Borough of Mars, PA
Butler County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 270-49 Essential services permitted.

Essential services, as defined in this chapter, shall be permitted in all districts, subject to the terms of this chapter established with respect to use, design, yard area, setback and height.

§ 270-50 Dwellings on small lots.

Notwithstanding the limitations imposed by any other provisions of this chapter, the Zoning Hearing Board may permit erection of a dwelling on any lot (in a district where permitted by this chapter) separately owned or under contract of sale and containing, at the time of the passage of this chapter, an area or a width smaller than that required for a single-family dwelling.

§ 270-51 Storage regulations.

A. 
No lot or premises shall be used as a garbage dump or a dead animal rendering plant. No manure, rubbish, or miscellaneous refuse may be stored in the open within any district where the same may be construed as a menace to public health or safety.
B. 
Temporary storage containers may only be placed on any lot within the Borough for a period of time of 45 days. Such a storage unit may only be placed on any property once every year for the said forty-five-day period.
C. 
No semitrailers or similar wheeled trailers may be installed anywhere in the Borough or placed on any property in the Borough after the adoption of this chapter. Semitrailers which have previously been installed or placed on any property in the Borough, once removed, may not be replaced. Storage of said semitrailers and storage facilities must be maintained in a clean, safe manner, kept painted, and not allowed to deteriorate. If said units become unpainted, unmaintained, derelict, dangerous and hazardous, or their structural integrity becomes impaired because of rust or damage, they must be removed.

§ 270-52 Fences or hedges.

A. 
Fences, trees, hedges or other plantings shall not be located at street corners so as to interfere with vision clearance across the corner lots. The height of such objects is restricted to three feet from the average street elevation within a triangular area formed by the intersecting street ROW and a line joining points on the street lines and equidistant from the point of intersection. This distance shall be 30 feet from the corner.
B. 
The maximum height of an open fence (that is, a fence with at least 10% open area) is six feet and of a solid fence (that is, a fence with less than 80% open area) or wall is four feet, except as set forth in § 270-53.
C. 
The only fence permitted in a front yard is an ornamental or decorative fence limited to 36 inches (when not in conflict with Subsection A) and not fences of the chain-link type generally used as containment. Enclosure or containment-type fences may be permitted in the side or rear yards.
D. 
Electrified or barbed wire fences are not permitted in the Borough.
E. 
Junkyards and storage are required to be fenced by this chapter and shall be opaque and six feet in height.

§ 270-53 Swimming pools.

Swimming pools, ponds, open wells and similar pits or bodies of water (natural or artificial) shall be enclosed within a fence or enclosure at least six feet in height. The fence or enclosure, as well as the entrance, shall be reasonably secured. The fence or enclosure, as well as the entrance, shall be reasonably designed and constructed in a manner which will prevent access by children of tender age. Portable pools and children's pools, 12 feet or less in diameter, shall be exempt from this requirement, provided the depth capacity of such pools is less than 24 inches at the point of greatest possible depth; however, said pools shall be covered, drained or otherwise protected in such a manner to prevent access by children of tender age when not in use. The requirements of this section shall not apply to water ponds or other garden installations.

§ 270-54 Extraction or removal of minerals, oil and gas.

A. 
The extraction or removal of minerals, including coal, limestone and similar substances, oil and gas by deep mine, open pit (strip mining), drilling or similar methods may be permitted by conditional use in industrial districts only, as delineated on the Official Zoning Ordinance Map.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: The Zoning Map is on file in the Borough offices.
B. 
In considering approval of a conditional use of the nature herein referred to, the Planning and Zoning Commissions shall consider the protection of lives, safety and welfare of the residents of the Borough, as well as land deterioration and substantial decrease of the value and enjoyment of surrounding properties.
C. 
Following approval of a conditional use allowing use of land for the extraction of minerals, oil and gas under the stipulations and requirements established herewith, all other effective federal, commonwealth, county and local statutes and requirements shall apply.

§ 270-55 Temporary structures.

A. 
Temporary trailers or structures used in conjunction with construction work shall be permitted only during the period that construction work is in progress.
B. 
Temporary trailers or structures shall be promptly removed once the certificate of occupancy is issued or at the point of substantial completion.

§ 270-56 Grading.

