City of Harrisburg, PA
Dauphin County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Harrisburg 7-8-2014 by Ord. No. 5-2014.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
CROSS REFERENCES
Appeals from Zoning Hearing Board — see Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code §§ 1001-A to 1006-A, 53 P.S. §§ 11001-A to 11006-A.
Appointment and powers of Zoning Officer — see Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code § 614, 53 P.S. § 10614.
Building permits — see Chapter 8-101.
Enforcement remedies — see Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code § 617.2.
Sign regulations — see Chapter 7-325.
Nonconforming uses and structures — see Chapter 7-321.
Special exceptions and variances — see Chapter 7-323.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Part Three, 7-300, composed of Ord. Nos. 112-1964, 17-1965, 79-1965, 13-1974, 29-1974, 30-1974, 13-1977, 26-1977, 19-1985, 6-1988, 25-1993, 26-1995, 10-1996, 61-1996 and 3-2012, as amended.

§ 7-303.1 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to describe the responsibilities of the Zoning Officer, the process for approval of zoning permits, the procedures to amend the Zoning Code, enforcement provisions, and other related items.

§ 7-303.2 Applicability.

This chapter applies to all requests for construction or expansion of buildings or structures, including parking and signs, and requests for a change of use in the City of Harrisburg. Any activity regulated by the Zoning Code shall only occur in conformity with the regulations of the Zoning Code.

§ 7-303.3 Minimum requirements.

The provisions of this Zoning Code, as amended from time to time, shall be interpreted as the minimum requirements to promote public health, safety, morals, and general welfare. Where more than one provision of this Zoning Code controls a particular matter, the provision that is more restrictive upon uses and structures shall apply. The provisions of this Zoning Code are in addition to any other applicable City ordinance. Any activity regulated by this Zoning Code shall only occur in such a way that conforms to the regulations of this Zoning Code. All applicants are presumed to be on notice regarding the requirements of this Code and any amendments thereto.

§ 7-303.4 Reasonable accommodation.

The City of Harrisburg complies with the Federal Fair Housing Act, as amended, and will ensure that policies and regulations do not discriminate against persons on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or family status. The City shall grant requests for reasonable accommodation if such requests provide equal housing opportunity to persons with disabilities and do not constitute substantial changes of the Zoning Code. Written requests for reasonable accommodation shall be submitted to the Zoning Officer. Requests for reasonable accommodation will be treated as administrative decisions. The Zoning Officer will provide a written response to the request within 30 days unless additional information is requested by the Zoning Officer.

§ 7-303.5 Zoning Officer.

A. 
The provisions of this Zoning Code shall be administered and enforced by the Zoning Officer, who shall be appointed by the Mayor after meeting the qualifications established by the City for the Zoning Officer. The Zoning Officer shall not hold any elective office within the City but may hold other appointed offices. In the case of the absence of the Zoning Officer, the Deputy Director for Planning will be the Acting Zoning Officer.
B. 
The duties of the Zoning Officer(s) shall be:
(1) 
To be responsible for keeping the Zoning Code and the Official Zoning Map up to date, including any amendments to the Zoning Code;
(2) 
Administer the Zoning Code according to its literal term, including receiving and examining all applications required under the terms of this Zoning Code and issuing or refusing to issue permits within the provisions of this Zoning Code;
(3) 
Conduct inspections to determine compliance and receive complaints of violation of this Zoning Code. In determining compliance with this Zoning Code, the Zoning Officer shall have the right to enter property or structures at a reasonable hour in the course of his/her duties, within the limitations of the law;
(4) 
Keep records of applications, permits, certificates, written decisions, special exceptions, and variances granted by the Zoning Hearing Board, and of enforcement orders, with all such records being the property of the City and being available for public inspection;
(5) 
Review proposed subdivision and land development plans for compliance with this Zoning Code;
(6) 
Determine the date before which steps for compliance must be commenced and the date before which the steps must be completed. The Zoning Officer shall determine an appropriate duration of time for compliance of the specified activity; not to exceed 30 days. Extensions up to a total of 90 days from the date of receipt of the enforcement notice may be granted at the discretion of the Zoning Officer if applied for in writing;
(7) 
Take enforcement actions as provided by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as amended;[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
(8) 
Issue informal letters requesting compliance, issue stop, cease, and desist orders, issue enforcement notices, and initiate such other enforcement actions as provided by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as amended;
(9) 
Carry out determinations on nonconforming uses, provide forms for registration of nonconforming uses, and keep updated records of nonconforming uses;
(10) 
Determine the literal meaning of provisions of this Zoning Code, within the provisions of Chapter 7-333, Definitions;
(11) 
Make such other determinations as are specified in this Zoning Code; and
(12) 
Have no power to permit any activity which does not conform to this Zoning Code.

