Township of Lower Southampton, PA
Bucks County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 558, 9/4/2012]
Unless a contrary intention clearly appears, the following words and phrases shall have, for the purpose of this chapter, the meanings given in the following sections.
A. 
For the purpose of this chapter, words and terms used herein shall be interpreted as follows:
(1) 
Words used in the present tense include the future.
(2) 
The singular includes the plural.
(3) 
The word "person" includes a corporation, partnership and association as well as the individual.
(4) 
The word "lot" includes the word "plot" or "parcel."
(5) 
The term "shall" is always mandatory.
(6) 
The word "used" or "occupied," as applied to any land or building, shall be construed to include the words "intended, arranged or designed to be occupied."
(7) 
The word "Supervisors" and the words "Board of Supervisors" always mean the Lower Southampton Township Board of Supervisors.
(8) 
The word "Commission" and the words "Planning Commission" always mean the Lower Southampton Township Planning Commission.
(9) 
The word "Board" or the words "Zoning Hearing Board" always mean the Lower Southampton Township Zoning Hearing Board.
(10) 
The words "Zoning Officer" always mean the Lower Southampton Township Zoning Officer.
B. 
Any word or term not defined herein shall be used with a meaning of standard usage.
[Ord. 558, 9/4/2012]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACCESSORY BUILDING
See "building."
ACCESSORY USE
See "use."
ALTERATIONS
As applied to a building or structure, a change or rearrangement in the structural parts, or an enlargement, whether by extending on a side or by increasing in height, or the moving from one location or position to another. As applied to a sign, a change or increase in its exterior dimensions, height or shape/size of the sign face.
ALTERNATIVE THERAPY
Includes the following:
[Added by Ord. 575, 9/28/2016]
A. 
The practice of an individual who uses touch to manipulate the energy systems, acupoints, qi meridians or channels of energy of the human body while engaged within the scope of practice of a profession with established standards and ethics. Such practices include acupressure, Asian bodywork therapy, polarity therapy bodywork, quigon, reiki, shiatsu, and tui na.
B. 
Reflexology.
C. 
The practice of an individual who uses touch, words, and directed movement to deepen awareness of existing patterns of movement in the body and to suggest new possibilities of movement, while engaged within the scope of practice of a profession with established standards and ethics.
D. 
Any massage-like activity that does not meet the definition of "massage therapy" set forth hereinafter.
ALTERNATIVE THERAPY PROVIDER
Any establishment where alternative therapy is administered for the payment of a fee or other compensation or consideration, but not including: a hospital; nursing home; medical clinic; the office of a physician, surgeon, physical therapist, chiropractor, or osteopath currently licensed as such by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; barbershops or practices licensed by the Department of Cosmetology; or any athletic program of accredited junior and senior high schools or colleges in which a massage is administered by a trainer within the scope of such athletic program.
[Added by Ord. 575, 9/28/2016]
ANTENNA
A device used to collect or transmit telecommunications or radio signals. Examples are panels, microwave dishes and single poles known as "whips."
A. 
The total of areas taken on a horizontal plane at the main grade level of the principal building and all accessory buildings exclusive of uncovered porches, terraces and steps.
B. 
The sum of the areas of the several floors of building structure, including areas used for human occupancy and basements, attics and penthouses, as measured from the exterior faces of the walls. It does not include cellars, unenclosed porches, attics not used for human occupancy, or any floor space in accessory building or in the main building intended and designed for the parking of motor vehicles in order to meet the parking requirements of this chapter or any such floor space intended and designed for accessory heating and ventilating equipment.
C. 
The area contained within the property lines of the individual parcels of land shown on a subdivision plan, excluding any area within a street right-of-way, excluding areas within any areas of natural resources, and excluding any area restricted as open space, but not including open space required under this chapter, and any other areas as may be specifically excluded by the terms of this chapter.
BASEMENT
A story partly underground, but having 1/2 or more of its height (measured from floor to ceiling) above the average level of the adjoining ground. A basement shall be counted as a story for the purpose of height measurement or determining square footage only if the vertical distance between the ceiling and the average level of the adjoining ground is more than four feet, or if used for business or dwelling purposes.
BUFFER YARD
A strip of required yard space adjacent to the boundary of a property or district of a width not less than that designated by this chapter, and on which is placed shrubbery, hedges, evergreens or other suitable plantings of sufficient height and density to meet the requirements of Township ordinances and to constitute an effective screen and give maximum protection and immediate screening to an abutting property or district.
BUILDING
A structure having a roof which is used for the shelter or enclosure of persons, animals or property. The word "building" shall include any part thereof.
