Township of Middle Smithfield, PA
Monroe County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The Zoning Officer shall issue a permit under this chapter in response to an application for a use that is permitted by right if it meets all of the requirements of this chapter.
A. 
Submittal. All applications submitted to the Zoning Officer for a zoning permit involving a permitted use, as designated by this chapter, shall be in compliance with this section. A zoning permit for a permitted use shall be issued or denied by the Zoning Officer, on his own authority, within 30 days after the filing of a complete and properly prepared application.
B. 
Every application for a zoning permit shall include a copy of the applicant's deed and shall contain the following information and be accompanied by the required fee and by a site plan/plot plan drawn to scale and signed by the person responsible for such drawing.
(1) 
Site plan. The applicant shall submit a minimum of two copies of a site plan with the application if the application involves a new principal building, expansion of a principal building, the addition of an accessory structure or a use. The site plan shall be drawn to scale and show the following:
(a) 
Locations, dimensions and uses of existing and proposed structures, parking and loading areas and location of existing and proposed uses of areas of land, with existing features clearly distinguished from proposed features.
(b) 
Notes showing the dimensions of all buildings from lot lines and street rights-of-way.
(c) 
Locations of any watercourses, wetlands and any one-hundred-year floodplains.
(d) 
Proposed lot area, lot widths and other applicable dimensional requirements, including lot number and section.
(e) 
The exact size and locations on the lot of the proposed structure or structures or alterations of an existing structure and of other existing structures on the same lot.
(f) 
The existing and intended use of all structures, existing or proposed, the use of land and the number of dwelling units the structure is designed to accommodate.
(g) 
Locations and widths of existing and proposed sidewalks, if applicable.
(h) 
Well and primary and alternate septic system locations, if applicable.
(2) 
Additional information. Any application under this chapter shall include the following information unless the Zoning Officer determines such information is unnecessary to determine compliance with this chapter, as amended from time to time:
(a) 
The address of the lot.
(b) 
Name and address of the applicant and of the owner of the property, if different from the applicant. If the applicant is incorporated, the legal names and day telephone numbers of the officers of the organization/corporation.
(c) 
A description of the proposed use of the property.
(d) 
All other applicable information listed on the official Township application form.
(e) 
Such additional information that the Zoning Officer may determine is reasonably necessary to determine compliance with this chapter.
C. 
Upon the issuance of a zoning permit, the Zoning Officer shall return one copy of an endorsed permit and one copy of an endorsed site plan to the applicant, along with a signed job placard which shall be conspicuously displayed on the job site during all phases of construction. In the event the application is denied, reasons for such denial shall be transmitted to the applicant in writing. One copy of the endorsed permit shall be forwarded to the Monroe County Tax Assessment office.
D. 
Any zoning permit shall expire if construction has not commenced within six months after the date of issuance or has not been completed within three years from said date, unless an extension, not to exceed six months, is authorized, in writing, by the Zoning Officer.
E. 
All applications for zoning permits in a C1, C2 or I District, and any nonresidential use in a CON, R1, R2 or R3 Zoning District, shall include the following;
(1) 
Land development plan;
(2) 
Approval of soil erosion plans from the Monroe County Soil Conservation District;
(3) 
Review and comment by the Township Engineer on the land development plan and its compliance with SALDO[1] and other ordinances that may be applicable; and
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 170, Subdivision and Land Development.
(4) 
Review by the Planning Commission and Supervisors if developed with multiple structures or the lot is five acres or greater.
All applications for a public hearing involving a conditional use as designated by this chapter shall be submitted to the Zoning Officer and shall be processed in accordance with the following:
A. 
Jurisdiction. The governing body shall hear all applications for conditional use and render its decision in accordance with the requirements of Section 913.2 of the MPC,[1] as amended from time to time.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10913.2.
B. 
Submission requirements. Submission of an application for a public hearing on a conditional use shall be comprised of the following:
(1) 
One originally signed, complete and properly prepared application for a public hearing on forms furnished by the Township, as well as 13 additional copies of the application for distribution as noted below.
(2) 
Fourteen copies of a site plan or a land development plan, as may be required under this chapter.
(3) 
Fourteen copies of a statement of purpose, intent and extent of the proposed conditional use.
