Township of Maidencreek, PA
Berks County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The provisions of this chapter shall be administered and enforced by the Maidencreek Township Zoning Officer, as designated by the Board of Supervisors. The Zoning Officer shall not hold any elected office within the Township. The duties of the Zoning Officer shall be:
A. 
To enforce literally the provisions of this chapter and all amendments hereto.
B. 
To receive applications for zoning permits and sign permits, and to issue same as permitted by the terms of this chapter.
C. 
To keep an official record of all businesses and activities, including complaints of a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and record of action taken in response to such complaint. All such records shall be open to public inspection. File copies of all applications received, permits issued, reports or inspections made in connection with any structure, building, sign, or land shall be retained as long as such structure, building, sign, or land remains in existence.
D. 
To make inspections as required to fulfill these duties. The Zoning Officer shall have the right to enter any building or structure and to enter upon any land at any reasonable hour in the course of fulfilling the duties established herein.
E. 
To issue permits for uses by special exception and variances to this chapter after such uses and/or structures have been approved by the Zoning Hearing Board in accordance with the regulations of this chapter.
F. 
To issue certificates of use and occupancy in accordance with the terms of this chapter.
G. 
To maintain an accurate, up-to-date copy of this chapter, the Zoning Map, and all amendments as may be made to either the ordinance text or map.
H. 
To serve a notice of violation on any person, firm, corporation, or partnership responsible for violating any of the provisions of this chapter or any detailed statement or plan approved hereunder. Such notice of violation shall be in writing and shall indicate the exact nature of the violation as well as action(s) necessary to correct same. If the notice of violation is not complied with, the Zoning Officer shall order the discontinuance of such unlawful use of structure, building, sign, and/or land involved in said violation.
No building, structure, or sign shall be erected, constructed, moved, added to, or structurally altered, nor shall land be put to any use without a permit issued by the Zoning Officer. No such permit shall be issued except in conformity with the provisions of this chapter, or upon written order from the Zoning Hearing Board in the form of a special exception, variance, or as otherwise provided for by this chapter, any applicable laws, or any court of competent jurisdiction.
A. 
Form of application.
(1) 
All applications shall be made in writing and shall be accompanied by two sets of plans showing, as a minimum, the following information:
(a) 
Actual dimensions and shape of the lot to be built upon.
(b) 
The exact size and location on the lot of buildings, structures, and signs existing, proposed extensions thereto, or to be constructed thereon.
(c) 
The number of dwelling units, if any, to be provided.
(d) 
Parking spaces and loading facilities to be provided.
(e) 
A statement indicating the existing and proposed use.
(f) 
Where new construction or addition(s) to or replacement of existing structure(s) is proposed, the plan shall indicate the height of proposed structures, buildings, and signs.
(g) 
All other information necessary for the Zoning Officer to determine conformance with and provide for the enforcement of this chapter.
(2) 
One copy of the plans shall be returned to the applicant by the Zoning Officer after he shall have marked such copies either as approved or disapproved and attested to same by his signature on said copy.
(3) 
One copy of all such plans shall be retained by the Zoning Officer for his permanent records.
(4) 
Such approval and zoning permit shall be issued or refused within 30 days from date of application. In case of refusal, the applicant shall be informed of his rights of appeal. The application for a permit shall be submitted in such forms as the Zoning Officer may prescribe.
B. 
Expiration of zoning permit.
(1) 
A zoning permit shall expire six months after the date of issuance if the work described upon such permit has not begun.
(2) 
If work described by any zoning permit has begun within said six-month period, said permit shall expire two years from its date of issuance.
C. 
Renewal of zoning permit.
(1) 
A zoning permit may be renewed by the Zoning Officer only under the following conditions:
(a) 
Renewal shall be upon written request of the permit holder. The permit holder shall not be required to resubmit plans as required for an original permit by Subsection A above, unless, in the opinion of the Zoning Officer, there have been substantial changes to the project. In such case, a new zoning permit shall be required rather than a renewal of the existing permit.
(b) 
Such written request must be received by the Zoning Officer within one month of the expiration date of the preceding permit.
(c) 
Renewal is required due to the magnitude of the project or circumstances beyond the control of the applicant which prevented him from completing his project within the original two-year period.
