Township of Aleppo, PA
Allegheny County
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A. 
Purpose. The purpose of the planned residential development (PRD) regulations is to permit residential development as a conditional use which is more creative and imaginative than is generally possible under conventional zoning district controls and subdivision requirements. Further, these regulations are intended to promote more economical and efficient use of the land while providing a compatible blend of housing types, amenities and community facilities of high quality, oriented to the specific development site and preservation of the natural scenic qualities of open areas.
B. 
Application. A PRD may be permitted as defined on Table 1,[1] subject to the standards, restrictions, qualifications, criteria, requirements, conditions, regulations and procedures enumerated as set forth herein. Certain provisions of this chapter and the respective Chapter 350, Subdivision and Land Development, shall not be applied to PRD proposals accepted for review, except when specifically indicated by the provisions contained herein.
[1]
Editor's Note: Table 1, Land Uses, is included as an attachment to this chapter.
A. 
The minimum land area for a PRD shall be 10 contiguous acres. Public easements or private roads shall not be construed as an interruption or division of a tract of land proposed for a PRD.
B. 
Prior to the preapplication conference, the developer of a PRD shall evidence a full ownership interest in the land, which, for purposes of this chapter, shall be either legal title or an executed binding sales agreement evidencing equitable title in it.
C. 
A PRD shall be in single legal, as well as equitable, ownership coincident with approval of the final development plan.
A. 
Where the municipality determines that public sewage and water facilities are available and are capable of being extended to the development site, the developer shall connect the PRD to such facilities.
B. 
In the absence of public sewage facilities, the developer shall provide within a PRD a sanitary sewage system acceptable to Aleppo Township and which shall be subject to the standards, rules and regulations of Allegheny County and the Department of Environmental Protection of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or any successor thereto.
C. 
Central water services shall be supplied to each building or structure to be erected in a PRD.
D. 
The developer shall provide within a PRD a storm drainage system which shall be of sufficient size and design to collect, carry off and dispose of all predictable surface water runoff within the PRD and shall be so constructed as to conform with applicable statutes, ordinances, and regulations of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Aleppo Township and to conform to the requirements of Chapter 350, Subdivision and Land Development.
E. 
A PRD shall be related to the local regional highway systems. The developer must demonstrate through a traffic study and report to the satisfaction of the Township that traffic circulation problems will not be created and that the proposed road system is adequate in terms of traffic volume capacity and construction type to accommodate the projected PRD-generated traffic.
A. 
The PRD provisions of this chapter shall be applied by the Township, which shall review all applications on the basis of specified standards, restrictions, qualifications, criteria, requirements, conditions, regulations and procedures. The Board of Commissioners shall conduct public hearings and have final authority to approve, modify or disapprove a PRD.
B. 
A developer shall obtain required approvals for a PRD by following a four-step review process which shall consist of a preapplication conference, a preliminary development plan review, public hearings, and a final development plan review.
(1) 
Preapplication conference. Each applicant may confer with the Township Secretary to schedule a preapplication conference. It shall be the responsibility of the Township Secretary to arrange a conference with the Planning Commission. The conference shall include members of the Planning Commission and designated members of the Board of Commissioners. The Solicitor, local utility service representatives, Township Engineer, Police Department and others deemed appropriate may also be requested to attend such conference. Items to be addressed at the preapplication conference shall include but not be limited to the following:
(a) 
Location of the proposed PRD site;
(b) 
Points of access and road names;
(c) 
Utilities and location of utility line extensions;
(d) 
Topography of the proposed PRD site;
(e) 
Conceptual stormwater management plan; and
(f) 
Significant stands of trees, size and species.
(2) 
Preliminary development plan (application for tentative approval). Within 120 days following the preapplication conference, 15 copies of a preliminary development plan shall be presented in sufficient detail to provide the Planning Commission with a major substantive review of the proposed PRD, which preliminary development plan shall constitute the application for tentative approval. The following documentation shall be submitted in support of the application:
(a) 
Written documents:
[1] 
A legal description of the total tract proposed for development, including a statement of present and proposed ownership.
[2] 
A statement of planning objective to be achieved by the PRD through the particular approach proposed by the developer. The statement shall include a description of the character of the proposed development.
