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

§ 375-62 Frontage onto improved streets; number of uses or buildings; minimum size of dwellings.

A. 
Frontage required onto improved street.
(1) 
Every principal building shall be built on a lot with permanent access on a public street or a private street that is improved to meet City standards including a street right-of-way or for which such improvements have been insured by the posting of a performance guaranty pursuant to the City Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.[1] In the case of townhouses, this requirement may be met by access onto a parking court which has access onto such street.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 345, Subdivision and Land Development.
(2) 
If a preexisting lawful lot only has access onto an existing private street that does not meet City standards and the improvement of that street is reasonably beyond the control of the applicant or the lot only has access via a legal easement, the lot may be used for a single permitted-by-right use, but no new lots shall be created that will not be able to meet the above requirement of Subsection A(1).
B. 
Multiple uses in a building. Occupancy of a principal commercial or industrial building by more than one permitted use is specifically allowed, provided that all other requirements of this chapter are satisfied.
C. 
Multiple buildings on a lot.
(1) 
More than one building housing one permitted principal use may be erected on a single lot, provided that area, yard and other requirements of this chapter shall be met for each building as though it were on an individual lot. However, if two or more approved townhouse buildings, apartment buildings or buildings in a commercial or industrial district are placed on one lot, those buildings shall only be required to meet the yard requirements around the perimeter of the lot and shall only be required to meet the specified lot area requirements.
(2) 
Individual buildings or portions of such buildings may be held in approved condominium ownership, but the lot shall be owned by a single legal entity.
D. 
Minimum size of dwellings. Each dwelling unit shall include a minimum of 500 square feet of habitable, indoor, heated floor area.

§ 375-63 Height exceptions.

The maximum structure height specified for each district shall not apply to farm silos and associated agricultural structures, communications towers, amateur radio antennas, water towers, clock or bell towers, steeples of places of worship, electrical transmission lines, elevator shafts, windmills, chimneys or other appurtenances usually required to be and customarily placed above the roof level and not intended for human occupancy. In addition, a pitched roof may extend beyond the maximum building height within an area equal to a maximum of 10% of the building footprint to allow for architectural features, provided that such space is not intended to be occupied.

§ 375-64 Special lot and yard requirements, sight distance and buffer yards.

