Township of Lower Mount Bethel, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 123, 4/5/1972, § 610]
Within any Agricultural or Preservation District listed in this Part no building, structure, lot or land shall be used for other than one or more of the permitted or accessory uses listed in said District except for nonconforming uses and nonconforming buildings in § 27-805.
[Ord. 123, 4/5/1972, § 620]
No building or structure shall be erected to a height in excess of the maximum allowable height in said district, except as provided in supplemental use and building regulations in § 27-801, Subsection 4.
[Ord. 123, 4/5/1972, § 630]
1. 
Where site plan review is required for a permitted use in an Agricultural or Preservation District said site plan shall be submitted to the Planning Commission for review and report prior to issuing a building permit.
A. 
All Permitted Uses.
(1) 
Access facilities adequate for the estimated traffic to and from the site so as to assure the public safety and to avoid traffic congestion. Vehicular entrances and exits shall be clearly visible from the street and not within 75 feet of a street intersection.
(2) 
Adequate collection and disposal of storm runoff from the site.
(3) 
Adequate provision of space between buildings on the lot and of setbacks from private drives, roads, streets or driveways, if any, so as to assure ample light, air and useable open space in the interest of public health, safety and general welfare. In no case, shall the distance between any two principal buildings on a lot be less than the height of such two buildings. In no case shall the width of a court be less than the height of the building.
(4) 
Lighting facilities adequate for the safety of pedestrian and vehicular traffic; however, no additional permanent exterior building illumination, other than specified for Signs in § 27-804 shall be permitted.
(5) 
Adequate inclusion of plant material to provide effective planting screens where deemed advisable by the Planning Commission. A planting plan specifying type, size and location of existing and proposed plant material may be required and approved by the Planning Commission prior to issuing a building permit.
[Ord. 123, 4/5/1972, § 640; as amended by Ord. 2008-06B, 6/2/2008, § II; by Ord. 2010-05, 8/2/2010, §§ II-IV, XII; and by A.O.]
1. 
Permitted Uses.
A. 
Agricultural District dwelling unit in accordance with the provisions of §§ 27-606, Subsections 1 through 11.
B. 
Agricultural land uses, buildings and activities relating to the growing of field, truck and tree crops.
C. 
Animal husbandry, provided that barns, animal shelters and feed yards shall not be located closer than 300 feet from any dwelling except the dwelling of the owner or lessee.
D. 
Nurseries and greenhouses.
E. 
Roadside stand as defined in § 27-302 pursuant to § 27-803, Subsection 1.
F. 
Outdoor recreation areas such as parks, playgrounds, picnic grounds, swimming clubs, golf courses or country clubs.
G. 
Membership club, excluding club for gunning, trap shooting, trapping or other similar purposes.
H. 
Church, Sunday School or other place of worship, parish house.
I. 
Cemetery or mausoleum.
J. 
Agricultural industries relating to or required by ordinary local agricultural production.
K. 
Visitors' center.
L. 
Grazing and pasturing.
M. 
Crop storage.
N. 
Horticulture.
2. 
Accessory Uses.
A. 
Private garage or private parking area, pursuant to Part 8.
B. 
Customary accessory structure and use.
C. 
Sign, pursuant to § 27-804.
D. 
Home professional office, home occupation as defined in § 27-302.
E. 
Private noncommercial swimming pool pursuant to § 27-802, Subsection 5.
F. 
Accessory uses and structures customarily incidental to a permitted outdoor recreation use such as parking areas, refreshment stands, concessions, fireplaces, pavilions and picnic tables, provided that such accessory uses are operated only when the main use is open and are being used in conjunction with the main use.
3. 
Special Exception Uses. The following uses are permitted subject to Zoning Hearing Board approval pursuant to §§ 27-806 and 27-908.
A. 
Public or private school approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Education.
B. 
Community center building, public library, municipal buildings, fire or police station.
C. 
Hospital or convalescent home.
D. 
Public utility building, structure or facility.
E. 
Kennels and animal hospitals provided that outdoor pens and feed yards shall not be located closer than 300 feet from any dwelling except the dwelling of the owner or lessee.
F. 
Commercial stables or riding academy.
G. 
Extraction of mineral resources pursuant to § 27-1008, Subsection 4J.
H. 
Sanitary landfill, sewage disposal plant or incinerator.