A. 
A permit is required for grading.
(1) 
A grading permit must be obtained from the Zoning Officer for new grading, excavations or fills. Changes, additions or alterations made to existing excavation or fills shall conform to the provisions of this section. A separate grading permit shall be required for each site. One permit may cover the grading, excavation and any fills made on the same site.
(2) 
Only one permit is required for a continuous parcel when adequate standards or requirements for grading the parcel are approved by the Zoning Officer.
B. 
Exceptions to permit requirement. A grading permit will not be required for any of the following situations:
(1) 
Grading limited to a reasonable 20 cubic yards, regular, normal maintenance and landscaping improvements, where standards in this section are not violated.
(2) 
Stockpiling of rock, sand and aggregate in areas properly zoned for such use.
C. 
Standards for grading. Standards for grading are as hereinafter:
(1) 
The maximum slope of cut shall not be greater than two horizontal to one vertical, and maximum slope for fill shall not be greater than three horizontal to one vertical. Alternate slopes may be considered upon subsurface investigation (made prior to excavations) and the recommendations of a professional soils engineer.
(2) 
Adequate provisions shall be incorporated to prevent erosion due to storm drainage. All cuts and fills shall be properly engineered. All cuts and fills shall be reviewed and are subject to the approval of the Mars Borough Council and the Butler County Conservation District.
(3) 
Existing storm drainage shall not be diverted to adjacent property owners. All storm drainage shall be subject to Butler County and Pennsylvania DEP Regulations.
(4) 
Adequate engineered provisions shall be incorporated to prevent sediment infiltration into existing streams.
(5) 
All fills shall be compacted and keyed to the existing slopes to provide stability of fill materials and to prevent settlement or slippage.
(6) 
Immediately upon completion of grading, all areas not designated for building or parking lot paving shall be mulched and planted. Planting shall be appropriate to maintain slopes from erosion and subject to approval of the Borough. In general, planting may be rye grass, crown vetch or honeysuckle, or other approved earth-stabilizing planting.
(7) 
There shall be no sanitary or commercial landfills in the Borough. There shall be no landfills of construction debris, foreign or hazardous substances, or large biodegradable masses, such as trees and stumps, other than might be normally found in topsoil or mulching.
(8) 
Any slope which exceeds 50 feet in vertical height shall be properly benched.
(9) 
In the event that the cut and fill operation affects any natural watercourse under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, United States Division of Dams and Encroachments, by change in direction, cut and fill along the banks, culverts or bridges, or construction adjacent to, the applicant must present with his application the permit and the letter of comments from the DEP, United States Division of Dams and Encroachments.
D. 
Application for permit and plan submission. Every applicant for a grading permit shall file a written application with the Zoning Officer on a prescribed form. The application shall comply with the requirements of the Mars Borough Subdivision and Grading Ordinance[1] and shall:
(1) 
Describe the land on which the proposed work is to be done by lot, block, tract or street address.
(2) 
Be accompanied by the plans and specifications prepared and sealed by a professional (engineer, surveyor, or architect), giving a reasonable picture of the site and proposed soil erosion controls, if any. The plans must be complete with North arrow, scale, distance to road intersections, adjacent structures, roads, utilities, waterways, and existing contours (all contours minimum two-foot intervals). All necessary existing and finished spot elevations are required to show drainage details of all constructed measures to prevent soil erosion and planting; in general, all those items required in a plan submission to give an accurate picture of the proposed work.
(3) 
The Zoning Officer may waive the preparation of the plans by a professional when the proposed work is simple, clearly shown on the plan's submittal, and creates no potential nuisance or hazard to adjacent property.
(4) 
Plans and specifications shall be submitted to Butler County Conservation District for approval, and such approval must be submitted for permit when:
(a) 
Excavation or fill exceeds five feet in vertical depth and results in a cut or fill slope steeper than four horizontal to one vertical and exceeds an area of 1,000 square feet for areas recognized by Butler County as containing landslide-prone soils.
(b) 
Excavation or fill exceeds 10 feet in vertical depth and results in a cut or fill slope steeper than three horizontal to one vertical and exceeds an area of 5,000 square feet in area for areas not recognized by the Butler County Soil Survey as landslide-prone.
(c) 
In the event the applicant deems it necessary to exceed the slopes of cut and fill as recommended in the soil survey or by the Butler County Conservation District, the applicant may do so only when the design is certified by a soils engineer or geologist. However, in no case shall the slopes be greater than specified in this chapter.
[1]:
Editor's Note: See Ch. 230, Subdivision and Land Development.
E. 
Hazardous conditions.
(1) 
Whenever Council, upon the recommendation of its Zoning Officer, determines that any existing excavation, embankment or fill has become a hazard, the owner of the property upon which the excavation, embankment or fill is located, or other persons or agent in control of the property, upon receipt of notice, in writing, from the Zoning Officer, shall, within the reasonable period specified therein, repair, reconstruct or remove such excavation, embankment or fill so as to eliminate the hazard.
(2) 
If, after such notification, the property owner has not made the necessary repairs within the time adopted, then Council may direct Borough employees to make the required repairs, and the cost thereof shall be borne by the property owner by a lien filed as provided by law.
