Borough of Muncy, PA
Lycoming County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The provisions of this chapter shall be administered and enforced by the Zoning Officer, who shall be appointed by the Borough Council and hold no elective office in the municipality. Said officer shall be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Borough Council a working knowledge of municipal zoning, and shall meet such other qualifications as the Council may, from time to time, deem necessary for the effective implementation of this chapter. The Zoning Officer may be compensated for his work and shall have the following duties:
A. 
To receive and process applications for permits, certificates, variances, conditional uses, special exception uses, appeals and other applications required under the terms of this chapter;
B. 
To prescribe the form of all applications, permits and certificates required under the terms of this chapter;
C. 
To issue or deny applications for zoning permits in accordance with the procedures set forth in §§ 286-73 and 286-94 of this chapter. In cases involving properties located within the Historic Preservation District, zoning permits (where required) shall be issued only after review by the Borough Historic Commission in accordance with the procedure set forth in § 286-73 of this chapter. In cases involving a request for a conditional use, a special exception, or a variance, zoning permits shall be issued only upon written order of the appropriate approving agency. It shall be the responsibility of the Zoning Officer to process requests for such consideration before the Historic Commission, the Borough Council, or the Zoning Hearing Board, as applicable;
D. 
To issue or deny requests for certificates of compliance in accordance with the procedure set forth in § 286-95 of this chapter;
E. 
To examine land, buildings and structures to determine their consistency with the Zoning Ordinance at the time of application filing, during the work and upon completion of the work;
F. 
To issue written enforcement notices as specified in § 286-96A where it appears that there has been a violation, and to institute civil enforcement proceedings with the appropriate Magisterial District Judge on behalf of the Borough as a means of enforcing the zoning regulations;
G. 
To maintain a log of all applications, permits or certificates issued, variances granted, inspections made, reports rendered and notices or orders issued;
H. 
To present facts, records, and other information to the Borough Council and/or Planning Commission, upon request of such body, as will assist them in their deliberations of specific applications;
I. 
To post notice of pending Zoning Hearing Board hearings in accordance with the procedures established in § 286-89E(1)(c) and to post notice of proposed zoning district boundary changes as per the requirements of § 286-90A;
J. 
To present to the Zoning Hearing Board, in each case before the Board, all relevant facts and arguments to support the Borough's position, interpretation, and procedures in application of the provisions of this chapter;
K. 
To present facts and forward all appropriate information to the Borough's Historic Commission, where applicable, as will assist them in their deliberations of specific applications;
L. 
To provide record of all administrative approvals for properties in the Historic Preservation District to the Historic Commission on a monthly basis as per the requirements of § 286-73;
M. 
To issue certificates of nonconformance as requested (see also §§ 286-85F and 286-86D);
N. 
To maintain and update the Official Zoning Map as amendments are made by the Borough Council; and
O. 
To perform such other duties as may be provided or made necessary by the terms of this chapter.
A. 
All persons desiring to undertake any new construction, structural alteration, or change in the use of a building, structure, or land shall apply to the Zoning Officer for a zoning permit by completing the appropriate application form and by submitting the required fee. The Zoning Officer shall then either issue or deny the zoning permit or, if applicable, refer the application to the Borough Historic Commission, Borough Council, or the Zoning Hearing Board for their consideration.
B. 
After the applicant has received his zoning permit, he shall contact the Borough Building Code official and make application for a building permit.
C. 
Following completion of his project, the applicant shall apply to the Zoning Officer for a certificate of compliance. If the Zoning Officer finds that the project has been completed in accordance with the terms of the zoning permit, he shall issue a certificate of compliance, after which the Building Code official shall inspect the premises and issue or deny an occupancy permit allowing the premises to be occupied or used. (Garages, decks, porches, sheds and similar accessory structures meeting code requirements will be issued certificates of approval from the Building Code official rather than occupancy permits, which will allow the structure to be used.)
D. 
