The Zoning Hearing Board shall hear and decide appeals where it is alleged by the appellant that the Zoning Administrator has failed to follow prescribed procedures or has misinterpreted or misapplied any provision of a valid ordinance or map or any valid rule or regulation governing the action of the Zoning Administrator. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to deny to the appellant the right to proceed directly in Court, where appropriate, pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. Sections 1091 to 1098 relating to mandamus.
The Zoning Hearing Board shall hear challenges to the validity of the Zoning Code, Ordinance or Map except as indicated in §§ 595-258 and 595-259A(2). In all such challenges, the Board shall take evidence and make a record thereon as provided in Article XXXVII, Hearings. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board shall decide all contested questions and shall make findings on all relevant issues of fact, which shall become part of the record on appeal to the Court.
Where Council has in this chapter stated special exceptions to be granted or denied by the Zoning Hearing Board pursuant to express standards and criteria, the Board shall hear and decide requests for such special exceptions after receipt of the Planning Commission's recommendations in accordance with such standards and criteria. In granting a special exception, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed in the chapter, as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of Act 247 and this chapter. The Board shall grant a special exception only if it finds adequate evidence presented by the applicant that the proposed special exception is duly authorized under provisions of this chapter, that the application falls within the terms of the specific provisions allowing for special exceptions, and that the proposed use complies with all other requirements of this chapter and the following criteria:
The proposed use is consistent with the purpose of the article whereby it is permitted and the overall purpose of this chapter as contained in Article II, Purpose and Objectives.
The proposed use and its location are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, in particular the plans for land use, circulation, community facilities and utilities.
The proposed use will not adversely affect the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the City.
The proposed use is consistent with the nature of the land uses on any immediately adjacent lots, and it will not detract from or cause harm to neighboring lots and will be maintained in a manner in keeping with the character of the neighborhood.
The proposed use is consistent with the logical extension of public services and utilities, such as public water and public sewer, and will not negatively the public services and utilities of the surrounding properties.
The proposed use reflects an environmentally sensitive approach to land planning and design based on thorough site analysis and evaluation related to topography, soils, vegetation, hydrology, visual quality and related site conditions and characteristics.
The proposed use will provide safe and adequate access to streets and public services (existing or proposed) and will not result in excessive traffic volumes or congestion, or will make any improvements needed to guarantee compatibility with adjacent streets and public services.
The proposed use will provide for adequate screening in accordance with Article XXX, Landscaping Standards.
The proposed use, as depicted in plans for subdivision and/or land development, includes proposals for landscaping, in addition to that required as stated above, in areas such as the entrance, along property boundaries, in areas which are highly visible, such as along streets or sidewalks, and in other places where the use of trees, shrubs and ground covers would be functional and appropriate.
The proposed use will promote preservation or adaptive reuse of the sites and structures identified by the Local Historic District regulations.
The proposed use will provide off-street parking and loading according to Article XXXII, Off-Street and On-Street Parking.
A satisfactory impact assessment and mitigation report is submitted for any proposed use subject to the provision of Article XXXIV, Impact Assessment and Mitigation.
The proposed use, located on the particular property at issue, having all of the characteristics as proposed, and considering the present characteristics of neighboring lands will not cause negative impacts over and above those typically associated with such uses located and operated in a usual manner.
The Zoning Hearing Board shall hear requests for variances where it is alleged that the provisions of this chapter inflict unnecessary hardship upon the applicant. The Board may grant a variance, provided the following findings are made where relevant in a given case:
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 the Zoning Ordinance in the neighborhood or district in which the property is located;
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 the Zoning Ordinance and that the authorization of a variance is therefore necessary to enable the reasonable use of the property;
That such unnecessary hardship has not been created by the appellant;
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;
That the variance, if authorized, will represent the minimum variance that will afford relief and will represent the least modification possible of the regulation at issue; and
That, in the case of a use variance, the variance if authorized will meet the dimensional standards set forth in the zoning district where the use is permitted by right. In the case where a use is permitted in more than one district, the more restrictive dimensional standards shall apply.
In granting the variance, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of Act 247 and this chapter.
Variances shall expire if the applicant fails to submit the next required application within six months. The Zoning Administrator may grant up to two extensions of time for additional periods not exceeding 90 days each.
Where the Zoning Hearing Board has jurisdiction over a zoning matter, the Board shall also hear all appeals which an applicant may elect to bring before it with respect to any municipal ordinance or requirements pertaining to a development plan or development. In any such case, the Board shall have no power to pass upon the nonzoning issues but shall take evidence and make a record thereon as provided in Article XXXVII, Hearings. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board shall make findings on all relevant issues of fact, which shall become part of the record on appeal to the Court.
Appeals under § 595-249 and proceedings to challenge an ordinance under § 595-250 may be filed with the Zoning Hearing Board in writing by the landowner affected, any officer or agency of the City, or any person aggrieved. Requests for a variance under § 595-252 and for special exception under § 595-251 may be filed with the Board by any landowner or any tenant with the permission of such landowner.
Persons aggrieved. No person shall be allowed to file any proceeding with the Zoning Hearing Board later than 30 days after an application for development, preliminary or final, has been approved by an appropriate municipal officer, agency or body if such proceeding is designed to secure reversal or to limit the approval in any manner unless such person alleges and proves that he/she had no notice, knowledge, or reason to believe that such approval had been given. If such person has succeeded to his interest after such approval, he/she shall be bound by the knowledge of his predecessor in interest.
The failure of anyone other than the landowner in appeal from an adverse decision on a tentative or preliminary plan from an adverse decision by a Zoning Administrator on a challenge to the validity of an ordinance or map shall preclude an appeal from a final approval except in the case where the final submission substantially deviates from the approved tentative or preliminary approval.
Upon filing of any proceeding referred to in § 595-254 and during its pendency before the Zoning Hearing Board, all land development pursuant to any challenged ordinance, order or approval of the Zoning Administrator or of any agency or body, and all official action thereunder, shall be stayed unless the Zoning Administrator or any other appropriate agency or body certifies to the Board facts indicating that such stay would cause imminent peril to life or property, in which case the development or official action shall not be stayed otherwise than by a restraining order, which may be granted by the Board or by the Court having jurisdiction of zoning appeals on petition after notice to the Zoning Administrator or other appropriate agency or body.
When an application for development, preliminary or final, has been duly approved and proceedings designed to reverse or limit the approval are filed with the Board by persons other than the applicant, the applicant may petition the Court having jurisdiction of zoning appeals to order such persons to post bond as a condition to continuing the proceedings before the Board. After the petition is presented, the Court shall hold a hearing to determine if the filing of the appeal is frivolous and is for the purpose of delay. At the hearing, evidence may be presented on the merits of the case. After consideration of all evidence presented, it shall grant the petition. The right to petition the Court to order the appellants to post bond may be waived by the appellee, but such waiver may be revoked by him if an appeal is taken from a final decision of the Court. The question whether or not such petition should be granted and the amount of the bond shall be within the sound discretion of the Court.