(3) 
Whenever Council, upon the recommendation of its Zoning Officer, determines that any proposed excavation or fill may present a hazard, as defined in this subsection, Council reserves the right to require the applicant to have the proposed work certified by a soils engineer or geologist.
F. 
Completion and performance guarantee. Before issuance of a grading permit, the applicant may be required to post a bond, if, in the opinion of Council, the scope of work warrants such action. The bond, if required, which shall be posted from a Pennsylvania-approved corporate surety, or the approved security, in the amount of 110% of the estimated cost of the grading work and erosion control facilities proposed for the permit, shall guarantee the work and facilities in a satisfactory manner and that the requirements of this chapter have been met, and, if the work has been completed in a satisfactory manner, the full amount of security shall be returned to the person posting the security.
G. 
Expiration of the permit. Every grading permit shall expire by limitation and become null and void if the work authorized by such permit has not been commenced within one year or it is not completed within three years from the date of issue, provided that Council, acting upon the recommendation of the Zoning Officer, may, if the permit holder presents satisfactory evidence that unusual difficulties have prevented work being started or completed within the specified time limits, grant a reasonable extension of time, and provided further that the application for the extension of time is made before the date of expiration of the permit. Any physical changes in the site, such as surface water drainage, soil and bedrock dislocations, alteration of groundwater discharge or any other natural or man-made modification which would cause a doubt to be cast upon the feasibility of the contents of the original permit approval, must be reported to the Zoning Officer in the intervening period between approval of permit and completion of the project.
H. 
Denial of permit and appeal.
(1) 
When the requirements of this section for obtaining a permit have been met, the Zoning Officer shall approve the proposed plan and grant a grading permit to the applicant. Approved work may then start. However, when, in the opinion of the Zoning Officer, the applicant is likely to endanger property or person, or any street or alley, or create hazardous conditions, the grading permit shall be denied. In determining whether the proposed work is likely to endanger property or streets or alleys, or create hazardous conditions, the Zoning Officer shall give due consideration to possible saturation by rains, earth movements, runoff surface waters and subsurface conditions, such as the stratification and faulting of rock, aquifers, springs and the nature and type of the soil or rock.
(2) 
Council shall, within 30 days, consider appeals from the provisions of this section or from the denial by the Zoning Officer, and Council, within 30 days, shall consider alternate methods, standards or materials proposed by the developer when, in his opinion, strict compliance with the provisions of this section is unnecessary. Any applicant or permit holder shall have the right to appeal to any court of competent jurisdiction from any decisions of Council.
I. 
Supervision of grading.
(1) 
The permittee or his agent shall notify the Zoning Officer, in writing, at the start and completion of each continuous grading operation. Notice shall be received by the Zoning Officer or his representative at least two working days before start or completion of grading operations.
(2) 
Grading work at these stages or at any other time will be subject to spot inspections at the discretion of the Zoning Officer to determine that the work is being performed in compliance with these regulations.
(3) 
In special cases, when grading occurs in areas of landslide-prone soil, as recognized by the soil survey or engineer, the Zoning Officer may require special precautions from the grader. The results of all soil tests and core borings made relating to the site graded shall be submitted to the Zoning Officer.
J. 
Maintenance.
(1) 
The owner of any property on which an excavation or fill has been made shall maintain in good condition and repair the excavation or fill permitted and also all retaining walls, cribbing, drainage structures, fences, ground cover and any other protective devices as may be part of the permit requirements.
(2) 
If, at any time subsequent to the completion of the grading work, the cut face or fill slope shall evidence signs of deterioration, erosion or other evidence which might be detrimental to the properties above and below the grading site, Council, upon recommendation of the Zoning Officer, may direct the property owner to take necessary remedial steps in accordance with sound engineering practice to restore the grading to a safe condition, and to do so in a reasonable period of time.
K. 
Liability. Neither the issuance of a permit under the provisions of this section nor the compliance with the provisions hereto or with any condition imposed by the Zoning Officer hereunder shall relieve any person from any responsibility for damage to persons or property resulting therefrom, or as otherwise imposed by law, nor impose any liability upon the Borough for damages to persons or property.
L. 
Schedule of fees.
(1) 
The fee schedule is to be determined by Council resolution.
M. 
Compliance; effect of noncompliance.
(1) 
No person shall construct, enlarge, alter, repair or maintain any grading, excavation or fill, or cause the same to be done, contrary to or in violation of any provision of this section.
(2) 
When written notice of any violation of any provision of this section has been served by the Zoning Officer on any person, such violation shall be discontinued immediately or within a reasonable time limit. The Zoning Officer shall revoke the grading permit, and the violator shall be subject to the penalty provided in Article XVIII of this chapter.

