Borough of Ridley Park, PA
Delaware County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The purpose of this article is to provide conditions and standards for uses permitted by special exception. In these cases, the Zoning Hearing Board may attach reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed in this article, as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter and those of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act 247, as amended.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
In any instance where the Zoning Hearing Board is required to consider a request for a special exception, the Board shall consider the following factors, where appropriate:
A. 
That the proposed use is consistent with the statement of goals and objectives as stated in the latest adopted Ridley Park Borough Comprehensive Plan and the statement of purpose for the district in which the use is proposed.
B. 
That the proposed use is appropriate for the site in question in terms of size, topography, natural features, drainage, sewage and solid waste disposal, water supply, stormwater management, accessibility and availability of public services, and that adequate provisions will be made to protect sensitive environmental features such as streams, wetlands, slopes, and mature trees.
C. 
That the proposed use is compatible with the character of the surrounding neighborhood, will not interfere with or detract from adjacent properties, and that adequate measures will be provided through building design, site layout, landscaping, planting, and operational controls to minimize any adverse impacts caused by noise, lights, glare, odors, smoke, fumes, traffic, parking, loading, and signage.
D. 
That the proposed use will serve the best interest of the Borough, convenience of the community, and the public health, safety, and welfare.
E. 
That the proposed use is suitable in terms of its effect on highway safety and traffic circulation and that access, on-site circulation, and parking are adequate.
F. 
That the proposed use will provide for adequate off-street parking, as required in Article XIV.
G. 
That the proposed use will reflect effective site planning and design in terms of energy efficiency, environmental protection, and aesthetic composition.
H. 
Financial hardship shall not be construed as a basis for granting a special exception.
In cases where this article does not provide specific standards for uses permitted by special exception, the following dimensional requirements will be applied by the Zoning Hearing Board:
A. 
In residential districts, the area, bulk, and any other applicable requirements shall be no less stringent than those for single-family dwellings in the district where the use is proposed.
B. 
In nonresidential districts, the area, bulk, and any other applicable requirements shall be no less stringent than those for the use which requires the greatest dimensions in the applicable nonresidential district.
C. 
The Zoning Hearing Board may require additional, reasonable but more stringent requirements than those required in Subsection A or B above, provided that the Board makes one or more of the following determinations:
(1) 
That the requirements of Subsections A and B above are clearly:
(a) 
Insufficient to accommodate the proposed building, facility, or use and that greater dimensional requirements would substantially alleviate that condition.
(b) 
Insufficient to provide adequate area for parking and loading, as required by Article XIV, and that greater requirements would substantially alleviate that condition.
(c) 
Insufficient to provide for lot areas and dimensions necessary to protect the adjacent area from the potential adverse impacts of the proposed use, such as noise, vibration, air pollution, and similar impacts, and that greater dimensional requirements would substantially alleviate that condition.
D. 
All parking requirements of Article XIV must be followed.
Standards that apply to public or private utility facilities or buildings are as follows:
A. 
If located within a residential, open space, or agricultural zone, the applicant must demonstrate that the selected location is necessary for public service and convenience and that the use cannot be supplied with equal effectiveness if located elsewhere.
B. 
If located within a residential zone, all buildings and structures shall be designed, to the extent possible, to have the exterior appearance of a residence.
C. 
In any residential zone, the outdoor storage of vehicles or equipment used in the maintenance of a utility shall not be permitted; in nonresidential zones, all outdoor storage shall be screened from adjoining roads and properties.
D. 
There shall be no specified minimum lot size; however, each lot shall provide front, side, and rear yard setbacks and comply with the maximum lot coverage requirements as prescribed in the underlying zone.
E. 
All structures shall be set back a distance at least equal to the height of the structure from all adjoining property lines.
F. 
The use shall emit no obnoxious noise, glare, dust, odor, vibration, electrical disturbance, or any other objectionable impact beyond the subject property.
G. 
All site improvements shall be screened from all adjoining residentially zoned properties.
Private clubs or lodges shall be permitted by special exception in the R-3 Residential District in accordance with the following requirements:
A. 
