City of Monessen, PA
Westmoreland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 375-1 Title.

A. 
The title of this chapter is "An Ordinance: a) dividing the City of Monessen into districts and regulating the use of land and the location, use and density of buildings within these districts; b) providing for the administration, implementation and enforcement of this Ordinance; c) permitting, prohibiting, regulating and determining the uses of land, watercourses and other bodies of water, the size, height, bulk, location, erection, construction, repair, maintenance, alteration, razing, removal and use of structures, the areas and dimensions of land and bodies of water to be occupied by uses and structures, as well as areas, courts, yards and other open spaces and distances to be left unoccupied by uses and structures; d) establishing the maximum density and intensity of development; and e) establishing provisions for special exceptions and variances to be administered by a Zoning Hearing Board."
B. 
Short title. This chapter shall be known and be cited as the "City of Monessen Zoning Ordinance of 1998."

§ 375-2 Purposes and objectives.

This chapter is hereby adopted:
A. 
In accordance with the requirements and purposes (including Section 604 or its successor section, which is included by reference) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as amended;[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10604.
B. 
In accordance with the community development goals and objectives (which are included by reference) of the City of Monessen Comprehensive Plan (as may be amended), which constitutes an overall program;
C. 
In consideration of the character of the City, its various parts and the suitability of the various parts for particular uses and structures; and
D. 
To assist in carrying out the purposes and provisions of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (especially Article I, Section 27), the Pennsylvania Flood Plain Management Act,[2] Pennsylvania Storm Water Management Act,[3] Pennsylvania DEP regulations on erosion and sedimentation control and other relevant federal and state laws, regulations, official policies and relevant court decisions.
[2]
Editor's Note: See 32 P.S. § 679.101 et seq.
[3]
Editor's Note: See 32 P.S. § 680.1 et seq.

§ 375-3 Applicability.

A. 
Any activity regulated by this chapter shall only occur in such a way that conforms with the regulations of this chapter. See § 375-8A.
B. 
This chapter regulates matters authorized by Section 603, Ordinance provisions, of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, or such successor section.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10603.

§ 375-4 Enforcement.

A. 
If it appears to the City of Monessen that a violation of this chapter has occurred, the City of Monessen shall initiate enforcement proceedings by sending an enforcement notice as provided in this section.
B. 
The enforcement notice shall be sent to the owner of record of the parcel on which the violation has occurred, to any person who has filed a written request to receive enforcement notices regarding that parcel and to any other person requested, in writing, by the owner of record.
C. 
An enforcement notice shall state the following:
(1) 
The name of the owner of record and any other person against whom the City of Monessen intends to take action.
(2) 
The location of the property in violation.
(3) 
The specific violation with a description of the requirements which have not been met, citing in each instance the applicable provisions of this chapter.
(4) 
The date before which the steps for compliance must be commenced and the date before which the steps must be completed.
(5) 
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 § 375-12.
(6) 
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.
D. 
Causes of action. In case any building, structure, landscaping or land is or is proposed to be erected, constructed, reconstructed, altered, converted, maintained or used in violation of this chapter, the Zoning Officer or any aggrieved owner or tenant of real property who shows that his property or person will be substantially affected by the alleged violation, in addition to other remedies, may institute any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent, restrain, correct or abate such building, structure, landscaping or land or to prevent, in or about such premises, any act, conduct, business or use constituting a violation. When any such action is instituted by a landowner or tenant, notice of that action shall be served upon the City of Monessen at least 30 days prior to the time the action is begun by serving a copy of the complaint on the City Council. No such action may be maintained until such notice has been given.

§ 375-5 Filing fees and costs.

A. 
The City Council may establish and update by resolution a schedule of fees and a collection procedure relating to all applications filed pertaining to this chapter. No application or appeal shall be considered filed until all fees are paid.
B. 
The City Council shall establish by resolution the application fee for a conditional use, plus the actual costs of all legal advertisements. For review fees for a solid waste use, see § 375-30.

§ 375-6 Interpretation and similar uses.

