Township of Westtown, PA
Chester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
There shall be a Zoning Officer, appointed by the Board of Supervisors and meeting the qualifications established by the Board, whose duty it shall be, and who is hereby given the authority, to enforce the provisions of this chapter. He/she shall:
A. 
Receive and examine all applications for permits, referring applications to the Planning Commission for review and recommendation when deemed advisable; record and file all applications for permits with any accompanying plans and documents; coordinate administrative and monitoring activities resulting from the issuance of building permits with the Township Building Inspector.
B. 
Issue permits only when there is compliance with the provisions of this chapter and with other Township ordinances.
C. 
Receive applications for special exceptions or variances and forward these applications to the Zoning Hearing Board for action thereon.
D. 
Receive applications for appeals from alleged error of the Zoning Officer and forward these applications to the Zoning Hearing Board for action thereon.
E. 
Receive applications for conditional uses and forward these applications to the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission for action thereon.
F. 
Issue permits resulting from decisions on special exception or variance applications, or from decisions on conditional use applications, only upon written order of the Zoning Hearing Board or the Board of Supervisors, respectively.
G. 
Conduct inspections or surveys to determine compliance or noncompliance with the terms of this chapter.
H. 
Issue cease and desist orders, in writing, to require correction of all conditions found to be in violation of the provisions of this chapter. Such written orders shall be served personally or by certified mail upon persons, firms, or corporations deemed by the Zoning Officer to be violating the terms of this chapter.
I. 
Maintain the official Zoning Map showing the current zoning classification of all land.
J. 
Upon the request of the Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission, or the Zoning Hearing Board, present to such bodies facts, records, or reports which they may request to assist them in making decisions.
A. 
It shall be unlawful to undertake, or cause to be undertaken, any erection, construction, alteration, demolition, or removal of any building or structure anywhere within the Township unless a building permit has been obtained from the Zoning Officer. A building permit shall not be required for minor repairs to existing buildings or structures, as such repairs are defined in the Township Building Code.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 57, Building Construction, Art. I, Building Code.
B. 
Applications for development of land shall be made in accordance with the terms of Chapter 149, Subdivision and Land Development.
A. 
Any application for a building permit shall be made in writing on forms furnished by the Township. It shall be accompanied by a plot plan showing the exact size and location of any buildings or other structures existing on the lot in question and the lines within which the proposed building or other structure shall be erected or altered. In addition, there shall be included with all applications such other plans, documents, and information as the Zoning Officer may deem necessary to enable him/her to ascertain compliance with this chapter and all other pertinent ordinances.
B. 
Any application for construction of a use subject to floodplain regulations, including any application for a special exception permitted therein or for a variance, shall contain such additional information as may be required by § 170-401 of this chapter.
[Amended 9-5-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-3]
A. 
The Zoning Officer shall issue a building permit only after he/she has determined that the proposed work to be undertaken will be in conformance with the requirements of this and all other applicable codes and ordinances.
B. 
Prior to the issuance of any building permit, the Zoning Officer shall review the permit application to determine if all other necessary governmental reviews and permits have been obtained, including but not limited to those required by Act 537, the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (35 P.S. § 750.1 et seq.); the Pennsylvania Dam Safety and Encroachments Act (32 P.S. § 693.1 et seq.); the United States Clean Water Act; the Pennsylvania Floodplain Management Act (32 P.S. § 679.101 et seq.); and the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Act (35 P.S. § 691.1 et seq.). No permit shall be issued until this determination has been made.
C. 
A building permit shall be issued, or the application denied, within 15 days of submission of the application, unless the Zoning Officer will require a more extended time period to obtain and/or review any additional plans, documents, or other information he/she deems necessary to determine compliance with applicable ordinances, as authorized by § 170-2002A above. Where such an extension of time will be needed, the Zoning Officer shall seek written concurrence from the applicant; in the absence of such written concurrence, the Zoning Officer shall have the right to deny the application within the fifteen-day period.
D. 
