Township of Lower Saucon, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
None of the following shall occur in the Township unless a zoning permit is issued by the Zoning Officer:
(1) 
Constructing, moving, adding to or structurally altering a building or structure.
(2) 
Establishing or changing any use of land or structures.
(3) 
Filling, grading, excavating and woodland removal.
(4) 
Cutting down or removing more than three major trees per year from a lot.
B. 
All requests for a zoning permit shall be made in writing, by the property owner or by his authorized agent, on forms supplied by the Zoning Officer, and shall be accompanied by a plan, drawn to scale, showing proposed structures and/or use in exact relation to lot and street lines. Upon review of the submitted documents, the Zoning Officer can require additional supporting data that may be needed to allow for a complete review of the applications. All applications shall include the submission of one copy of all current applicable permits from all local, county, state and federal Agencies.
C. 
A temporary zoning permit may be issued by the Zoning Officer for a period not exceeding 12 months for construction trailers, temporary signs or temporary real estate sales offices or similar temporary uses if the Zoning Officer determines that such use is temporary and accessory to a land use or structure construction that is otherwise being permitted as a principal use or structure.
D. 
If the purpose indicated on any zoning permit is not initiated within six months from the date of issuance, unless extended beyond this time by the Zoning Officer, said permit shall expire and shall be canceled by the Zoning Officer.
E. 
A zoning permit shall be issued or denied within 15 working days after the Zoning Officer receives the completed application.
F. 
A Zoning Permit is not required for any of the aforementioned activities or uses conducted by Lower Saucon Township.
No building or structure hereafter constructed, erected or altered under a building, zoning or occupancy permit shall be occupied or used in whole or in part for any use whatsoever, and no change of use of any building or land shall hereafter be made until an occupancy permit has been issued by the Zoning Officer. An occupancy permit shall only be approved if the Zoning Officer finds the building or structure to be in compliance with the provisions of this chapter and/or in compliance with an approved building permit and finds that the proposed use is in compliance with the provisions of this chapter and/or in compliance with site plan approvals given in accordance with this chapter. An occupancy permit shall be granted or denied within 15 working days after the Zoning Officer receives written application for such occupancy or use on forms provided by the Township.
The duties of the Zoning Officer shall be as follows unless otherwise required by this chapter:
A. 
Receive and examine all applications for zoning permits and issue zoning permits only for construction and/or for any use or change of use which conforms to this chapter.
B. 
Refer zoning permit applications for special exceptions or variances to the Zoning Hearing Board. Refer zoning permit applications for conditional use to the Township Planning Commission in accordance with site plan requirements of this chapter.
C. 
Issue permits for construction and/or for uses requiring a special exception or variance only upon order of the Zoning Hearing Board. Permits requiring approval by the Township Council shall be issued only after receipt of an authorization from the Council.
D. 
Receive application for interpretation or appeals and variances and forward these applications to the Zoning Hearing Board for action thereon following a refusal of a permit, if such applications are made.
E. 
Conduct inspections to determine compliance or noncompliance with the terms of this chapter, such inspections are, however, not mandatory and shall only be made at the discretion of the Zoning Officer.
F. 
Issue cease and desist orders and/or issue orders for correction of all conditions found to be in violation of the provisions of this chapter. Such orders shall be in writing and shall be served in person or by certified mail upon persons, firms or corporations deemed by the Zoning Officer to be violating the terms of this chapter. It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any such order lawfully issued by the Zoning Officer, and any person violating such order shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter.
G. 
Keep an official record of all business and activities, including written complaints of a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and of the subsequent action taken on each such complaint. All such records shall be open to public inspection.
H. 
Maintain a map or maps showing the current zoning classification of all land in the Township.
I. 
Issue occupancy permits in accordance with the terms of this chapter.
J. 
Revoke any order, zoning permits and/or occupancy permits issued under a mistake of fact or contrary to the law of or the provisions of this chapter.
K. 
Issue permits for removal of trees in accordance with § 180-95B(15)(e) and (16)(e).
[Added 4-6-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-01]
A. 
The Township Council shall establish, by resolution, a schedule of fees, charges and expenses and collection procedures for zoning permits, occupancy permits, special exceptions, variances and appeals and other matters pertaining to this chapter. The schedule of fees shall be posted in the office of the Zoning Officer and may be altered or amended only by the Council.
B. 
No action shall be taken on any application or appeal until all application fees, charges and expenses have been paid in full.
A. 
Enforcement notice.