(2) 
Time limitations for the renewed permit shall be the same as for the original permit, as described above in Subsection B above.
(3) 
The renewal of zoning permit shall be issued or refused within 10 working days of the date of receipt by the Zoning Officer of the written request required in Subsection C(1)(a) and (b).
(4) 
If, in the opinion of the Zoning Officer, the conditions for renewal described in Subsection C(1)(c) do not apply, the Zoning Officer shall not issue a renewal of zoning permit, but shall require the applicant to reapply for a zoning permit according to the procedure described in Subsection A above.
(5) 
Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to compel the Zoning Officer to renew a zoning permit.
A certificate of use and occupancy shall be required upon the completion of the work for which a zoning permit was issued. It shall be unlawful to use or occupy any structure, building, or land or portions thereof in any manner until a certificate of use and occupancy has been issued.
A. 
Form of application. The application for a certificate of use and occupancy shall be submitted in such form as the Zoning Officer may prescribe.
B. 
Issuance of certificate of use and occupancy.
(1) 
The Zoning Officer shall inspect structures, buildings, signs, and land or portions thereof to determine conformance with the zoning permit issued therefor. If he is satisfied that the completed work is in conformity with this chapter and with the work listed in the zoning permit, he shall issue a certificate of use and occupancy.
(2) 
A certificate of use and occupancy shall be granted or refused in writing within 10 days of the date of application.
(3) 
No certificate of use and occupancy for a commercial or industrial facility shall become permanent until said facility has been in full operation for a period of at least 30 days. After such time, the Zoning Officer shall reinspect the work and determine compliance with all performance standards as stated in § 220-63. The issuance of a permanent certificate of use and occupancy shall depend upon a positive determination of compliance with such standards by the Zoning Officer.
Conditional uses shall be heard and determined by the Board of Supervisors in accordance with all of the following provisions.
A. 
Application. An application for conditional use shall be made in writing by filing the same with the Township Manager and/or Secretary. The filing shall include an original and four copies of a completed application together with the prescribed application fee. Applications shall be on forms provided by the Township and shall contain all of the supplementary information required in the application. Unless and until a specific application form is prepared, the application form for proceedings before the Township of Maidencreek Zoning Hearing Board shall be used and shall be supplemented by including the following: a copy of the current deed of record showing ownership of the parcel involved; a plan that, at a minimum, contains the information required for preliminary plan submission by Chapter 190, Subdivision and Land Development; and a list of all other governmental agencies or regulators and a list of related permits to be issued by the same that are required and/or associated with the activity proposed. The applicant may attach such other data and information to enable the Supervisors to determine compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
Conditional use standards. In order to grant a conditional use, the Supervisors shall consider and determine that:
(1) 
The use shall be one which is specifically authorized as a conditional use in the zoning district wherein the applicant is seeking a conditional use;
(2) 
Conditional use meets all specific standards established pursuant to the Zoning Ordinance including specific use provisions, as well as all performance standards and general regulations;
(3) 
The use conforms with the goals, objectives and policies of the Township's Comprehensive Plan;
(4) 
The use conforms with the spirit, purposes and intent of all other applicable provisions of all other Township ordinances;
(5) 
The use conforms with all federal and state regulations and requirements;
(6) 
Services and utilities are or shall be made available to service the proposed use;
(7) 
The use will not generate traffic that will cause undue congestion or hazardous conditions;
(8) 
The use is appropriate to the particular site in question.
(9) 
The use shall be compatible with the building sizes, heights, and massing of other buildings in the general neighborhood;
(10) 
The use shall not adversely impact the general neighborhood relative to problems such as air pollution, light pollution, noise, soil erosion, and flooding;
(11) 
The use shall include proposals for landscaping and buffering to mitigate any adverse impacts;
(12) 
The use will not result in a greater impact that would normally result from other similar uses;
(13) 
The use shall not adversely affect the character of the general neighborhood, nor the health and safety of residences or workers on adjacent properties and in the general neighborhood;
C. 
Review by the Township of Maidencreek Planning Commission. Upon receipt of a completed conditional use application, the Township Manager and/or Secretary shall forward a copy of the application to the Township of Maidencreek Planning Commission for review and comment. The Planning Commission shall review and provide comment to the Board of Supervisors that addresses the requirements for conditional use and recommendations from the Township Planning Commission on all relevant topics related to the application.
