The Township Board of Commissioners may, from time to time, on their own motion or on petition, amend, supplement, change, modify, or repeal by ordinance the boundaries of zoning districts, regulations or restrictions established by this chapter or provisions contained herein. Any proposed amendment, supplement, change, modification, or repeal shall be submitted to the County Planning Agency 45 days prior to the date of the scheduled hearing and to the Township Planning Commission for its recommendations and report. Upon the filing of the recommendations and report by the Township Planning Commission and comments from the County Planning Agency with respect to any proposed amendment, supplement, change, modification, or repeal, the Township Board of Commissioners shall proceed to hold a public hearing in relation thereto pursuant to public notice. If no recommendation is received from the Planning Commission or County Planning Agency within the forty-five-day review period, the Township Board of Commissioners may make its decision. If, after any public hearing held upon an amendment, the proposed amendment is revised, or further revised, to include land previously not affected by it, the Township Board of Commissioners shall hold another public hearing, pursuant to public notice, before proceeding to vote on the amendment. See also Sections 303(b), 304(b), and 609(b)(1) and (2) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. §§ 10303(b), 10304(b), and 10609(b)(1) and (2).
Mediation shall be made in accordance with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
A landowner who desires to challenge on substantive grounds the validity of this chapter, the Zoning Map attached and made a part hereof, or any provision hereof which prohibits or restricts the use or development of land in which he has an interest may submit a curative amendment to the Township Board of Commissioners with a written request that his challenge and proposed amendment or amendments be heard and decided in the manner prescribed by Act 247, the "Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code," Article VI, and all amendments thereto and further defined as follows:
Procedure for filing for curative amendment.
If the submission is made by the landowner to the governing body, the request also shall be accompanied by an amendment or amendments to this chapter proposed by the landowner to cure the alleged defects therein.
The governing body of a municipality which has determined that a validity challenge has merit may accept a landowner's curative amendment, with or without revision, or may adopt an alternative amendment which will cure the challenged defects. The governing body shall consider the curative amendments, plans and explanatory material submitted by the landowner and shall also consider:
The impact of the proposal upon roads, sewer facilities, water supplies, schools and other public service facilities;
If the proposal is for a residential use, the impact of the proposal upon regional housing needs and the effectiveness of the proposal in providing housing units of a type actually available to and affordable by classes of persons otherwise unlawfully excluded by the challenged provisions of this chapter or map;
The suitability of the site for the intensity of use proposed by the site's soils, slopes, woodlands, wetlands, floodplains, aquifers, natural resources and other natural features;
The impact of the proposed use on the site's soils, slopes, woodlands, wetlands, floodplains, natural resources and natural features, the degree to which these are protected or destroyed, the tolerance of the resources to development and any adverse environmental impacts; and
The impact of the proposal on the preservation of agriculture and other land uses which are essential to public health and welfare.
The request shall be accompanied by plans and other materials describing the use or development proposed by the landowner. Such plans and other material may be general in nature, but should provide a sufficient base for evaluating the challenge.
If the Township of Aleppo does not accept a landowner's curative amendment brought in accordance with this subsection and a court subsequently rules that the challenge has merit, the court's decision shall not result in a declaration of invalidity for the entire chapter and map, but only those provisions relating to the landowner's challenge.
Upon petition, the Township Board of Commissioners shall hold a hearing thereon within 60 days of the filing of the request.
At least 30 days prior to the hearing, the Township Board of Commissioners shall refer the proposed amendment to the Township Planning Commission and County Planning Agency for recommendation.
The public notices of the hearing shall, in addition to the requirements for advertisement for any amendment, indicate that the validity of this chapter or Zoning Map is in question and shall indicate the place and times when a copy of the landowner's request, including all plans submitted and the proposed amendment(s), may be examined by the public.
The public hearing shall be conducted within the following guidelines:
The President of the Township Board of Commissioners presiding shall have the power to administer oaths and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant documents and papers, including witnesses and documents requested by the parties.
The parties 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.
Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded.
The Township Board of Commissioners shall keep a stenographic record of the proceedings, and a transcript of the proceedings, as well as copies of graphic or written material received in evidence, shall be made available to any party at cost.
The Township Board of Commissioners shall not communicate, directly or indirectly, with any party of his representatives 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 hearings with any party or his representatives unless all parties are given an opportunity to be present.
The hearing may be postponed or continued at the request of the landowner or by mutual consent of the parties.
Procedure for rendering formal action. Upon completion of the hearing, the Township Board of Commissioners shall render a decision and communicate said decision to all parties within 45 days.
Approval of the amendment shall be granted by formal affirmative vote at a regular or special meeting of the Township Board of Commissioners.
The landowner's request shall be considered denied when:
The Zoning Hearing Board or governing body, as the case may be, fails to commence the hearing within the time limits set forth in Subsection B(1);
The governing body notifies the landowner that it will not adopt the curative amendment;
The governing body adopts another curative amendment which is unacceptable to the landowner; or
The Zoning Hearing Board or governing body, as the case may be, fails to act on the request 45 days after the close of the last hearing on the request, unless the time is extended by mutual consent by the landowner and municipality.
Per the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, where the municipality has adopted a multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan and all municipalities participating in the multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan have adopted and are administering zoning ordinances generally consistent with the provisions of the multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan, and a challenge is brought to the validity of a zoning ordinance of a participating municipality involving a proposed use, then the Zoning Hearing Board or governing body, as the case may be, shall consider the availability of uses under zoning ordinances within the municipalities participating in the multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan within a reasonable geographic area and shall not limit its consideration to the application of the zoning ordinance on the municipality whose zoning ordinance is being challenged.
Editor's Note: The Zoning Map is included as an attachment to this chapter.
If the Township of Aleppo determines that this chapter or any portion thereof is substantially invalid, it shall take the following action:
The Township shall declare, by formal action, this chapter or portions thereof substantively invalid and propose a curative amendment to overcome such invalidity. Within 30 days of such declaration, the Township Board of Commissioners shall:
By resolution, make specific findings setting forth the invalidity, which may include:
Begin to prepare and consider a curative amendment to correct the declared invalidity.
Within 180 days from the date of the declaration and proposal, the Township of Aleppo shall enact a curative amendment to validate or reaffirm the validity of this chapter pursuant to the provisions of Act 247, the "Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code," Article VI, and all amendments thereto.
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
Upon declaration of invalidity, the Township Board of Commissioners shall not be required to consider a landowner's curative amendment, nor shall the Zoning Hearing Board be required to give a report subsequent to the declaration and proposal to remedy said invalidity.
The Township of Aleppo may not again utilize said procedure for a thirty-six-month period following the date of enactment of a curative amendment, unless a change in statute or a court decision requires such curative amendment.
Proposed zoning ordinance text or map amendments shall not be enacted unless notice of proposed enactment is given, including the time and place of the meeting at which passage will be considered, a reference to the availability of the text for review, without charge, or a copy thereof for the cost of said copy. A summary of the proposed ordinance or amendment shall appear in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality not more than 60 days nor less than seven days prior to passage. A copy of the full text of the proposed ordinance or amendment shall be supplied to a newspaper of general circulation in the Township at the time the public notice is published, and an attested copy of the proposed ordinance shall be filed in the county law library.
In the event that substantive revisions or amendments are made in the proposed ordinance text or map amendments before enactment, a brief summary of said revisions shall be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality at least 10 days prior to final enactment.
Following enactment of a zoning amendment or revision to the Zoning Map, a copy of said amendment shall be forwarded to the County Planning Agency within 30 days of enactment.