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Township of Millcreek, PA
Erie County
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To establish procedures and criteria governing grant of uses of land on special exception where and as authorized in Article IV or VIII of this chapter.
A. 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall hear and decide applications for uses on special exception in accordance with the procedures set forth in Article X of this chapter.
B. 
An applicant shall have the duty of initial presentation of evidence and the burden of proof with respect to establishing that the proposed use is authorized by special exception and that the proposed use meets all applicable requirements of this article. A protestant shall have the burden of proof as to § 145-93B and C.
C. 
In granting a use on special exception, the Zoning Hearing Board may attach such reasonable conditions as it determines to be necessary in the circumstances to effectuate the purposes of this chapter and protect the public interest.
D. 
The Zoning Hearing Board may grant a use on special exception only upon a finding that the application proposes a use specifically authorized in this chapter on special exception and that general and specific standards for the use have been met. A use on special exception shall not be allowed if the use is not expressly authorized in this article, even if an applicant establishes compliance with general criteria governing authorized special exception uses.
The Zoning Hearing Board shall grant a use on special exception only if it finds substantial evidence that the proposed use and/or development will meet all of the following general requirements, standards and criteria, in addition to specific requirements, standards and criteria established in this article for the particular use. The Board, among other things, shall require that any proposed use and location:
A. 
Is in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan and consistent with the provisions, spirit, purposes and intent of this article.
B. 
Is not detrimental to the public health, safety or general welfare.
C. 
Will not fundamentally alter the character of the neighborhood in which it would be located.
D. 
Conforms in all respects to regulations in this chapter and all other applicable Township ordinances and regulations applicable to the zoning district, use and/or development other than those relating to type of use.
(1) 
Where a use is authorized on special exception in a zoning district in which such use or structure is not generally authorized, the Zoning Hearing Board, in allowing such use, shall impose such conditions as are reasonably necessary to establish such lot, off-street parking, buffering, lighting and other supplemental regulations and other standards as generally apply to such type of use and/or structure in the zoning district in which similar uses are generally authorized.
(2) 
Where a nonresidential use is authorized in a residential zoning district on special exception, the Zoning Hearing Board, in authorizing such use, shall impose such conditions on its approval as are deemed necessary or appropriate to protect the integrity and continued residential use of adjacent and nearby properties.
E. 
Is suitable for the property in question and is designed and will be constructed, operated and maintained so as to be in harmony with and appropriate in appearance to the existing or intended character of the general vicinity.
F. 
Is suitable in terms of effects on street or highway traffic and safety with adequate arrangements assured to protect streets from undue congestion and hazard.
G. 
Will not, because of another special exception or other special exceptions previously granted, in its cumulative effect, be inconsistent with the primary uses permitted as of right in the zoning district.
H. 
Will not, because of another special exception or other special exceptions previously granted, in its cumulative effect, place a significant additional burden upon existing public facilities, public safety services, streets, sewers or water facilities or require, for the interest of the public, a significant increase in the burden of providing such facilities or services.
I. 
Will not require a significant extension of street, sewer or water facilities if such extension would place a financial burden upon the Township, unless the applicant establishes that the Township has firm plans to extend such facilities absent the use proposed by special exception.
A. 
Aviation field.
(1) 
Where authorized in another district, shall comply with all lot, buffering, lighting, planting and other regulations generally governing permitted uses in the Light Industrial District.
(2) 
Shall be considered a land development under Chapter 125, Subdivision and Land Development.
B. 
Bed-and-breakfast inn (RR, R-1 and R-2 Residential Districts).
(1) 
Must meet all elements of the definition of the term as set forth in Article II.
(2) 
Must be the principal residence of the owner.
(3) 
Must be located on a state highway.
(4) 
Must meet all requirements of Pennsylvania Construction Code regulations.
(5) 
Owner must apply for and obtain an occupancy permit and renewal of such permit each year.
(6) 
Must meet all of the following regulations as to off-street parking:
(a) 
Minimum one space per guest room plus two spaces for the primary use.
(b) 
Off-street parking shall not extend into setback areas or in front of the primary dwelling.
(c) 
Off-street parking areas located to the side and rear of the structure must be screened from the adjacent properties by a wood fence not less than five feet in height and/or vegetation reaching and maintaining a height not less than six feet within three years.
(7) 
Only one sign shall be authorized pursuant to § 145-84, all signs to be made of wood, brick or stucco so that it looks natural and any lighting must be of low wattage.
(8) 
Upon failure to renew a permit or revocation of a permit for cause, use of the premises as a bed-and-breakfast inn shall cease immediately.
C. 
Cemetery.
(1) 
Where authorized in a residential district, shall comply with all buffering, lighting, planting and other regulations generally governing permitted uses in the C-1 Local Commercial District.
(2) 
Shall be considered a land development under Chapter 125, Subdivision and Land Development.