(1) 
The Zoning Officer is hereby authorized and directed to enforce the provisions of this chapter and to institute civil enforcement proceedings as provided for in Subsection C when acting within the scope of his employment.
(2) 
The Zoning Officer shall initiate enforcement proceedings by sending an enforcement notice, as required by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act 247, as amended (53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.).
(3) 
If it appears that a violation of this chapter has occurred, the Zoning Officer shall initiate enforcement proceedings by sending an enforcement notice to the owner of record of the parcel on 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.
(4) 
The enforcement notice shall state the following:
(a) 
The name of the owner of record and any other person against whom the municipality intends to take action.
(b) 
The location of the property in violation.
(c) 
The specific violation, with a description of the requirements which have not been met, citing in each instance the applicable provisions of this chapter.
(d) 
That the owner of record or other person against whom the municipality intends to take action has five days to commence steps to comply with this chapter and 30 days within which to complete such steps to be in compliance with this chapter, unless such times are extended in writing by the Zoning Officer.
(e) 
That the recipient of this notice has the right to appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board within 30 days of the date of the enforcement notice or not later than the expiration of any extension granted, in writing, by the Zoning Officer.
(f) 
That the failure to comply with the enforcement notice within 30 days, unless extended by appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board, constitutes a violation, with sanctions clearly described.
(g) 
In any appeal of an enforcement notice to the Zoning Hearing Board the municipality shall have the responsibility of presenting its evidence first.
(h) 
Any filing fees paid by a party to appeal an enforcement notice to the Zoning Hearing Board shall be returned to the appealing party by the municipality if the Zoning Hearing Board, or any court in a subsequent appeal, rules in the appealing party's favor.
B. 
Causes of action. In case any building, structure, landscaping or land is, or is proposed to be, erected, constructed, reconstructed, altered, converted, maintained or used in violation of any ordinance enacted under this chapter or prior enabling laws, the governing body or, with the approval of the governing body, an officer of the municipality, 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 municipality at least 30 days prior to the time the action is begun by serving a copy of the complaint on the governing body of the municipality. No such action may be maintained until such notice has been given.
C. 
Enforcement remedies.
(1) 
Any person, partnership or corporation who or which has violated or permitted the violation of the provisions of any zoning ordinance enacted under this chapter or prior enabling laws shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the municipality, pay a judgment of not more than $500, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney fees incurred by the municipality 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 municipality 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 the ordinance 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 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 zoning ordinances shall be paid over to the municipality whose ordinance has been violated.
(2) 
The Court of Common Pleas, upon petition, may grant an order of stay, upon cause shown, tolling the per diem fine pending a final adjudication of the violation and judgment.
(3) 
Nothing contained in this section shall be construed or interpreted to grant to any person or entity other than the municipality the right to commence any action for enforcement pursuant to this section.
D. 
Jurisdiction. District Justices shall have initial jurisdiction over proceedings brought under Subsection C above.
A. 
Establishment. The Township Council of Lower Saucon Township, hereinafter referred to as the "Township Council," shall appoint a Zoning Hearing Board, hereinafter referred to as the "Board."
B. 
Jurisdiction.
(1) 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and render final adjudications in the following matters:
(a) 
Substantive challenges to the validity of any land use ordinance, except those brought before the governing body pursuant to Sections 609.1 and 916.1(a)(2) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. §§ 10609.1 and 10916.1(a)(2).
(b) 
Challenges to the validity of a land use ordinance raising procedural questions or alleged defects in the process of enactment or adoption, which challenges shall be raised by an appeal taken within 30 days after the effective date of said ordinance.
(c) 
Appeals from the determination of the Zoning Officer, including, but not limited to, the granting or denial of any permit, or failure to act on the application therefor, the issuance of any cease and desist order or the registration or refusal to register any nonconforming use, structure or lot.
(d) 
Appeals from a determination by the Municipal Engineer or the Zoning Officer with reference to the administration of any floodplain or flood hazard ordinance or such provisions within a land use ordinance.
(e) 
Applications for variances from the terms of the zoning ordinance and flood hazard ordinance or such provisions within a land use ordinance, pursuant to Section 910.2 of Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
(f) 
Applications for special exceptions under the zoning ordinance or floodplain or flood hazard ordinance or such provisions within a land use ordinance, pursuant to Section 912.1 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
(g) 
Appeals from the determination of any officer or agency charged with the administration of any transfers of development rights or performance density provisions of the zoning ordinance.