I. 
Single-family detached dwellings, and/or multiple-family dwellings for temporary quarters for farm laborers, incident and necessary to the gathering of crops grown on the premises that conform to Pennsylvania Department of Health regulations for such structures.
4. 
Lot Area, Width, Building Coverage and Height Regulations.
Minimum Lot Area
Minimum Lot Width
Maximum Bldg. Coverage of Lot
Maximum Building Height
All Permitted Uses
1 acre
140 feet
10%
35 feet
5. 
Minimum Yard Requirements.
Front Yard
Each Side Yard
Side Yard With Abutting Street
Rear Yard
All Permitted Uses
50 feet or pursuant to § 27-801, Subsection 8
30 feet
50 feet
50 feet
6. 
Site Plan Review.
A. 
Required for special exception uses pursuant to the provisions of §§ 27-603, 27-806 and 27-908.
B. 
Required for all permitted uses, except for single-family sectional ranch houses, and agricultural land uses, buildings and activities relating to the growing of field, truck and tree crops.
C. 
Required pursuant to this § 27-603 for all conditional uses under § 27-909.
[Ord. 123, 4/5/1972; as added by Ord. 2010-05, 8/2/2010, § I]
1. 
Background to Purpose.
A. 
Based upon information contained in the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource and Conservation Services Northampton County Soil Survey, 62% of Lower Mount Bethel Township consists of "prime agricultural land" as that term is defined in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10107, and this chapter.
B. 
The Township also contains some non-prime agricultural land, though to a lesser extent than it contains prime agricultural land.
C. 
The 2007 Lower Mount Bethel Township Comprehensive Plan reflects that roughly 71% of the land in the Township is enrolled in either the Act 319 or Act 515 preferential tax programs, and as of December 2003, (with that figure having increased after 2003), more than 23% of the land in the Township is included in agricultural security areas under Pennsylvania Act 43.
D. 
The farmland in Lower Mount Bethel Township, particularly the prime agricultural land, is ideal for the growing of crops and raising of livestock, and the Board of Supervisors wishes to facilitate the continued availability of land for these purposes, subject to a reasonable allowance for residential development.
E. 
This chapter provides ample allowance for residential development in that the last available census data, which is from 1990 through 2000, indicates the population increased in the Township by only 41 persons.
F. 
Lower Mount Bethel Township does not consider land used for agricultural purposes as "vacant," "unused," or "inventory for development," but rather considers agricultural use to be a legitimate and productive use of the land in its own right.
G. 
As of the time of enactment of this chapter provision, in the entire Lehigh Valley Region consisting of Northampton County and Lehigh County, Lower Mount Bethel Township has the highest percentage of farmland perpetually protected for future agricultural use by way of permanent easement.
H. 
A greater percentage of land in Lower Mount Bethel Township is devoted to agriculture than in adjacent Townships and in Northampton County as a whole (74.3% of the Township as compared to 54.4% of Northampton County per Table 4-1 of the Lower Mount Bethel Township Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2007).
I. 
Prime agricultural lands comprise the best soils in the United States, and Lower Mount Bethel Township is fortunate to have such lands in abundance.
J. 
The presence of active and productive agricultural lands is a major land resource for any municipality. Lower Mount Bethel Township has a significant supply of this valuable resource.
2. 
Specific Purposes of Agricultural District.
A. 
To protect and promote the continuation of agriculture, particularly in areas with prime agricultural lands, consistent with the Governor's Executive Order 2003-2, dated March 20, 2003.
B. 
To support the Governor's Executive Order regarding the irreversible conversion of primary agricultural land to uses that result in its loss as an environmental and essential food and fiber resource across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
C. 
To implement the Lehigh Valley Comprehensive Plan 2030, which emphasizes the need for effective zoning regulations to preserve Prime Agricultural Land and to identify the Agricultural Zoning District as an area which includes Class I and Class II soils.
D. 
To strengthen and preserve strong agricultural activity to facilitate farming as a viable component of the local economy.
E. 
To promote agricultural land uses and activities and other uses and activities which act in direct support of agriculture.
F. 
To protect and stabilize the essential characteristics of areas in the Agricultural District, to minimize conflicting land uses detrimental to agricultural enterprises, and to limit development which requires roads, highways, infrastructure, municipal services, and other public facilities in excess of those required by agricultural uses.