D. 
Hearings. The Board shall conduct hearings and make decisions in accordance with the following requirements:
(1) 
Public notice shall be given and written notice shall be given to the applicant, the Zoning Officer, such other persons as the governing body shall designate by ordinance and to any person who has made timely request for the same. Written notices shall be given at such time and in such manner as shall be prescribed by ordinance or, in the absence of ordinance provision, by rules of the Board. In addition to the written notice provided herein, written notice of said hearing shall be conspicuously posted on the affected tract of land at least one week prior to the hearing.
(2) 
The governing body may prescribe reasonable fees with respect to hearings before the Boards in accordance with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code and/or the Second Class Township Code, as amended.
(3) 
The first hearing before the Board or Hearing Officer shall be commenced within 60 days from the date of receipt of the applicant's application, unless the applicant has agreed in writing to an extension of time. Each subsequent hearing before the Board or Hearing Officer shall be held within 45 days of the prior hearing, unless otherwise agreed to by the applicant in writing or on the record. An applicant shall complete the presentation of his case-in-chief within 100 days of the first hearing. Upon the request of the applicant, the Board or Hearing Officer shall assure that the applicant receives at least seven hours of hearings within the 100 days, including the first hearing. Persons opposed to the application shall complete the presentation of their opposition to the application within 100 days of the first hearing held after the completion of the applicant's case-in-chief. An applicant may, upon request, be granted additional hearings to complete his case-in-chief provided the persons opposed to the application are granted an equal number of additional hearings. Persons opposed to the application may, upon the written consent or consent on the record by the applicant and municipality, be granted additional hearings to complete their opposition to the application provided the applicant is granted an equal number of additional hearings for rebuttal.
(4) 
The hearings shall be conducted by the Board or the Board may appoint any member or an independent attorney as a Hearing Officer. The decision, or, where no decision is called for, the findings shall be made by the Board; however, the appellant or the applicant, as the case may be, in addition to the municipality, may, prior to the decision of the hearing, waive decision or findings by the Board and accept the decision or findings of the Hearing Officer as final.
(5) 
The parties to the hearing shall be the municipality, any person affected by the application who has made timely appearance of record before the Board, and any other person including civic or community organizations permitted to appear by the Board. The Board shall have power to require that all persons who wish to be considered parties enter appearances in writing on forms provided by the Board for that purpose.
(6) 
The chairman or acting chairman of the Board or the Hearing Officer presiding shall have 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.
(7) 
The parties shall 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.
(8) 
Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded.
(9) 
The Board or the Hearing Officer, as the case may be, shall keep a stenographic record of the proceedings. The appearance fee for a stenographer shall be shared equally by the applicant and the Board. The cost of the original transcript shall be paid by the Board if the transcript is ordered by the Board or Hearing Officer or shall be paid by the person appealing from the decision of the Board if such appeal is made, and in either event, the cost of additional copies shall be paid by the person requesting such copy or copies. In other cases, the party requesting the original transcript shall bear the cost thereof.
(10) 
The Board or the Hearing Officer shall not communicate, directly or indirectly, with any party or 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, except advice from their solicitor, 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 date of hearings with any party or his representative unless all parties are given an opportunity to be present.
E. 
Decision by the Board of Supervisors.
(1) 
The Board of Supervisors shall render a written decision upon applications for conditional use within 60 days of the last public hearing before the Board. In authorizing or approving any such conditional use, the Board of Supervisors shall have the power to attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards as it may deem necessary to implement the purpose of this chapter or to support the purpose of the district within which the conditional use is or will be located.
(2) 
Where the application is contested or denied, the written decision shall be accompanied by findings of fact and conclusions based thereon, together with the reasons therefor. Conclusions based upon any provision of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code or upon any ordinance, rule, or regulation of the Township shall contain a reference to the provision relied upon and the reasons why the conclusion is deemed appropriate in light of the facts found.
(3) 
Where the Board of Supervisors has power to render a decision and fails to do so within the period required here above, the decision shall be deemed to have been rendered in favor of the applicant, unless the applicant has agreed in writing to an extension of time.