§ 7-303.6 Types of uses.

A. 
The Zoning Officer shall review and issue zoning permits based on the type of use, as described below:
(1) 
Permitted by right use. The Zoning Officer shall issue a zoning permit for a use that is permitted by right if it meets all of the requirements of the Zoning Code.
(2) 
Special exception. The Zoning Officer shall issue a zoning permit for a use that is permitted by special exception only in response to a written approval from the Zoning Hearing Board, following a hearing, and compliance with any conditions by the Zoning Hearing Board and any conditions of the Zoning Code.
(3) 
Variance. The Zoning Officer shall issue a zoning permit for a variance requesting relief from specific development standards only in response to a written approval from the Zoning Hearing Board, following a hearing, and compliance with any conditions by the Zoning Hearing Board and any conditions of the Zoning Code.

§ 7-303.7 Applications for zoning permits.

A. 
A zoning permit shall be obtained from the Zoning Officer prior to any or all of the following:
(1) 
Construction, erection, reconstruction, expansion or enlargement of any structure or portion thereof when such activity is reasonably valued at or greater than $1,000 or any other amount established by City Council;
(2) 
Any change or expansion of the use of any structure or any land, including but not limited to the conversion, improvement, or use of land for parking purposes;
(3) 
Construction, erection, placement, or expansion of any sign as regulated under Chapter 7-325, Signs;
(4) 
Construction or activity within a Floodplain District as regulated by Chapter 7-315; or
(5) 
Alteration, new construction, or demolition of any building or structure within a municipal historic district as regulated by Chapter 7-317.
B. 
All requests for zoning permits required under this Code shall:
(1) 
Be made in writing by the owner or lessee of any building, structure, or parcel, or by an authorized agent on forms provided by the City; provided, however, that if the application is made by a person other than the owner or lessee, it shall be accompanied by a written authorization of the owner or the qualified person making the application, that the proposed work is authorized by the owner. The full names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of the owner, lessee, applicant, and of the responsible officers, if the owner or lessee is a corporate body, shall be stated in the application;
(2) 
Include a statement of the existing use and proposed use of the land and/or structure;
(3) 
Be accompanied by two copies of a site plan, drawn to scale, showing:
(a) 
Boundaries and dimensions of the lot, including boundaries of individual tax parcels located on the lot;
(b) 
Location, height, and dimensions of existing and proposed structures, including existing and proposed parking, with existing structures, expansion of structures, and proposed new structures being clearly distinguished;
(c) 
For a change of use, the portion(s) of the structure or land affected by the change of use;
(d) 
A North arrow;
(e) 
Names of adjacent streets; and
(f) 
Existing and proposed landscaping.
(4) 
Copies of applicable permits and appropriate approvals from other agencies of government, or copies of completed applications for such permits or approvals; and
(5) 
Such additional information as the Zoning Officer deems necessary to determine compliance with this Code.
C. 
Plans for the use or improvement of land for new or expanded parking facilities shall fully describe surface water drainage facilities, driveways, and the other requirements relative thereto as set forth in Chapter 7-327, Off-Street Parking and Loading.
D. 
A zoning permit shall only authorize the construction, type of use, and/or other activity stated on such permit although application for the same may be included on the building permit application form. However, a zoning permit shall not by itself authorize the occupancy of any new structure, nor shall it authorize the activation of any new or changed use.
E. 
In response to a complete, accurate, and duly submitted application, the Zoning Officer shall determine if the proposed application fully complies with the requirements of this Zoning Code as follows:
(1) 
If the application for a permitted by-right use is complete, the Zoning Officer should endeavor to make such determination within seven days following the date after the application was made. If the Zoning Officer determines that the application fully complies with this Zoning Code, he/she shall issue a zoning permit;
(2) 
Such permit is conditioned upon any other necessary City approvals, such as approval under the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance;[1] or
[1]
Editor's Note: See Part 5, 7-500, Subdivision Regulations.
(3) 
If the Zoning Officer determines that the application does not fully comply with the Zoning Code, he/she shall deny the zoning permit and shall supply, within 10 days following the date after application was made, written evidence of the denial to the applicant or his/her representative at his/her last known address, together with one or more reason(s) for the denial.
F. 
After all applicable permits have been received by the applicant, the applicant may undertake the action specified, in compliance with other City Ordinances. However, applicants shall be advised to wait 30 days to begin construction if there is a possibility of an appeal by another party. Any commencement of construction or a use within this thirty-day appeal period shall be at the risk of the applicant.
G. 
The Zoning Officer shall have the authority to void any zoning permit at any time after six months following the date of issuance of the zoning permit if the Zoning Officer determines that the permittee has not substantially initiated and pursued the action(s) for which the permit was issued. A zoning permit shall not be voided after a certificate of compliance has been issued. Appeals from the voiding of a zoning permit may be made to the Zoning Hearing Board, or the permittee may file an application for a new permit.
H. 
If a zoning permit is issued involving a structure, then the entire structure shall be made available for inspection by the Zoning Officer.