A. 
A subordinate building located on the same lot as a principal building and clearly incidental and subordinate to the principal building, not to exceed a footprint of 500 square feet. Any portion of a principal building devoted or intended to be devoted to an accessory use is not an accessory building.
B. 
A building in which is conducted, or is intended to be conducted, the principal use of the lot on which it is located.
BUILDING COVERAGE
That percentage of the plot or lot area covered by the building area.
BUILDING ENVELOPE
That area of a lot that has no building restrictions. The building envelope shall not include the area of any required setbacks (except for driveways which may cross yards), buffer yards, natural features with one-hundred-percent protection standard, and the portion of those natural features that may not be developed or intruded upon as specified in Part 18, Open Space and Environmental Protection Standards, of this chapter.
BUILDING HEIGHT
A vertical distance measured from the mean elevation of the proposed finished grade at the front of the building to the highest point of the roof for flat roofs, to the decklines of mansard roofs and to the mean height between eaves and ridge for gable, hip and gambrel roofs.
A. 
The rear line of the minimum front yard, as herein designated for each use and each district, measured at a distance equal to and no greater than the minimum front yard from the street line.
B. 
A line parallel to the side lot line at a distance therefrom equal to the depth of the minimum side yard required.
C. 
A line parallel to the rear lot line at a distance from the rear lot line equal to the depth of the minimum rear yard required.
CELLAR
A story partly underground and having more than 1/2 of its height (measured from floor to ceiling) below the average level of the adjoining ground. A cellar shall not be considered in determining the permissible number of stories or square footage, nor shall it be used for dwelling purposes.
CONSUMER FIREWORKS
Any combustible or explosive composition or any substance or combination of substances intended to produce visible and/or audible effects by combustion and which is suitable for use by the public that complies with the construction, performance, composition and labeling requirements promulgated by the Consumer Products Safety Commission in 16 CFR (relating to commercial practices) or any successor regulation and which complies with the provisions for "consumer fireworks" as defined in the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) Standard 87-1, including but not limited to Sections *3.1 and *3.5, or any successor standard. The term does not include devices such as "ground and handheld sparkling devices" as defined in APA Standard 87-1, Section *3.1.1, "novelties" as defined in APA Standard 87-1, Section *3.2, or "toy caps" as defined in APA Standard 87-1, Section *3.3.
[Added by Ord. 583, 5/9/2018]
DECISION
Final adjudication of any board or other body granted jurisdiction under any land use ordinance or this chapter to do so, either by reason of the grant of exclusive jurisdiction or by reason of appeals from determinations. All decisions shall be appealable to the court of common pleas of the county and judicial district wherein the Township lies.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
The Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
[Added by Ord. 575, 9/28/2016]
DETERMINATION
Final action by an officer, body or agency charged with the administration of any land use ordinance or applications thereunder, except the following:
A. 
The Board of Supervisors;
B. 
The Zoning Hearing Board.
DISPLAY FIREWORKS
Defined as more fully set forth in 27 CFR 555.11 (Meaning of terms), which is incorporated herein by reference which meet the types of display fireworks devices set forth in the APA Standard 87-1, Section *4.1 which comply with requirements for display fireworks set forth in APA Standard 87-1.
[Added by Ord. 583, 5/9/2018]
DWELLING
A building containing one or more dwelling units.
A. 
Any room or group of rooms located within a residential building and forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking and eating by one family.
B. 
A building having two or more dwelling units which may have either a common or independent outside access. Said units may be arranged horizontally one above the other or vertically separated by party walls. It is the intention to include within this definition of "multifamily dwelling" all recognized architectural types or structures accommodating two or more dwelling units in the same building, whether the individual units are for lease or sale, but not including townhouses.
C. 
A dwelling having: (i) only one dwelling unit from ground to roof; (ii) independent outside access; and (iii) open space on all sides.
D. 
A dwelling having only one dwelling unit from ground to roof and only one wall in common with another dwelling unit.
E. 
Townhouse units having multiple dwelling units with at least one wall in common with another dwelling unit and arranged in a row of not more than 160 feet in length, with no less than 35 feet of separation between buildings that are constructed such that the front building line is staggered in placement so that the frontage of each unit is of varying depth from the units adjacent to it.
A. 
Any number of individuals living together on a nontransient basis as a single housekeeping unit and doing their cooking on the premises, when said individuals are related by blood, marriage or adoption, including any number of foster children; no more than five unrelated individuals living together as a single housekeeping unit and doing their cooking on the premises, except when an application for a special exception to enable a greater number of unrelated individuals to occupy a dwelling is reviewed and approved by the Zoning Hearing Board, as provided herein. The definition of "family" shall not apply to the occupants of a club, fraternity house, lodge or residential club.