(4) 
A copy of the written decision shall be delivered to the applicant personally or mailed to him postmarked no later than the business day next following the date of the decision. To all other persons who have filed their names and addresses with the Board of Supervisors not later than the date of the last public hearing, the Board shall provide, by mail or otherwise, brief notice of the decision and a statement indicating where the full decision may be examined.
(5) 
Nothing in this subsection shall prejudice the right of any party opposing the application to urge that the decision of the Board of Supervisors is erroneous.
A. 
If it appears to the Board of Supervisors or the Township Zoning Officer that a violation of any provision of this chapter has occurred, the Township shall initiate enforcement proceedings by sending a notice of violation as provided for in this section.
B. 
The notice of violation shall be delivered or sent via certified mail to the owner of record, or the lessee as may be applicable, of the parcel on which the violation has occurred, to any person who has filed a written request to receive such notices regarding that parcel, and to any other person requested in writing by the owner of record.
C. 
The notice of violation, as a minimum, shall state:
(1) 
The name of the owner of record and any other person against whom the Township intends to take action.
(2) 
The location of the property in violation.
(3) 
The specific violation with a description of the requirements which have not been met, citing in each instance the applicable provisions of this chapter.
(4) 
The date by which steps toward compliance must be initiated and the date by which full compliance must be achieved.
(5) 
That failure to comply with the notice within the time specified will constitute a violation of this chapter, subject to the penalties described in § 220-114 of this chapter. The Zoning Hearing Board shall have the authority to grant extensions to this time period.
(6) 
The recipient of an enforcement notice shall have 30 days within which to appeal the notice before the Zoning Hearing Board. This appeal period shall not apply where the specific violation poses a clear and imminent threat to the public health, safety, or welfare.
D. 
In addition to a notice of violation, a stop order may be issued under the following circumstances and in the same manner as a notice of violation:
(1) 
If activities regulated by this chapter are undertaken without the required zoning permit or certificate of use and occupancy being granted by the Township.
(2) 
If an activity undertaken under a zoning permit deviates from the approved application either during or after completion of the work.
(3) 
If a use is conducted or a building or structure is established in a way which is in violation of the use restrictions; the area, yard, impervious coverage, or structure height regulations; performance standards; general regulations; or any other requirements of this chapter.
(4) 
If an activity permitted by special exception, variance, or condition is not conducted in accordance with the terms of the granting of the special exception, variance, or conditional use.
E. 
The stop order shall state, as a minimum:
(1) 
The name of the owner of record, and the lessee as may be applicable, against whom the order is written.
(2) 
The location of the property.
(3) 
The specific violation with a description of the requirements which have not been met, citing the applicable Township regulation(s) or ordinance(s) and section(s) thereof or conditions attached to a variance, use by special exception, or conditional use.
(4) 
The conditions under which work may continue.
(5) 
That continuance of activity in violation of the stop order shall constitute a violation of this chapter, subject to the penalties described in § 220-114 of this chapter.
In case any building, structure, or use of land is or is proposed to be erected, constructed, reconstructed, altered, converted, maintained, or used in violation of this chapter, the Board of Supervisors or a duly appointed officer of the Township may, in addition to other remedies, institute in the name of the Township any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent, restrain, correct, or abate such building, structure, or use of land; or to prevent in or about such premises any act, conduct, business, or use constituting a violation.
A. 
Any person, firm, corporation, or partnership who or which has violated the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof in a civil enforcement proceeding, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $500 plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Township as a result thereof.
B. 
No judgment shall commence or be imposed, levied or payable until the date of the determination of a violation by the Magisterial District Judge.
C. 
If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the Township may enforce the judgment to the applicable rules of civil procedure.
D. 
Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation, unless the Magisterial District Judge 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 such case, there shall be deemed to have been only one such violation until the fifth day following the date of the determination of a violation by the Magisterial District Judge; thereafter, each day that said violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.
E. 
All judgments, costs, and reasonable attorney fees collected for the violation of this chapter shall be paid to the Township of Maidencreek.
F. 
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.
G. 
Nothing contained in this section shall be construed or interpreted to grant to any person or entity other than duly authorized representatives of the Township of Maidencreek the right to commence any action for enforcement pursuant to this section, unless otherwise authorized by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
Proceedings for securing review of any ordinance, decision, determination, or order of the Board of Supervisors, its agencies, or officers adopted or issued pursuant to this chapter shall be in accordance with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
The Board of Supervisors may from time to time amend, supplement, change, modify, or repeal this chapter, including the Zoning Map, by proceeding in the manner prescribed by this section.
