[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Connoquenessing 6-6-2012 by Ord. No. 85. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 245.
NOTE: The preparation of these regulations was guided by a model ordinance to limit height of objects around airports; published by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Advisory Circular No. 150/5190-4 (August, 1977), and 1984 Pa. Laws 164, codified at 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5101 et seq. Format of the ordinance was developed by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Planning Commission.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Township of Connoquenessing Airport Ordinance."
This is a chapter regulating and restricting the height to which structures may be erected or objects of natural growth, and otherwise regulating the use of property in the vicinity of the Butler Farm Show Airport by creating the appropriate zones and establishing the boundaries thereof; providing for changes in the restrictions and boundaries of such zones; defining certain terms used herein; referring to the Butler Farm Show Airport Surface Areas Map which is incorporated in and made part of this chapter; providing for enforcement; establishing a Hearing Board; and imposing penalties.
This chapter is adopted pursuant to the authority conferred by 1984 Pa. Laws 164, codified at 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5101 et seq.
It is hereby found that an obstruction has the potential for endangering the lives and property of users of the Butler Farm Show Airport, and property or occupants of land in its vicinity; that an obstruction may affect existing and future instrument approach minimums of the Butler Farm Show Airport; and that an obstruction may reduce the size of areas available for the landing, takeoff and maneuvering of aircraft, thus tending to destroy or impair the utility of the Butler Farm Show Airport and the public investment therein. Accordingly, it is declared:
That the creation or establishment of an obstruction has the potential of being a public nuisance and may injure the region served by the Butler Farm Show Airport;
That it is necessary in the interest of the public health, safety, morals and general welfare that the creation or establishment of obstructions that are a hazard to air navigation be prevented; and
That the prevention of these obstructions should be accomplished, to the extent legally possible, by the exercise of the police power without compensation.
It is further declared that the prevention of the creation or establishment of hazards to air navigation, the elimination, removal, alteration or mitigation of hazards to air navigation, or the marking and lighting of obstructions are public purposes for which a political subdivision may raise and expend public funds and acquire land or interests in land.
The following words and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
- Any contrivance, except an unpowered hang glider or parachute, used for manned ascent into or flight through the air.
- A. Butler Farm Show Airport.
- B. Any area of land or water which is used, or intended to be used, for the landing and takeoff of aircraft and any appurtenant areas which are used, or intended to be used, for airport buildings or air navigation facilities or rights-of-way, together with all airport buildings and facilities thereon.
- C. As used herein, the term "airport" includes public airports but excludes private airports and heliports. Public and private airports are defined separately in this section.
- AIRPORT HAZARD
- Any structure or object, natural or man-made, or use of land which obstructs the airspace required for flight or aircraft in landing or taking off at an airport or is otherwise hazardous as defined by "Airport Hazard" in 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5102.
- AIRPORT HAZARD AREA
- Any area of land or water upon which an airport hazard might be established if not prevented as provided for in this chapter and the Act 164 of 1984 (Pennsylvania Laws Relating to Aviation).
- APPROACH SURFACE
- A surface longitudinally centered on the extended runway center line, extending outward and upward from the end of the primary surface and at the same slope as the approach surface zone height limitation slope set forth in § 81-4 of this chapter. In plan, the perimeter of the approach surface coincides with the perimeter of the approach surface zone.
- APPROACH, TRANSITIONAL, HORIZONTAL, AND CONICAL SURFACE ZONES
- These zones are set forth in § 81-4 of this chapter.
- BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
- A Board appointed by the authority adopting these regulations. The numbers of members, powers, governing rules, etc. of the Board are set forth in § 81-9 of this chapter.
- CONICAL SURFACE
- A surface extending outward and upward from the periphery of the horizontal surface at a slope of 20 to 1 for a horizontal distance of 4,000 feet.
- Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
- Federal Aviation Administration of the United States Department of Transportation.
- For the purpose of determining the height limits in all zones set forth in this chapter and shown on the Butler Farm Show Airport Surfaces Areas Map, the datum shall be mean sea level elevation unless otherwise specified.
- HORIZONTAL SURFACE
- A horizontal plane 150 feet above the established airport elevation, the perimeter of which in plan coincides with the perimeter of the horizontal surface zone.
- NONCONFORMING USE
- Any preexisting structure, object of natural growth, or use of land which is inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter or an amendment thereto.
- Any structure, growth, or other object, including a mobile object, which exceeds a limiting height set forth in § 81-4 of this chapter.
- An individual, firm partnership, corporation, company, association, joint-stock association or governmental entity; includes a trustee, a receiver, an assignee, or a similar representative of any of them.