(h) 
Appeals from the Zoning Officer's determination under Section 916.2 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
(i) 
Appeals from the determination of the Zoning Officer or Municipal Engineer in the administration of any land use ordinance or provision thereof with reference to sedimentation and erosion control and stormwater management insofar as the same relate to development not involving Article V or VII (of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code) applications.
C. 
Zoning Hearing Board's functions; variances.
(1) 
The Board shall hear requests for variances where it is alleged that the provisions of the zoning chapter inflict unnecessary hardship upon the applicant. The Board may by rule prescribe the form of application and may require preliminary application to the Zoning Officer. The Board may grant a variance, provided that all of the following findings are made where relevant in a given case:
(a) 
That there are unique physical circumstances or conditions, including irregularity, narrowness or shallowness of lot size or shape or exceptional topographical or other physical conditions peculiar to the particular property and that the unnecessary hardship is due to such conditions and not the circumstances or conditions generally created by the provisions of this chapter in the neighborhood or district in which the property is located;
(b) 
That, because of such physical circumstances or conditions, there is no possibility that the property can be developed in strict conformity with the provisions of this chapter and that the authorization of a variance is therefore necessary to enable the reasonable use of the property;
(c) 
That such unnecessary hardship has not been created by the appellant;
(d) 
That the variance, if authorized, will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood or district in which the property is located nor substantially or permanently impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent property nor be detrimental to the public welfare; and
(e) 
That the variance, if authorized, will represent the minimum variance that will afford relief and will represent the least modification possible of the regulation in issue.
(2) 
In granting any variance, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of the Municipalities Planning Code (53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.), as may be amended by state statute in the future, and this chapter.
D. 
The Board shall hear and decide requests for special exceptions after the Township Planning Commission has reviewed and made recommendations on the site plan in accordance with standards and criteria found in Article XVII. In granting a special exception, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards in addition to those expressed in this chapter as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of the Municipalities Planning Code (53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.), as may be amended by state statute in the future, and this chapter.
E. 
Membership of the Board.
(1) 
The Township Council shall appoint residents of the Township to the Board. The number of appointees shall be specified by Chapter 5, Administration of Government, as amended or as may be amended by subsequent ordinances as may be enacted or amended in the future. Members shall hold no other office in the Township.
(2) 
Term of office. Each member shall serve a term of no more than five years, with one term expiring per year. The Board shall promptly notify the Council of any vacancies which occur.
F. 
Removal of members. Any Board member may be removed for malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in office or for other just cause by a majority vote of the Township Council taken after the member has received 15 days' advance notice of the intent to take such a vote. A hearing shall be held in connection with the vote if the member shall request it in writing.
G. 
Organization of Board. The Board shall elect its officers at its last meeting of the year, for the succeeding year, from its own membership; the officers shall serve annual terms as such and may succeed themselves.
H. 
Quorum. For the conduct of any hearing and taking of any action, a quorum shall be not less than a majority of all the members of the Board, but the Board may appoint a hearing officer from its membership to conduct a hearing on its behalf, and the parties may waive further action by the Board as provided in Section 908 of the Municipalities Planning Code (53 P.S. § 10908) or as said section may be amended by state statute in the future.
I. 
Expenditures for service. The Township Council shall establish fees for the various classes of matter which may come before the Board. These fees shall be reasonably related to the cost of providing the hearing. The Board may employ or contract for secretaries, clerks, legal counsel, consultants and other technical and clerical services with the approval of the Township Council. The Township Council may fix compensation for the performance of the Board member's duties.
J. 
The Board shall conduct hearings and make decisions in accordance with the following requirements:
(1) 
The Township shall notify the applicant or appellant of the date and time of the hearing. The applicant, or appellant, at least 10 days prior to the date of the hearing, shall notify all neighboring property owners within a two-hundred-foot radius of the property which is the subject of the hearing of the date and time of the hearing and shall include a brief description of the relief requested. A legal advertisement shall appear at least 10 days prior to the hearing date in a newspaper of wide circulation. A hearing shall be held within 60 days from the date of the applicant's or appellant’s request unless the applicant or appellant has agreed to an extension of time, in writing. In addition to the written notice provided herein, written notice of said hearing shall be conspicuously posted on the affected tract of land at least one week prior to the hearing.
[Amended 6-13-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-07]
(a) 
Notice shall be given to the public, the applicant, the appellant, the Zoning Officer, those property owners within a two-hundred-foot radius and any person who has made timely request for the same. Notices shall be given at such time and in such manner as prescribed in the MPC (53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.). The Township Council may establish reasonable fees, based on costs, to be paid by the applicants or the appellants and by persons requesting any notices not required by ordinance.