Upon completion of the addition to, erection or alteration of any structure, or portion thereof, authorized by any building permit obtained in compliance with this article, and prior to use or occupancy of such structure, the holder of such permit shall notify the Zoning Officer of such completion. Use and occupancy shall not be authorized until the Zoning Officer has certified that the work has been inspected and approved as being in conformity with this and other applicable ordinances, and has issued a use and occupancy permit as provided below. The Zoning Officer or his agent must, within three working days of the notice, inspect the premises or the occupancy shall be considered approved.
A. 
A use and occupancy permit shall be required prior to any of the following:
[Amended 5-2-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-4]
(1) 
Use and occupancy of any new building or new portion of building not previously occupied and for which electrical, plumbing or heating was installed.
(2) 
Change in classification/type of use of any building or structure.
(3) 
Use of land or change in the use thereof, except that the use of land or change in use for agricultural purposes shall not require a permit.
(4) 
Change in use, or extension, of a nonconforming use.
(5) 
Change or transfer of ownership.
B. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to use or occupy any building or other structure or land, as described above, until a use and occupancy permit has been duly issued therefor.
C. 
A certificate of use and occupancy of an accessory dwelling shall prominently indicate that it is valid for a period of one year from the date of issuance and that continued occupancy of the accessory dwelling beyond that period shall be unlawful unless, prior thereto, the owner applies for and receives a renewal permit.
[Added 5-21-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-5]
D. 
A certificate of use and occupancy of an accessory dwelling unit shall not be issued or renewed unless it is demonstrated by the applicant that the accessory dwelling unit and its use and occupancy complies with all regulations applicable thereto, including, but without limitation, the occupancy requirements of § 170-1603A(2)(c) and (d).
[Added 5-21-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-5]
[Amended 5-21-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-5]
All applications for use and occupancy permits and renewals thereof shall be made in writing on forms furnished by the Township and shall include all information necessary to enable the Building Inspector to ascertain compliance with this chapter, including the notice of completed work on the structure as required in § 170-2003 and the identity of the occupants of accessory dwellings to demonstrate compliance with § 170-1603A(2)(c) and (d).
[Amended 5-2-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-4]
A. 
No use and occupancy permit shall be issued until the Building Inspector has certified that the proposed use complies with all applicable provisions of this chapter and has inspected the premises to confirm compliance of the building. No building that was erected or altered pursuant to a building permit shall be occupied until inspected and certified as to compliance with all zoning, construction, safety and sanitary ordinances, codes and regulations. Upon a change or transfer of ownership, the Building Inspector shall certify only compliance with the codes and standards identified on the resale inspection report authorized by the Township.
B. 
Pending completion of a building or of alterations thereto, a temporary use and occupancy permit may be issued by the Building Inspector for temporary occupancy of a part or all of a building, provided that such temporary occupancy will not in any way jeopardize life or property and is limited to a period of less than 90 days.
All requirements for sign permits are contained in § 170-1808 of this chapter.
A. 
If the Zoning Officer or Building Inspector determines that an application is in compliance with the provisions of this chapter, it shall be his duty to issue the appropriate permit. If he/she determines that an application is not in compliance with the provisions of this chapter, it shall be his duty to refuse the permit, in which case he/she shall inform the applicant as to the prescribed method of appeal or further application for approval.
B. 
Upon the granting of a building permit, the Building Inspector shall issue to the applicant a placard, confirming the granting of such permit, to be displayed upon the premises in a manner conspicuous to the public for a period of 30 days. Failure to so display said placard shall result in revocation of the building permit.
A. 