G. 
To maintain the land resource base, that is, agricultural parcels or farms in sizes which will permit efficient, profitable agricultural operations. In this regard, the Board recognizes that large farmland tracts are desirable because the size of farmland tracts is directly related to the economic viability of farming operations with respect to use of modern machinery, soil conservation programs and the ability to recycle manure and other agricultural byproducts. The Board also recognizes, however, that not all farming operations need to be conducted on a large scale with the use of significant machinery and other efficiencies and believes that there should be a place for smaller "farmettes" to provide an opportunity for more residents to participate in the agricultural base of this community. For Lower Mount Bethel, a minimum of 10 acres is the appropriate size for such farmettes based upon factors which include, without limitation the following:
(1) 
Pennsylvania Act 319, the Clean and Green Act, 72 P.S. § 5490.1 et seq., requires tracts of land to be at least 10 acres in size to qualify for this preferential tax program.
(2) 
The Northampton County agricultural easement acquisition program allows for tracts as small as 10 acres to be preserved.
(3) 
Pennsylvania Act 43, the Agricultural Area Security Law, 3 P.S. § 901 et seq., requires that tracts be 10 acres or more in size to be added to the lands protected by these provisions.
(4) 
The chief community planner of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission has used 10 acres as such an appropriate threshold for many years.
H. 
To the extent practicable, to keep agricultural land use and activities separate from incompatible residential, commercial and industrial development, and public facilities.
I. 
To further the direction and authorization set forth in the following sections of the Municipalities Planning Code: § 604(3), 53 P.S. § 10604(3), which directs that zoning ordinances contain provisions designed to "preserve prime agriculture and farmland"; § 603(b)(5), 53 P.S. § 10603(b)(5), which authorizes this Township to permit, regulate and determine protection and preservation of prime agricultural land and activities; and § 603(h), 53 P.S. § 10603(h), which provides that zoning ordinances shall encourage the continuity, development and viability of agricultural operations.
J. 
To recognize that farming and agriculture activities are a legitimate and fully developed use of the land.
K. 
To preserve the active and productive agricultural lands that are present within the Township.
L. 
To limit residential land development activity within the Agricultural District in order to preserve the large contiguous tracts of agricultural land area within the Township.
M. 
To further the goals, objectives and planning policies for agricultural preservation outlined within the 2007 Lower Mount Bethel Township Comprehensive Plan and the Lehigh Valley Comprehensive Plan 2030, including without limitation the following:
(1) 
To protect the Township's prime farmland soils and significant public investment in farming.
(2) 
To retain the Township's rural and historic character, with particular emphasis on agriculture as a viable way of life.
(3) 
To recognize and protect an area designated as a significant agricultural area by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission.
N. 
To assure that this chapter reflects and supports the Township's position in the region as a rural agricultural community.
[Ord. 123, 4/5/1972; as added by Ord. 2010-05, 8/2/2010, § V]
1. 
Definitions. As used in and pursuant to the provisions of this section, the following terms are defined:
AGRICULTURAL DISTRICT DWELLING UNIT
Single-family detached dwelling, sectional ranch house and/or mobile home.
(1)
The residual 90% of the original tract not allocated for Agricultural District dwelling units pursuant to Subsection 3.
(2)
The residual land remaining of the original tract after subdivision of farmette lots pursuant to Subsection 4.
(3)
The residual land of the original tract remaining after subdivision of lots pursuant to Subsection 5.
(1)
The 10% of the original tract allocated for residential development with Agricultural District dwelling units under Subsection 3.
(2)
Those lots upon which an Agricultural District dwelling unit is permitted pursuant to the schedule of Subsection 4.
FARMETTE
A parcel of land proposed for subdivision from or subdivided from an original tract for agricultural purposes where such parcel is 10 acres or greater in size.
(1)
The one lot allowed to be used for an Agricultural District dwelling unit on or comprising the agricultural residue.
(2)
The one lot allowed to be used for an Agricultural District dwelling unit on its own separately subdivided lot if the property owner elects to subdivide the original tract without thereafter having the right to place an Agricultural District dwelling unit on the agricultural residue.
ORIGINAL TRACT
Portion of each tract of land that is within Lower Mount Bethel Township and also is within the agricultural district, as that tract existed as of the effective date of this chapter, and as further clarified by Subsection 2.