[3] 
Quantitative data for the following: total number and type of dwelling units, parcel size, proposed lot coverage of buildings and structures, approximate gross and net residential densities, total amount of open space (including a separate figure for common open space and usable open space), economic feasibility studies or market analyses where reasonably necessary and other studies as may be designated by the Township.
[4] 
Preliminary geotechnical report.
[5] 
Preliminary stormwater management report.
[6] 
Traffic study and report.
(b) 
Location map. This map shall clearly show the location and area of the tract proposed for development with relation to all lands, buildings and structures within 500 feet of its boundaries, the location and distance to existing related highways, streets or roads and the names of owners of properties adjacent to the tract.
(c) 
Site plan and supporting maps. A site plan at a scale no smaller than one inch equals 50 feet and any maps necessary in the opinion of the Township on a scale as required by it to show the major details of the proposed PRD, which site plan and maps shall also contain the following minimum information:
[1] 
The existing site conditions, including slope map (contours at a minimum intervals of five feet), watercourses, floodplains, forest cover, soils, and natural features considered significant by the Township.
[2] 
Proposed lot lines and subdivision plan, if any.
[3] 
The location of all existing and proposed buildings, structures, and other improvements, including maximum heights, types of dwelling units and density per type. Preliminary elevations and/or architectural renderings of typical structures shall be provided. Such drawings shall be sufficient to relay the basic architectural intent of the proposed improvements.
[4] 
The location and size in acres or square feet of all areas to be conveyed, dedicated or reserved as common open space.
[5] 
The existing and proposed vehicular circulation system of collector and local streets or roads, including off-street parking areas, service areas, loading areas and major points of access to public rights-of-way (including major points of ingress and egress to the development).
[6] 
The existing and proposed pedestrian circulation system, including its interrelationships with the vehicular circulation system and indicating proposed treatment of points of conflict.
[7] 
The existing and proposed utilities systems, including sanitary sewers, storm sewers, water, electric, gas, cable TV and telephone lines.
[8] 
Any additional information required by the Township deemed as necessary for it to evaluate the character and impact of the proposed PRD.
[9] 
The buildable area analysis, as required. All applications for PRD approval must meet the requirements of § 400-27, Natural Resource Protection Overlay.
(d) 
Projected scheduling of stages. In the case of development plans which call for development over a period of years, a schedule showing such stages shall be provided. This schedule shall be reviewed annually with the Planning Commission by the developer on the anniversary of the tentative approval or as each stage of development is completed, whichever shall first occur.
(3) 
Public hearings and approval.
(a) 
Within 60 days following receipt of a completed application for tentative approval of a PRD, with required documentation, a public hearing pursuant to public notice on such application shall be held by the Board of Commissioners. Said public hearing may be continued from time to time but shall be concluded no more than 60 days after the date of the first public hearing.
(b) 
The Board of Commissioners may offer mediation as an aid in completing proceedings authorized by this article prior to final approval as outlined in Article XV.
(c) 
The Board, within 60 days following the conclusion of the public hearing or within 180 days after the date of filing of the application, whichever occurs first, shall, by official written communication to the developer, either:
[1] 
Grant tentative approval of the preliminary development as submitted;
[2] 
Grant tentative approval of the preliminary development plan subject to specified conditions not included in the preliminary development plan as submitted; or
[3] 
Deny tentative approval.
(d) 
Failure to so act within such period of time shall be deemed to be a grant of tentative approval of the preliminary development plan as submitted. In the event, however, that the tentative approval of the preliminary development plan is granted subject to specified conditions, the developer may, within 30 days after receiving a copy of the official written communication of the Board of Commissioners, notify such Board of his refusal to accept all such conditions, in which event tentative approval of the preliminary development plan is deemed to be denied. In the event the developer does not, within said period, notify the Board of Commissioners of his refusal to accept all said conditions, tentative approval of the preliminary development plan, with all said conditions, shall stand as granted.