A. 
Amendment by the Board of Supervisors.
(1) 
The Board of Supervisors, by resolution adopted at a public meeting, shall fix the time and place of a public hearing on a proposed amendment and cause notice thereof to be given as follows:
(a) 
By publishing a notice thereof once a week for two successive weeks in one newspaper of general circulation in the Township.
(b) 
The notices shall state the general nature of the proposed amendment.
(2) 
The Board of Supervisors shall refer each proposed change or amendment to the Township Planning Commission and the Berks County Planning Commission at least 30 days prior to the hearing on such proposed amendment to provide the Planning Commissions an opportunity to submit recommendation on the proposed amendment. The Planning Commissions shall consider whether or not the proposed change or amendment would be, in the view of the Commissions, consistent with the purposes and objectives set forth in community development objectives contained in § 220-3A of this chapter and desirable in the furtherance of the plan therein referred to for future land development.
B. 
Amendment by citizens' petition.
(1) 
Whenever the owners of 50% or more of the area for which a change of zoning regulations or classification is sought shall present to the Board of Supervisors a petition duly signed and acknowledged requesting an amendment, supplement, change, modification, or repeal of the regulations prescribed for or of the Zoning Map including such district or part thereof, it shall be the duty of the Board to hold a public hearing thereon and cause notice thereof to be given in the manner prescribed above.
(2) 
Applicants to the Board of Supervisors for the amendment, supplement, change, or modification of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon the filing of such application, pay the appropriate fees established by the Township for each application to cover the costs of advertising and aforesaid notice, the cost of stenographic services and any other expense incurred in connection with such application; provided, however, that if the total of the aforesaid costs and expenses does not exceed the amount provided, any difference shall be refunded to the applicant.
C. 
Curative amendments.
(1) 
A landowner who desires to challenge on substantive grounds the validity of this chapter, any provision thereof, or the Zoning Map which prohibits or restricts the use or development of land in which he has an interest may submit a curative amendment to the Board of Supervisors along with a written request that his challenge and proposed amendment be heard and decided as provided for in § 609.1 and § 916.1 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as amended.
(2) 
The Board of Supervisors shall commence a hearing upon such request within 60 days of receipt of such request, in accordance with § 916.1 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
(3) 
The curative amendment shall be referred the Berks County Planning Commission and the Maidencreek Township Planning Commission in accordance with Subsection A(2) of this section, and notice of the hearing thereon shall be given as provided in Subsection E herein below. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with § 220-120 of this chapter; all references therein to the Zoning Hearing Board shall, for purposes of this section, be references to the Board of Supervisors.
D. 
Public hearing.
(1) 
The Board of Supervisors shall hold a public hearing before voting on the enactment of any amendment or change.
(2) 
Public notice of such hearing shall include either the full text of the proposed amendment or change or a brief summary of the principal provisions in reasonable detail and a reference to where within the Township copies of the proposed amendment or change may be examined prior to the hearing.
(3) 
If, after a public hearing held upon an amendment or change, the proposed amendment or change is revised or further revised to include land previously unaffected, the Board of Supervisors shall hold another public hearing pursuant to public notice prior to voting on the amendment or change.
(4) 
The vote by the Board of Supervisors concerning the amendment or change shall be no more than 90 days after the last public hearing.
E. 
Notice of hearing. Notices of public hearings shall be published in compliance with the requirements for public notice as set forth in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act 247 (Section 609)[1] as amended. A copy of all adopted amendments are to be submitted to the Berks County Planning Commission.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10609.
A. 
The Board of Supervisors shall establish by resolution a schedule of fees, charges, and expenses, as well as collection procedures for zoning permits, certificates of use and occupancy, special exceptions, variances, appeals to the Zoning Hearing Board, curative amendment hearings, and other matters pertaining to the administration of this chapter.
B. 
Said schedule of fees shall be available for inspection in the office of the Zoning Officer.
C. 
The schedule of fees may be altered or amended by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
D. 
Until all application fees, charges, and expenses have been paid in full, no action shall be taken on any application or appeal.