A. 
In general.
(1) 
No lot, structure or use shall be created or developed in such a way that it would result in another lot, building or use not being able to meet the requirements of this chapter. This includes, but is not limited to, setback areas, nonimpervious areas and off-street parking areas.
(2) 
Emergency access. All uses and structures shall have adequate provisions for access by emergency vehicles.
B. 
Exceptions to minimum lot areas, lot widths and yards.
(1) 
Nonconforming lots. See Article IX.
(2) 
Corner lots. A setback area equal to the minimum front yard setback shall be provided along all portions of a corner lot abutting any public street, except where the applicant proves to the satisfaction of the Zoning Officer that the provision of a smaller setback of a different yard for a residential building will conform with the clearly prevailing yard pattern on numerous existing developed adjoining lots fronting on the same street.
(3) 
Projections into required yards.
(a) 
Cornices, eaves, sills or other similar architectural features, exterior stairways, fire escapes or other required means of egress, rain leads or chimneys or other similar structures that do not include space usable by persons may extend or project into a required yard not more than four feet.
(b) 
Front or rear porches or decks and accompanying steps, whether covered or uncovered, that are not enclosed and do not have walls of mostly solid material, glass or Plexiglas and that abut the principal building may project up to eight feet into the required front yard setback and up to 15 feet into a required rear yard setback.
(4) 
Septic systems. Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the Municipal Sewage Enforcement Officer from requiring a minimum lot area larger than what is stated in this chapter to carry out state and City sewage regulations.
(5) 
Previously approved setbacks. Where a subdivision or land development was granted final approval prior to the adoption of this chapter and the lawful setbacks in effect at such time are shown on the approved plans, at the option of the developer, those approved setbacks may apply in place of any revised setbacks in this chapter.
(6) 
Front yard setback exception. When an unimproved lot is situated between two lots with existing principal buildings that each have front yard setbacks less than the setback required in that district, then the front yard setback may be reduced to a depth equal to the average of the two adjacent lots, provided that in no case shall a front yard be reduced by more than 50% of the required front yard for that district.
C. 
Sight distance at intersections.
(1) 
Intent. To ensure that traffic passing through an intersection or turning onto a street can safely see oncoming traffic.
(2) 
A triangular area as described in this section shall be graded and shall be kept free of sight obstructions between a height of 30 inches and 10 feet, including structures, nontransparent fences, vegetation and signs (but not including sign posts of less than one foot in width or utility posts or the trunks of trees).
(3) 
This sight distance triangle shall be shown on development plans submitted to the City and be shown on any plan required to be recorded. Such triangle shall serve as a permanent setback line for all such visual obstructions and shall be binding upon present and future owners of the land.
(4) 
The clear sight triangle shall be measured a distance of 75 feet along the center line of each street, measured from the intersection of the center lines. However, the length shall be 150 feet along the center line of the arterial street. The two resulting lines shall then be connected by a third longer leg of the triangle.
D. 
Buffer yards. Buffer yards and screening complying with the following standards shall be required under the following situations:
(1) 
Buffer yard width, when required. Buffer yards with evergreen screening shall be required in the following situations, with whichever is most restrictive applying.
Buffer Yard Required to be Provided by the Following:
When Such Use is Abutting the Following:
Minimum Width of Buffer Yard
(in feet)
Any newly developed or expanded industrial use or industrial storage or industrial loading area
Within 150 feet of an existing dwelling
10
Any newly developed or expanded industrial outdoor storage area
An arterial or collector street
10
Any use required to provide a buffer yard under another section of this chapter
10, unless stated otherwise
(2) 
Location of buffer yards.
(a) 
The buffer yard shall be measured from the district boundary line, future street right-of-way line or lot line, whichever is applicable.
(b) 
Plants needed for the visual screen shall not be placed within future street right-of-way. The required buffer yard width shall be in addition to the required future street right-of-way.
(c) 
The buffer yard may include areas within a required front, side or rear yard or a paved area setback area, provided that the larger yard requirement shall apply in case of overlap.
(3) 
Characteristics of buffer yards.
(a) 
The buffer yard shall be a landscaped area free of structures, dumpsters, commercial or industrial storage or display, manufacturing or processing activity, materials, loading and unloading areas or vehicle parking or display. No new driveways or streets shall be permitted in the buffer yards except at points of approved approximately perpendicular crossings for ingress or egress.
(b) 
Maintenance. In buffer yards, all areas not covered by trees and shrubs shall be well-maintained in an all-season vegetative ground cover (such as grass) and shall be kept free of debris and rubbish and shall not include grass areas higher than eight inches.
(c) 
Preservation of existing vegetation or slopes. If an applicant proves to the satisfaction of the Zoning Officer that an existing healthy tree line, attractive thick vegetation, natural earth berm and/or steep slopes will be preserved and serve the same buffer purposes as plant screening that would otherwise be required, then such preserved existing buffer shall be permitted to be used in place of planting new plants. In such case, the width of the buffer yard required by § 375-64D(1) shall still apply. If this existing buffer requirement is removed, the applicant shall be required to plant a buffer yard that will meet the planting requirements of this section.
(d) 
Fence. Ornamental or wooden fences may be located anywhere within a buffer yard. All other types of fences (such as chain link) within a buffer yard shall be placed on the inside of any required plant screening.
(4) 
Plant screen.
(a) 
Each buffer yard shall include a planting screen of trees or shrubs extending the full length of the lot line.
(b) 
Each planting screen shall meet the following requirements:
[1] 
Plant materials needed to form the visual screen shall have a minimum height, when planted, of four feet.
[2] 
Plants needed to form the visual screen shall be of such species, spacing and size as can reasonably be expected to produce within three years a solid year-round visual screen at least six feet in height.
[3] 
The plant screen shall be permanently maintained by present and future landowners. Any plants needed to form the visual screen that die or are removed shall be replaced within six months.
[4] 
The plant screen shall be placed so that at maturity the plants will be at least five feet from any cartway and will not grow over an exterior lot line.
[5] 
The plant visual screen shall be interrupted only at approved points of vehicle or pedestrian ingress and egress to the lot, locations necessary to comply with the sight distance requirements of § 375-64C and locations needed to meet other specific state and City requirements.
[6] 
Evergreen trees likely to grow substantially in diameter should be planted in two or more rows or offsets if needed to allow space for future growth.
(5) 
Buffer yard plans.
(a) 
Prior to the issuance of a permit under this chapter where a buffer yard would be required and on any required subdivision or land development plan, the applicant shall submit plans showing:
[1] 
The location and arrangement of each buffer yard;
[2] 
The placement, general selection of species and initial size of all plant materials; and
[3] 
The placement, size, materials and type of all fences to be placed in such buffer yard.
(b) 
The Zoning Officer shall review such plans to determine that the plans are in conformance with the terms of this chapter.
(6) 
Species of plants in visual screens. Trees and shrubs needed to form a required visual screen shall be of the following or closely related species, unless the applicant proves to satisfaction of the Planning Commission, City Council or Zoning Officer that a substitution would be appropriate. A required visual screen shall primarily include evergreen plants. Leafy deciduous plants may be selectively used, provided that their use does not result in significant visual openings during the winter. If more than 25 plants are needed to form a visual screen, then a maximum of 75% of such plants shall be of one species.
Buxus
All varieties of boxwood
Caragana arborescens
Siberian pea shrub
Cephalanthus Occidentalis
Button bush
Chaenomeles Japonica
Flowering quince
Cornus
All varieties of dogwood
Cotoneaster divaricata
Spreading or upright cotoneaster
Crataegus crusgafli
Cockspur thom
Crataegus phanenopyum
Washington hawthorn
Elaeagnus angustifolia
Russian olive
Eucalyptus
All varieties of eucalyptus
Euonymus
All varieties of euonymus
Forsythia spectablilis
Showy forsythia
Hamamelis
All varieties of witch-hazel
Hydrangea arbrescens
Hills of Snow hydrangea
Ilex
All varieties of holly
Juniperus
All varieties of junipers
Kolkwitzia amabilis
Beauty bush
Laurus mobilis
Sweet-Bay
Ligustrum
All varieties of privet
Lonicera
All varieties of honeysuckle
Magnolia stellata
Star magnolia
Picea
All varieties of spruces
Pinus
All varieties of pines
Photinia
All varieties of photinia
Pseudotsuga
All varieties of firs
Pyracantha laiandei
Laland firethorn
Rhamnus davurica
Dahurian buckthorn
Rhamnus frangula
Glossy or Alter buckthorn
Spirea
All varieties of spirea
Syringa
All varieties of lilac
Taxus
All varieties of yews (avoid near livestock)
Thuja occidentalis
American arborvitae
Thuga origentalis
Oriental arborvitae
Tsuga
All varieties of hemlocks
Viburnum
All varieties of viburnum