(3) 
Off-street parking requirements shall be sufficient to ensure adequate parking for all employees, invitees and those attending ceremonies at the site.
(4) 
Shall ensure adequate traffic flow and sufficient areas to accommodate all vehicles and persons visiting the site.
D. 
Tower-based wireless communications facilities.
[Amended 4-28-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-3]
(1) 
All regulations set forth in § 145-64 governing wireless communications facilities shall apply.
(2) 
Co-location of wireless communications facilities shall be encouraged whenever practicable.
(3) 
Use of alternative tower structures shall be encouraged whenever practicable.
(4) 
The physical conditions and circumstances of the subject premises and of adjacent uses, including topography, existing trees or other potential sight screens, shall be considered and may, in appropriate circumstances in the authorized use districts, warrant minor deviations in setback or height regulations subject to standards established in § 145-64, so long as such deviations do not expose adjacent properties or uses to risk of harm or material detriment.
(5) 
Evidence of licensure, interests in the subject property, insurance, engineering certifications and other documents required under § 145-64 may be submitted and received as exhibits without requiring an applicant to testify as to such matters, except as the Zoning Hearing Board deems necessary.
(6) 
Rights accorded owners and operators of wireless communications facilities under federal law shall be respected, such that opposition to a lawful and authorized use as such shall not be grounds for denial of the use.
(7) 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall attach such reasonable conditions upon a use as it deems necessary in the circumstances to effectuate the purposes of the chapter and to protect the interest of the public and reasonable interests of adjacent uses and developments.
(8) 
When requested by the Township or the County of Erie, a ten-foot space shall be provided on the tower structure for public safety antennas.
(9) 
Regulations in § 145-64 requiring submission by applicants of inspection reports and ongoing compliance with applicable laws and regulations shall constitute conditions on all uses granted on special exception without being fully recited.
E. 
Corrections facility/treatment center (I-1 Light Industrial, I-2 Heavy Industrial Districts).
(1) 
No such use shall be approved if located within 1,000 feet from another corrections facility or treatment center.
(2) 
No such use shall be approved unless there is a separation of at least 500 feet from a residential zoning district or use.
(3) 
No such use shall be approved within 500 feet of a school, religious establishment, playground, park, camp, community center, child-care facility or other area where minor children assemble or congregate.
(4) 
The minimum lot area for a treatment facility shall be 24,000 square feet.
(5) 
The maximum building coverage shall not exceed 35% of the total land area of the lot.
(6) 
Buffer yards and planting strips as required in § 145-21 of this chapter for the zoning district shall be strictly complied with.
(7) 
Density of development for any corrections facility shall not exceed that authorized in the R-4 High-Density Residential District.
(8) 
A minimum of 25% of the developable land area, exclusive of streets and delineated wetlands, shall be set aside and held, maintained and used permanently as open space.
(9) 
Off-street parking shall be one space per employee on the largest shift and 1.5 spaces per resident bed or one space per 300 square feet of building area, whichever is greater.
(10) 
Commercial outdoor signs shall be prohibited. Identification and directional signs shall be allowed as authorized in this chapter.
(11) 
The Board shall attach to any approval conditions ensuring appropriate security measures, including but not limited to fencing or other barriers, cameras, lighting, guards, sign-in and sign-out sheets, curfews for residents, guard dogs, sirens and direct alarms with the Police Department.
(12) 
The facility shall be built, maintained and operated so as to avoid potentially adverse influences and impacts upon surrounding properties and the general health, safety and welfare.
(13) 
There shall be no direct glare, whether from floodlights, high temperature processors or other lighting, so as to be visible from adjoining zoning districts.
F. 
Home occupation (RR Residential, R-1 Residential and R-2 Residential Districts).
(1) 
Must in all respects meet the definition of home occupation in § 145-11, above.
(2) 
No more than one full-time or part-time employee not a resident occupant of the dwelling shall be allowed.
(3) 
The applicant must in its application set forth, in detail, the nature of the proposed use, the anticipated days and hours of operation, potential impacts on neighboring properties from noise, odor, deliveries and other incidents of the use. Such application, as well as any conditions or requirements imposed by the Zoning Hearing Board, shall be and remain conditions on the continuation of such use.
(4) 
Outside storage of materials and/or vehicles is prohibited.
(5) 
Receipt of deliveries from larger than two-axle trucks is prohibited, as are more than occasional local deliveries.
(6) 
The use shall not be authorized for purposes or uses expressly excluded from the term in § 145-11 and/or other uses similar or equivalent to such excluded uses.
(7) 
The Zoning Hearing Board, as it deems appropriate, may impose conditions on the grant of relief believed to be necessary to minimize impact of the accessory use on neighboring properties and/or to ensure that the use as conducted adheres to all requirements of the use as defined in this chapter.