(e) 
The grant or denial of tentative approval by official written communication shall include not only conclusions but also findings of fact related to the specific proposal and shall set forth the reasons for the grant, with or without conditions, or for the denial, and said communication shall set forth with particularity in what respects the development plan would or would not be in the public interest, including, but not limited to, findings of fact and conclusions on the following:
[1] 
In those respects in which the development is or is not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan for the development of the Township;
[2] 
The extent to which the development plan departs from zoning and subdivision regulations otherwise applicable to the subject property, including but not limited to density, bulk and use, and the reasons why such departures are or are not deemed to be in the public interest;
[3] 
The purpose, location and amount of the common open space in the planned residential development, the reliability of the proposals for maintenance and conservation of the common open space, and the adequacy or inadequacy of the amount and purpose of the common open space as related to the proposed density and type of residential development;
[4] 
The physical design of the development plan and the manner in which said design does or does not make adequate provision for public services, provide adequate control over vehicular traffic, and further the amenities of light and air, recreation and visual enjoyment;
[5] 
The relationship, beneficial or adverse, of the proposed planned residential development to the neighborhood in which it is proposed to be established; and
[6] 
In the case of a development plan which proposes development over a period of years, the sufficiency of the terms and conditions intended to protect the interests of the public and of the residents of the planned residential development in the integrity of the development plan.
(f) 
In the event a development plan is granted tentative approval, with or without conditions, the Board of Commissioners may set forth in the official written communication the time within which an application for final approval of the development plan shall be filed or, in the case of a development plan which provides for development over a period of years, the periods of time within which applications for final approval of each part thereof shall be filed. Except upon the consent of the landowner, the time so established between grant of tentative approval and an application for final approval shall not be less than three months, and, in the case of developments over a period of years, the time between applications for final approval of each part of a plan shall be not less than 12 months.
(4) 
Criteria for tentative approval. The Board of Commissioners may give tentative approval to a preliminary development plan if, and only if, it is found to meet the following criteria:
(a) 
The proposed preliminary development plan complies with all standards, restrictions, qualifications, criteria, requirements, conditions, regulations, and procedures of this chapter, preserves the community development objectives of this chapter and complies with all relevant county and state regulations.
(b) 
Where the proposed preliminary development plan provides standards varying from those in this chapter and Chapter 350, Subdivision and Land Development, otherwise applicable to the subject property, such departure is in the public interest and promotes the conservation of the environment, health, safety and general welfare of the public.
(c) 
The proposals for the maintenance and conservation of any proposed common open space are reliable and meet the standards of this chapter, and the amount and extent of improvements of the remaining land are appropriate with respect to the purpose, use and type of residential development proposed.
(d) 
The physical design of the proposed preliminary development plan adequately provides for public services, traffic facilities and parking, light, air, recreation and visual enjoyment.
(e) 
The total environment of the proposed preliminary development plan, including lot layout and design, street configuration and preservation of natural amenities, is consistent with the neighborhood in which it is located.
(f) 
The proposed preliminary development plan will afford adequate protection of natural watercourses, topsoil, trees, and other features of the natural environment and will prevent erosion, landslides, siltation and flooding.
(g) 
In the case of a preliminary development plan which proposes development over a period of years, the terms and conditions thereof are sufficient to protect the interest of the public and of the residents of the PRD in the integrity of the final development plan.
(h) 
The grant or denial of tentative approval shall include findings of fact relating to the proposed preliminary development as submitted for approval, and reasons for such decisions shall be set forth with particularity, including but not limited to whether the proposed preliminary development plan would or would not be in the public interest with respect to each of the above criteria.
(5) 
Final development plan (application for final approval). After the preliminary development plan is tentatively approved by the Board of Commissioners, the developer shall thereafter submit 15 copies of the final development plan, which shall consist of detail plans for any part or section of the land for which he desired final approval, which final development plan shall constitute the application for final approval. No building permit shall be issued until after final approval by the Board of Commissioners of the detailed plans for the part or section in which the proposed development is located. Final approval of any detailed plans shall lapse unless construction is started in that part or section within one year after such approval.
