aggrieved owner or tenant of real property who shows that his property or person will be substantially affected by the alleged violation, in addition to other remedies, may institute any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent, restrain, correct or abate such building, structure, landscaping, or land, or to prevent, in or about such premises, any act, conduct, business, or use constituting a violation.
When any such action is instituted by a landowner or tenant, notice of that action shall be served upon the Township at least 30 days prior to the time the action is begun by serving a copy of the complaint on the Board of Supervisors. No such action may be maintained until such notice has been given.
Any person, partnership, or corporation who or that has violated or permitted the violation of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by a municipality, pay a judgment of not more than $500, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Township as a result thereof. No judgment shall commence or be imposed, levied, or payable until the date of the determination of a violation by the District Justice. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the Township may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable rules of civil procedure.
Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation, unless the District Justice determining that there has been a violation further determines that there was a good-faith basis for the person, partnership, or corporation violating this 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 District Justice, and thereafter each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.
All judgments, costs, and reasonable attorney fees collected for the violation of this chapter shall be paid over to the Township.
As used in this chapter, words expressed in their singular include their plural meanings, and words expressed in their plural include their singular meanings. The word "person" includes a corporation, unincorporated association, and/or a partnership, as well as an individual. The word "may" is permissive; the words "shall" and "must" are mandatory. Words used in the present include the future tense. Words importing the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter. In interpreting the language of this chapter to determine the extent of the restriction upon the use of property, the language shall be interpreted, where doubt exists as to the intended meaning of the Ordinance, in favor of the property owner and against any implied extension of the restriction.