§ 375-65 Landscaping.

A. 
Groundcover. Any part of a commercial, industrial, institutional or garden apartment lot which is not used for structures, loading areas, parking spaces and aisles, sidewalks and designated storage areas shall be provided with an all-season, well-maintained vegetative groundcover and shall be landscaped with trees and shrubs.
B. 
See § 375-47 regarding paved area landscaping, sections regarding tree preservation and § 375-64 regarding buffer yards.

§ 375-66 Temporary uses.

A. 
A temporary permit may be issued by the Zoning Officer for any of the following:
(1) 
Any temporary use that meets the requirements of this chapter.
(2) 
Customary, routine and accessory short-term special events, provided that
(a) 
Only a well-established nonprofit organization or a lawful place of worship proposing a temporary use to clearly primarily serve a charitable public service or religious purpose shall be eligible to receive approval for a commercial use in a district where that use is not permitted; and
(b) 
The Zoning Officer shall establish a reasonable limit on the duration of the use.
(3) 
Temporary construction-related trailers, structures and uses as provided for in § 375-27E.
(4) 
The temporary erection of a tent or similar temporary structure that is not totally enclosed for a maximum of 14 days in any four-month period for clearly routine customarily accessory uses such as the following: a wedding in the rear yard of a dwelling, a festival by a place of worship or a special sale within the lot of a lawful commercial use.
B. 
Removal. Prior to the issuance of a permit for a temporary use or structure, the Zoning Officer may require an applicant to present a statement from the owner of record of the land recognizing the application and accepting responsibility to ensure that the use or structure is removed once the permit expires. Any temporary structure or use shall be removed completely upon expiration of the permit without cost to the City. If the structure or use is not removed in a timely fashion after proper notification, the City may remove the use or structure at the cost of the person who owns the land upon which the structure or use is located.

§ 375-67 Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance requirements applying to nonresidential buildings.

A. 
Any proposed development, construction, erection or placement of one or more new principal nonresidential building(s), other than solely for an agricultural use, shall be required to submit a plan meeting the requirements for a preliminary plan and to meet all of the design standards and improvement specifications stated in the City Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance,[1] except for submission requirements specifically waived in advance by the City Engineer or Zoning Officer as being inapplicable to the proposal.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 345, Subdivision and Land Development.
B. 
Engineer review fees.
[Added 7-18-2001 by Ord. No. 5-2001]
(1) 
All applicants for minor subdivisions relative to a land development plan shall be required to deposit, in addition to the application fee, the sum of $400 for a minor subdivision engineer review. In the event that the actual review cost is less than the amount deposited, the balance shall be then refunded to the developer. However, in the event that the actual review cost is more than the amount deposited, said developer shall be invoiced for the balance. All such developments shall be reviewed by the City of Monessen's consulting engineers.
(2) 
All applicants for major subdivisions relative to a land development plan shall be required to deposit, in addition to the application fee, the sum of $3,200 for a major subdivision engineer review. In the event that the actual review cost is less than the amount deposited, the balance shall be then refunded to the developer. However, in the event that the actual review cost is more than the amount deposited, said developer shall be invoiced for the balance. All such developments shall be reviewed by the City of Monessen's consulting engineers.

§ 375-68 Driveway completion.

Any driveway intended to provide access from a new principal building to a public street shall be completed and stabilized prior to issuance of a building permit for such principal building. It is the intent of the City to reinspect each driveway approximately two years after issuance of a permit to ensure that the driveway was constructed according to approved plans.