PRIME AGRICULTURAL LAND
Land, as defined in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10107, used for agricultural purposes which contains Class I, Class II or Class III soils as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource and Conservation Services County Soil Survey. It is intended that prime agricultural land shall include all land which contains such Class I, II or III soils as previously set forth, even if such land is not then actively being used for agricultural purposes, as long as such land has not already been developed for another purpose and is therefore potentially available for agricultural use at some future time.
SOIL SURVEY
The United States Department of Agricultural Natural Resources and Conservation Services Soil Survey of Northampton County, Pennsylvania (dated 1974).
2. 
Original Tract.
A. 
If a tract is located partly in the Agricultural District and partly in a different zoning district, then only the acreage in the Agricultural District shall be considered as part of the original tract for purposes of this chapter.
B. 
If a tract of land or a portion of a tract is preserved for agriculture through a recorded covenant or easement that permanently precludes development, such preserved land shall be included in the calculation of the original tract size for the purpose of determining the maximum percentage of the original tract that may be used for the subdivision, construction of Agricultural District dwelling units or other permitted development, provided that no proposed use of such a preserved tract of land violates the terms of the recorded covenant or easement. Once a tract of preserved land is used in the above-mentioned calculation of the size of an original tract, it shall not be used in the calculation of another original tract.
C. 
The determination of what land is included in the original tract shall be based on the tract of land as it exists as of the effective date of this chapter. Neither any subsequent subdivision or conveyance of land, nor any change to this chapter which does not expressly address the determination of what land is included in the original tract, shall affect the determination of what comprises an original tract or be construed to affect the original tract. These provisions shall be applicable to each original tract reflected by the Northampton County Tax Parcel Identifiers at the time of the effective date of this chapter. The purpose of, in effect, freezing tract sizes by this provision, is to eliminate the possibility of repeated subdivisions into smaller and smaller tracts each thereafter entitled to the maximum amount of allowable development pursuant to other sections of this chapter.
D. 
Property owners who own two or more contiguous original tracts may combine original tracts for the purpose of calculating and determining the developable acreage that may be used for location of Agricultural District dwelling units pursuant to Subsection 3.
E. 
A property owner may subdivide a parcel of less than 12 acres from the original tract as long as (1) any such subdivided parcel is consolidated by deed with an adjoining parcel immediately following recording of the subdivision plan, (2) such consolidated parcel shall be 12 or more acres in size, and (3) the residue of the original tract (from which the parcel of less than 12 acres is being subdivided) shall be 12 or more acres following the subdivision. The entitlement to one Agricultural District dwelling unit on each subdivided lot as provided by Subsection 3 or 5 shall not apply to any parcel of less than 12 acres that is subdivided from an original tract under this Subsection 2.
F. 
If a property owner chooses to consolidate the owner's contiguous original tracts, the owner subdividing pursuant to Subsection 3 or 5 will be entitled to one farmstead lot for every original tract existing prior to the consolidation; in other words, it is not intended that consolidation of original tracts will result in the loss of the farmstead lot allowable for an original tract. All lots must comply with all applicable provisions of this chapter, including, but not limited to, § 27-604, Subsections 1 through 6.
3. 
One Lot plus 10% of the Original Tract May Be Used for Agricultural District Dwelling Units.
A. 
No more than one lot (the farmstead lot) plus 10% of the original tract (the developable acreage) shall be used for the purpose of Agricultural District dwelling units. Under this section, each original tract is entitled to one farmstead lot on which an Agricultural District dwelling unit may be located in addition to the developable acreage that may be used for the location of Agricultural District dwelling units. The agricultural residue shall be used as or for the farmstead lot and for allowable uses of the Agricultural District other than Agricultural District dwelling units.
B. 
Developable acreage shall include areas allocated for: perimeter road rights-of-way; other road rights-of-way; lots; private roads and access ways; easements, facilities, pipes, structures and systems, whether above or below ground, intended for use, in whole or in part, for well or water service, sanitary sewer, septic service, access roads, stormwater management, groundwater recharge and any public or private utility.
C. 
As an alternative to development pursuant to this Subsection 3 and in the discretion of the property owner, the property owner may subdivide the Original Tract in accordance with Subsection 4 or 5, but not both.
4. 
The Original Tract May Be Subdivided into 10 acre or Greater Farmettes.