A. 
Minimum requirements. The provisions of this chapter shall be interpreted as the minimum requirements to promote public health, safety and general welfare. Where more than one provision of this chapter controls a particular matter, the provision that is more restrictive upon uses and structures shall apply. The provisions of this chapter are in addition to any other applicable City ordinance.
B. 
Uses not specifically regulated. If a use clearly is not permitted by right, by condition or by special exception by this chapter within any zoning district, the use is prohibited, except as may be permitted as a similar use under a specific provision of this chapter.
C. 
Interpretation of Zoning Ordinance text and boundaries. The Zoning Officer shall apply the wording of this chapter and the location of all district boundaries to particular applications. See § 375-12 concerning appeals by an applicant. The Zoning Officer may request an advisory opinion from the City Solicitor or the Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor.
D. 
Definitions. If a word is not defined, the word shall be considered to have its plain and ordinary meaning within the context of the provision. A standard reference dictionary should be consulted.

§ 375-7 General procedure for permits.

A. 
After receiving a proper application, the Zoning Officer shall either:
(1) 
Issue the permit under this chapter; or
(2) 
Refuse the permit, indicating a reason for denying the permit. If specifically requested in writing by an applicant, reasons for a refusal shall then be stated in writing. See § 375-12 concerning appeals of a decision by the Zoning Officer.
B. 
Thirty-day challenge period. It is recommended that applicants wait 30 days to begin construction if there is a possibility of an appeal by another party to have the permit revoked. Any commencement of construction or a use within this thirty-day appeal period shall be at the risk of the applicant.

§ 375-8 Permits and certificates.