B. 
Notwithstanding the definition in the preceding subsection, "family" shall also be deemed to include any number of mentally or physically handicapped persons occupying a dwelling unit as a single, nonprofit housekeeping units, if such occupants are handicapped persons as defined in Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988. Such unrelated individuals shall have the right to occupy a dwelling unit in the same manner and to the same extent as any family unit as defined in subsection A of this definition.
FIREWORKS
Any composition or device for the purpose of producing a visible or an audible effect for entertainment purposes by combustion, deflagration or detonation that meets the definition of 1.4 G fireworks or 1.3 G fireworks as set forth in the 2003 International Fire Code, including, but not limited to, those composition or devices defined in APA Standard 87-1.
[Added by Ord. 583, 5/9/2018]
FLOOR AREA RATIO
The ratio of the gross floor area of a structure to the gross lot area upon which the use and structure(s) is/are to be located. Total floor area includes the total floor space within a structure, except for those areas devoted to internal atriums.
FOREST
The area comprising 1/4 acre or more of wooded land where the largest trees measure at least six inches diameter at breast height (dbh) 4 1/2 feet from the ground, or a grove of trees forming one canopy where 10 or more trees measure at least 12 inches diameter at breast height.
GROSS LOT AREA
The aggregate total of all areas contained within the deeded or surveyed boundaries of a parcel of land.
HOOKAH BAR/LOUNGE
Any establishment that is dedicated, in whole or in part, to the smoking of a water pipe with a smoke chamber, a bowl, a pipe and a hose, commonly referred to as a "hookah," and also known as a narghile, argileh, shisha, hubble-bubble, and goza.
[Added by Ord. 575, 9/28/2016]
IMPERVIOUS SURFACE
Unless otherwise provided in Chapter 22, Subdivision and Land Development, impervious surfaces are those surfaces which do not absorb water. Any area which has been or is proposed to be modified from grass, dirt, vegetation, wooded or ground cover, including but not limited to the area of all buildings, parking areas, driveways, roads, sidewalks and any areas in concrete, asphalt, porous pavers and packed stone, shall be considered impervious surfaces.
IMPERVIOUS SURFACE RATIO
Unless otherwise provided in Chapter 22, Subdivision and Land Development, the total area of all impervious surfaces within the lot divided by the lot area.
LOT
A designated parcel, tract or area of land established by a plat or otherwise as permitted by law and to be used, developed or built upon as a unit.
A. 
A lot which has an interior angle of less than 135° at the intersection of two street lines. A lot abutting upon a curved street or streets shall be considered a corner lot if the tangent to the curve at the points beginning within the lot or at the points of intersection of the side lot lines with the street lines intersects at an angle of less than 135°.
B. 
The mean distance from the street line of the lot to its opposite rear line measured in the general direction of the side lines of the lot.
C. 
The distance measured between the side lot line at the required building setback line(s). In a case where there is only one side lot line, between such side lot line and the opposite rear lot line or street line.
D. 
An interior lot having frontage on two parallel or approximately parallel streets.
[1]
A. 
Any boundary line of a lot.
B. 
Any lot line which is parallel to or within 45° of being parallel to a street line, except for a lot line that is itself a street line, and except that in the case of a corner lot the owner shall have the option of choosing which of the two lot lines that are not street lines is to be considered a rear lot line. In the case of a lot having no street frontage or a lot of an odd shape, only the one lot line furthest from any street shall be considered a rear lot line.
C. 
Any lot line which is not a street line or a rear lot line.
D. 
See "street line."
MASSAGE THERAPY
Any method of pressure on or friction against or stroking, kneading, rubbing, tapping, pounding, vibrating or stimulating of the external soft parts of the body with hands or with the aid of any mechanical or electrical apparatus, with or without such supplementing aids as rubbing alcohol, liniments or other similar preparations commonly used in this practice. The term does not include the diagnosis or treatment of impairment, illness, disease or disability, a medical procedure, a chiropractic manipulation or adjustment, physical therapy mobilization or manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, electrical stimulation, ultrasound or prescription of medicines for which a license to practice medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, occupational therapy, podiatry or other practice of the healing arts is required or any other area licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
[Added by Ord. 575, 9/28/2016]
MASSAGE THERAPY CENTER
Any establishment where massage therapy is administered for the payment of a fee or other compensation or consideration but not including: a hospital; nursing home; medical clinic; the office of a physician, surgeon, physical therapist, chiropractor, or osteopath currently licensed as such by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; barbershops or practices licensed by the Department of Cosmetology; or any athletic program of accredited junior and senior high schools or colleges in which a massage is administered by a trainer within the scope of such athletic program.