(a) 
This statement should outline, in detail, an explanation of the conditional use being requested;
(b) 
Any future changes proposed to the site and/or use as a result of the proposed conditional use; and
(c) 
Proof of ownership (i.e, deeds and/or agreements of sale).
(4) 
Fourteen copies of any other requests for variance(s) and/or modifications of regulations that may be necessary, including the reasons therefor.
(5) 
Fourteen copies of any other information or data the applicant deems necessary or desirable to be submitted.
(6) 
Should a conditional use consist of or include any real property lying within a distance of 500 feet from the boundary of any adjoining Township, two additional copies of all documents and information shall be submitted.
C. 
The submission date of a conditional use application and transmittal of submitted material by the Zoning Officer shall be as follows:
(1) 
The submission date of the conditional use application shall be when the Zoning Officer has determined that the application is complete and all required documents and information as noted above and elsewhere in this chapter have been submitted and the required fee has been paid. After the Zoning Officer has completed a review of the application and determined it to be complete, the date of that determination shall be entered onto the originally signed application form as the submission date.
(2) 
The Zoning Officer, through the Board of Supervisors, shall determine the date of the public hearing, which must be within 60 days of the submission date, as determined above. The date that has been set for the public hearing shall be entered onto the originally signed application form as the hearing date.
(3) 
After the hearing date has been set and entered onto the originally signed application, the Zoning Officer shall also enter the dates of the publication of required public notice, advertised as follows:
(a) 
Public notice shall be published once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality. Such notice shall state the time and place of the hearing and the particular nature of the matter to be considered at the hearing. The first publication shall not be more than 30 days, and the second publication shall not be less than seven days, prior to the date of the hearing.
(b) 
The Zoning Officer shall conspicuously post a copy of the public notice on the affected tract of land at least seven days prior to the date of the hearing.
(c) 
Such notice shall state the time and place of the hearing and the particular nature and location of the matter to be considered at the hearing.
(d) 
A copy of the application form with the above dates, along with a copy of the public notice and a cover letter requiring attendance at the public hearing and Planning Commission review date, shall be forwarded to the applicant by certified mail, with a return receipt requested, within 30 days of the submission date.
(4) 
A minimum of 10 days prior to the next regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting, the Zoning Officer shall transmit copies of the application form and all supporting data and information as follows:
(a) 
The original application form and one copy of the supporting data and information shall remain with the Zoning Officer for the Zoning Officer's file.
(b) 
One copy of the application form, supporting data and information shall be provided to each of the three Supervisors.
(c) 
One copy of the application form, supporting data and information shall be provided to the Solicitor to the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission, along with a notice that a review and report shall be submitted to the Planning Commission.
(d) 
One copy of the application form, supporting data and information shall be provided to the Township Secretary for use as the public inspection copy.
(e) 
One copy of the application form, supporting data and information shall be provided to the Planning Commission Engineer, along with a notice that a review and report shall be submitted to the Planning Commission.
(f) 
One copy of the application form, supporting data and information shall be provided to each of the seven Planning Commission members, along with a request for comments and recommendations.
D. 
Planning Commission review. In reviewing an application for a conditional use, the Planning Commission shall take into consideration the specific requirements of the proposed conditional use as outlined in this chapter, as well as, but not limited to, the design, location and adequacy of traffic issues, parking, landscaping, screening, illumination and necessary public services and facilities and similar factors relating to the health, safety, welfare, comfort and convenience of the public in general and of the residents of the immediate neighborhood in particular. The site plan and/or land development plan that may be required with an application must be of sufficient detail and accuracy for the Commission to adequately review the application for the factors noted in this subsection.
E. 
Planning Commission action. Within 10 days of the regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting referenced above, at which time the application for the conditional use shall have been taken into consideration, the Commission shall act to recommend to the Supervisors, in writing, that the conditional use be approved, approved with modifications or disapproved. Failure of the Planning Commission to act within the time frames set forth above shall be construed as a favorable recommendation of the Commission.
F. 
Board of Supervisors action. The governing body shall, after appropriate public notice, conduct public hearings and make decisions and findings in accordance with the following:
(1) 
All hearings shall be held as advertised. Testimony shall be taken under oath.