A. 
Applicability. Any of the following activities or any other activity regulated by this chapter shall only be carried out after receipt of a City permit (except as stated below) and any additional required City approval after the applicant shows compliance with this chapter:
(1) 
Erection, construction, movement, placement or extension of a structure, building or sign (see § 375-52 which lists signs not required to have a City permit);
(2) 
Change of the type of use or expansion of the use of a structure or area of land;
(3) 
Creation of a lot or alteration of lot lines; and/or
(4) 
Creation of a new use.
(a) 
A City permit is specifically required for any home occupation.
B. 
Types of uses.
(1) 
Permitted-by-right uses. This type of use may be granted zoning approval by the Zoning Officer if all requirements of this chapter are met.
(2) 
Application requiring a variance. This type of use shall require a written approval by the Zoning Hearing Board.
(3) 
Conditional use. This type of use shall require a written zoning approval by the City Council, after the Planning Commission has been given an opportunity to review the application.
C. 
Applications.
(1) 
Any request for a decision, interpretation or variance by the Zoning Hearing Board or for a permit under this chapter shall be made in writing on a form provided by the City.
(a) 
The completed application, with any required fees and with any required site plans or other required information, shall be submitted to the Zoning Officer or other City employee responsible for processing the application. The date of receipt should be noted on the application.
(2) 
When a site plan is required, at least two copies shall be submitted. The site plan shall be drawn to scale. A site plan shall be required for any new building, building addition, parking lot and where the Zoning Officer determines that a site plan is needed to determine compliance with this chapter.
(3) 
Except as provided for in Subsection C(5) below, any application to the Zoning Officer or Zoning Hearing Board shall include the following information, unless the Zoning Officer determines that a site plan or such information is unnecessary to determine compliance with this chapter:
(a) 
The location and dimensions of the lot.
(b) 
Locations, dimensions and uses of existing and proposed structures, parking and loading areas and locations of existing and proposed uses of areas of land.
(c) 
Name and address of the applicant or appellant.
(d) 
Name and address of the owner of the affected property (if different from the applicant).
(e) 
A description of the proposed use of the property.
(f) 
Such additional information that the Zoning Officer may determine is reasonably necessary to determine compliance with this chapter.
(g) 
All other applicable information listed on the official City application form.
(4) 
Submittal to the Board. In addition to the information listed in § 375-8C(3) above, an application requiring a site plan and action by the Zoning Hearing Board shall also include the following information, unless the Zoning Officer determines that such information is unnecessary for determination of whether the proposal complies with this chapter:
(a) 
The present zoning district and major applicable lot requirements.
(b) 
A description of any proposed nonresidential operations and storage in sufficient detail to indicate potential nuisances and hazards regarding noise, large truck traffic, glare, odors, dust, fire or toxic or explosive hazards or other significant public health and safety hazards.
(c) 
If a nonresidential use is proposed close to dwellings, a description of hours of operation.
(d) 
A listing of any sections of this chapter being appealed, with the reasons for the appeal.
(5) 
Porches and accessory buildings. For the construction of a porch or an accessory building of less than 700 square feet, the applicant shall only be required to submit evidence that the structure:
(a) 
Will meet the setback requirements of this chapter; and
(b) 
Will not intrude into an existing septic system location or an officially designated alternate septic system location.
(6) 
Other laws. The Zoning Officer may withhold issuance of a permit under this chapter if there is clear knowledge by the Zoning Officer that a use would violate another City, state or federal law or regulation, until such time as the applicant proves compliance.
(7) 
Ownership. No person other than a landowner or his specifically authorized agent or a tenant or lessee with written permission of the landowner shall submit a zoning application (see definition of "landowner" in Article II).
(8) 
The Zoning Officer may submit a copy of any plan and application to any appropriate agencies and individuals (such as the Planning Commission or City Engineer) for review and comment.
D. 
Issuance of permit.
(1) 