[Added by Ord. 575, 9/28/2016]
MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT
Act 16 of 2016, 35 P.S. § 1023.101 et seq.
[Added by Ord. 575, 9/28/2016]
MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY
A person, including a natural person, corporation, partnership, association, trust, or other entity, or any combination thereof, which is registered by the Department of Health under the Medical Marijuana Act to dispense medical marijuana. The term does not include a health care medical marijuana organization under Chapter 19 of the Medical Marijuana Act.
[Added by Ord. 575, 9/28/2016]
MEDICAL MARIJUANA GROWER/PROCESSOR
A person, including a natural person, corporation, partnership, association, trust, or other entity, or any combination thereof, which is registered by the Department of Health under the Medical Marijuana Act to grow and process medical marijuana. The term does not include a health care medical marijuana organization under Chapter 19 of the Medical Marijuana Act.
[Added by Ord. 575, 9/28/2016]
MOBILE HOME
A transportable, single-family dwelling intended for permanent occupancy, contained in one unit or in two or more units designed to be joined into one integral unit capable of again being separated for repeated towing, which arrives at a site complete and ready for occupancy except for minor and incidental unpacking and assembly operations, and constructed so that it may be used without a permanent foundation.
MOBILE HOME LOT
A parcel of land in a mobile home park improved with the necessary utility connections and other appurtenances necessary for the erection thereon of a single mobile home.
MOBILE HOME PARK
A parcel or contiguous parcels of land which has been so designated and improved that it contains two or more mobile home lots for the placement thereon of mobile homes.
MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY
A body politic and corporate created pursuant to the Act of May 2, 1945 (P.L. 382, No. 164), known as the "Municipalities Authority Act of 1945."[2]
NFPA 1124
The National Fire Protection Association Standard 1124, Code for the Manufacture, Transportation and Storage of Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles, 2006 Edition, or any subsequent edition.
[Added by Ord. 583, 5/9/2018]
NONCONFORMING LOT
A lot the area or dimension of which was lawful prior to the adoption or amendment of this chapter, but which fails to conform to the requirements of the zoning district in which it is located by reason of such adoption or amendment.
NONCONFORMING STRUCTURE
A structure or part of a structure which does not comply with the applicable area, setback, yard, building height, location, size, impervious surface and/or other dimensional requirements of this chapter or amendment heretofore or hereafter enacted, where such structure lawfully existed prior to the enactment of this chapter or amendment. Such nonconforming structures include, but are not limited to, nonconforming signs.
NONCONFORMING USE
A use, whether of land or of structure, which does not comply with the applicable use provisions in this chapter or amendment heretofore or hereafter enacted, where such use was lawfully in existence prior to the enactment of this chapter or amendment or prior to the application of this chapter or amendment to its location by reason of annexation.
NOVELTIES
Articles of trade having amusement value and whose appeal is often transitory, and which is limited to those items for sale described in American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) Standard 87-1, Section *3.2.
[Added by Ord. 583, 5/9/2018]
OWNER
Includes a duly authorized agent or attorney, a purchaser, devisee, fiduciary and a person having a vested or contingent interest in the property in question.
PERSON
Includes an individual, partnership, firm, corporation, association, estate or trust.
A. 
See "building."
B. 
See "use."
PUBLIC GROUNDS
Includes:
A. 
Parks, playgrounds, trails, paths and other recreational areas and public areas.
B. 
Sites for schools, sewage treatment, refuse disposal and other publicly owned or operated facilities.
C. 
Publicly owned or operated scenic and historic sites.
PUBLIC HEARING
A formal meeting held pursuant to public notice by the Board of Supervisors or Planning Commission, intended to inform and obtain public comment, prior to taking action in accordance with this chapter.
PUBLIC MEETING
A forum held pursuant to notice under the Act of July 3, 1986 (P.L. 388, No. 84), known as the "Sunshine Act," 53 P.S. § 271 et seq.[3]
PUBLIC NOTICE
Notice published once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the Township. Such notice shall state the time and place of the hearing and the particular nature of the matter to be considered at the hearing. The first publication shall not be more than 30 days and the second publication shall not be less than seven days prior to the date of the hearing.
RELIGIOUS USE
Any church, religious service or other use incidental to the mission of a religious organization that is accessory to the primary use of a building or parcel for religious services or worship, including primary or secondary schools, places of religious instruction, seminaries, rabbinical schools and on-site day-care services which are limited to providing supervision or care during religious services.