- PRIMARY SURFACE
- A surface longitudinally centered on a runway. When the runway has a specially prepared hard surface, the primary surface extends 200 feet beyond each end of that runway. For military runways or when the runway has no specially prepared hard surface, or planned hard surface, the primary surface ends at each end of that runway. The width of the primary surface is set forth in § 81-4 of this chapter. The elevation of any point on the primary surface is the same as the elevation of the nearest point on the runway center line.
- PRIVATE AIRPORT
- An airport which is privately owned and which is not open or intended to be open to the public as defined in 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5102.
- PUBLIC AIRPORT
- An airport which is either publicly or privately owned and which is open to the public as defined in 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5102.
- A defined area on an airport prepared for landing and takeoff of aircraft along its length.
- An object, including a mobile object, constructed or installed by man, including but without limitation, buildings, towers, cranes, smokestacks, earth formation and overhead transmission lines.
- TRANSITIONAL SURFACES
- These surfaces extend outward at 90° angles to the runway center line and the runway center line extended at a slope of seven feet horizontally for each foot vertically from the sides of the primary and approach surfaces to where they intersect the horizontal and conical surfaces. Transitional surfaces for those portions of the precision approach surfaces, which project through and beyond the limits of the conical surface, extend a distance of 5,000 feet measured horizontally from the edge of the approach surface and at 90° angles to the extended runway center line.
- Any object of natural growth.
- UTILITY RUNWAY
- Any runway that is constructed for and intended to be used by propeller driven aircraft of 12,500 pounds maximum gross weight or less.
- VISUAL RUNWAY
- A runway intended solely for the operation of aircraft using visual approach procedures.
NOTE: 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5102.
NOTE: 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5102.
Editor's Note: See 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5101 et seq.
Editor's Note: Said map is included as an attachment to this chapter.
NOTE: The definition of "structure" under 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5102 does not include mobile objects such as cranes or immobile objects such as earth formations. However, 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5913(b) provides that, if adopted, a "more stringent limitation or requirement shall prevail." See also § 81-12B, Conflicts.
In order to carry out the provisions of this chapter, there are hereby created and established certain zones which include all of the land lying beneath the approach surfaces, transitional surfaces, horizontal surfaces and conical surfaces as they apply to the Butler Farm Show Airport. Such zones are shown on the Butler Farm Show Airport Surface Areas Map created by URS Corporation on behalf of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Aviation, and dated March 10, 2010, which is attached to this chapter and made a part hereof. An area located in more than one of the following zones is considered to be only in the zone with the more restrictive height limitation. The various zones are hereby established and defined as follows:
Utility runway visual approach surface zone. Established beneath the visual approach surface. The inner edge of this zone coincides with the width of the primary surface and is 250 feet wide. The zone expands outward uniformly to a width of 1,250 feet at a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet from the primary surface. Its center line is the continuation of the center line of the runway.
Horizontal surface zone. Established beneath the horizontal surface, 150 feet above the established elevation, the perimeter of which is constructed by swinging arcs of 5,000 feet radii from the center of each end of the primary surface of each runway and connecting the adjacent arcs by drawing lines tangent to those arcs. The horizontal surface zone does not include the approach surface and transitional surface zones.
Conical surface zone. Established beneath the conical surface. This zone commences at the periphery of the horizontal surface and extends outward from a horizontal distance of 4,000 feet.
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no structure shall be erected, altered, or maintained, and no tree shall be allowed to grow in any zone created by this chapter to a height in excess of the applicable height limit herein established for such zone. Such applicable height limitations are hereby established for each of the zones in question as follows:
Utility runway visual approach surface zone. Slopes 20 feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the end of and at the same elevation as the primary surface and extending to a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet along the extended runway center line.
Transitional surface zones. Slopes seven feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the sides of and at the same elevation as the primary surface and the approach surface, and extending to a height of 150 feet above the airport elevation which is 1,333 feet above mean sea level. In addition to the foregoing, when an airport has a precision instrument runway approach zone, there are established height limits sloping seven feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the sides of and at the same elevation as the approach surface, and extending to where they intersect the conical surface. Where the precision instrument runway approach zone projects beyond the conical zone, there are established height limits sloping seven feet outward for each foot upward, beginning at the sides and at the same elevation as the approach surface, and extending a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet measured at ninety-degree angles to the extended runway center line.
Horizontal surface zone. Established at 150 feet above the established airport elevation or at a height of 1,483 feet above mean sea level.
Conical surface zone. Slopes 20 feet outward for each foot upward beginning at the periphery of the horizontal surface and at 150 feet above the established airport elevation and extending to a height of 350 feet above the established airport elevation or at a height of 1683 feet above mean sea level.