At least three copies of any permit required under this chapter shall be made. One copy of the permit shall be retained in the City files and one copy shall be retained by the applicant. A copy of the permit shall be shown by the applicant to the Zoning Officer upon the Zoning Officer's request.
(2) 
Posting. The applicant shall post a copy of the permit at a conspicuous location visible from a street while work is underway.
E. 
Revocation of permits. The Zoning Officer shall revoke a permit or approval issued under the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance in the case of:
(1) 
False statement or misrepresentation of fact in the application or on the plans on which the permit or approval was based. (The Pennsylvania Criminal Code provides for penalties for providing false information to a municipal employee in the carrying out of his/her duties.)
(2) 
Any work being accomplished or use of land or structures in such a way that does not comply with this chapter or an approved site plan or approved permit application or a condition imposed as part of a special exception, conditional use or variance approval.
(3) 
For any other just cause set forth in this chapter.
(4) 
For violation of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 345, Subdivision and Land Development.
F. 
Temporary permit. A temporary permit may be issued by the Zoning Hearing Board as a special exception for temporary commercial special events or temporary structures or uses subject to the following additional provisions:
(1) 
Duration. The Zoning Hearing Board shall establish a limit on the duration of the use. The Zoning Hearing Board may grant a single approval once for numerous occurrences of an event.
(2) 
Fee. Either the Zoning Hearing Board or the City Council may waive and/or return the required application fee if the applicant is an established nonprofit organization, recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) and the applicant clearly shows that the proposed use is temporary and will be used to primarily serve a charitable or public service.
(3) 
Nonprofit. Only an established nonprofit organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) may be granted a temporary use if the use is to primarily serve a charitable or public service, including a commercial use in a district where that use is not permitted.
G. 
Changes to approved plans.
(1) 
After the issuance of a permit or approval of a site plan under this chapter by the City, the approved application or site plan shall not be changed without the written consent of the Zoning Officer.
(2) 
Changes to a site plan approved by the City Council as a conditional use shall require reapproval of the changes by the City Council if the Zoning Officer determines that the changes significantly affect matters that were within their approval. The approval by the City Council is not required for minor technical adjustments or corrections of information that do not affect the significant features of the site plan and the intensity of the use, as determined by the Zoning Officer.

§ 375-9 Amendments to this chapter.

A. 
Within the procedural requirements of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (see Sections 609 and 610[1]), the City Council may amend, cure or repeal any or all portions of this chapter on:
(1) 
Its own motion; or
(2) 
Upon agreeing to hear a written request of any person, entity or the Planning Commission.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10609 and 10610.
B. 
Review of chapter amendments.
(1) 
For a proposed amendment that was not prepared at the direction of the Planning Commission, the City Council shall submit the amendment to the Planning Commission at least 30 days prior to the hearing on the proposed amendment and permit the Planning Commission an opportunity to make recommendations.
(2) 
County review. The City shall submit the proposed amendment to the Westmoreland County Planning Commission for recommendations at least 30 days prior to the hearing on the proposed amendment. No action shall be taken by the City Council until the County Planning Commission comments are received, unless 30 days pass without comments being received.
C. 
Application for amendment. A request for amendment of the Zoning Ordinance shall be in writing. A request by a property owner or developer shall state in writing the reasons for the request.
D. 
Notification of proposed Zoning Map amendment. If a Zoning Map amendment is requested by a private entity and is not considered at the same public hearing as Zoning Map amendments proposed by City officials, then at least 10 days prior to the hearing on the proposed change, the applicant shall send, or have delivered in person, written notice of the proposed change, including the hearing date and time and a City official to contact for more information. The notice shall be provided to all owners of record of all property proposed to be rezoned (other than the applicant) and all property directly abutting the land to be rezoned.