(b) 
A hearing shall be held within 60 days from the date of the applicant's or appellant's request, unless the applicant or appellant has agreed to an extension of time, in writing.
(2) 
The hearings shall be conducted by the Board or the Board may appoint any member as a hearing officer. The decision, or, where no decision is called for, the findings shall be made by the Board; however, the appellant or the applicant, as the case may be, in addition to the municipality, may, prior to the decision of the hearing, waive decision or findings by the Board and accept the decision or findings of the hearing officer as final.
(3) 
The parties to the hearing shall be the municipality, any person affected by the application who has made timely appearance of record before the Board, and any other person, including civic or community organizations permitted to appear by the Board. The Board shall have power to require that all persons who wish to be considered parties enter appearances in writing on forms provided by the Board for that purpose.
(4) 
The Chairman or Acting Chairman of the Board or the hearing officer presiding shall have power to administer oaths and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant documents and papers, including witnesses and documents requested by the parties.
(5) 
The parties shall have the right to be represented by counsel and shall be afforded the opportunity to respond and present evidence and argument and cross-examine adverse witnesses on all relevant issues.
(6) 
Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded.
(7) 
The Board or the hearing officer, as the case may be, shall keep a stenographic record of the proceedings. The appearance fee for a stenographer shall be shared equally by the applicant and the Board. The cost of the original transcript shall be paid by the Board if the transcript is ordered by the Board or hearing officer or shall be paid by the person appealing from the decision of the Board if such appeal is made, and in either event the cost of additional copies shall be paid by the person requesting such copy or copies. In other cases, the party requesting the original transcript shall bear the cost thereof.
(8) 
The Board or the hearing officer shall not communicate, directly or indirectly, with any party or his representatives in connection with any issue involved except upon notice and opportunity for all parties to participate, shall not take notice of any communications, reports, staff memoranda, or other materials, except advice from their solicitor, unless the parties are afforded an opportunity to contest the material so noticed and shall not inspect the site or its surroundings after the commencement of hearings with any party or his representative unless all parties are given an opportunity to be present.
(9) 
The Board or the hearing officer, as the case may be, shall render a written decision or, when no decision is called for, make written findings on the application within 45 days after the last hearing before the Board or hearing officer. Where the application is contested or denied, each decision shall be accompanied by findings of fact and conclusions based thereon, together with the reasons therefor. Conclusions based on any provisions of this chapter or of any ordinance, rule or regulation shall contain a reference to the provision relied on and the reasons why the conclusion is deemed appropriate in the light of the facts found. If the hearing is conducted by a hearing officer, and there has been no stipulation that his decision or findings are final, the Board shall make his report and recommendations available to the parties within 45 days, and the parties shall be entitled to make written representations thereon to the Board prior to final decision or entry of findings, and the Board's decision shall be entered no later than 30 days after the report of the hearing officer. Where the Board fails to render the decision within the period required by this subsection, or fails to hold the required hearing within 60 days from the date of the applicant's request for a hearing, the decision shall be deemed to have been rendered in favor of the applicant unless the applicant has agreed in writing or on the record to an extension of time. When a decision has been rendered in favor of the applicant because of the failure of the Board to meet or render a decision as hereinabove provided, the Board shall give public notice of said decision within 10 days from the last day it could have met to render a decision in the same manner as provided in Subsection J(1) of this section. If the Board shall fail to provide such notice, the applicant may do so. Nothing in this subsection shall prejudice the right of any party opposing the application to appeal the decision to a court of competent jurisdiction.
(10) 
A copy of the final decision or, where no decision is called for, of the findings shall be delivered to the applicant personally or mailed to him not later than the day following its date; to all other persons who have filed their name and address with the Board, not later than the last day of the hearing. The Board shall provide, by mail or otherwise, brief notice of the decision or findings and a statement of the place at which the full decision or findings may be examined.
K. 
Appeals. The exclusive mode for securing review of this chapter or amendment, decision, determination or order of the Township Council, its agencies or officials adopted or issued in this chapter's administration or enforcement shall be made in accordance with Article X-A, Appeals, of the Municipalities Planning Code, Act 247 (53 P.S. § 11001-A et seq.), as may be amended by state statute in the future.
A. 
Various zoning districts (both primary and secondary) establish the requirements for and limitations on buildings, structures and uses and lot sizes for specific locations of the Township.
B. 