A. 
The property owner may elect to subdivide the original tract into as many farmettes which are 10 acres or larger as the original tract will allow. However, the residue of the original tract shall not be less than 10 acres upon completion of subdivision under this subsection.
B. 
Under this subsection, each farmette is entitled to one Agricultural District dwelling unit.
C. 
All farmettes created pursuant to this subsection shall have frontage on existing public roads. All lots must comply with all applicable provisions of this chapter, including, but not limited to, § 27-604, Subsections 1 through 6.
D. 
Conditional use approval may be granted by the Board of Supervisors to allow the creation of lots without frontage on an existing public road in accordance with § 27-801, Subsection 8A or B, and other applicable sections when the other requirements of this chapter will be met.
E. 
If a property owner/applicant proposes to create any lots with no frontage on existing public roads, all infrastructure associated with such subdivision or land development shall be located on the lots other than the agricultural residue, with the sole exception being access roads allowed by conditional use approval. For purposes of this subsection, except for access roads allowed by conditional use approval, the infrastructure to be located on lots other than the agricultural residue, includes but is not limited to, private driveways and access ways; easements, facilities, pipes, structures and systems, whether above or below ground, intended for use, in whole or in part, for well or water service, sanitary sewer, septic service, stormwater management, groundwater recharge and any public or private utility.
F. 
As an alternative to development pursuant to this subsection, and in the discretion of the property owner, the property owner may subdivide the original tract in accordance with Subsection 3 or Subsection 5, but not both.
5. 
The original tract may be developed in accordance with the following schedule:
A. 
The property owner may subdivide the original tract in accordance with the following schedule:
Original Tract Size
Permitted Number of Lots
12-15 acres
2 lots
> 15-30 acres
3 lots
> 30-60 acres
4 lots
> 60-90 acres
5 lots
> 90-120 acres
6 lots
> 120-150 acres
7 lots
> 150 acres
8 lots plus 1 lot for each 30 acres >150 acres
B. 
Under this subsection, each original tract is entitled to one farmstead lot on which an Agricultural District dwelling unit may be located in addition to the number of lots permitted under the schedule within Subsection 5A. The agricultural residue shall be used as or for the farmstead lot and for other allowable uses of the agricultural district.
C. 
Each lot, as permitted under the schedule of this subsection, is entitled to one Agricultural District dwelling unit.
D. 
All lots created pursuant to this subsection shall have frontage on existing public roads. All lots must comply with all applicable provisions of this chapter, including, but not limited to, § 27-604, Subsections 1 through 6.
E. 
Conditional use approval may be granted by the Board of Supervisors to allow the creation of lots without frontage on an existing public road in accordance with § 27-801, Subsection 8A or B, and other applicable sections when the other requirements of this chapter will be met.
F. 
If a property owner/applicant proposes to create any lots with no frontage on existing public roads, all infrastructure associated with such subdivision or land development shall be located on the lots other than the Agricultural Residue, with the sole exception being access roads allowed by conditional use approval. For purposes of this subsection, except for access roads allowed by conditional use approval, the infrastructure to be located on lots other than the agricultural residue, includes, but is not limited to, private driveways and access ways; easements, facilities, pipes, structures and systems, whether above or below ground, intended for use, in whole or in part, for well or water service, sanitary sewer, septic service, stormwater management, groundwater recharge and any public or private utility.
G. 
As an alternative to development pursuant to this Subsection 5, and in the discretion of the property owner, the property owner may subdivide the Original Tract in accordance with Subsection 3 or 4, but not both.
6. 
Agricultural District Dwelling Units must Be Located on Contiguous Lots.
A. 
All Agricultural District dwelling units permitted by Subsection 3 and Subsection 5, must be located on contiguous lots. "Contiguous" means that any subdivided lot or tract must share a common boundary with another subdivided lot or tract, regardless of how small in length, or share a common point of connection. Lots or tracts on opposite sides of a public or private road will not be considered to be contiguous, unless the road is a road that is not previously existing and is constructed as part of the subdivision of the original tract. However, any lot subdivided under Subsection 5 that is classified as a ten-acre or larger farmette need not be contiguous to any other lot(s) subdivided under Subsection 5.
B. 