§ 375-10 Curative amendments.

For a curative amendment request, the applicant shall at a minimum compensate the City for all actual expenses for legal advertising, in addition to any other fees stated in the City fee schedule. (See Sections 609 and 916.1 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.[1])
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. §§ 10609 and 10916.1.

§ 375-11 Zoning Officer.

A. 
Appointment. The Zoning Officer shall be appointed by the City Council. The Zoning Officer shall not hold any elected office within the City, but may hold other appointed offices.
B. 
Duties and powers. The Zoning Officer shall:
(1) 
Receive and examine all applications required by this chapter and issue or refuse permits within this chapter.
(2) 
Receive complaints of violation of this chapter and enforce the Zoning Ordinance within the provisions established by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
(3) 
Maintain records of applications, permits, variances, written decisions and interpretations issued and of complaints received, of official reports rendered and of legal notices.
(4) 
Perform all other duties called for in this chapter.
(5) 
Not permit any activity which does not conform to this chapter.

§ 375-12 Zoning Hearing Board actions, special exceptions and variances.

A. 
Appointment. The existing Zoning Hearing Board shall be continued and shall consist of three residents of the City appointed by the City Council, unless a differing number of members are authorized by another valid City ordinance. Alternate members may be appointed within the provisions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.[1] Zoning Hearing Board members shall serve terms of three years, so fixed that the term of office of no more than one regular member and one alternate member expires each year. Members of the Zoning Hearing Board shall hold no elected office in the City.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
B. 
Vacancies. The Zoning Hearing Board shall promptly notify the City Council of any vacancies which occur. Appointments to fill vacancies shall be only for the unexpired portion of a term.
C. 
Removal of members. Any Zoning Hearing Board member may be removed for malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in office or for other just cause by a majority vote of the City Council, taken after the member has received 15 days' advance notice of the intent to take such a vote. A hearing shall be held in connection with the vote if the member shall request it in writing.
D. 
Organization.
(1) 
Rules. The Zoning Hearing Board may make, alter and rescind rules and forms for its procedure, consistent with all applicable City ordinances and state law. The Zoning Hearing Board shall elect officers for annual or biannual terms from its own membership.
(2) 
Quorum. For the conduct of any hearing and taking of any action a quorum shall be not less than a majority of all members of the Zoning Hearing Board, except within the hearing officer process established by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
(3) 
Alternate members. Alternate members may be appointed within the provisions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
E. 
Zoning Hearing Board functions. The Zoning Hearing Board shall be responsible for the following:
(1) 
Appeal of a decision by the Zoning Officer.
(a) 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall hear and decide appeals where it is alleged by the appellant (a person affected or any agency of the City) that the Zoning Officer has failed to follow prescribed procedures or has misinterpreted or misapplied any valid provision of this chapter.
(b) 
See time limitations for appeals in § 375-12F.
(2) 
Challenge to the validity of the Zoning Ordinance or Zoning Map.
(a) 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall hear challenges to the validity of this chapter filed with the Zoning Hearing Board in writing by the property owner affected, any officer or agency of the City or any person aggrieved.
(b) 
After the conclusion of the hearing(s), the Zoning Hearing Board shall decide all questions and shall make findings on all relevant issues of fact, within the time limits of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
(3) 
Variance.
(a) 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall hear requests for variances filed with the Zoning Hearing Board in writing by any property owner (or any tenant with the permission of the property owner).
(b) 
Standards. The Zoning Hearing Board may grant a variance only within the limitations of state law. As of 1993, the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code provided that all of the following findings must be made, where relevant:
[1] 
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 this chapter in the neighborhood or district in which the property is located.
[2] 
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 a variance is therefore necessary to enable the reasonable use of the property.
[3] 
Such unnecessary hardship has not been created by the appellant.
[4] 
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.
[5] 
The variance, if authorized, will represent the minimum variance that will afford relief and will represent the least modification possible of the regulation in issue.
(c) 
In granting any variance, the Zoning Hearing Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards as it deems necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter.
(d) 
The Zoning Hearing Board may also grant a variance for a physical improvement needed to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
(4) 
Special exception. Where special exceptions are to be considered as specified by City Council in this chapter, the Board shall grant or deny special exceptions pursuant to express standards and criteria as detailed in Article V in addition to any other applicable regulations listed in this chapter. In granting a special exception, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed in this chapter, as it deems necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter.
(5) 
Hearings. See § 375-13.
(6) 
Records and reports. The staff to the Zoning Hearing Board shall keep full public records of its business.
(7) 
Court appeals. In the case of an appeal from the Zoning Hearing Board to the Court of Common Pleas, the appellant shall make the return required by law.
F. 
Time limitations for appeals. The time limitations for appeals shall be as follows:
(1) 
Appeals to the Zoning Hearing Board must be filed within 30 days after the decision by the Zoning Officer that is being appealed has been officially issued or file the appeal with the County Court of Common Pleas no later than 30 days after a decision of the Zoning Hearing Board has been officially issued, except as may be provided under Section 914.1 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10914.1.
(2) 
The failure of an aggrieved person other than the landowner to appeal an adverse decision directly related to a preliminary subdivision or land development plan shall preclude an appeal from a final plan approval except in the case where the final submission substantially deviates from the approved preliminary plan.
(3) 
This thirty-day time limit for appeals shall not apply to the revocation of a permit under § 375-8F.
G. 
Stay of proceedings. See Section 916 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.[3]
[3]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10916.
H. 
Time limitations on permits and variances.
(1) 
After a variance is approved or approval is officially authorized under this chapter, then a permit shall be secured by the applicant within 12 months after the date of approval or authorization. Action under the permit shall then begin within 12 months of the issuance of the permit.
(2) 
City approvals. If the applicant submits complete plans for a required site plan review or subdivision or land development approval or conditional use approval that is related to the variance or issuance of a permit under this chapter within the above time limits, then the time limits shall begin after the plan review is completed or the plan approval is granted.
(3) 
Federal or state approvals. If an application requires a federal or state permit or approval, than the time limits of this section may apply from the date of issuance or approval, provided that:
(a) 
The applicant applied for permit or approval prior to or within 60 days after applying for City approval; and
(b) 
The applicant continues to diligently seek approval or permit.
(4) 
For good cause, the Zoning Officer may, upon application in writing stating the reasons therein, extend in writing the time periods in this section.
(5) 
If an applicant fails to obtain the necessary permits within the above time period or fails to diligently commence substantial construction within the above time period or allows interruptions in substantial construction of longer than six months, it shall be conclusively presumed that the applicant has waived, withdrawn or abandoned the approval and all approvals, variances and permits shall become null and void.

§ 375-13 Board hearings and decisions.