(2) 
The first hearing before the Board shall be commenced within 60 days from the date of receipt of the applicant's application, unless the applicant has agreed, in writing, to an extension of time. Each subsequent hearing before the Board shall be held within 45 days of the prior hearing, unless otherwise agreed to by the applicant, in writing, or on the record. An applicant shall complete the presentation of his case-in-chief within 100 days of the first hearing. Upon the request of the applicant, the Board shall ensure that the applicant receives at least seven hours of hearings within 100 days, including the first hearing. Persons opposed to the application shall complete the presentation of their opposition to the application within 100 days of the first hearing held after the completion of the applicant's case-in-chief. An applicant may, upon request, be granted additional hearings to complete his case-in-chief, provided the persons opposed to the application are granted an equal number of additional hearings. Persons opposed to the application may, upon the written consent or consent on the record by the applicant and municipality, be granted additional hearings to complete their opposition to the application, provided the applicant is granted an equal number of additional hearings for rebuttal.
(3) 
The Board shall not communicate directly or indirectly with any party or his representative(s) in connection with any issue involved except upon notice and opportunity for all parties to participate, shall not take notice of any communication, reports, staff memoranda or other materials unless the parties are afforded an opportunity to contest the material so noticed and shall not inspect the site or its surroundings after the commencement of the hearings with any party or his representative unless all parties are given the opportunity to be present.
(4) 
The parties to the hearing shall be the municipality, any person affected by the application who has made timely appearance of record before the Board and any other person, including civic or community organizations permitted to appear by the Board. The Board shall have power to require that all persons who wish to be considered parties enter appearances, in writing, on forms provided by the Board for that purpose.
(5) 
The parties shall have the right to be represented by counsel and shall be afforded the opportunity to respond and present evidence and argument and cross-examine adverse witnesses on all relevant issues.
(6) 
Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded.
(7) 
The Board shall keep a stenographic record of the proceedings. A transcript of the proceedings and copies of graphic or written material received in evidence shall be made available to any party according to the fee schedule.
G. 
Burden of proof. The applicant has the burden of proof and shall provide the Board with sufficient plans, studies and/or other data necessary to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the governing body that the application complies as follows, to wit:
(1) 
Compliance with this chapter. The applicant shall establish, by credible evidence, that the application complies with all applicable requirements and objective criteria set forth in this chapter such as:
(a) 
The kind of use (i.e., the threshold definition of what is authorized as a conditional use);
(b) 
Specific requirements or standards applicable to a particular conditional use (e.g., special setbacks); and shall be suitable for the property in question and designed, constructed, operated and maintained so as to be in harmony with and appropriate in appearance to the existing and intended character of the general vicinity.
H. 
Decision. The Board shall render a written decision or, when no decision is called for, make written findings on the conditional use application within 45 days after the last hearing before the governing body.
(1) 
In granting a conditional use, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed standards and criteria that were set forth in this ordinance, as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter, other than those related to off-site transportation or road improvements. An applicant for conditional use approval is bound by any imposed conditions that he/she does not object to or appeal from.
(2) 
Where the application is contested or denied, each decision shall be accompanied by findings of fact or conclusions based thereon, together with any reasons therefor. Conclusions based on any provisions of the MPC or of any ordinance, rule or regulation shall contain a reference to the provision relied on and the reasons why the conclusion is deemed appropriate in light of the facts found.
(3) 
Where the governing body fails to render the decision within the period required by this subsection or fails to commence, conduct or complete the required hearings as provided in the MPC, the decision shall be deemed to have been rendered in favor of the applicant, unless the applicant has agreed, in writing or on the record, to an extension of time. When a decision has been rendered in favor of the applicant because of the failure of the governing body to meet or render a decision as hereinabove provided, the governing body shall give public notice of the decision within 10 days from the last day it could have met to render a decision in the same manner as required by the public notice requirements of the MPC. If the governing body shall fail to provide such notice, the applicant may do so.
(4) 
Nothing in this subsection shall prejudice the right of any party opposing the application to appeal the decision to a court of competent jurisdiction.
(5) 
A copy of the final decision or, where no decision is called for, of the findings shall be delivered to the applicant personally or mailed to him no later than the day following its date.
I. 
Subdivision and land development approval. An applicant that successfully obtains conditional use approval must still obtain subdivision and/or land development approval.
J. 
Zoning Officer's action. All zoning permits for a conditional use as granted by the Board of Supervisors shall be issued, rejected or denied by the Zoning Officer in accordance with the following procedures:
(1) 
An application for a zoning permit for a granted conditional use shall be issued to the applicant within 30 days after the submission date of said application.