Reasonableness. All airport zone regulations adopted under this chapter shall be reasonable; none shall impose any requirement or restriction unless it is reasonably necessary to effectuate the purpose of this chapter. In determining what regulations it may adopt, each municipality and joint airport board shall consider, among other factors, the character of the flying operations expected to be conducted at the airport, the nature of the terrain within the airport hazard area, the character of the neighborhood and the uses to which the property to be zoned is put and adaptable.
NOTE: 1984 Pa. Laws 164, Chapter 59, Subchapter B, 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5915(a).
Use restrictions. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, no use may be made of land or water within any zone established by this chapter in such a manner as to create electrical interference with navigational signals or radio communication between the airport and the aircraft, make it difficult for pilots to distinguish between airport lights and others, result in glare in the eyes of pilots using the airport, impair visibility in the vicinity of the airport, create bird strike hazards, or otherwise in any way endanger or interfere with the landing, takeoff, or maneuvering of aircraft intending to use the airport.
Regulations not retroactive. The regulations prescribed by this chapter shall not be construed to require the removal, lowering, or other change or alteration of any structure or tree not conforming to the regulations as of the effective date of this chapter, or otherwise interfere with the continuance of any nonconforming use, except as provided in § 81-7 (relating to permits and variances). Nothing contained herein shall require any change in the construction, alteration, or intended use of any structure, the construction or alteration of which was begun prior to the effective date of this chapter, and is diligently executed.
NOTE: 1984 Pa. Laws 164, Chapter 59, Subchapter B, 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5915(b).
Marking and lighting. Notwithstanding the preceding provision of this section, the owner of any existing nonconforming structure or tree is hereby required to permit the installation, operation, and maintenance thereon or nearby of such markers and lights as shall be deemed necessary by the Butler Farm Show Manager to indicate to the operators of aircraft in the vicinity of the airport the presence of such airport obstruction. Such markers and lights shall be installed, operated, and maintained at the expense of the Butler Farm Show Airport.
Except as specifically provided in Subsection A(1)(a), (b) or (c) hereunder, no material change shall be made in the use of land, no structure shall be erected or otherwise established, and no tree shall be planted in any zone hereby created unless a permit therefor shall have been applied for and granted. Each application for a permit shall indicate the purpose for which the permit is desired, with sufficient particularity to permit it to be determined whether the resulting use, structure, or tree would conform to the regulations herein prescribed. If such determination is in the affirmative, the permit shall be granted. No permit for a use inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter shall be granted unless a variance has been approved in accordance with Subsection D of this section.
In the area lying within the limits of the horizontal zone and conical zone, no permit shall be required for any tree or structure less than 75 feet of vertical height above the ground, except when, because of terrain, land contour, or topographic features, such tree or structure would extend above the height limits prescribed for such zones.
In areas lying within the limits of the approach zones, but at a horizontal distance of not less than 4,200 feet from each end of the runway, no permit shall be required for any tree or structure less than 75 feet of vertical height above the ground, except when, because of terrain, land contour or topographic features, such tree or structure would extend above the height limit prescribed for such approach zones.
In the areas lying within the limits of the transition zones beyond the perimeter of the horizontal zones, no permit shall be required for any tree or structure less than 75 feet of vertical height above the ground, except when such tree or structure, because of terrain, land contour, or topographic feature, would extend above the height limit prescribed for such transition zones.
Nothing contained in any of the foregoing exception shall be construed as permitting or intending to permit any construction, or alteration of any structure, or growth of any tree in excess of any of the height limits established by this chapter, except that no permit is required to make maintenance repairs to or to replace parts of existing structures which do not enlarge or increase the height of an existing structure.
NOTE: 1984 Pa. Laws 164, Chapter 59, Subchapter B, 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5916(a).
Existing uses. Before any nonconforming structure may be replaced, substantially altered or rebuilt or tree allowed to grow higher or replanted, a permit must be secured from the municipality authorizing the replacement or change. No permit shall be granted that would allow the establishment or creation of an obstruction or permit a nonconforming use, structure, or tree to become a greater hazard to air navigation than it was on the effective date of this chapter or any amendments thereto or than it is when the application for a permit is made.
Nonconforming uses abandoned or destroyed. Whenever the Connoquenessing Township Code Enforcement Officer determines that a nonconforming tree or structure has been abandoned or more than 80% torn down, physically deteriorated, or decayed, no permit shall be granted that would allow such structure or tree to exceed the applicable height limit or otherwise deviate from this chapter.