§ 270-57 Floodplain and wetland regulations.

There shall be no construction, grading or site improvements in a floodplain as defined by FEMA or in a federally defined wetland, except as allowed by federal and commonwealth regulations and laws.

§ 270-58 Storm sewers.

A. 
Any landowner and any person engaged in the alteration or development of land which may affect stormwater runoff characteristics shall implement such measures as are reasonably necessary to prevent injury to health, safety or other property. Such measures shall include such actions as are required:
(1) 
To assure that the maximum rate of stormwater runoff is no greater after development than prior to development activities.
(2) 
To manage the quality, velocity and direction of resulting stormwater runoff in a manner which otherwise adequately protects health and property from possible injury or damage.
B. 
All such stormwater management measures undertaken by a developer or landowner shall conform with Borough, Butler County and State of Pennsylvania stormwater management criteria.

§ 270-59 Sanitary sewers.

All new and existing residential, commercial, and industrial occupancies with sewer and water facilities in the Borough of Mars shall be connected to and remain connected to a public sanitary sewer system.

§ 270-60 Water service.

All new and existing residences and commercial and industrial occupancies with sewer and water facilities shall be served by the Mars Borough Water System.

§ 270-61 Lighting.

Lights and site lighting shall only display light onto their own site. There shall be no light spillage or glare onto the adjacent road rights-of-way and adjoining properties.

§ 270-62 Landscaping.

A. 
All unused areas of developed property shall be landscaped with trees, shrubs or ground cover to prevent mud and dust conditions. Any site plan and/or land development plan, except for R-1 and R-2, shall include a comprehensive landscape plan. All landscaping shall be maintained in a living condition.
B. 
Landscaping shall not encroach and shall be maintained so as not to encroach into a clear sight triangle and onto adjacent properties, driveways and sidewalks.

§ 270-63 Yards.

A. 
Front and rear yard depths and side yard widths are the respective distances from the lot line to the nearest point of the building. Front and rear yard depth and side yard width shall be measured at right angles to the lot line. The rear lot line is that line most parallel to the front lot line. In the case of a triangular lot, the intersection of the side yard lines shall be the midpoint of the rear yard line.
B. 
For the purpose of measuring yards, any structure built above the ground line shall be measured. For example, these structures might be carports, decks, porches, balconies, or bay windows. Roof overhangs and external chimneys may protrude into a required yard no more than two feet. Fire escapes, steps, and door landings not over 20 square feet in area may project into a side or rear yard. Patios and terraces and walks on grade may project into any yard.
C. 
For the purpose of identifying the various yards, a house on a corner lot shall be considered as fronting on the street from which it derives its address. All houses must have the house number prominently and legibly displayed on the side facing the public street on which it derives its address.

§ 270-64 Sidewalks.

Sidewalks are required on all Borough streets planned and opened after the adoption of this chapter. In all zoning districts, the developer shall provide them along any and all abutting streets. A developer may request an exception to this section when the location of the particular parcel of land is such that the sidewalk would serve no useful purpose or be a detriment to safety. All sidewalks presently installed in the Borough must be maintained pursuant to Chapter 179, Property Maintenance, of the Code of the Borough of Mars.

§ 270-65 Blasting.

Blasting of any nature for construction or demolition of any kind or for other purposes shall be prohibited in the Borough.

§ 270-66 Front doors of residential structures.

All residential structures must have their front doors facing a public street.