(8) 
Any violation of standards of the use on special exception shall be grounds for revocation by the Township of the use.
G. 
In-law apartment (RR, R-1 and R-2 Residential Districts).
(1) 
Must at all times meet all elements of the term's definition as set forth in Article II as well as all criteria for the use and any conditions imposed. No variance from the stated criteria is authorized.
(2) 
The dwelling in which the in-law apartment is being created must be owner-occupied and the dwelling unit occupied by the owner must be greater than 70% of the total living space, including the in-law apartment. Habitable floor area of the in-law apartment shall not exceed 720 square feet or 40% of the principal dwelling's total area, whichever is less. For purposes of this section, "living space" shall include all of the dwelling's area excluding that of any garage, while "total area" shall include the garage and all other portions of the dwelling.
(3) 
Only one in-law apartment is allowed within any single-family dwelling.
(4) 
The special exception use must be stated as existing and a restriction in all deeds to the property so long as such use is continued.
(5) 
No more than two bedrooms shall be permitted. No more than two persons may reside in an in-law apartment.
(6) 
The in-law apartment may be located only within a primary dwelling.
(7) 
The exterior architectural character of the principal dwelling shall not be altered in a manner which departs from the primary feature of the building as a single-family dwelling unit.
(8) 
Must meet all requirements of Pennsylvania Construction Code regulations.
(9) 
The occupancy or rental of an in-law apartment by persons other than in-laws as defined in this chapter is expressly prohibited.
H. 
Junkyard (I-2 Heavy Industry District).
(1) 
Subject to compliance with all criteria established in this subsection and the Board's finding that a proposed use satisfies general criteria, a junkyard may authorized to be operated solely in an I-2 Heavy Industrial District.
(2) 
All lot regulations governing uses in the I-2 Heavy Industrial District shall apply.
(3) 
At all times, the lot shall be enclosed by a tight board or equivalent fence at least eight feet in height which shall provide a complete buffer and screen, be constructed in compliance with regulations governing the zoning district and be kept painted and in good order and repair.
(4) 
Proper drainage and stormwater management for the entire lot shall be provided in accordance with regulations of Chapter 116, Stormwater Management, and Chapter 125, Subdivision and Land Development, in compliance with standards established in Chapter 29, Code Enforcement, Part 2, Public and Private Improvements.
(5) 
No automobile, tractor, vehicle or motor of any kind shall be placed or located in a junkyard unless and until all gas and oil is drained therefrom.
(6) 
No municipal waste, recyclable materials and/or leaf waste as defined in Chapter 110, Solid Waste and Recycling, shall be placed or left on the premises.
(7) 
No burning of any materials shall be authorized to be done on the premises, except in strict compliance with Chapter 40, Conduct, Article V, Open Burning, as amended.
(8) 
No junkyard business shall be carried on except between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., prevailing time, Mondays through Saturdays.
(9) 
The owner or operator of a junkyard authorized pursuant to this section shall be obligated to apply annually for recertification, effective as of January 1 of each calendar year. Such application shall be made on a form authorized by the Board of Supervisors. Such application shall be accompanied by payment of the annual inspection fee as established by the Board of Supervisors. Upon receipt of an application for recertification, the Zoning Administrator or the Code Administrator shall inspect the premises to determine whether such premises and operation complies with standards established by this section and conditions imposed by the Board. No junkyard shall be authorized without a current certification.
(10) 
The Township shall have authority to inspect junkyard operations at any time. Should a junkyard fail to comply with all regulations upon which the use is authorized, the Zoning Administrator or the Code Administrator shall have authority to suspend or revoke the premises' certification.
I. 
Public/public utility buildings and structures.
(1) 
Where a proposed use is not expressly permitted in a zoning district, a public or public utility building or structure may be authorized in any zoning district.
(2) 
The use shall meet the definition of the term as set forth in Article II and shall not be deemed to include any use otherwise specifically authorized in this chapter.
(3) 
Where authorized in a residential district, shall comply with all buffering, lighting, planting and other regulations generally governing permitted uses in the C-1 Local Commercial District.
(4) 
Shall be considered a land development under Chapter 125, Subdivision and Land Development, if the proposed development meets the definition of "land development."
J. 
Wind energy conversion systems. Land in all zoning districts may be used as a wind energy conversion system, subject to compliance with general criteria established in this article, the specific criteria established in this subsection and those performance standards for the use as established in § 145-75.
(1) 
All regulations in § 145-75 of this chapter governing lot regulations, setback regulations, performance standards, submission requirements and decommissioning shall be complied with.
(2) 
The maximum height of a wind energy conversion system shall not exceed the maximum height of principal buildings or structures authorized in the zoning district or, if no maximum principal building height is prescribed in the zoning district, 50 feet.