Variance. Any person desiring to erect any structure or increase the height of any structure or permit the growth of any object of natural growth or otherwise use his property in violation of airport regulations may apply to the Board of Adjustment for a variance from the airport regulations in question. A variance shall only be granted after the requirements of § 81-8 are satisfied. A variance may be allowed where a literal application or enforcement of the regulations would result in practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship and the relief granted would not be contrary to the public interest but would do substantial justice and would be in accordance with the spirit of the regulations and this chapter. Any variance may be granted subject to any reasonable conditions that the Board of Adjustment may deem necessary to effectuate the purposes of this chapter. The application for variance shall be accompanied by a determination from the Federal Aviation Administration as to the effect of the proposal on the operation of air navigation facilities and the safe, efficient use of navigable airspace. Additionally, no application for variance to the requirements of this chapter may be considered by the Board of Adjustment unless a copy of the application has been furnished to the Airport Manager (or person of equivalent description) for advice as to the aeronautical effects of the variance. If the Airport Manager (or person of equivalent description) does not respond to the application within 15 days after receipt, the Board of Adjustment may act without such input to grant or deny said application.
NOTE: 1984 Pa. Laws 164, Chapter 59, Subchapter B, 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5916(b).
Hazard marking and lighting. In granting any permit or variance under this section, the Board shall, if it deems the action advisable to effectuate the purpose of this chapter and reasonable under the circumstances, so condition the permit or variance as to require the owner of the structure or object of natural growth in question to permit the municipality, at its own expense, or require the person or persons requesting the permit or variance, to install, operate and maintain thereon such markers and lights as may be required by guidelines or regulations adopted by the FAA.
NOTE: 1984 Pa. Laws 164, Chapter 59, Subchapter B, 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5916(c).
Local enforcement. It shall be the duty of the Connoquenessing Township Code Enforcement Officer to administer and enforce the regulations prescribed herein. Applications for permits and variances shall be made to the Connoquenessing Township Code Enforcement Officer upon a form published for that purpose. Applications required by this chapter to be submitted to the Connoquenessing Township Code Enforcement Officer shall be promptly considered and granted or denied. Application for action by the Board of Adjustment shall be forthwith transmitted by the Connoquenessing Township Code Enforcement Officer.
Notice to Department. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, a municipality or board which decides to grant a permit or variance under this chapter shall notify the Department of Transportation of its decision. This notice shall be in writing and shall be sent so as to reach the department at least 10 business days before the date upon which the decision is to issue.
NOTE: 1984 Pa. Laws 164, Chapter 59, Subchapter B, 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5919.
Powers. There is hereby created a Board of Adjustment to have and exercise the following powers:
To hear and decide adjustment from any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by the Connoquenessing Township Supervisors in the enforcement of this chapter;
To hear and decide special exceptions to the terms of this chapter upon which such Board of Adjustment under such regulations may be required to pass; and
To hear and decide specific variances.
Creation/members/removal. The Board shall consist of five members, each to be appointed for a term of three years by the authority adopting the regulations and to be removable by the appointing authority, for cause, upon written charges and after a public hearing.
NOTE: 1984 Pa. Laws 164, Chapter 59, Subchapter B, 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5917(c).
Governing rules. The Board of Adjustment shall adopt rules for its governance and in harmony with the provisions of this chapter. Meetings of the Board of Adjustment shall be held at the call of the Chairperson and at such other times as the Board of Adjustment may determine. For conduct of any hearing or taking of any action, a quorum shall not be less than a majority of all members. The Chairperson or, in the absence of the Chairperson, the Acting Chairperson, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. All hearings of the Board of Adjustment shall be public. The Board of Adjustment shall keep minutes of its proceedings showing the vote of each member upon each question, or if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact, and shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions, all of which shall immediately be filed in the office of the Connoquenessing Township Code Enforcement Officer and due cause shown.
Findings of fact/conclusions of law. The Board of Adjustment shall make written findings of facts and conclusions of law giving the facts upon which it acted and its legal conclusions from such facts in reversing, affirming, or modifying any order, requirement, decision, or determination which comes before it under the provisions of this chapter.
Voting. The concurring vote of a majority of the members of the Board of Adjustment shall be sufficient to reverse any order, requirement, decision, or determination of the Connoquenessing Township Code Enforcement Officer or decide in favor of the applicant on any matter upon which it is required to pass under this chapter or to effect variation to this chapter.
Reasonable time requirement. All appeals hereunder must be taken within a reasonable time as provided by the rules of the Board of Adjustment. The Board shall fix a reasonable time for hearing appeals, give public notice and due notice to the parties in interest, and decide the same within a reasonable time. Upon the hearing, any party may appear in person or by agent or by attorney.