(a) 
In the event the application for final approval has been filed, together with all drawings, specifications and other documents in support thereof, and as required by this chapter and the official written communication of tentative approval, the municipality shall, within 45 days from the date of the regular meeting of the governing body or the planning agency, whichever first reviews the application, next following the date the application is filed, grant such development plan final approval; provided, however, that should the next regular meeting occur more than 30 days following the filing of the application, the forty-five-day period shall be measured from the 30th day following the day the application has been filed.
(b) 
Changes in the location and siting of building structures deemed minor by the Board of Commissioners may be authorized by it without additional public hearings, if required by engineering or other circumstances not foreseen at the time the preliminary development plan was tentatively approved. However, gross and net density established by the tentatively approved preliminary plan shall not change.
(c) 
The final development plan shall comply with the provisions of other existing ordinances related to development within the Township, county and state and shall include:
[1] 
All data required for a final plan as specified in Chapter 350, Subdivision and Land Development.
[2] 
Accurately dimensioned locations of all proposed buildings, structures, parking areas and common open space.
[3] 
The number of families to be housed in each building or structure and intended use of each building or structure.
[4] 
A statement indicating those units or buildings which will be retained by the developer, his heirs or assigns for use as rental properties.
[5] 
The landscape development plan, including the location and types of materials of sidewalks, trails and recreation facilities as permitted by this chapter.
[a] 
A general landscape plan indicating the treatment and material used for active and passive open space.
[b] 
The proposed landscaping treatment of the perimeter of the PRD.
[6] 
Supplementary data to include any covenants, grant of easements or other restrictions to be imposed on the use of land, buildings and structures and provisions for the maintenance, ownership and operation of common open space facilities.
[7] 
An engineering report which shall include the following data wherever pertinent: profiles, cross sections and specifications for proposed highway, street or road improvements; profiles and other explanatory data concerning installation of water distribution systems, storm sewers and sanitary sewers; feasibility of the sewage system in terms of capacity to serve the proposed development.
[8] 
An erosion and sedimentation control plan which shall specifically indicate all erosion and sedimentation control measures to be utilized on the site. The erosion and sedimentation control plan shall be designed to prevent accelerated erosion and sedimentation and shall consider all factors which contribute to erosion and sedimentation, including but not limited to the following:
[a] 
The topographic features of the site area;
[b] 
The types, depth, slope and extent of the soils by area;
[c] 
The proposed alteration to the site area;
[d] 
The amount of runoff from the site area and the upstream watershed area;
[e] 
The staging of earthmoving activities;
[f] 
Temporary control measures and facilities of use during earthmoving;
[g] 
Permanent control measures and facilities for long-term protection;
[h] 
A maintenance program for the control facilities, including disposal of materials removed from the control facilities or site area.
[9] 
Final geotechnical report indicating subsurface conditions, including data on slope stability, past or possible future mining activity and operations for oil and gas, as well as surface support for buildings and infrastructure.
[10] 
A minimum of three sections showing existing and proposed contours and their relationship to proposed buildings, structures, highways, streets, roads, parking areas and walkways and to existing woodlands.
[11] 
Evidence of compliance with the environmental performance standards (Article VI).
[12] 
Location and type of temporary construction or sales office and equipment parking and storage areas.
[13] 
Stormwater management report, including but not limited to pipe sizing, detention, infiltration and mitigation.
[14] 
Any additional information required by the Township as necessary for it to evaluate the character and impact of the proposed PRD.
(d) 
In the event the development plan as submitted contains variations from the development plan given tentative approval, the approving body may refuse to grant final approval and shall, within 45 days from the date of the regular meeting of the governing body or the planning agency, whichever first reviews the application, next following the date the application is filed, so advise the landowner in writing of said refusal, setting forth in said notice the reasons why one or more of said variations are not in the public interest; provided, however, that should the next regular meeting occur more than 30 days following the filing of the application, the forty-five-day period shall be measured from the 30th day following the day the application has been filed.
[1] 
In the event of such refusal, the landowner may either:
[a] 
Refile his application for final approval without the variations objected to, in which case the Board of Commissioners shall, within 30 days of such refiling, grant such final development plan final approval; or
[b] 
File a written request with the Board of Commissioners for a public hearing on the refused application for final approval, in which case the Board of Commissioners shall, within 30 days following the conclusion of the public hearing, render its determination on the refused application for final approval.