Other sections of this chapter, however, also establish requirements for and on buildings, structures, uses and lot sizes regardless of the location in the Township. It is hereby emphasized that all regulations pertaining to a zoning district and the regulations concerning particular environmental conditions and particular buildings, structures and uses apply.
C. 
Throughout this chapter, references are made to pertinent applicable sections of this chapter for a particular condition, building structure or use, but these references are for the assistance of user of this chapter only, and any errors or omissions in such references shall not allow a relief or waiver of any applicable regulation. The applicant or user of this chapter should read the entire chapter to determine applicability for his or her needs.
D. 
The Zoning Officer shall interpret the requirements of this chapter if a proposed specific use is not mentioned and/or not prohibited. In this interpretation, the Zoning Officer shall make his or her decision on the basis of the mentioned use that is most similar to the proposed specific use. If no mentioned use is similar, the Zoning Officer shall reject the application.
A. 
Applicability. The governing body shall have the power to approve conditional uses when this chapter specifically requires the obtaining of such approval and for no other use or purpose.
B. 
Conditions and standards. In granting a conditional use, the governing body shall make findings of fact consistent with the provisions of this chapter. The governing body shall not approve a conditional use except in conformance with the conditions and standards outlined in this chapter.
C. 
General requirement and standards applicable to all conditional uses. The governing body shall grant a conditional use only if it finds adequate evidence that any proposed development submitted will meet all of the following general requirements as well as any specific requirements and standards listed in Subsection D below for the proposed use. The governing body shall, among other things, require that any proposed use and location be:
(1) 
In accordance with the Lower Saucon Township Comprehensive Plan and consistent with the spirit, purposes, and the intent of this chapter;
(2) 
In the best interests of the municipality, the convenience of the community, the public welfare, and be a substantial improvement to the property in the immediate vicinity;
(3) 
Suitable for the property in question, and designed, constructed, operated, and maintained so as to be in harmony with and appropriate in appearance to the existing or intended character of the general vicinity;
(4) 
In conformance with all applicable requirements of this chapter and all municipal ordinances;
(5) 
Suitable in terms of effects on highway traffic and safety, with adequate access arrangements to protect streets from undue congestion and hazard; and
(6) 
In accordance with sound standards of subdivision and land development practice where applicable.
D. 
Specific requirements and standards. The governing body shall:
(1) 
Determine that the proposal provides for adequate access to public roads without creating hazardous conditions. In making this determination, the governing body may impose conditions requiring:
(a) 
Access to be limited or combined with that of adjoining properties.
(b) 
Improvement of vertical or horizontal alignment adjoining the site or off site if access to the site would be restricted or hazardous as a result of the alignment problem.
(c) 
Widening or replacing a bridge if said bridge restricts access to the site or where the nature of the traffic generated by the proposed use would create a hazardous or restrictive situation.
(2) 
Examine the use and its relationship to existing land uses to insure that the proposed use does not adversely alter the character of stable neighborhoods and to protect adjoining residents from uses which are objectionable. To this end, the governing body may impose conditions requiring:
(a) 
Special buffer planting, buffer yards, or planted berms.
(b) 
Planting or walls to screen intrusive uses such as parking lots, loading docks, mechanical plants, etc.
(c) 
Control of location of intrusive uses so that they are sited in the least disruptive manner.
(d) 
Special design of lighting and signs to avoid disrupting existing developments or conflicting with the vision of motorists, particularly near intersections.
(3) 
The governing body shall render a written decision or, when no decision is called for, make written findings on the conditional use application within 45 days after the last hearing before the governing body. Where the application is contested or denied, each decision shall be accompanied by findings of fact or conclusions based thereon, together with any reasons therefor. Conclusions based on any provisions of this chapter or of any ordinance, rule or regulation shall contain a reference to the provision relied on and the reasons why the conclusion is deemed appropriate in the light of the facts found.
(4) 
Where the governing body fails to render the decision within the period required by this subsection or fails to hold the required hearing within 60 days from the date of the applicant's request for a hearing, the decision shall be deemed to have been rendered in favor of the applicant unless the applicant has agreed in writing or on the record to an extension of time. When a decision has been rendered in favor of the applicant because of the failure of the governing body to meet or render a decision as hereinabove provided, the governing body shall give public notice of the decision within ten days from the last day it could have met to render a decision in the same manner as required by the public notice requirements of this chapter. If the governing body shall fail to provide such notice, the applicant may do so.
(5) 
Nothing in this subsection shall prejudice the right of any party opposing the application to appeal the decision to a court of competent jurisdiction. A copy of the final decision or, where no decision is called for, of the findings shall be delivered to the applicant personally or mailed to him no later than the day following its date.