The specifics of each step of the zoning procedure are presented in §§ 286-94 and 286-95 below and in chart form in Appendix G of this chapter.[1] Nothing in this chapter shall exempt the applicant from obtaining any permits which may be required by other regulations or codes in effect in Muncy Borough.
[1]
Editor's Note: Appendix G is included as an attachment to this chapter.
A. 
Requirements for zoning permits.
(1) 
Zoning permits shall be required:
(a) 
Prior to the placement, erection, construction, addition, or alteration of any building, structure, or land;
(b) 
Prior to the use or change in use of a building, structure, or land;
(c) 
Prior to the erection or alteration of signs except as specified in Article VIII;
(d) 
Prior to the change or extension of a nonconforming use;
(e) 
Prior to development in any Floodplain District, except as listed below.
(2) 
It shall be unlawful for any person to commence work for the erection or alteration of any building or structure, the change from one use to another use in an existing building (regardless if structural alterations are proposed or necessary to accommodate the change), or for a change in the use of land, until a zoning permit has been duly issued therefor. No zoning permit shall be issued, however, until all appropriate reviews (including all Historic Commission reviews required in § 286-73) and other related permits have first been completed or issued for the proposed use. (See also Subsection D below for compliance requirements.) Upon issuance of the zoning permit, the applicant may apply for a building permit.
(3) 
Exemptions. Zoning permits shall not be required for the following activities unless they are proposed within a floodplain district:
(a) 
Residential interior alterations when there is no increase in ground floor exterior dimension and no proposed change in use; and
(b) 
General maintenance and repair to existing buildings or structures, including siding, roofing, painting, the addition of storm windows, and similar activities.
B. 
Application for zoning permits.
(1) 
Each request for a zoning permit shall be made by completing the appropriate application form obtained from the Zoning Officer and submitting it along with the required fee to the Borough. Application for a permit shall be made by the owner or lessee of any building or structure, or the agent of either; provided, however, that if the application is made by a person other than the owner, it shall be accompanied by a written authorization from the owner. The full names and addresses of the owner, lessee, applicant or other responsible parties shall be stated in the application.
(2) 
The Zoning Officer shall have 10 days after receipt of a complete application to issue or deny requests for a zoning permit or forward the application to the Borough Historic Commission for their review. Where the application is submitted to the Historic Commission, the Zoning Officer shall have 10 days from receipt of the Commission's comments to issue or deny the permit. (The Historic Commission shall complete its review in accordance with the procedure established in § 286-73 of this chapter.) Any denial of a zoning permit by the Zoning Officer shall be in writing and shall state the reason(s) for such action.
C. 
Description of work and plan requirements.
(1) 
All applications for zoning permits shall be in duplicate and shall be accompanied by a sketch or plans, drawn to scale, which shows the actual shape and dimensions of the lot, the exact size and location of any buildings existing on the lot, the lines within which the proposed building or structure shall be erected or altered, the existing and intended use of each building or part of a building, the number of families or dwelling units the building is designed to accommodate, and such other information as may be necessary to determine compliance with this chapter and all other pertinent regulations. No application shall be considered complete until all necessary documents have been filed and all fees have been paid to the Borough.
(2) 
One copy of the plans shall be returned to the applicant when such plans are approved by the Zoning Officer. All applications and accompanying plans and documents shall become a matter of public record once a permit has been either issued or denied.
D. 
Proof of compliance. It shall be the responsibility of the applicant in all cases to furnish adequate documentation and to certify that the proposed use will comply with all requirements of this chapter, and all other applicable federal, state, or local regulations. Such documentation may include copies of sewage permits, PennDOT Highway Occupancy or Borough Driveway Permits, Borough Demolition Permits, Department of Labor and Industry or Public Welfare approvals, or other regulatory agency reviews, where such permits, approvals or reviews are appropriate.
E. 
Changes. After the issuance of a zoning permit, no changes of any kind shall be made to the application, permit or any of the plans, specifications or other documents submitted with the application without the written approval of the Zoning Officer. Requests for any such change shall be made in writing and shall be submitted to the Zoning Officer for consideration.