Stay of proceedings. An appeal shall stay all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from unless the municipality certifies to the Board, after the notice of appeal has been filed with it, that, by reason of the facts stated in the certificate, a stay would in its opinion cause imminent peril to life or property. In such cases, proceedings shall not be stayed otherwise than by order of the Board or notice to the municipality.
NOTE: 1984 Pa. Laws 164, Chapter 59, Subchapter B, 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5917(b).
Power to reverse, affirm or modify orders. The Board of Adjustment may, in conformity with the provisions of this chapter, reverse or affirm, in whole or in part, or modify the order, requirement, decision, or determination appealed from and may make such order, requirement, decision, or determination as may be appropriate under the circumstances.
In any case in which it is desired to remove, lower or otherwise terminate a nonconforming structure or use, or the approach protection necessary cannot, because of constitutional limitations, be provided by airport regulations, or it appears advisable that the necessary approach protection be provided by acquisition of property rights, rather than be airport regulations, the municipality within which the property or nonconforming use is located, or the municipality or municipal authority owning the airport or served by it, may acquire by purchase, grant or condemnation, in the manner provided by the law under which municipalities are authorized to acquire real property for public purposes, such air right, aviation easement or other estate or interest in the property or nonconforming structure or use in question as may be necessary to effectuate the purpose of this chapter. In the case of the purchase of any property or any easement or estate, or interest therein, or the acquisition thereof by the power of eminent domain, the municipality making the purchase of exercising the power shall, in addition to the damages for the taking injury or destruction of property, also pay the cost of the removal and relocation of any structure or any public utility which is required to be moved to a new location.
NOTE: 1984 Pa. Laws 164, Chapter 59, Subchapter B, 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5920.
Incorporation. In the event that a municipality has adopted, or hereafter adopts, a comprehensive zoning ordinance regulating, among other things, the height of buildings, any airport regulations applicable to the same area or portion thereof may be incorporated in and made a part of the comprehensive zoning regulations and be administered and enforced in connection therewith.
Conflicts. In the event of conflict between any airport regulations adopted under this chapter and any other regulations applicable to the same area, whether the conflict be with respect to the height of structures or trees, and the use of land, or any other matter, and whether the other regulations were adopted by the municipality which adopted the airport regulations or be some other municipality or otherwise, the more stringent limitation or requirement shall govern and prevail.
NOTE: 1984 Pa. Laws 164, Chapter 59, Subchapter B, 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5913(a).
Any person aggrieved, or any taxpayer affected, by any decision of the Board of Adjustment, may appeal to the Court of Common Pleas as provided by law. In cases where applicable law does not provide an appeal from a municipality to a Board, a person or taxpayer may appeal from a decision of a municipality, as provided by law for similar proceedings.
NOTE: 1984 Pa. Laws 164, Chapter 59, Subchapter B, 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5918.
Use of language. Words of any gender used in this chapter shall be held and construed to include any other gender, and words in the singular shall be used to include the plural, unless the context otherwise requires.
Use of captions. The captions or headings of sections in this chapter are inserted for convenience only, and shall not be considered in construing the provisions herein if any question of intent should arise.
Any person, partnership or corporation who or which has violated or permitted the violation of the provisions of any ordinance enacted under this act or prior enabling laws shall, upon receipt of a registered letter stating a response time of 10 business days, being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by a municipality, pay a judgment of not more than $500, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney fees incurred by a municipality as a result thereof. No judgment shall commence or be imposed, levied or payable until the date of the determination of a violation by the Magisterial District Judge. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeal the judgment, the municipality 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 ordinance to have believed that there was no such violation, in which event there shall be deemed to have been only 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 ordinances shall be paid over the municipality whose ordinance has been violated.
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.
Nothing contained in this section shall be construed or interpreted to grant to any person or entity other than the municipality the right to commence any action for enforcement pursuant to this section.
NOTE: As set forth in Section 617.2 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (Act 170), 53 P.S. § 10617.2.
Notice and hearing. No airport regulations shall be adopted, amended or changed except by action of the municipality after a public hearing in relation thereto at which parties in interest and citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard. The notice shall be published once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality or municipalities affected. The 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 or less than 14 days from the date of the hearing.
NOTE: See 1984 Pa. Laws 164, Chapter 59, Subchapter B, 74 Pa.C.S.A. § 5914(a).
Effective date. Whereas, the immediate operation of the provisions of this chapter is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, morals and general welfare, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, and this chapter shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage by the municipality and publication and posting as required by Subsection A of this section.