The Zoning Hearing Board shall conduct hearings and make decisions in accordance with the following:
A. 
Notice of hearings. Notice of all hearings of the Zoning Hearing Board shall be given as follows:
(1) 
Advertisement. A public notice shall be published, as defined by Section 107 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.[1] The notice shall state the time, date and place of the hearing and the particular nature of the matter to be considered.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10107.
(2) 
Posting. Notice of the hearing shall be conspicuously posted on the affected property at least one week prior to the hearing. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the notice is posted and remains posted until the hearing.
(3) 
Persons given notice. Written notice shall be given to the applicant and the Zoning Officer. Notice should be given to the Planning Commission, City Council and owners of record of property within a one-hundred-foot radius from the lot lines of the subject property. Also, notice shall be given to any other person or group (including civic or community organizations) who has made a written timely request for notice. Notices shall be mailed or delivered by a City representative to the last address known to the City. The notice should be intended to be received at least five days prior to the hearing date.
(4) 
Adjacent municipalities. In any matter which relates to a property which lies within 250 feet of the boundary of another municipality and which the City staff determines may have a significant impact on that municipality, the City staff should transmit to the offices of the adjacent municipality a copy of the official notice of the public hearing on the matter at least seven days prior to the hearing date. Representatives of the adjacent municipality shall have the right to appear and be heard at the public hearing.
(5) 
Fees. The City Council may, by resolution, establish a reasonable fee schedule, based on cost, to be paid by:
(a) 
The applicant for any notice required by this chapter; and
(b) 
Those persons requesting any notice not required by this chapter.
B. 
Parties in hearings. The parties to a hearing shall be the City, any person affected by the application who has made timely appearance of record before the Zoning Hearing Board and any other person including civic or community organizations permitted to appear by the Zoning Hearing Board.
C. 
Oaths and subpoenas. The chair of the Zoning Hearing Board or Hearing Officer shall have the power to administer oaths and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant documents and papers, including witnesses and documents needed by and requested by the parties.
D. 
Representation by counsel. The parties shall have the right to be represented by legal counsel and shall be afforded the opportunity to respond and present evidence, argument and cross-examine adverse witnesses on relevant issues.
E. 
Evidence and record. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded. The Zoning Hearing Board or the Hearing Officer, as applicable, shall keep a record of the proceedings as required by state law.
F. 
Communications outside of hearings.
(1) 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall not meet with, visit the site with or directly communicate specifically on the matter with the applicant or any officially protesting party or their representatives in connection with any issue involved, except if the opportunity is provided for the applicant and any officially protesting party to participate.
(2) 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall not take notice of any communication, reports, staff memoranda or other materials unless the parties are afforded an opportunity to examine and contest the material so noticed. This restriction shall not apply to advice from the Zoning Hearing Board's solicitor.
G. 
Advisory reviews. The Zoning Hearing Board may request that the Planning Commission, County Conservation District, City staff, City Engineer or other professional provide an advisory review on any matter before the Zoning Hearing Board.
H. 
Initiation of hearings. A hearing required under this chapter shall be initiated within 60 days of the date of an applicant's submittal of a complete application, unless the applicant has agreed in writing to an extension of time.
I. 
Decision/findings.
(1) 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall render a written decision or make written findings (when no decision is called for) on each application within 45 days after the last hearing on that application before the Zoning Hearing Board, unless the applicant has agreed in writing to an extension of time.
(2) 
Where the application is contested or denied, the decision should include findings of fact and conclusions based thereon, together with the reasons for such conclusions. Any conclusion based on any provision of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code[2] or of this chapter should contain a reference to the provision relied on.
[2]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
J. 
Notice of decision. A copy of the final decision or a copy of the findings (when no decision is called for) shall be personally delivered or mailed to the applicant or his or her representative or their last known address not later than the time limit established by Section 908 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.[3]
[3]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10908.

§ 375-14 Appeals.

A. 
In general. All appeals of this chapter or any action of the City Council, the Zoning Officer or the Board under this chapter shall conform with Article X-A of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.[1] See § 375-13, Hearings.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 11001-A et seq.
B. 
Procedural defects in enactment. Allegations that this chapter or any amendment was enacted in a procedurally defective manner shall be appealed directly to the court and be filed no later than 30 days from the intended effective date of the Zoning Ordinance or amendment.

§ 375-15 Public utility exemptions.

[Amended 8-15-2012 by Ord. No. 5-2012]
This chapter shall not apply to any existing or proposed building or extension thereof used or to be used by a public utility corporation if, upon petition of the corporation, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission shall, after a public hearing, decide that the present or proposed use of the building or site in question is necessary for the convenience or welfare of the public. It shall be the responsibility of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to ensure that both the corporation and the City have notice of the hearing and are granted an opportunity to appear, present witnesses, cross-examine witnesses presented by the other parties and otherwise exercise the rights of a party to the proceedings. Public utility exemptions only apply to municipal authorities and utility companies that expand service in accordance with the definition found in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code § 608.1, Subsection (e)(1),[1] and as authorized by the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10608.1.

§ 375-16 City limited exemption.

The minimum lot area and minimum lot width requirements of this chapter shall not apply to uses or structures owned by the City of Monessen for uses and structures that are intended for a legitimate governmental or public health, safety, public utility or recycling purpose.

§ 375-17 Site plan review procedures for certain uses.