Statement of intent. This chapter provides for certain uses to be permitted within the Township as conditional uses. In so providing, the Board of Supervisors recognizes that these uses may or may not be appropriate at every location within any specific district and, accordingly, has established standards and criteria by which it can evaluate and decide upon applications for such uses. It is intended that these uses, constituting major uses having the potential for substantial impact upon the community, shall comply with the standards for conditional uses hereinafter set forth, in addition to the relevant stipulations of the district in which the conditional use is authorized. In the sole discretion of the Board of Supervisors, failure to comply with these standards may be deemed a basis for the imposition of appropriate conditions to a grant of approval. Where there is a conflict between the standards set forth in this section and other standards elsewhere established by this or other applicable chapters, it is intended that the more stringent standards shall apply, and it is not the intent of this section to abrogate or impair any other such standards or requirements. Where any use or any applicable design criteria subject to conditional use approval also is a part of an overall land development plan subject to application for approval of a special exception, such use or design criteria may be considered for approval by the Zoning Hearing Board as part of the applicable special exception application in lieu of separate submission of an application for conditional use approval. Similarly, where any use or any applicable design criteria subject to special exception approval also is a part of an overall land development plan subject to application for conditional use approval, such use or design criteria may be considered for approval by the Board of Supervisors as part of the applicable conditional use application in lieu of separate submission of an application for approval of a special exception.
B. 
Submission and content of conditional use applications.
(1) 
It shall be the burden of the applicant to demonstrate compliance with the standards for conditional use contained in this section and with any other relevant stipulations of this chapter, and to indicate means by which potential impacts from the proposed use will be mitigated.
(2) 
An application for conditional use approval shall be submitted on a form provided by or otherwise acceptable to the Township and shall be accompanied by an application fee, the amount of which shall be established by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
(3) 
An accurate site plan prepared by a qualified professional shall be submitted. Such site plan shall accurately show topography and existing and proposed development.
(a) 
Detailed grading plans, stormwater calculations, profiles and similar engineering details are not required to be submitted until a preliminary or final plan application is made under Chapter 149, Subdivision and Land Development.
(b) 
If a traffic study is required by this chapter or Chapter 149, Subdivision and Land Development, it shall be submitted with the conditional use application.
(c) 
The approximate location of stormwater basins and swales shall be shown.
(d) 
The application shall include sufficient information, e.g., preliminary site grading and road profiles, preliminary stormwater management analysis, etc., to preliminarily determine compliance with the Township natural feature, site analysis, conservation design process (if applicable) and density requirements.
(4) 
The scale of the site plan shall be one inch equals 50 feet. If the site plan is on more than one sheet, then the overall layout shall also be submitted on a single sheet. If only a portion of a tract is proposed for development, the submittal shall show how this portion will be fully coordinated with the development of future portions of the tract.
(5) 
Where specific conditional use submission requirements are contained within another article of this chapter and are applicable to a particular conditional use authorized by that article, those requirements shall be adhered to and shall prevail in any instance of conflict or overlap.
(6) 
In addition to demonstrating compliance with all standards applicable to the conditional use being requested, the site plan shall show the applicant's intentions with regard to the following:
(a) 
Site access, interior circulation, and parking.
(b) 
Location, approximate dimension, and arrangement of all areas devoted to ground cover, trees, screen planting, open space, recreation, and similar purposes, as applicable.
(c) 
Adequate handling of stormwater, in the form of a preliminary written analysis and conclusions as to anticipated methods, prepared by a registered professional engineer.
(d) 
Location, planned uses, approximate overall dimensions, gross floor area, coverage, and height of each building or structure.
(e) 
Strong consideration shall be given to incorporation of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building design principals recommended by the US Green Building Council.
[Added 9-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-1]
(7) 
Site analysis and the conservation design process.
C. 
Application review procedures.
(1) 
The application shall be reviewed by the Zoning Officer. If it is deficient with regard to any required components, procedures, or fees, the Zoning Officer shall so notify the applicant. This review and notification shall occur prior to the scheduling of a public hearing on the application. If such identified deficiencies are not remedied in the form of a resubmitted application, such deficiencies shall constitute grounds for denial of the application by the Board of Supervisors subsequent to public hearing.
(2) 
The Board of Supervisors shall schedule and hold a public hearing on the application pursuant to public notice within 60 days of filing unless the applicant, in writing, waives or extends the time limitation.
(3) 
At least 30 days prior to the date of the hearing, one copy of the application shall be furnished to the Township Planning Commission, together with a request that it submit recommendations to the Board for consideration at the hearing. The Planning Commission, in its review of the conditional use application, shall evaluate in particular the generalized site plan in relation to the Township Comprehensive Plan and the physical development of the Township.