§ 7-303.8 Fees.

A. 
The schedule of fees for zoning permits, certificates of compliance, inspections, statements of nonconformity, and other determinations, applications, appeals, and approvals under this Zoning Code shall be published and revised from time to time by the Department of Housing and Building Development, or his/her successor, as provided in § 2-301.8.
B. 
No application or appeal under this Zoning Code shall be considered complete and no permit shall be issued until all fees required under this Zoning Code are paid in full.

§ 7-303.9 Other codes.

A. 
The Uniform Construction Code and the International Property Maintenance Code, as adopted, amended, and supplemented, shall govern and control the classes, types, and manner of construction, erection, reconstruction, alteration, expansion, or enlargement of all structures or uses in the City.
B. 
Every application under this Zoning Code shall also comply with all provisions of the City of Harrisburg Subdivision and Land Development Code,[1] if applicable.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Part 5, 7-500, Subdivision Regulations.

§ 7-303.10 Suspension of permits and approvals.

A. 
The Zoning Officer shall revoke, withhold, or suspend a permit or approval issued under the provisions of the Zoning Code in the case of one or more of the following:
(1) 
Any false statement or misrepresentation of fact in the application or on the plans on which the permit or approval was based;
(2) 
Violation of any condition imposed by the Zoning Hearing Board upon a special exception use or variance;
(3) 
Any work being accomplished or use of land or structures in such a way that does not comply with this Zoning Code or an approved site plan or approved permit application; or
(4) 
Violation of any applicable portion of the City of Harrisburg Zoning Code.

§ 7-303.11 Interpretation and uses not regulated.