[2] 
If the landowner wishes to take either such alternate action, he may do so at any time within which he shall be entitled to apply for final approval, or within 30 additional days if the time for applying for final approval shall have already passed at the time when the landowner was advised that the development plan was not in substantial compliance. In the event the landowner shall fail to take either of these alternate actions within said time, he shall be deemed to have abandoned the development plan. Any such public hearing shall be held pursuant to public notice within 30 days after request for the hearing is made by the landowner, and the hearing shall be conducted in the manner described in this article for public hearings on applications for tentative approval. Within 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing, the approving body shall by official written communication either grant final approval to the development plan or deny final approval. The grant or denial of final approval of the development plan shall, in cases arising under this section, be in the form and contain the findings required for an application for tentative approval set forth in this article. Failure of the governing body or agency to render a decision on an application for final approval and communicate it to the applicant within the time and in the manner required by this section shall be deemed an approval of the application for final approval, as presented, unless the applicant has agreed in writing to an extension of time or change in the prescribed manner of presentation of communication of the decision, in which case failure to meet the extended time or change in manner or presentation of communication shall have like effect.
(e) 
The final development plan, or any part thereof, which has been given final approval shall be so certified without delay by the Board of Commissioners and shall be recorded forthwith by the developer in the office of the Recorder of Deeds of Allegheny County before any development shall take place.
(f) 
If the sequence of construction of various portions of the development is to occur in stages, then the common open space and/or recreational facilities shall be developed, or development commitment made thereto, in proportion to the number of dwelling units intended to be developed during any given stage of construction as approved. Furthermore, at no time during the construction of the development shall the number of constructed dwelling units per acre of developed land exceed the overall density per acre established by the approved final development plan.
A. 
Density. Residential density shall not exceed six permissible dwellings per any one acre of net buildable area, as defined, although such dwelling may be clustered. The Board of Commissioners reserves the right to make a density level more restrictive in any part of the proposed PRD where it determines that:
(1) 
The average grade of any part of the land area, prior to development, is 25% or greater; or
(2) 
There is unsafe or inadequate vehicular access to the development; or
(3) 
Traffic congestion of adjoining highways, streets or roads will be generated which is beyond the safe carrying capacity thereof as determined by accepted standards; or
(4) 
There is another unsafe condition created by any part of the developer's proposed density level.
B. 
Lot and building or structure requirements.
(1) 
Lot area. There shall be no minimum lot area, percentage of lot coverage or lot width. However, every one family dwelling shall have access to a common street, road, court, walk or other area available for use. No other structure or group of structures shall be erected within 20 feet of any other structure or group of structures.
(2) 
Buffer. There shall be a buffer yard of at least 25 feet along the entire perimeter of each PRD tract, within which no construction or disturbance of existing vegetation shall be permitted, except as specifically provided for.
(3) 
Length. There shall be no continuous building or structure of townhouses containing more than six dwelling units.
(4) 
Location of buildings or structures. The proposed location and arrangement of buildings or structures shall be such that sunlight or air from the direction of adjacent buildings or structures within the development site area or from existing buildings or structures located adjacent to the proposed development are not obstructed to the extent that such arrangement is possible.
C. 
Common open space.
(1) 
Area limitation. Within a PRD, the following percentages of the total gross land area shall be devoted to specified use as indicated herein:
(a) 
A minimum of 30% of the site area, exclusive of road rights-of-way, easements and stormwater detention facilities, shall be set aside and preserved for common open space. Where significant or unique natural amenities exist on the site, the Board of Commissioners shall have the authority to enforce their preservation as part of the required common open space. These amenities may include, but are not limited to, natural features such as rock outcroppings, virgin timber, groves of trees, ravines, ponds, stream beds and stream valleys. Common open space may be of two types:
[1] 
Improved. Active land area of the site containing recreational structures and facilities, as long as the total impervious surfaces (paving, roofs, etc.) constitute no more than 5% of the improved common open space.
[2] 
Unimproved. Passive land area of the site void of buildings, structures, parking areas, and street rights-of-way.
(b) 
A maximum of 70% of the site area may be devoted to residential use, which shall include building coverage, parking areas, private yards and courts which abut and serve residences or groups of residences and other usable space.