(4) 
A stenographic record of the hearing proceedings shall be made by a court reporter. The appearance fee for the court reporter shall be shared equally by the applicant and the Board. Any party requesting the original transcript or a copy of the transcript shall bear the cost of same.
(5) 
The plan presented at the public hearing shall be essentially the same as that reviewed by the Planning Commission. Changes deemed by the Planning Commission to be substantial may result in rescheduling the public hearing where the Planning Commission finds that such changes necessitate a greater period of time for review and comment.
(6) 
Upon review of the application in terms of the standards and criteria of this chapter, the Board of Supervisors shall render a decision within 45 days of completion of the public hearing process.
(7) 
In approving a conditional use application, where such use is authorized under this chapter, the Board of Supervisors may, at its sole discretion, attach such conditions to its approval as it deems necessary to further the purposes of this chapter. Such conditions may include, but need not be limited to:
(a) 
Specific modifications to area and bulk requirements as might otherwise be applicable;
(b) 
Provisions for additional utility or traffic safety facilities;
(c) 
Securing of additional easements or property to assure proper site design; or
(d) 
Modification to the applicable design standards.
(8) 
If the Board of Supervisors approves the application and accompanying generalized site plan, such approved plan shall accompany any application for subdivision or land development as prescribed by Chapter 149, Subdivision and Land Development, in addition to the detailed working drawings normally required, and any application for a building permit. The issuance or rejection of a building permit shall take place in the regularly prescribed manner herein pertaining to building permits, but shall be preceded by compliance with Chapter 149, Subdivision and Land Development.
(9) 
Any grant of conditional use approval shall be deemed null and void six months from the date of such approval if, within that period, no application is made for a building permit, a use and occupancy permit, or subdivision or land development approval, as appropriate, unless the Board of Supervisors shall grant an extension.
D. 
Standards for conditional use approval.
[Amended 5-3-1999 by Ord. No. 99-2]
(1) 
In reviewing and acting upon an application for conditional use, the Board of Supervisors shall evaluate the degree of compliance with the following standards:
(a) 
The uses proposed shall be limited to those authorized as conditional uses within the district in which the lot or parcel is situated.
(b) 
The proposal shall be consistent with the Township Comprehensive Plan and with the purpose of this chapter to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare.
(c) 
The appropriate use, and the value, of adjacent property will be safeguarded.
(d) 
The development, if more than one building, will consist of a harmonious grouping of buildings or other structures.
(e) 
If the development is to be carried out in progressive stages, each stage shall be so planned that the conditions and intent of this chapter shall be fully complied with at the completion of any stage.
(f) 
The demand created by the proposed use upon public services and facilities such as water supply, sewage disposal, police and fire protection, emergency services, open space and recreation facilities, and the public school system has been considered and, where necessary, adequate arrangements for expansion or improvement are assured.
(g) 
The design and use of any new construction and the proposed change of design (if any) and proposed change in use of existing buildings will be compatible with the existing designs and uses in the immediate vicinity and that the proposed design or use shall be compatible with the character of the neighborhood.
(h) 
The burden of proof shall be upon the applicant to prove to the satisfaction of the Board of Supervisors, by credible evidence, that the use will not result in or substantially add to a significant traffic hazard or significant traffic congestion. The peak traffic generated by the development shall be accommodated in a safe and efficient manner. Such analysis shall consider any improvements to streets that the applicant is committed to complete or fund.
[Added 5-3-1999 by Ord. No. 99-2]
(2) 
The Board of Supervisors shall weigh each case on its own merits, separately, based upon pertinent information presented or known to it, and without regard to any previous case.
[Added 3-3-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-2]
A. 
The minimum lot area, minimum lot width and minimum street frontage requirements of this chapter shall not apply to uses or structures owned by Westtown Township or by a municipal authority created solely by Westtown Township for uses and structures that are intended for a public utility, stormwater or public health and safety purpose.
B. 
This chapter shall allow a lot or structure to become nonconforming if necessary to provide for needed acquisition of right-of-way by the Township or PennDOT for a street, utility or stormwater improvement.