A. 
When more than one provision of this Code controls a particular matter, the provision that is more restrictive upon uses and structures shall apply. The provisions of this Code are in addition to any other applicable ordinance.
B. 
When a proposed use is not specifically prohibited by this Code within any zoning district according to Chapter 7-305, the applicant may request a special exception and the Zoning Hearing Board may permit such use as a special exception if the applicant specifically proves to the satisfaction of the Zoning Hearing Board that all of the following conditions would be met:
(1) 
Proposed use would be less intensive in external impacts and nuisances than uses that are permitted in the zoning district;
(2) 
Proposed use would be closely similar in impacts and character to uses permitted in that zoning district; and
(3) 
Proposed use would meet the standards that would apply under Chapter 7-323, Special Exceptions and Variances.
C. 
The Zoning Officer shall literally apply the wording of this Code and the location of all zoning district boundaries to applications. In any case, the Zoning Officer may also request an advisory opinion from the City of Harrisburg City Solicitor or the Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor to aid in the Zoning Officer's determination.
D. 
If an applicant disagrees with the Zoning Officer's determination and believes that the ordinance should be interpreted in the applicant's favor, the applicant may appeal the determination to the Zoning Hearing Board.

§ 7-303.12 Enforcement.

In the addition to the remedies set forth in Chapter 7-701:
A. 
All of the enforcement, causes of action, enforcement remedies, violations and penalty provisions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code,[1] as amended, shall apply and are hereby included by reference;
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
B. 
If it appears to the Zoning Officer that a violation of any Zoning Code provision has occurred, the Zoning Officer shall institute enforcement proceedings by sending an enforcement notice as provided herein. Prior to sending an official enforcement notice, the Zoning Officer may, at his/her option, informally notify the owner of a suspected or known violation through a written or verbal communication and request voluntary compliance;
C. 
The enforcement notice shall be sent to the owner of record of the land on which the violation has occurred, to any person who has filed a written request to receive enforcement notices regarding that parcel, and to any other person requested in writing by the owner of record; and
D. 
At a minimum, an official enforcement notice shall state the following:
(1) 
The name of the owner of record and any other person against whom the City intends to take action;
(2) 
The location or street address of the property allegedly in violation;
(3) 
The specific alleged violation with a description of the requirements which have not been met, citing in each instance the applicable provisions of the Zoning Code;
(4) 
A deadline to complete all steps necessary to bring the property into full compliance with this Zoning Code. Such deadline shall be 30 calendar days after the date the notice was postmarked or delivered to the applicant, whichever is earlier, unless the Zoning Officer specifically determines that a different deadline is appropriate and necessary considering the severity of the particular type of violation and the difficulty of bringing the property into compliance;
(5) 
That the recipient of the notice has the right to officially file a written appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board within 30 days after receipt of the notice, unless a different period is stated in the notice; and
(6) 
That failure to comply with the notice within the time specified, unless extended by appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board, shall constitute a violation of the Zoning Code, with possible sanctions clearly described in the notice.

§ 7-303.13 Appeals.

A. 
A party with legitimate standing, or as otherwise provided by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code,[1] may appeal decisions under this Zoning Code within the provisions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code. These appeals include but are not limited to:
(1) 
Appeal of a decision regarding the issuance of a permit by the Zoning Officer to the Zoning Hearing Board; or
(2) 
Appeal of the manner in which the Zoning Officer has literally interpreted the text of the Code to the Zoning Hearing Board; or
(3) 
Appeal of a special exception or variance decision by the Zoning Hearing Board to the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
B. 
Any such appeal shall occur within the time period established in Sections 914.1 and 1002-A of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code,[2] as amended.
[2]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. §§ 10914.1 and 11002-A. 
C. 
The provisions for appeals to court that are stated in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as amended, shall apply.

§ 7-303.14 Changes to approved plans.

A. 
After the issuance of a permit and/or approval of a site plan under this Zoning Code by the City, such permit and/or approved site plan shall not be changed without the written consent of the Zoning Officer.
B. 
Changes to an application approved by the Zoning Hearing Board shall require approval of the changes by the Zoning Hearing Board with advice from the Planning Commission if the Zoning Officer determines that such changes significantly affect matters that are within the jurisdiction or conditions of their approval. Such reapproval by the Zoning Hearing Board is not required for minor technical adjustments or corrections of information that do not affect the significant features of the site plan and the intensity of the use, as determined by the Zoning Officer.

