[Adopted 9-21-1981 by Ord. No. 381]
The intent of this article is to
Promote the general health, welfare and safety of the community;
Encourage the utilization of appropriate construction practices to minimize flood damage in the future;
Minimize danger to public health by protecting water supply and natural drainage.
Reduce financial burdens imposed on the community, its governmental units and its residents by preventing excessive development in areas subject to flooding.
It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, business or corporation to undertake or cause to be undertaken any construction or development anywhere within the Township of Penn unless an approved building permit has been obtained from the Zoning Officer.
Unless specifically defined below, words and phrases used in this article shall be interpreted so as to give this article its most reasonable application.
- A combination of materials to form a permanent structure having walls and a roof. Included shall be all mobile homes and trailers to be used for human habitation.
- The construction, reconstruction, renovation, repair, extension, expansion, alteration or relocation of a building or structure, including the placement of mobile homes.
- Any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, the placement of mobile homes, streets and other paving, utilities, filling, grading, excavation, mining, dredging or drilling operations and the subdivision of land.
- A temporary inundation of normally dry land areas.
- A relatively flat or low land area which is subject to partial or complete inundation from an adjoining or nearby stream, river or watercourse, and/or any area subject to the unusual and rapid accumulation of surface waters from any source.
- IDENTIFIED FLOODPLAIN AREA and IDENTIFIED FLOOD-PRONE AREA
- The floodplain area specifically identified in this article as being inundated by the one-hundred-year flood. Included would be areas identified as Floodway (FW), Flood-Fringe (FF) and General Floodplain (FA).
- MOBILE HOME
- A transportable, single-family dwelling intended for permanent occupancy, office or place of assembly, contained in one or more sections, built on a permanent chassis, which arrives at a site complete and ready for occupancy, except for minor and incidental unpacking and assembly operations, and constructed so that it may be used with or without a permanent foundation. The term does not include recreational vehicles or travel trailers.
- ONE-HUNDRED-YEAR FLOOD
- A flood that, on the average, is likely to occur once every 100 years (i.e., that has a one-percent chance of occurring each year, although the flood may occur in any year).
- Anything constructed or erected on the ground or attached to the ground, including but not limited to buildings, sheds, mobile homes and other similar items.
This article supersedes any provisions currently in effect in flood-prone areas. However, any underlying ordinance shall remain in full force and effect to the extent that those provisions are more restrictive.
The degree of flood protection sought by the provisions of this article is considered reasonable for regulatory purposes in the identified flood-prone areas. Larger floods may occur on rare occasions. Flood heights may be increased by man-made or natural causes, such as ice jams and bridge openings restricted by debris. This article does not imply that areas outside any identified flood-prone area or that land uses permitted within such areas will be free from flooding or flood damage. This article shall not create liability on the part of the Township of Penn or any officer or employee thereof for any flood damages that result from reliance on this article or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder.
Building permits shall be required before any proposed construction or development is undertaken within any area of the Township of Penn, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.
The Zoning Officer shall issue a building permit only after it has been determined that the proposed work to be undertaken will be in conformance with the requirements of this and all other applicable codes and ordinances.
No building permit shall be issued until all other required permits have been obtained from any other office or agency.
Application for such a building permit shall be made in writing to the Zoning Officer on forms supplied by the Township of Penn. Such application shall contain at least the following:
The name and address of the applicant.
The name and address of the owner of the land on which proposed construction is to occur.
The name and address of the contractor.
The location site.
The proposed lowest floor and basement elevations, based upon the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929.
A brief description of the proposed work and estimated cost.
A plan of the site, showing the exact size and location of the proposed construction, as well as any existing buildings or structures.
If any proposed construction or development is located within or adjacent to any identified flood-prone area, applicants for building permits shall also provide the following specific information:
A plan which accurately delineates the area which is subject to flooding, the location of the proposed construction, the location of any other flood-prone development or structures and the location of any existing or proposed stream improvements or protective works.