The purpose of this section is to cluster Agricultural District dwelling units and to allow the largest tract of agricultural residue possible to reduce the amount of land devoted to roads, stormwater management, utilities and other infrastructure in an effort to minimize interference with the then existing agricultural uses, as well as potential, future agricultural uses.
C. 
Conditional use approval may be granted by the Board of Supervisors to allow the creation of noncontiguous lots for Agricultural District dwelling units in accordance with § 27-802, Subsection 7, and other applicable sections when the other requirements of Subsection 3 or Subsection 5, will be met and noncontiguous lots, rather than contiguous lots for Agricultural District dwelling units will preserve more productive agricultural land or more prime agricultural land.
7. 
Smaller Tracts Exempted. Any original tract that is less than 12 acres and in single and separate ownership as of the effective date of this chapter is exempted from the provisions of Subsections 2 through 6.
8. 
Preexisting Dwelling Units Exempted. Agricultural District dwelling units lawfully existing on an original tract at the time this chapter becomes effective shall be exempted from the provisions of Subsections 2 through 6, and shall not be counted toward the developable acreage or the farmstead lot.
9. 
Lot Size Requirements.
A. 
Every preexisting dwelling shall be located on and each farmstead lot shall be either: (1) a lot having a maximum lot size of 2.0 acres but in no case shall that lot contain more than 1.5 acres of prime agricultural land, (2) a farmette, or (3) the agricultural residue in its entirety without further subdivision.
B. 
The allowance for a farmstead lot on the agricultural residue is to assure that the agricultural residue may have at least one Agricultural District dwelling unit located on it. It is left to the landowner to determine whether that one lot consists of a maximum 2.0 acre subdivided lot containing no more than 1.5 acres of prime agricultural land, a farmette or instead is an Agricultural District dwelling unit located on the unsubdivided agricultural residue in its entirety. If a property owner chooses the farmstead lot to be a maximum 2.0 acre lot containing no more than 1.5 acres of prime agricultural land subdivided from the agricultural residue or a farmette, no additional Agricultural District dwelling units shall be permitted on the balance of the agricultural residue, it being recognized that: (1) the property owner had the opportunity to have an Agricultural District dwelling unit on the agricultural residue and instead chose to place it on a separately subdivided lot having a maximum size of 2.0 acres that contains no more than 1.5 acres of prime agricultural land or a farmette, and (2) use of the agricultural residue for other permitted uses in the zoning district, significantly including agricultural uses, is a proper, legitimate and developed use of the land.
C. 
A purpose of the 2.0 acre maximum lot size containing no more than 1.5 acres of prime agricultural land set forth in this Subsection 9 is to maintain the Agricultural Residue as a contiguous tract in order to facilitate its use for agricultural activities.
D. 
All lots created pursuant to this chapter shall be of a size that either is not in excess of two acres or is 10 or more acres in size. Lots created pursuant to Subsections 3 and 5 shall be either: (1) a minimum of 1/2 acre and not to exceed two acres but in no case containing more than 1.5 acres of prime agricultural land; or (2) a minimum of 10 acres. While siting of an approved on-lot well, septic system and backup drain field are not addressed by this chapter specifically, the minimum lot size allowance of this chapter shall not be construed to suggest that any property owner be entitled to a waiver or a variance from other governing ordinances and/or regulations regarding such matters, including and without limitation, well and septic isolation distances and requirements. In laying out a subdivision pursuant to Subsection 3 or 5, the property owner may propose lots between and including 1/2 acre and two acres as well as lots equal to or exceeding 10 acres so long as the lots comply with all other requirements of this chapter.
For example, a property owner who subdivides an original tract under Subsection 5 may create a ten-acre or larger farmette for each and any lot provided under the schedule of Subsection 5A. However, the agricultural residue of the original tract shall not be less than 10 acres upon election of this alternative.
E. 
With respect to any lot consisting of 10 acres or more, no more than 1.5 acres of prime agricultural land and two acres overall shall be used for the Agricultural District dwelling unit accessory uses and structures, stormwater management, well, septic system, utilities and other infrastructure, and the balance of each such lot shall remain available for agricultural purposes.
F. 
Conditional use approval may be granted by the Board of Supervisors to allow an agricultural residue less than 10 acres when an applicant demonstrates that the lots created pursuant to this chapter are the minimum permissible size permitted by this chapter and that the agricultural residue is as close to the ten-acre minimum size as possible under the circumstances.