(2) 
Protection of common open space. Common open space between structures, including that space being used as common open space or usable space, shall be protected by adequate covenants running with the land or by conveyances or dedications. A PRD shall be approved subject to the submission of a legal instrument or instruments setting forth a plan and schedule for permanent care and maintenance of such space, recreational area and communally owned facilities. No such instrument shall be acceptable until approved by the Board of Commissioners following review by the Township Solicitor as to legal form and effect. In cases where Aleppo Township will not be accepting dedications of alleys, recreation area or common open space, the developer shall provide for an organization, or homeowners' association, for ownership and maintenance thereof, including financial consideration for income necessary to maintain improvement.
(3) 
Common open space maintenance. In the event that the organization established to own and maintain common open space, or any successor thereto, shall at any time after establishment of the final development plan fail to maintain the common open space, including all alleys, driveways and recreational facilities, in reasonable order and condition in accordance with the final development plan, the municipality may take remedial action to cause the common open space to be properly maintained, as provided by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as amended.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
D. 
Permitted uses.
(1) 
Land and buildings in a planned residential development may be used for the following purposes:
(a) 
Single-family dwellings.
(b) 
Duplexes.
(c) 
Townhouses.
(d) 
Recreation facilities which are for the use of residents of the development and which shall only include hiking, walking or bicycle trails, tennis, paddle tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, putting greens, swimming pool and related facilities and such additional recreational uses as deemed appropriate by the Township.
(2) 
All buildings and structures on the perimeter of the development must be well-screened in a manner approved by the Township.
(3) 
Each PRD shall be planned as an entity which includes an acceptable unitary site plan, mixture of housing types and land uses, usable common open space, site-related vehicular and pedestrian circulation systems and preservation of significant natural features.
E. 
Parking. Parking shall be provided as follows:
(1) 
The number of parking spaces shall be provided in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
(2) 
There shall be a minimum of one twenty-two-foot-wide garage attached to each dwelling unit. Such space shall be situated under cover.
(3) 
There shall be a minimum of one nine-foot by eighteen-foot off-street parking space, excluding driveway, for every two dwelling units in the PRD for visitor parking, placed within 100 feet of the dwelling units generating the need for such parking.
(4) 
Visitor parking areas shall be designed to minimize excessive numbers of vehicles in any one area. Continuous rows of more than six vehicles shall be interrupted with a landscaped island.
F. 
Circulation.
(1) 
Vehicular access within the PRD shall be designed to permit smooth traffic flow, with the minimum hazard to vehicular or pedestrian traffic at intersections.
(2) 
A pedestrian circulation or walkway system shall be established where stipulated by the Township, and that system shall be reasonably segregated from vehicular traffic.
(3) 
Streets and roads in a PRD should be designed and built to Township specifications and dedicated to public use but may be retained under private ownership. Any such dedication is not binding on the Township unless and until it is accepted by the enactment of an ordinance to that effect.
A. 
The Board of Commissioners shall request an approved performance bond, irrevocable letter of credit, or such other acceptable security as determined by the Board of Commissioners following review by the Township Solicitor, to be furnished and filed with the Township Secretary. An escrow agreement and account approved by the Board of Commissioners as to form and content shall be required in the amount of 110% of the estimated construction costs and engineering for each stage of development. All estimates of cost to be approved by the Township Engineer. Such escrow amount shall accompany the request for final approval of the final development plan to insure completion of all public and private site improvements, streets, roads, parking areas, sewers, utilities, recreation facilities, stormwater management facilities, landscaping, plantings and screening.
B. 
Before any grading or building permit may be issued in regard to the PRD, all agreements, contracts, deed restrictions, other instruments and sureties shall be in a form acceptable to the municipality.
A. 
At the time of application for tentative approval and/or final approval of a PRD or a phase or section thereof, a fee established by the Board of Commissioners for review shall be payable to the municipality.
B. 
The developer shall also place into escrow sufficient funds as determined at the time of final approval application, to provide for necessary Township-contracted services, including, but not limited to, engineering, inspection and review, legal costs, advertising and stenographic services.