Included shall be all plans for proposed subdivision and land development in order to assure that:
All such proposals are consistent with the need to minimize flood damage.
All utilities and facilities, such as sewer, gas, electrical and water systems, are located, elevated and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage.
Adequate drainage is provided so as to reduce exposure to flood hazards.
Such plan shall also include existing and proposed contours; information concerning one-hundred-year-flood elevations, other applicable information, such as uplift forces, associated with the one-hundred-year flood; the size of structures, location and elevations of streets; water supply and sanitary sewage facilities; soil types; and floodproofing measures.
A document certified by a registered professional engineer or architect that the proposed construction has been adequately designed against flood damage and that the plans for the development of the site adhere to the restrictions cited in Chapter 190, Zoning. Such statement shall include a description of the type and extent of floodproofing measures which have been incorporated into the design of the structure.
Prior to any proposed alteration or relocation of any stream or any watercourse, etc., within the municipality, a permit shall be obtained from the Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Dams and Waterways Management. Further notification of the proposal shall be given to all affected adjacent municipalities. Copies of such notifications shall be forwarded to both the Federal Insurance Administration and the Department of Community and Economic Development, Bureau of Community Planning. Under no circumstances shall any use, activity and/or development adversely affect the capacity of the channels or floodways of any watercourse, drainage ditch, or any other drainage facility or system.
Prior to the issuance of any building permit, the Zoning Officer shall review the application for permit to determine if all other necessary governmental permits, such as those required by state and federal laws, have been obtained, including those required by Act 537, the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act, the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act, the Control Pennsylvania Clean Streams Act and the Federal Water Pollution Act Amendments of 1972, § 404, 33 U.S.C. § 1334. No permit shall be issued until this determination has been made.
Editor's Note: See 35 P.S. § 750.1 et seq., 32 P.S. § 693.1 et seq. and 52 P.S. § 30.55, respectively.
A copy of all applications and plans for any proposed construction or development in any identified flood-prone area to be considered for approval shall be submitted by the Zoning Officer to the County Conservation District for review and comment prior to the issuance of a building permit. The recommendations of the Conservation District shall be considered by the Zoning Officer for possible incorporation into the proposed plan.
[Amended 1-18-2017 by Ord. No. 914]
A copy of all plans and applications for any proposed construction or development in any identified flood-prone area to be considered for approval may be submitted by the Zoning Officer to any other appropriate agencies or individuals (e.g., the Planning Commission, Municipal Engineer, etc.) for review and comment.
[Amended 11-24-1997 by Ord. No. 689]
After the issuance of a building permit by the Zoning Officer, no changes of any kind shall be made to the application, the permit or any of the plans, specifications or other documents submitted with the application without the written consent or approval of the Zoning Officer.
[Amended 11-24-1997 by Ord. No. 689]
In addition to the building permit, the Zoning Officer shall issue a placard which shall be displayed on the premises during the time construction is in progress. This placard shall show the number of the building permit, the date of its issuance and shall be signed by the Zoning Officer.
Work on the proposed construction shall begin within six months after the date of issuance of the building permit or the permit shall expire, unless a time extension is granted, in writing, by the Zoning Officer. Construction shall be considered to have started with the first placement of permanent construction on the site, such as the pouring of slabs or footing or any work beyond the stage of excavation. For a structure without a basement or poured footings, the start of construction includes the first permanent framing or assembly of the structure or any part thereof on its pilings or foundation or the affixing of any prefabricated structure or mobile home to its permanent site. Permanent construction does not include land preparation, land clearing, grading, filling, excavation for basement, footings, piers or foundations, erection of temporary forms, installation of piling under proposed subsurface footings or installation of sewer, gas and water pipes or electrical or other service lines from the street.