[Added 11-16-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-05]
A. 
Persons with a claim for reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Amendments Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act[1] shall submit their request, in writing, to the Zoning Officer on an application form which shall require that the following information that may be reasonably needed to process the request be provided:
(1) 
Specific citation of the Zoning Ordinance[2] provision from which reasonable accommodation is requested.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 180, Zoning.
(2) 
The name and address of the applicants.
(3) 
The specific description of the reasonable accommodation sought and the particulars, including exact admonitions of any proposed structural or locational accommodation.
(4) 
The condition of the applicants for which reasonable accommodation is sought.
(5) 
A description of the hardship, if any, that the applicants will incur absent provision of the reasonable accommodation requested.
(6) 
A description of any alternative methods of relieving the claimed hardship that have been considered and the reason, if any, why applicants have rejected such alternatives.
(7) 
A statement describing why the requested accommodation is necessary to afford the applicants an opportunity equal to a nonhandicapped or nondisabled person to use and enjoy the dwelling in question.
(8) 
A description of the manner in which the accommodation, if granted, will be terminated or removed if no longer required to afford equal housing opportunity to handicapped or disabled persons.
(9) 
A statement of any facts indicating whether or not nonhandicapped or nondisabled persons would be permitted to utilize the property in question in a manner similar sought by applicants.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 42 U.S.C. § 3601 and 42 U.S.C. § 12101, respectively.
B. 
The Zoning Officer may hold any meetings and/or hearings necessary in their discretion to elicit information or argument pertinent to the request for accommodation.
C. 
The Zoning Officer's decision shall be in writing and shall state the reasons for the decision.
D. 
The Zoning Officer shall issue a written decision to the applicants and the Township within 30 days of the filing of the request for accommodation.
E. 
A request for reasonable accommodation should be directed in the first instance to the Zoning Officer. In considering a request for reasonable accommodation, the Zoning Officer shall, with the advice of the counsel of the Township Solicitor, apply the following criteria:
(1) 
Whether the applicants are handicapped or disabled within the meaning of the Federal Fair Housing Act Amendments or the Americans with Disabilities Act.[3]
[3]
Editor’s Note: See 42 U.S.C. § 3601 and 42 U.S.C. § 12101, respectively.
(2) 
The degree to which the accommodation sought is related to the handicap or disability of the applicants.
(3) 
A description of the hardship, if any, that the applicants will incur absent provision of the reasonable accommodation requested.
(4) 
The extent to which the requested accommodation is necessary to afford the applicants an opportunity equal to a nonhandicapped or nondisabled person to use and enjoy the dwelling in question.
(5) 
The extent to which the proposed accommodation may impact other property owners in the immediate vicinity.
(6) 
The extent to which the requested accommodation may be consistent with or contrary to the zoning purposes promoted by the Zoning Ordinance,[4] the Comprehensive Plan, and the community development objectives set forth in the Zoning Ordinance.
[4]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 180, Zoning.
(7) 
The extent to which the requested accommodation would impose financial and administrative burdens upon the Township.
(8) 
The extent to which the requested accommodation would impose an undue hardship upon the Township.
(9) 
The extent to which the requested accommodation would require a fundamental alteration in the nature of the Township's regulatory policies, objectives and regulations.
(10) 
The extent to which the requested accommodation would result in a subsidy, privilege, or benefit not available to nonhandicapped or disabled persons.
(11) 
The permanency of the requested accommodation and the conditions under which such accommodation will be removed, terminated or discontinued when no longer needed to provide handicapped or disabled persons with equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling in question.
(12) 
The extent to which the requested accommodation will increase the value of the property during and after its occupancy by applicants.
F. 
Accommodations under the Fair Housing Amendments Act and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act[5] or similar statutes. The Zoning Hearing Board shall hear and determine appeals from decisions of the Zoning Officer with respect to requests for reasonable accommodation. In hearing and deciding such an appeal, the Zoning Hearing Board shall apply the criteria set forth in § 180-12.2E of this chapter, to the fullest extent as is consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Amendments Act or other applicable similar law. In granting a request for reasonable accommodation, the Board may attach such reasonable safeguards and/or limitations as it may deem necessary to implement this chapter and protect the public health, safety and welfare, consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing Amendments Act or other similar applicable statute.
[5]
Editor's Note: See 42 U.S.C. § 3601 and 42 U.S.C. § 12101, respectively.