F. 
Display of permit placard. In addition to the zoning permit, the Zoning Officer shall issue a permit placard which shall be displayed or posted on the premises during the time that construction is in progress. The permit placard shall remain posted until completion of the project and final inspection has been made by the Zoning Officer. Said placard shall bear the number of the zoning permit, the date of its issuance, and the signature of the Zoning Officer.
G. 
Time limitations for permit.
(1) 
Work on the proposed construction shall be commenced no later than six months after the date of issuance of the zoning permit, and all work covered by the permit shall be completed within 12 months after the date of the permit's issuance, or the permit shall expire and become null and void. Additional work on the proposed project shall require the issuance of a new zoning permit, except that a time extension of the original permit may be granted by the Zoning Officer where the applicant submits a written request prior to the expiration of the original permit. Such request shall set forth sufficient and reasonable cause for the Zoning Officer to grant such extension. No more than two ninety-day extensions may be granted. Additional time shall require the issuance of a new zoning permit.
(2) 
For the purposes of this chapter, construction and/or development shall be considered to have started with the preparation of land, including land clearing, grading, filling, excavation for basement, footers, piers or foundations, erection of temporary forms, the installation of pilings under proposed subsurface footers, or the installation of sewer, gas, and water pipes, or electrical or other service lines from the street.
H. 
Inspections. During the construction period, the Zoning Officer shall inspect the premises to determine that the work is progressing in compliance with the information provided on the permit application and with all other applicable Borough laws. He shall make as many inspections as necessary to determine compliance. In the discharge of his duties, the Zoning Officer shall have the authority to enter any building, structure, premises, or development located in any zoning district, upon presentation of proper credentials and with proper notification of the property owner, to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
I. 
Revocation of permits.
(1) 
The Zoning Officer may revoke a zoning permit at any time if:
(a) 
It appears that the application or accompanying plan is in any material respect false or misleading;
(b) 
That work being done upon the premises differs materially from that called for in the application; or
(c) 
Access to a site is being unreasonably denied.
(2) 
In such case, the Zoning Officer shall issue a cease-and-desist order to the owner, corporation, or person holding the permit to immediately discontinue the illegal action and surrender the permit. In no case, however, shall the person so served abandon the premises in an unsafe condition. The premises shall be secured, to the satisfaction of the Zoning Officer, to avoid potentially hazardous conditions. A report of such revocation shall be submitted to the Borough Building Code Official and to the Borough Council for whatever additional action may be deemed necessary.
J. 
Temporary zoning permits. A temporary zoning permit may be authorized by the Zoning Officer for a nonpermanent structure or use where it is deemed beneficial to the public health or general welfare or necessary to promote the proper development of the community, provided that such structure or use shall be completely removed upon expiration of the permit without cost to the Borough.
A. 
Requirements for certificates of compliance.
(1) 
No land shall be occupied or used and no building hereafter erected, altered or extended shall be used in whole or in part, or shall be changed in use until a certificate of compliance has been issued by the Zoning Officer. Such requirement shall include proposals to change one use to another use in an existing building (regardless if structural alterations are proposed or necessary to accommodate the change).
(2) 
The issuance of a certificate of compliance is not intended to guarantee or warranty, either stated or otherwise, the soundness of any construction nor the habitability of any building or structure. The purpose of this certificate is only to certify that all work authorized by the zoning permit has been satisfactorily completed and that the building or proposed use thereof complies with the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
Issuance and effect. The applicant shall notify the Zoning Officer upon completion of the permitted activity and the Zoning Officer shall inspect the construction or change of use within 10 days of the notification. The Zoning Officer shall then issue or deny the certificate within 10 days after the last inspection thereof. If the Zoning Officer is satisfied that the work has been completed in accordance with the issued zoning permit and it is in compliance with the provisions of this chapter, then the certificate of compliance shall be issued. If, however, any part of the construction is found in violation, the certificate shall be denied and the applicant shall be notified in writing of the deficiencies or the reasons for denial of the certificate. Once granted, the certificate shall continue in effect so long as there is no change of use, regardless of change in ownership, tenants or occupants.