During the construction period, the Zoning Officer or other authorized official may inspect the premises to determine that the work is progressing in compliance with the information provided on the permit application and with all applicable township laws and ordinances or that there has been a false statement or misrepresentation by any applicant, in which case the Zoning Officer shall revoke the building permit and report such fact to the Township of Penn for whatever action it considers necessary.
Applications for a building permit shall be accompanied by a fee, payable to the Township of Penn, based upon the current township fee schedule.
Notices. Whenever the Zoning Officer or other authorized municipal representative determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provision of this article or of any regulations adopted pursuant thereto, such authority shall give notice of such alleged violation as hereinafter provided. Such notice shall:
Be in writing;
Include a statement of the reasons for its issuance;
Allow a reasonable time for the performance of any act it requires;
Be served upon the property owner or his agent, as the case may require; provided, however, that such notice or order shall be deemed to have been properly served upon such owner or agent when a copy thereof has been served with such notice by any other method authorized or required by the laws of this commonwealth;
Contain an outline of remedial action which, if taken, will effect compliance with the provisions of this article or any part thereof and with the regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
Hearings. Any person affected by any notice which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of any provision of this article or of any regulation adopted pursuant thereto may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Penn Township Board of Commissioners, provided that such person files with the Township of Penn's Zoning Officer a written petition requesting such hearing and setting forth a brief statement of the grounds therefor within 10 days after the notice was served. The filing of the request for a hearing shall separate as a stay of the notice and the suspension. Upon receipt of such petition, the Zoning Officer shall set a time and place for such hearing and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof. At such hearing the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show why such notice shall be modified or withdrawn. The hearing shall be commenced not later than 10 days after the day on which the petition was filed, provided that upon application of the petitioner, the Zoning Officer may postpone the date of the hearing for a reasonable time beyond such ten-day period when, in his judgment, the petitioner has submitted good and sufficient reasons for such postponement.
Findings and order. After such hearing, the Penn Township Board of Commissioners shall make findings as to compliance with the provisions of this article and regulations issued thereunder and shall issue an order, in writing, sustaining, modifying or withdrawing the notice, which shall be served as provided in Subsection A of this section.
Record of hearing. The proceedings at such hearing, including the findings and decision of the Penn Township Board of Commissioners and together with a copy of every notice and order related thereto, shall be entered as a matter of public record in the Township of Penn, but the transcript of the proceedings need not be transcribed unless judicial review of the decision is sought as provided by this section.
Violations and penalties. Any person who fails to comply with any or all of the requirements or provisions of this article or who fails or refuses to comply with any notice, order or direction of the Zoning Officer or any other authorized employee of the municipality shall be guilty of an offense and, upon conviction, shall pay a fine to the Township of Penn of not more than $1,000, plus costs of prosecution. In default of such payment, such person shall be imprisoned in county prison for a period not to exceed 30 days. Each day during which any violation of this article continues shall constitute a separate offense. In addition to the above penalties, all other actions are hereby reserved, including an action in equity for the proper enforcement of this article. The imposition of a fine or penalty for any violation of or noncompliance with this article shall not excuse the violation or noncompliance or permit it to continue, and all such persons shall be required to correct or remedy such violations and noncompliances within a reasonable time. Any structure or building constructed, reconstructed, enlarged, altered or relocated in noncompliance with this article may be declared by the Township of Penn to be a public nuisance and abatable as such.
Any person aggrieved by an action or decision of the Zoning Officer or by any of the requirements of this article may appeal to the Township of Penn. Such appeal must be filed, in writing, within 30 days after the decision or action of the Zoning Officer. Upon receipt of such appeal, the Township of Penn shall set a time and place, within not less than 10 nor more than 30 days, for the purpose of hearing the appeal. Notice of the time and place of the hearing of the appeal shall be given to all parties, at which time they may appear and be heard.
[Amended 11-24-1997 by Ord. No. 689]
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Township of Penn may seek relief therefrom in any court of competent jurisdiction, as provided by the laws of this commonwealth.