Township of Butler, PA
Butler County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The Zoning Officer or his authorized representative shall administer and enforce this chapter in accordance with its terms and conditions, and he shall have all powers incident thereto, including instituting civil enforcement proceedings as a means of enforcement, when acting within the scope of his/her employment. The Zoning Officer shall be appointed by the Board of Commissioners and shall hold no elective office in Butler Township. The Zoning Officer shall meet the qualifications set by the Township and be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Township, a working knowledge of municipal zoning.
A. 
Violations. Failure to comply with any provision of this chapter or to secure a zoning permit prior to the erection, construction, extension, alteration or addition to a building or failure to secure an occupancy permit for the use or change of use or occupancy of structures or land, as required by this chapter, shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
B. 
Complaints. Whenever a violation of this chapter occurs or is alleged to have occurred, any person may file a written complaint. Such complaint stating fully the causes and basis thereof shall be filed with the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative. He shall record properly such complaint, immediately investigate and take action thereon as provided by this chapter.
C. 
Enforcement notice.
(1) 
If no zoning permit or occupancy permit has been issued for the use of any structure or any other work for which a permit is required by this chapter, the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative shall issue an order to the contractor, owner, lessee and/or other person in charge of the premises to immediately cease and desist and shall file a citation before the District Justice and/or shall take such other legal action as is warranted.
(2) 
If there is a violation of any other terms, provisions and conditions of this chapter (other than the requirements to obtain a zoning permit or occupancy permit), the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative shall give a written enforcement notice to the contractor, owner, lessee and/or person in charge of the premises, by certified mail or personal service of the enforcement notice, with an order to fully correct the same within five days from service of the enforcement notice. The enforcement notice shall contain the following information:
(a) 
The name of the owner of record and any other person against whom the Township 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) 
The date before which the steps for compliance must be commenced and the date before which the steps must be completed.
(e) 
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 procedures set forth in this chapter.
(f) 
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.
(3) 
In the event that said violations are not corrected within five days, the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative shall issue a written revocation of the zoning and/or occupancy permits and shall initiate a civil proceeding before the District Justice and/or shall take such other legal action as is warranted.
A. 
Any person, partnership or corporation who or which 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 the Township, 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 be payable until the date of the determination of a violation by the District Justice. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals 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.
B. 
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.
C. 
Nothing contained in this section shall be construed or interpreted to grant to any person or entity other than the Township the right to commence any action for enforcement pursuant to this section.
No building or other structure, whether above, on or below the ground surface, shall be erected, moved or added to or altered without a zoning permit therefor issued by the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative. Only the owner of the property or of the structure for which the permit is intended or his authorized representative shall obtain the zoning permit. The owner shall also be made aware by the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative that no occupancy permit shall be issued until the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative is satisfied that existing streets and public utilities and facilities have been repaired to their condition prior to construction. Further, the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative shall determine prior to issuing the zoning permit that stormwater drainage will be handled on the property containing the construction for which the permit is to be issued and not permitted to enter the sanitary sewers or to flow across a public street or adjacent properties. In no case shall a zoning permit be issued for any lot which does not have frontage on a public street.
For all land developments, as defined herein, approval of a land development plan in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 252, Subdivision and Land Development, shall be prerequisite to obtaining a zoning permit for the proposed construction or alteration.
All applications for zoning permits pertaining to new construction shall be accompanied by a copy of plans drawn to scale, showing the actual dimensions and shape of the lot to be built upon; the exact sizes and locations on the lot of buildings already existing, if any; and the location and dimensions of the proposed building. The application shall include such other information as lawfully may be required by the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative, including existing or proposed building or alterations; existing or proposed uses of building and land; the number of families, housekeeping units or rental units the building is designed to accommodate; conditions existing on the lot; and such other matters as may be necessary to determine conformance with and provide for the enforcement of this chapter and the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) and other pertinent ordinances.
The Zoning Officer or his authorized representative shall act upon the application for a zoning permit within 30 days after its receipt by either approving or rejecting it or requiring modifications of the plans and specifications. Failure to act on the application within 30 days shall result in the application being deemed denied. When approved, the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative shall issue the permit. Every permit shall be considered canceled if active work is not commenced within a period of 90 days from the date of its issue or if work on the operation ceases for a continuous period of 60 days, provided that such cessation of work is not caused by circumstances beyond the applicant's control, as certified by the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative. Where the permit covers more than one building, starting of work on one of them shall be considered as compliance with the foregoing provisions. After the issuance of the permit, no transfer of the same to another party may be made unless authorized by the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative.
Zoning permits issued on the basis of plans and applications approved by the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative authorize only the use, arrangement and construction set forth in such approved plans and applications, and no other use, arrangement or construction. Use, arrangement or construction at variance with that authorized in the permit shall be deemed a violation of this chapter and punishable as provided by § 300-54 of this chapter.
A. 
No land, new structure or building or addition thereto or alteration thereof shall be occupied or used unless and until an occupancy permit is granted and issued by the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative after inspection of the premises to ensure full and complete compliance with the zoning permit, if applicable, and all terms and provisions of this chapter of the Code of the Township of Butler.
B. 
New uses.
(1) 
After establishment of a new use or after completion of the whole building or structure authorized by a zoning permit and upon the application by the owner or his duly authorized agent setting forth such facts as the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative may require and after actual inspection of the premises by the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative, the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative shall, upon finding the facts to be as represented, issue in duplicate an occupancy permit, certifying that the premises complies with the provisions of this chapter and may be used for the purposes set forth in the permit, which purposes shall conform to the requirements of this chapter.