10. 
Soil Characteristics.
A. 
For subdivision pursuant to Subsection 3, developable acreage shall be configured so as to (1) include the maximum amount of the least agriculturally productive land, and (2) minimize interference with existing or potential future agricultural production.
B. 
In accordance with Subsection 10A for subdivision pursuant to Subsection 3, the least agriculturally productive land shall be ranked as follows (from least productive to most productive):
(1) 
Soils which fall within the capability classes V through VIII, as set forth in the soil survey.
(2) 
Those areas which cannot feasibly be farmed due to (a) existing features of the site, such as rock outcroppings, rock too close to the surface to permit plowing, swamps, being heavily wooded, or slopes of the area exceeding 15%; or (b) the size or shape of the area being ill-suited for farming and/or insufficient to permit efficient use of farm machinery and equipment.
(3) 
Soils which fall within capability class IV, as set forth in the soil survey.
C. 
In the case of subdivision pursuant to Subsection 3 where less than 10% of the original tract consists of land which meets the criteria of Subsection 10B above, the property owner may use more agriculturally productive land for the developable acreage after all of the least agriculturally productive lands (i.e., those meeting the criteria of Subsection 10B have been included in the developable acreage.
D. 
For subdivision pursuant to Subsection 3, the property owner/applicant shall have the burden of proving that the land sought to be used as the developable acreage meets the criteria set forth in this subsection.
E. 
For subdivision pursuant to Subsection 3, conditional use approval may be granted by the Board of Supervisors in accordance with § 27-802, Subsection 8, to allow the developable acreage to be located on soil capability classes which are identified in Subsection 10B as less agriculturally productive but not classified as such in the soil survey.
11. 
Disclosure and Notice.
A. 
Traditionally, farming practices and residential uses have been somewhat incompatible because of conflict with traffic, noise and odor. The agricultural residue of the original tract and farmettes may be used for farming-related uses as set forth in § 27-604, Subsection 1, of this chapter. The activities, practices, equipment and procedures that farmers adopt, use or engage in relative to the production and preparation for market of poultry, livestock and their products and in the production, harvesting and preparation for market or use of agricultural, agronomic, horticultural, silvicultural and agroncultural crops and commodities, and the Township's regulation thereof, are regulated by Pennsylvania Right-to-Farm Law, 3 P.S. § 851 et seq.
B. 
Any deed transferring any farmstead lot, any lot or unit created out of the developable acreage or any lot created as a farmette under Subsection 4 shall include the following notice in bold text: "The parcel of land conveyed hereby is located within the Agricultural Zoning District of Lower Mount Bethel Township. The lot/unit was created pursuant to the Township's Comprehensive Agricultural Protection Zoning Ordinance ("CAPZO") regulations. The lot/unit is located in close proximity to lands zoned for agricultural use, upon which the owner (or tenant) thereof may, to the extent consistent with then existing zoning regulations, or, if applicable, as an allowed nonconforming use, engage (1) in the production and preparation for market of poultry, livestock and their products; (2) in the production, harvesting and preparation for market or use of agricultural, agronomic, horticultural, silvicultural and agroncultural crops and commodities; and (3) in the use of equipment in the course thereof. By accepting this deed, the grantee shall be deemed to acknowledge the noise, odors, traffic patterns, etc., which may be associated with farming activities on other properties in Lower Mount Bethel Township and neighboring communities."
C. 
Any deed transferring any parcel, lot or unit in the Agricultural Zoning District that has been created pursuant to the Township's Comprehensive Agricultural Protection Zoning Ordinance ("CAPZO") regulations (i.e., any parcel, lot or unit other than the original tract in its entirety) shall include the following notice in bold text: "The parcel of land conveyed hereby is located within the Agricultural Zoning District of Lower Mount Bethel Township. The land or unit hereby conveyed was created pursuant to the Township's CAPZO regulations. By accepting this deed, the grantee shall be deemed to have acknowledged that use and subdivision of this land is subject to the provisions of the CAPZO so long as and to the extent that such CAPZO provisions remain in effect."
D. 
Every subdivision plan and land development plan involving lands in the Agricultural District shall contain plan notes and labeling, legends, etc., on plan sheets, as appropriate, identifying and explaining at a minimum, the following:
(1) 
Each lot or unit allocated for an Agricultural District dwelling unit.