Failure to secure a zoning permit when required hereunder or failure to secure a certificate of compliance, or failure to carry out the provisions of this chapter, shall be considered a violation of this chapter.
A. 
Enforcement notice.
(1) 
Whenever it appears to the Zoning Officer or other Council-appointed individual or entity that there has been a violation of any provision of this chapter, the Zoning Officer, on behalf of the Council, shall give written notice of such alleged violation as hereinafter provided. Such enforcement notice shall:
(a) 
Be served upon the property owner or sent to him by certified mail (return receipt requested), and be sent to any person who has filed a written request to receive enforcement notices regarding the parcel, and to any other person requested in writing by the owner of record;
(b) 
Include the name of the owner of record and any other person against whom the Borough intends to take action;
(c) 
Include the location of the property in violation;
(d) 
Identify the specific violation(s) with a description of the requirements which have not been met, citing in each instance the applicable provision(s) of the chapter;
(e) 
Contain an outline of remedial action which, if taken, will effect compliance;
(f) 
Specify the date before which the steps for compliance must be commenced and the date before which the steps must be completed;
(g) 
Notify the recipient of his right to appeal to the Borough Zoning Hearing Board prior to the expiration of the time period provided in the enforcement notice; and
(h) 
Indicate that failure to comply with the notice within the time specified, unless extended by appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board, shall constitute a violation and will be prosecuted or remedied as provided in this section.
(2) 
In any appeal of an enforcement notice to the Zoning Hearing Board, the Borough shall have the responsibility of presenting its evidence first.
B. 
Causes of action.
(1) 
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 Borough Zoning Officer may institute in the name of the Borough, any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent, restrain, correct, or abate such building, structure, landscaping or land, or to prevent any action, conduct, business, or use in or about such premises constituting a violation.
(2) 
Any aggrieved owner or tenant of real property who shows that his property or person will be substantially affected by the alleged violation may also institute an appropriate corrective action or proceeding. Such action must be preceded, however, by serving a copy of the complaint upon the Borough at least 30 days prior to being instituted. No such action may be maintained until such notice has been given.
C. 
Enforcement remedies.
(1) 
Any person, partnership or corporation who or which has violated or permitted the violation of the provisions of this chapter, whether enacted under current law or prior law, shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by Muncy Borough, pay a judgment of not more than $500 plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Borough as a result thereof. No judgment shall commence or be imposed, levied or be payable until the date of the determination of a violation by the Magisterial District Judge. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, Muncy Borough may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable rules of civil procedure. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation, unless the Magisterial District Judge, determining that there has been a violation, further determines that there was a good faith basis for the person, partnership or corporation violating the chapter to have believed that there was no such violation, in which event, there shall be deemed to have been only one such violation until the fifth day following the date of the determination of a violation by the Magisterial District Judge, and thereafter each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation. All judgments, costs and reasonable attorney fees collected for the violation of this Zoning Ordinance shall be paid over to Muncy Borough.
(2) 
The Court of Common Pleas, upon petition, may grant an order of stay, upon cause shown, tolling the per diem fine pending a final adjudication of the violation and judgment.
(3) 
Nothing contained in this section shall be construed or interpreted to grant to any person or entity other than the Borough the right to commence any action for enforcement pursuant to this section.
A. 
Fees for the issuance of zoning permits, certificates of compliance, conditional uses, ordinance amendments, special exception uses, variances, and other zoning actions shall be paid to the Borough upon filing of an application. Such fees shall be in accordance with the schedule of fees established by separate resolution of the Borough Council and as may be amended hereafter by subsequent resolution.
B. 
Further, any fees paid by a party for the appeal of an enforcement notice to the Borough Zoning Hearing Board shall be returned to the appealing party by the Borough if the Zoning Hearing Board, or any court in a subsequent appeal, rules in favor of the appealing party.