A. 
When site plan required. A site plan review by the Planning Commission and City Council is required for any of the following uses unless the physical layout of the buildings and improvements has been submitted as part of a subdivision or a land development.
(1) 
Any expansion of more than 3,000 square feet in floor area of a principal nonresidential building.
(2) 
Any new principal nonresidential building.
(3) 
Any new or expanded paved area of greater than 10,000 square feet.
B. 
Site plan procedures. The following procedures shall be followed for any use required to be reviewed under this section:
(1) 
Submission. A minimum of three complete copies of any required site plan shall be submitted to the City. Such site plan shall meet the information requirements listed in § 375-17C. The Zoning Officer shall refuse to accept an application if it does not contain sufficient information to determine compliance with this chapter. A minimum of one copy shall be retained in City files. The Zoning Officer may request a review by the City Engineer if engineering matters are involved.
(2) 
If earth disturbance is involved, a soil and erosion control plan shall be submitted to the City and the County Conservation District.
(3) 
Time. The Planning Commission and City Council shall be given an opportunity to review the site plan and provide any advisory comments in writing to the Zoning Officer within the time limit stated in § 375-17B(4) below.
(4) 
The Zoning Officer shall review the site plan and determine its compliance with this chapter, based upon his review and any comments of the City Council and Planning Commission. The Zoning Officer shall make such determination within 90 days after the first scheduled Planning Commission regular meeting after the receipt of a complete site plan submission, unless the applicant grants a written time extension.
(5) 
A site plan under this section may be reviewed at any legally advertised, regular or workshop meeting of the City Council and Planning Commission.
C. 
Submittal requirements. The following site plan submittal requirements shall not apply to a general home occupation. A required site plan shall include the following information, unless for information waived by the Zoning Officer as not applicable or necessary:
(1) 
A statement describing the proposed use.
(2) 
Layout. A site layout drawn to scale, showing the location, dimensions and area of each lot; the location, dimensions and height of proposed and any existing structures; the required setback areas; the proposed density of residential uses; the location and width of proposed or abutting streets; and the proposed areas to be used for different purposes within the development, including outdoor storage or display areas. If the plan involves one phase of what eventually may be a larger development, then the interrelationships of those phases shall be shown.
(3) 
Landscaping. The width of any buffer yard and the heights, spacing and general species of plants to be used for screening; general numbers, locations and types of required landscaping to be provided. (This information is not required on a zoning site plan if such information will be submitted on a subdivision or land development plan for the use.)
(4) 
Parking. The locations and numbers of parking spaces; the location and widths of aisles; the location and sizes of off-street loading areas; the method of calculating the off-street parking requirement, based upon § 375-45. (This information is not required on a zoning site plan if such information will be submitted on a subdivision or land development plan for the use.)
(5) 
Lighting and signs. The height, location and general type of exterior lighting; the sign area, height, location and general method of lighting of signs. (This information is not required on a zoning site plan if such information will be submitted on a subdivision or land development plan for the use.)
(6) 
Utilities. Note stating general proposed method of providing wastewater treatment and water supply (such as "public water and public sewage services").
(7) 
Nuisances and safety. A description of any proposed industrial or commercial operations or storage in sufficient detail to indicate potential nuisances and hazards regarding noise, large trucks, glare, odors, dust, fire or toxic or explosive hazards or other hazards to the public health and safety, together with proposed methods to control such hazards and nuisances.
(8) 
Grading and stormwater. Proposed and existing contours if earth disturbance is proposed; identification of any slopes between 15% and 25% and greater than 25% proposed to be impacted; proposed method of managing stormwater runoff (see steep slope provisions in § 375-36); delineation of any floodplains from the Official Federal Floodplain Maps. (This information is not required on a zoning site plan if such information will be submitted on a subdivision or land development plan for the use.)
(9) 
A location map showing the relation of the project to surrounding streets. Approximate lot lines of abutting lots within 50 feet of the project, with identification of abutting land uses.
(10) 
Zoning district and major applicable requirements.
(11) 
Name and address of the person who prepared the site plan, the applicant and the owner of record of the land.
(12) 
Such other data or information as the Zoning Officer deems is reasonably necessary to determine compliance with City ordinances.

§ 375-18 Conditional use process.