(2) 
If the Zoning Officer finds the permit application complete and correct in all aspects of the granted conditional use, he shall approve and endorse said application and, when a site plan has been submitted, endorse both copies of said site plan.
(3) 
One copy of the endorsed application, the endorsed site plan, when applicable, and a completed and signed job placard shall be returned to the applicant. The signed job placard must be conspicuously displayed on the job site during all phases of construction of the permitted conditional use.
(4) 
One copy of the endorsed permit shall be forwarded to the Monroe County Tax Assessment office.
(5) 
If the zoning permit application is incomplete and/or incorrect, the application shall be rejected with the reasons for the rejection stated thereon or attached thereto.
Where the governing body has stated that special exceptions are to be granted or denied by the Zoning Hearing Board pursuant to express standards and criteria, the Zoning Hearing Board shall hear and decide requests for such special exceptions in accordance with such standards and criteria. In granting a special exception, the Zoning Hearing Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed in this chapter, as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of the MPC and this chapter.
A. 
Jurisdiction. The Zoning Hearing Board shall hear all applications for special exception and render its decision in accordance with the requirements of the MPC.
B. 
Submission requirements. Submission of an application for a public hearing on a special exception use shall be comprised of the following:
(1) 
One application for a public hearing, complete and properly prepared. Forms are furnished by the Township.
(2) 
Ten copies of a tentative site plan of the proposed special exception use. If a fully engineered subdivision and land development plan will be required, it may be submitted separately, such as after a special exception is approved.
(3) 
Ten copies of a statement of purpose and extent of the special exception. This statement should outline, in detail, the special exception use, any future changes and present and future ownership.
(4) 
Ten copies of other requests for variance or waivers that may be necessary, including the reasons therefor.
(5) 
Ten copies of any other information or data the applicant may deem necessary or desirable to be submitted.
(6) 
Should a special exception use consist of or include any real property lying within a distance of 500 feet from the boundary of any adjoining Township, two additional copies of all documents and information shall be submitted.
C. 
The submission date of the special exception use application and the transmittal of the submitted material by the Zoning Officer shall be as follows:
(1) 
The submission date of a special exception use application shall be when the Township Zoning Officer has determined that the application is complete and all required documents and information have been submitted and the required fee has been paid. The submission date shall be entered on the application for a public hearing form.
(2) 
A public hearing shall be held within 60 days from the date of the submission of the application, unless the applicant has agreed, in writing, to an extension of time.
(3) 
The Zoning Officer shall determine the date of the public hearing, after consulting with the solicitor to the Zoning Hearing Board, and shall enter that date on said application form, along with dates of the public notice which shall be advertised as follows:
(a) 
Public notice shall be published once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality. Such notice shall state the time and place of the hearing and the particular nature of the matter to be considered at the hearing. The first publication shall not be more than 30 days, and the second publication shall not be less than seven days, from the date of the hearing.
(b) 
The Zoning Officer shall conspicuously post a copy of the public notice on the affected tract of land at least seven days prior to the date of the hearing.
(c) 
Such notice shall state the time and place of the hearing and particular nature and location of the matter to be considered at the hearing.
(d) 
A copy of the application form with the above dates, along with a copy of the public notice and a cover letter requiring attendance at the public hearing and the Planning Commission meeting date, for review and recommendation, shall be forwarded to the applicant by certified mail, with a return receipt requested, within 30 days of the submission date.
(e) 
The Zoning Officer shall submit the application to the Planning Commission for their review and recommendations. However, the Zoning Hearing Board shall meet the time limits of the state law for a decision, regardless of whether the Township Planning Commission has provided comments.
(4) 
Within 15 days of the submission date, the Zoning Officer shall transmit one copy of the application form and one copy of all supporting data and information to the following:
(a) 
Each member of the Zoning Hearing Board.
(b) 
Solicitor to the Zoning Hearing Board.
(c) 
The Secretary of the Township; this copy is for public inspection.
(d) 
Solicitor to the Planning Commission.
(e) 
The recording secretary of the Planning Commission shall receive the final two copies for distribution as follows:
[1] 
One copy for the Planning Commission Engineer, including a request for a review and report to be submitted to the Planning Commission. The submittal to the Engineer must be at least 10 days prior to the regularly scheduled or special meeting at which the special exception use is to be considered by the Planning Commission.