Private clubs shall be operated for civic, cultural, educational, social, or recreational purposes.
B. 
The activity shall be noncommercial, nonprofit, and clearly one not customarily carried on as a business.
C. 
Each building or facility shall be for members and their guests only.
D. 
No club shall provide for eating or dining except on an incidental basis.
In the R-1, R-2, and R-3 Residential Districts, religious uses such as churches and similar buildings shall be permitted only as a special exception use, subject to the dimensional requirements listed below:
Standard
Size
Lot area
20,000 square feet minimum
Lot width
100 feet minimum
Building coverage
40% maximum
Impervious surface
60% maximum
Front yard
25 feet minimum
Side yards
25 feet minimum (each side)
Rear yard
30 feet minimum
Height
50 feet maximum
In the R-1, R-2, and R-3 Residential Districts, public or private schools shall be permitted only as a special exception, subject to the dimensional requirements listed below:
Standard
Size
Lot area
20,000 square feet minimum
Lot width
100 feet minimum
Building coverage
40% maximum
Impervious surface
60% maximum
Front yard
25 feet minimum
Side yards
25 feet minimum (each side)
Rear yard
30 feet minimum
Height
35 feet or 3 stories maximum
A. 
General provisions. The following general provisions apply to each of the three defined types of child day-care facilities. In addition, each type of child day-care facility shall comply with the specific individual regulations for each type of facility:
(1) 
Applicability.
(a) 
The provisions of this section pertain to day-care service for children by caregivers in:
[1] 
Family day-care homes (permitted by special exception in R-1, R-2, and R-3 Districts).
[2] 
Group day-care homes (permitted by special exception in C-1, C-2, and Medical Campus Districts).
[3] 
Day-care centers (permitted by special exception in C-1, C-2, and Medical Campus Districts).
(b) 
Subject to Article II, Sections 8A, 8B, and 8C of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) Social Services Manual Regulations, day-care service for children shall include out-of-home child day-care service for part of a twenty-four-hour day for children under 16 years of age by caregivers, excluding care provided by relatives. Day-care service for children shall not include babysitting or day care furnished in places of worship during religious services.
(2) 
Family day-care homes, as defined in Article II, must hold an approved and currently valid DPW registration certificate. Group day-care homes and day-care centers, as defined in Article II, must hold an approved and currently valid DPW license. In addition, all child day-care facilities shall comply with all current DPW regulations, including those standards governing adequate indoor space, accessible outdoor play space, and any applicable state or local building and firesafety codes.
(3) 
Each operator of a newly established child day-care facility shall notify the Borough in writing at least 15 days prior to the initiation of such use, for the purpose of allowing the Borough to establish a record of new land use. Already existing licensed or registered facilities shall be required to notify the Borough of its operation in writing at least 60 days after enactment of this section. In addition, the operator of any facility must certify compliance with all aspects of this section and all other applicable municipal requirements.
(a) 
Family day-care homes must provide proof of an approved DPW registration certificate at the time of initial notification to the Borough and must show proof of the registration renewal every two years. At such time that a family day-care home wishes to expand its operation to the level of a group day-care home, the operator of the facility shall notify the Borough in writing at least 15 days prior to the expansion of the use and provide proof that all requirements for licensure by DPW have been met. The operator must also satisfactorily demonstrate that the facility meets the standards for group day-care homes established in Subsection C below.
(b) 
Group day-care homes and day-care centers must provide proof of an approved and currently valid DPW license at the time of initial notification to the Borough and must provide proof of annual license renewal.
(4) 
The operator of a family day-care home, group day-care home, or day-care center will allow appropriate representatives of the Borough to enter the property at reasonable times to inspect such use for compliance with the requirements of this section and all other applicable municipal and state ordinances.
(5) 
No portion of a child-care facility shall be located within 300 feet of any potentially hazardous land use or activity which could pose a threat to the safety and welfare of the children, staff, and other occupants at the facility. Hazardous land uses or activities include, but shall not be limited to, gasoline service stations, heavy industrial operations, storage of flammable or high-pressure underground pipelines, truck or rail loading areas, etc.