A. 
Applicability. This section applies to uses listed as "conditional uses" in the applicable district.
B. 
Procedure.
(1) 
A conditional use submission shall not be considered officially accepted for review until any needed zoning variances that are directly relevant to the site layout and nature of the use are granted. The applicant may request an informal review by the Planning Commission of a site plan prior to requesting variances or a special exception.
(2) 
Submission. A minimum of three complete copies of any required site plan shall be submitted to the City. The Zoning Officer shall refuse to accept an incomplete application which does not provide sufficient information to determine compliance with this chapter. See § 375-5 concerning fees. For review fees for a solid waste use, see § 375-30.
(3) 
Erosion control. If earth disturbance is involved, the applicant shall submit a soil and erosion control plan to the City and the County Conservation District, unless such review will occur under the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 345, Subdivision and Land Development.
(4) 
City distribution. The City shall distribute copies of the site plan to the Planning Commission and the City Council. A minimum of one copy shall be retained in the City files. The City Fire Chief should be given an opportunity for a review, if deemed appropriate by the Zoning Officer.
(5) 
Zoning Officer review. The Zoning Officer shall report in writing or in person to the Planning Commission or City Council stating whether the proposal complies with this chapter. The Zoning Officer may request a review by the City Engineer.
(6) 
Planning Commission. The Planning Commission shall be given an opportunity to review the conditional use application and submit a recommendation to the City Council.
(7) 
The City Council shall not act to approve or deny a conditional use application unless:
(a) 
The City Council has received the reports of the Zoning Officer and the Planning Commission; or
(b) 
Unless a period of 60 days has passed from the date of the application.
(8) 
The City Council shall approve, conditionally approve or disapprove the conditional use submission. In granting a conditional use, the City Council may require such reasonable conditions and safeguards (in addition to those expressed in this chapter) as it determines are necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter.
(9) 
The decision of the City Council shall be in writing and shall be directly communicated to, delivered to or mailed to the last known address of the applicant or their representative.
(10) 
Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.[2] If an applicant requests, the conditional use application shall be reviewed during the same process as a land development or subdivision application.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 345, Subdivision and Land Development.
C. 
Approval of a conditional use. The standards of this § 375-18C shall not apply to a general home occupation. The City Council shall approve any proposed conditional use if they find adequate evidence that the proposed use will:
(1) 
Meet any specific standards for the proposed use listed in §§ 375-30 or 375-31.
(2) 
Meet other applicable sections of this chapter.
(3) 
Be in general conformance with the requirements of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance,[3] as applicable. Actual approval under the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance may occur separately from the conditional use approval if the applicant requests.
[3]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 345, Subdivision and Land Development.
(4) 
Meet all of the following standards:
(a) 
Other laws. Will not clearly be in conflict with other City ordinances or state or federal laws or regulations known to the City.
(b) 
Traffic. Will not result in or significantly add to a traffic hazard or significant traffic congestion.
(c) 
Safety. The applicant shall show that the use will not create a significant public safety hazard, including fire, toxic or explosive hazards.
(d) 
Stormwater management. Will follow adequate, professionally accepted engineering methods to manage stormwater. Stormwater shall not be a criteria of a decision under this chapter if the application clearly would be subject to a separate engineering review and an approval of stormwater management by the City Council under the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.[4]
[4]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 345, Subdivision and Land Development.
(e) 
Neighborhood. Will not significantly negatively affect the desirable character of an existing or approved residential neighborhood, such as causing heavy truck traffic through a residential neighborhood or a significant odor or noise nuisance or very late night or early morning hours of operation.
(f) 
Site planning. Will involve adequate site design methods, including plant screening and setbacks as needed to avoid significant negative impacts on adjacent uses.
(g) 
Performance standards. Will not have a serious threat of inability to comply with the performance standards of this chapter, as stated in Article V.

§ 375-19 Liability.

A. 
Neither the approval nor the granting of any review, issuance of permit or approval related to construction, activity within the floodplain, site plan review, subdivision or land development approval, erosion control, wetland delineation review, stormwater runoff, activity on steep slopes or any other review or permit of this chapter, by an officer, employee, consultant or agency of the City, shall constitute a representation, guaranty or warranty of any kind by the City or its employees, officials, consultants or agencies of the practicality or safety of any structure, use or subdivision and shall create no liability upon, nor a cause of action against such public body, official, consultant nor employee for any damage that may result pursuant thereto.
B. 
If the Zoning Officer mistakenly issues a permit under this chapter, the City shall not be liable for any later lawful withdrawal of such permit for valid cause shown.