(2) 
The agricultural residue.
(3) 
The developable acreage.
(4) 
Any farmstead lot.
(5) 
The original tract.
(6) 
Any farmette created under Subsection 4.
(7) 
Any lot created under Subsection 3 or Subsection 5.
(8) 
Any exempted preexisting dwelling units.
(9) 
Deed disclosures and notices as required by Subsections 11B and C.
(10) 
A designation of the lot size determination for the farmstead lot pursuant to Subsection 10B.
(11) 
Conditional use approval(s) received and any conditions imposed upon the grant of such approval(s).
(12) 
Any zoning relief received and any conditions imposed upon the grant of such zoning relief, including if applicable, any favorable ordinance interpretations by the Zoning Hearing Board.
(13) 
Soil characteristics of the original tract, whether determined by the soil survey or otherwise through the conditional use approval process. Specifically, the plan shall include identification of prime agricultural lands, lands falling within soil capability classes V through VIII, and the next, least agriculturally productive lands in accordance with Subsections 10C and 10D.
(14) 
The election pursuant to Subsection 12.
(15) 
Any other details relative to all or any part of the original tract pursuant to this section deemed to be relevant for inclusion by the Township.
12. 
Election of Subdivision Option. When a property owner first subdivides the original tract pursuant to either Subsection 3, Subsection 4 or Subsection 5, such election shall be binding on the entire original tract, including without limitation any authorized future subdivision of the agricultural residue. By way of example only, if a property owner elects to create farmettes out of the original tract pursuant to Subsection 4, and proceeds to subdivide only a portion of the entire original tract into farmettes, the property owner may not at a later date propose to subdivide any part of the agricultural residue pursuant to Subsection 3 or 5. Any further subdivision must be in accordance with Subsection 4. As an additional example, if a property owner elects to subdivide fewer lots than permitted under Subsection 5, the property owner may thereafter subdivide only additional lots which will cumulatively total the number of lots which could have been subdivided under Subsection 5 as of the effective date of this chapter. Nothing in this subsection shall affect or be construed to affect the property owner's ability to choose the size of the lots as set forth in this subsection.
[Ord. 123, 4/5/1972, § 650; as amended by Ord. 1984-1, 2-1984]
1. 
Permitted Uses.
A. 
Outdoor recreation areas such as parks, playgrounds or picnic grounds.
B. 
Tree nurseries.
C. 
Commercial forests.
D. 
Agricultural land uses, buildings and activities relating to the growing of field, truck, tree crops and animal husbandry.
E. 
Grazing and pasturing.
2. 
Accessory Uses.
A. 
Accessory uses and structures customarily incidental to a permitted outdoor recreation use such as parking areas, refreshment stands and concessions, fire places, pavilions and picnic tables provided that such accessory uses are operated only when the main use is open and are being used in conjunction with the main use.
B. 
Signs, pursuant to § 27-804.
3. 
Special Exception Use.
A. 
Single-family detached dwelling, sectional ranch house, mobile home, seasonal dwelling.
4. 
Lot Area, Width, Building Coverage and Height Regulations.
Minimum Lot Area
Minimum Lot Width
Maximum Bldg. Coverage of Lot
Maximum Building Height
All Permitted Uses
3 acres
300 feet
5%
35 feet
5. 
Minimum Yard Requirements.
Front Yard
Each Side Yard
Side Yard With Abutting Street
Rear Yard
All Permitted Uses
50 feet or pursuant to § 27-801, Subsection 8
30 feet
50 feet
50 feet
6. 
Site Plan Review.
A. 
Required for all special exception uses pursuant to the provisions of §§ 27-603, 27-806 and 27-908.
B. 
Required for all other permitted uses listed in the District pursuant to the provisions of §§ 27-603, 27-806 and 27-908.
[Ord. 123, 4/5/1972, § 660; as amended by A.O.]
1. 
Permitted Uses.
A. 
Outdoor recreation purposes which do not require the installation of equipment or structures including such activities as hiking, nature study, wildlife and waterfowl preservation.
2. 
Accessory Uses.
A. 
None.
3. 
Special Exception Use.
A. 
None.
4. 
Site Plan Review.
A. 
Required for all uses pursuant to the provisions of §§ 27-603, 27-806 and 27-908.
5. 
See Chapter 8, "Floodplains" for all requirements.