[2] 
One copy for the Planning Commission members, along with a request for comments and recommendations.
D. 
Planning Commission review. In reviewing the application for a special exception hearing, the Commission shall take into consideration the design, location and adequacy of traffic access, parking, landscaping, screening, illumination and necessary public services and facilities and any other similar factors relating to the health, safety, welfare, comfort and convenience of the public in general and of the residents of the immediate neighborhood in particular.
E. 
Planning Commission action. Within 30 days of the filing of the application with the Zoning Officer, the Commission shall act to recommend to the Zoning Hearing Board, in writing, that the tentative site plan be approved, approved with modifications or disapproved. Failure on the part of the Commission to act within 30 days shall be construed as a favorable recommendation of the Planning Commission.
F. 
Hearings/decision. The procedures for a public hearing shall follow the requirements listed under § 083-090 of this chapter.
(1) 
Burden of proof. At the hearing on an application for special exception, the applicant has the burden of proof and shall provide the Board with sufficient plans, studies and/or other data necessary to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Zoning Hearing Board, that the application complies as follows, to wit:
(a) 
Compliance with this chapter. The applicant shall establish, by credible evidence, that the application complies with all applicable requirements and objective criteria set forth in this chapter, such as:
[1] 
The kind of use (i.e., the threshold definition of what is authorized as a special exception);
[2] 
Specific requirements or standards applicable to a particular special exception (e.g., special setbacks); and shall be suitable for the property in question and designed, constructed, operated and maintained so as to be in harmony with and appropriate in appearance to the existing and intended character of the general vicinity.
(b) 
Compliance with other laws. The applicant shall establish, by credible evidence, that if approval is conditioned upon compliance with other specific applicable Township, state and federal laws, regulations and permits, the applicant shall provide the required permits or other proof of compliance to the Township prior to the issuance of any zoning permit, building permit, certificate of compliance and/or recording of an approved land development plan.
(2) 
Decision. The Zoning Hearing Board shall render a written decision and make written findings on the special exception use application within 45 days after the last hearing before the Board.
(a) 
In granting a special exception use, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed in this chapter, as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter, other than those related to off-site transportation or road improvements.
(b) 
If the applicant has provided sufficient information to the Zoning Hearing Board to allow the Zoning Hearing Board to determine that the proposed use will comply with the objective criteria as set forth in this chapter, the applicant is entitled to approval because the use is presumed to be consistent with the public health, safety and welfare.
(c) 
Where the application is contested or denied, each decision shall be accompanied by findings of fact or conclusions based thereon, together with any reasons therefor. Conclusions based on any provisions of the MPC or of any ordinance, rule or regulation shall contain a reference to the provision relied on and the reasons why the conclusion is deemed appropriate in light of the facts found.
(d) 
Failure of the Zoning Hearing Board to render a decision within the time period set forth in the MPC, as amended from time to time, or failure to conduct the required hearing in the manner provided by the MPC will result in a decision deemed to have been rendered in favor of the application. Notice of such deemed approval must be provided in accordance with the provisions of the MPC, as amended.
(e) 
Nothing in this subsection shall prejudice the right of any party opposing the application to appeal the decision to a court of competent jurisdiction.
G. 
A land development plan shall be submitted for review and approval.
H. 
Zoning Officer's action. All zoning permits for a special exception as granted by the Zoning Hearing Board shall be issued, rejected or denied by the Zoning Officer in accordance with the following procedures:
(1) 
An application for a zoning permit for a granted special exception use shall be issued to the applicant within 30 days after the submission date of a complete application.
(2) 
If the Zoning Officer finds the permit application complete and correct in all aspects of the granted special exception use, the Zoning Officer shall approve and endorse said application and when a land development plan or site plan has been submitted, endorse one copy of said plan.
(a) 
One copy of the endorsed permit application, the endorsed land development plan and/or site plan, when applicable, and a completed and signed job placard shall be returned to the applicant.
(b) 
The signed job placard must be conspicuously displayed on the job site during all phases of construction of the permitted special exception.
(3) 
If the zoning permit application is incomplete and/or incorrect, the application shall be rejected with the reasons for the rejection stated thereon or attached thereto.