(2) 
No change of use shall be made in any land or any building, structure or premises now or hereafter erected or altered that is not consistent with the requirements of this chapter. Any person desiring to change the use of his premises shall apply to the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative for an occupancy permit, setting forth such facts as may be required.
C. 
Existing uses.
(1) 
Upon written request from the owner, tenant or occupant, the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative, after inspection, shall issue an occupancy permit for an existing use legally existing at the time this chapter is made effective, certifying the extent and kind of use and whether any such existing use conforms to the provisions of this chapter.
(2) 
No change or extension of use and no alterations shall be made in a nonconforming use or premises without an occupancy permit having first been issued by the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative stating that such change, extension or alteration is in conformity with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise authorized by the Zoning Hearing Board.
(3) 
Each occupant of any nonresidential land, building, structure or structural alteration or addition thereto shall make application for an occupancy permit, whether or not the existing use is changed, before occupying the land, building or structure.
D. 
A copy of the occupancy permit shall be displayed upon request made by the Township Zoning Officer or his authorized representative or police officer. A record shall be kept of all occupancy permits issued and the original applications therefor shall be kept on file in the same manner as applications for zoning permits.
Development in floodplain areas shall be further subject to the special permits required by Chapter 183, Floodplain Management.
A zoning permit or occupancy permit for any structure or use shall be revoked by the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative if the holder of such permit has failed to comply with the requirements of this chapter or with any conditions attached to the issuance of the permit. Upon revocation of a permit, the holder may also be subject to the enforcement remedies specified in § 300-54 of this chapter.
[Amended 10-19-2015 by Ord. No. 887]
A. 
Prior to making application for a zoning permit or occupancy permit for any use listed in any zoning district as a conditional use, the applicant shall submit an application for conditional use approval in accordance with the following procedures:
(1) 
Applications for conditional uses shall be made to the Zoning Officer and accompanied by a fee established by resolution.
(2) 
Conditional uses shall be granted or denied by the Township Commissioners after the recommendation of the Planning Commission.
(3) 
Procedures shall follow those specified in this chapter and the standards established by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
B. 
It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to illustrate compliance with all express standards for each conditional use to the satisfaction of the Township. In granting a conditional use, the Township Commissioners may also add reasonable additional conditions and safeguards beyond the specific criteria for each conditional use. The purpose of such additional conditions and safeguards is to further mitigate negative impacts of a development upon a specific site or neighborhood and make the conditional use more compatible with the zoning district.
(1) 
Such reasonable additional conditions and safeguards may include, but are not limited to:
(a) 
Establishment of screening and buffering or an increase in screening and buffering normally required.
(b) 
Limitations upon hours of operation.
(c) 
Establishment of fencing for purposes of security, limiting vehicular access, or control of wind-blown trash.
(d) 
Limits upon future subdivision of property to prevent the creation of a lot too small for the approved conditional use.
(e) 
Changes in the proposed location or design of access drives or parking areas to prevent traffic hazards, congestion, or the impacts of increased traffic upon local access and residential streets.
(2) 
The developer will be notified, in writing, of any such reasonable additional conditions and safeguards imposed by the Commissioners as part of an approval and must agree or accept such conditions or safeguards.
C. 
Sketch plan requirements. As part of a conditional use application, the developer shall submit a sketch plan that generally identifies proposed areas for building, outdoor use (if applicable), or parking, or other development. This sketch plan need not include final dimensions and final designs of any public or private improvements but shall focus upon the relationship of proposed buildings and structures to each other and the surrounding neighborhood. Nothing in this section alters the right of the Township to review and approve any subdivision and land development plan submitted after conditional use approval.
(1) 
The plan shall illustrate any pedestrian and vehicular access proposed.
(2) 
The developer shall submit a sketch landscaping plan that illustrates how landscaping will be used to buffer the proposed development from any abutting residential areas.
(3) 
The Township Commissioners may increase standards for buffering and landscaping as a reasonable additional condition and safeguard.
D. 
If the applicant withdraws the proposal and resubmits it with changes, the time deadlines for review and approval shall commence with the resubmission. Having gained approval and accepted any conditions, the applicant may apply for a zoning permit or occupancy permit, which shall be issued by the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative subject to compliance with all terms and conditions of the approval of the conditional use application.
A. 
The Township Board of Commissioners shall make provision in its budget and appropriate funds for the operation of the Zoning Hearing Board. The Zoning Hearing Board may employ or contract for and fix the compensation of legal counsel, as the need arises, who shall be an attorney other than the Township Solicitor. The compensation of legal counsel or other experts or staff employed by the Zoning Hearing Board shall not exceed the amount appropriated by the Township Board of Commissioners for this use.
B. 
The Township Board of Commissioners shall appropriate funds for the administration and enforcement of this chapter and for actions to support or oppose, upon appeal to the courts, decisions of the Zoning Hearing Board.
A. 
The Township Board of Commissioners shall prescribe a collection procedure and schedule of reasonable fees for the administration of this chapter and for hearings before the Zoning Hearing Board, which shall be established from time to time by resolution of the Board of Commissioners and which schedule of fees shall be available for public inspection in the office of the Township Manager.
B. 
No permit, conditional use, special exception or variance shall be issued unless or until such costs, charges, fees or expenses for the permit, conditional use, special exception or variance have been paid in full; nor shall any action be taken on proceedings before the Zoning Hearing Board unless or until preliminary charges and fees have been paid in full.