(3) 
Where the footprint for the proposed system, including all turbines, devices, buildings, structures and other impervious surface, is 1,500 square feet in area or greater, such development shall be deemed a land development and shall be subject to regulations in Chapter 125, Subdivision and Land Development, and shall comply with all submission, review, inspection and other regulations in that ordinance prior to a final zoning permit being issued.
(4) 
Any authorized use whose development falls within regulation of Chapter 116, Stormwater Management, shall comply fully with all regulations in that chapter.
(5) 
The Board may attach such reasonable conditions as it deems necessary in the circumstances.
K. 
Adaptive reuse of nonresidential structures. Land situated in an RR, R-1 or R-2 Residential Zoning District which is occupied by at least one structure having a gross floor area in excess of 7,000 square feet constructed for public, religious establishment, institutional, school and/or other nonresidential uses which were permitted uses or otherwise lawful uses when first established, and has been actively utilized for a nonresidential use for not less than five consecutive years, and whose use as such has ended may be used as a nonresidential facility for those uses and purposes authorized in Subsection K(2), subject to the specific criteria established in this section and those general criteria for uses on special exception set forth in this article (code).
[Added 8-23-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-10]
(1) 
To be entitled to consideration, the discontinued use must have been a permitted, nonconforming or otherwise lawfully established use when use of said building(s) first commenced. This shall include structures and uses which, under state, federal or local laws then existing could at such time be lawfully constructed and established.
(2) 
Such land and structure(s), upon the Zoning Hearing Board's determination that all prerequisites, specific criteria and applicable general criteria therefore have been met, may be used for the following purposes:
(a) 
Business services.
(b) 
Professional services.
(c) 
Community center.
(d) 
Continuing care facility.
(e) 
Day-care facility.
(3) 
Word usage and definitions. For purposes of this section, general definitions in § 145-11 of the Code shall apply. In addition:
(a) 
"Community center" shall mean premises offering social, educational, recreational and other services for the benefit of youth, seniors and other persons which is under the control of a public body, an institutional body or a nonprofit corporation.
(b) 
The uses specifically authorized do not include any other use which is not expressly permitted or authorized in such residential district, and are expressly intended not to include any other use authorized in commercial zoning districts and/or other nonresidential zoning district. As an example, professional services shall not include hospitals, clinics, diagnostic facilities, personal services or outpatient emergency medical facilities. This section does not authorize any use involving drive-through or like facilities for any allowed use.
(4) 
Specific criteria for use. An applicant for this use on special exception must establish that the application satisfies all of the following specific criteria for the use:
(a) 
The discontinued use meets the definition set forth above in Subsection K(1);
(b) 
The use proposed meets one or more of those set forth above in Subsection K(2);
(c) 
The applicant shall submit a trip generation report to the Township Engineer for review and approval that compares the anticipated trip generation of the proposed use and that of the existing (or most recently discontinued use). Prior to approval, the Township Engineer shall determine whether the report accurately demonstrates that the proposed use will not generate overall daily trips or peak hour trips that exceed those of the existing (or most recently discontinued) use by more than 5%;
(d) 
The application will meet, at a minimum, all existing regulations governing such use when located in a C-1 Commercial District that abuts a residential district, including, but not limited to, lot, yard and height regulations, buffer yards and landscaping, exterior lighting, fences and hedges, loading, traffic and circulation, nonresidential use general standards, off-street parking, outside storage, sidewalks, sight distances, clear sight triangles, stormwater management and signs in Chapter 145 of the Code (and in the current ordinance) as is practicable given the existing location of structures and lot boundaries;
(e) 
The said use(s) shall not be open to the public prior to 8:00 a.m. or later than 6:00 p.m. on any day of the week;
(f) 
No addition to the footprint or height of existing structures shall be permitted;
(g) 
The use shall at all times provide landscaping, screening and buffer areas sufficient in the facts of the given application to buffer such uses and their parking and interior traffic circulation from the adjacent residential uses;
(h) 
As is necessary or appropriate in the facts, the existing structure's exterior shall be preserved and/or maintained so as to be compatible with the adjacent residential uses;
(i) 
Drive-through facilities shall not be permitted;
(j) 
Traffic exiting from said parcel shall be directed solely toward the nearest collector or arterial street;
(k) 
Mixed occupancy of uses identified in Subsection K(2) may be permitted subject to the provisions of Subsection K(4) being met;
(l) 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall require such measures, in addition to those specified in Subsection K(4) as it deems necessary and appropriate to reduce impact of the use on neighboring residential purposes, including, but not limited to, screening and buffer areas, exterior lighting, signage and traffic volume limitations as warranted in the facts of the appeal.
(5) 
Discretion of the Zoning Hearing Board. The Zoning Hearing Board shall attach such requirements and conditions as it believes are appropriate in the circumstances to ensure compliance with requirements of this section and with applicable provisions of this chapter.