REPORT
Any letter, review, memorandum, compilation or similar writing made by any body, board, officer or consultant other than a solicitor to any other body, board, officer or consultant for the purpose of assisting the recipient of such report in the rendering of any decision or determination. All reports shall be deemed recommendatory and advisory only and shall not be binding upon the recipient, board, officer, body or agency, nor shall any appeal lie therefrom. Any report used, received or considered by the body, board, officer or agency rendering a determination or decision shall be made available for inspection to the applicant and all other parties to any proceeding upon request, and copies thereof shall be provided at cost of reproduction.
SIGN
See Part 20, Signs, of this chapter.
SOBER LIVING FACILITY
Residential facilities where five or more individuals reside together either voluntarily or by court order to recover from drug, alcohol, and/or substance abuse, which serve as an interim environment between rehabilitation facilities/hospitalization and reintegration to independent living. The term shall include recovery houses and halfway houses.
[Added by Ord. 575, 9/28/2016]
SPECIAL EXCEPTION
A use permitted in a particular zoning district pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and Articles VI and IX of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. §§ 10601 et seq. and 10901 et seq.
STORY
That part of a building located between a floor and the floor or roof next above. The first story of a building is the lowest story having 75% or more of its wall area above ground level. A half story is a story under a gable, hip or gambrel roof, the wall plates of which on at least two opposite exterior walls are not more than two feet above such story.
STREET
Includes street, avenue, boulevard, road, highway, freeway, parkway, lane, alley, viaduct or any other ways used or intended to be used by vehicular traffic or pedestrians, whether public or private.
STREET LINE
The dividing line between the street and the lot. The street line shall be the same as the legal right-of-way line, provided that: (1) the street right-of-way line shall be not less than 25 feet from the center line of any road or street; and (2) where a future right-of-way width for a road or street has been officially established, then the street right-of-way line shall be the side line of the future right-of-way so established.
STRUCTURE
Any man-made object having an ascertainable stationary location on or in land or water, whether or not affixed to the land.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT BUILDING
The building in which the electronic receiving and relay equipment for a cellular telecommunications facility is housed.
TEMPORARY STRUCTURE
A structure other than a permanent facility with fixed utility connections, which is in use or in place for a period of 20 consecutive calendar days or less and is dedicated to the storage and sale of consumer fireworks and related items. The term includes temporary retail sales stands, tents, canopies and membrane structures meeting the specifications of NFPA 1124. The term shall not include a facility that is not licensed to sell consumer fireworks under this chapter.
[Added by Ord. 583, 5/9/2018]
TOWER
A structure that is intended to support equipment used to transmit and/or receive telecommunications signals. Examples of such structures include monopoles and lattice construction steel structures.
USE
Any activity, occupation, business or operation carried on, or intended to be carried on, in a building or other structure or on a tract of land.
A. 
A use located on the same lot with a principal use and clearly incidental or subordinate to, and customary in connection with, the principal use.
B. 
The main use on a lot.
VARIANCE
Relief granted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and Articles VI and IX of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. §§ 10601 et seq. and 10901 et seq.
YARD
An open space unobstructed from the ground up, on the same lot with a structure, extending along a lot line or street line and inward to the structure. The size of a required yard shall be measured as the shortest distance between the structure and a lot line or street line.
A. 
A yard between a structure and a street line and extending the entire length of the street line. In the case of a corner lot, the yards extending along all streets are front yards. In the case of a lot other than a corner lot that fronts on more than one street, the yards extending along all streets are front yards.
B. 
A yard between a structure and a rear lot line and extending the entire length of the rear lot line.
C. 
A yard between a structure and a side lot line, extending from the front yard to the rear yard. In the case of a lot having no street frontage or a lot of odd shape, any yard that is not a front yard or a rear yard shall be considered a side yard.
[1]
Editor's Note: An illustration of sample lot configurations, with letters corresponding to the following subdefinitions, is on file in the Township office.
[2]
Editor's Note: The Municipality Authorities Act of 1945 (53 P.S. § 301 et seq.) was repealed by Act 22 of 2001 (June 19, 2001, P.L. 287, No. 22). See now the Municipality Authorities Act, 53 Pa.C.S.A. § 5601 et seq.
[3]
Editor's Note: The Sunshine Act, 65 P.S. § 271 et seq. 1986, July 3, P.L. 388, No. 84, was repealed 10-15-1998 by P.L. 729, No. 93; see now Sunshine Act, 65 Pa.C.S.A. § 701 et seq.