§ 7-303.15 Zoning Code amendments.

A. 
Amendment authority. Within the requirements of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, the City Council may amend, supplement, change, or repeal, any or all portions of this Zoning Code, including the Official Zoning Map. Any amendment, supplement, change, or repeal may be initiated by the Harrisburg Planning Commission, the City Council, or by an interested person.
B. 
Amendment application. Any request for amendment of the Zoning Code (including amendment, supplement, change, or repeal) by any person or entity, including the City Staff, Planning Commission, City Council, or committee appointed by the City Council or under the direct oversight of any such entity, shall include the following:
(1) 
A statement of why the change would be in the best interests of the City, including conformance with the City's Comprehensive Plan and neighborhood plans;
(2) 
A statement addressing any adverse affects on adjacent properties;
(3) 
A statement addressing any major traffic access or congestion concerns;
(4) 
A map showing the proposed boundaries of any proposed map changes, the existing zoning of the subject land and of adjacent lands, and the current uses of adjacent lots; and
(5) 
Completion of a Zoning Text Amendment Application or Zoning Map Amendment Application; and
(6) 
Payment of fees as set forth in § 7-303.8.
C. 
Proposed zoning amendments shall be referred to the Dauphin County Planning Commission at least 30 days prior to the review of the proposed amendments by the Harrisburg Planning Commission.
D. 
After receiving a recommendation from the Harrisburg Planning Commission on an amendment to the Zoning Code, the City Council shall conduct a public hearing to inform the general public of the nature of the amendment, and to obtain public comment. The City Council shall conduct a public hearing on a proposed amendment after public notice has been given and will hold its first public hearing within 90 days from the date of the final hearing by the Harrisburg Planning Commission on the proposed zoning amendment.
E. 
The City Council shall take final action on the proposed zoning amendment within 90 days after its last public hearing. Within 30 days after enactment, a copy of the zoning amendment shall be forwarded to the Dauphin County Planning Commission.
F. 
Public notice. Public notice requirements will comply with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as amended, and will include the following requirements:
(1) 
A public notice shall be published once each week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation;
(2) 
The first publication shall not be more than 30 days and the second publication shall not be less than seven days from the date of the hearing;
(3) 
For Zoning Map amendments, public notice shall also include the posting of a sign at conspicuous locations along the perimeter of the subject property and first class mailing of the public notice shall be sent to all current property owners who own parcels within the area proposed to be rezoned at least 30 days prior to the hearing by City Council.
(4) 
If, after any public hearing held upon an amendment, the proposed amendment is changed substantially, or is revised, to include land previously not affected by it, the City Council shall hold another public hearing, pursuant to public notice, before proceeding to vote on the amendment.
G. 
Curative amendments to the Planning and Zoning Code will follow the provisions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code,[1] as amended.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.

§ 7-303.16 Liability.

A. 
Any review of activity within the floodplain, site plan review, subdivision or land development approval, erosion control review, wetland delineation review, stormwater runoff review, review of activity on steep slopes, or any other review, approval, or permit under this Zoning Code by an officer, employee, board, commission, solicitor, consultant, or agency of the City shall not constitute a representation, guarantee, or warranty of any kind by the City, or its employees, officials, boards, solicitor(s), consultants, or agencies, of the practicality or safety of any structure, use, or subdivision, and shall create no liability upon nor a cause of action against the City, such entity and/or person for any damage that may result pursuant thereto.
B. 
If the Zoning Officer mistakenly issues a permit under this Zoning Code, the City shall not be liable for any later lawful withdrawal of such permit.

§ 7-303.17 Designees.

Whenever a provision of this Zoning Code requires a City staff person to perform a review, act, or duty, that provision shall be construed as authorizing that staff person to delegate such responsibility to another City staff person under his/her authority.

§ 7-303.99 Penalty.

Chapters 7-701 and 1-305 shall apply.