(6) 
Outside play shall be limited to the hours between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
(7) 
An outdoor play area, as required by DPW regulations, shall be provided for any proposed child day-care facility.
(a) 
An on-site outdoor structured play area or areas of high outdoor activity shall be located in yard areas which provide adequate separation, safety, and protection from adjoining uses, properties, and roadways. Whenever possible, the on-site outdoor play area shall not be located in the front yard. The outdoor play area should be located immediately adjacent to the child-care facility.
(b) 
In accordance with DPW standards, a child day-care facility may utilize off-site play areas in lieu of or as a supplement to an on-site play area. These standards permit the use of off-site play areas which are located within a 1/2 mile distance of the facility, measured from the property line of the facility. When the use of an off-site play area is proposed, the applicant shall inform the municipality about the means of transportation that will be used to access the off-site play area. For reasons of safety, when children will be walked to an off-site play area, the route to the off-site play area shall not involve the crossing of avenues or state roads. Pedestrian access on sidewalks or improved walkways shall be required.
(8) 
Any addition or improvement to an existing residential structure or property for purposes of child day care shall preserve its residential character. The scale, bulk, height, and roof pitch of any addition and the building materials used shall be compatible with the existing structure. Any improvements to the structure shall be in compliance with all other applicable municipal regulations relating to building and/or zoning permits.
(9) 
Any proposed child day-care facility which will generate 100 or more new trips during the morning or evening peak hour shall be required to conduct a traffic impact study.
(a) 
The purpose of the traffic impact study is to provide the local Planning Commission and governing body with adequate information and data to properly assess the impact of the proposed facility on the surrounding road and street network, as well as on streets and roads providing immediate access to the proposed development.
(b) 
The need for capital improvements to the existing transportation network which will be needed to accommodate the additional traffic generated by the proposed facility.
(c) 
Traffic and/or pedestrian safety issues which may arise from the proposed facility.
(10) 
Day-care facilities shall not be permitted in multifamily dwellings and apartments.
B. 
Family day-care homes. Any proposed family day-care home shall comply with the following standards in addition to the general provisions for all types of child day-care facilities in Subsection A above.
(1) 
One on-site dropoff space for clients shall be provided. An existing driveway or common parking lot space may be used as the dropoff area if it can be demonstrated that there is sufficient space available in the driveway that is not otherwise occupied or committed to safely accommodate a parked vehicle. If a driveway is used for the dropoff area and the proposed use fronts on an arterial or major collector street, an on-site turnaround area shall be provided so that vehicles can exit the site driving forward. In cases where the existing driveway cannot function as a dropoff area, an on-site dropoff space shall be provided. The dropoff area shall conform to the municipal dimensional standards for residential parking spaces.
(a) 
In cases where the dropoff area cannot be accommodated on the site, the applicant shall demonstrate that there is on-street parking or some other available parking area located within 250 feet of the property line of the proposed facility.
(b) 
The required dropoff area may be waived by the municipality if the applicant can demonstrate that the clients of the family day-care home will walk to the facility, thereby eliminating the need for the additional parking space.
(2) 
If there are unsafe areas, such as open drainage ditches, wells, holes, heavy street traffic, etc. in or near an outdoor play area, there shall be fencing to restrict children from these areas. Natural or physical barriers, such as hedgerows, walls, or dense vegetation may be used in place of fencing so long as such barriers functionally restrict children from unsafe areas.
(3) 
The applicant shall demonstrate that the children in the family day-care home can safely, quickly, and easily vacate the premises in case of emergency.
(4) 
The hours of operation shall be limited to between 6:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
(5) 
The applicant shall provide the name and address of adjacent apartment dwellers to allow the municipality to notify such individuals of the proposed use. Adjacent apartments shall be considered all apartments located within 10 feet from any wall, floor, or ceiling of the proposed use.
C. 
Group day-care homes. Any proposed group day-care home shall comply with the following standards in addition to the general provisions for all types of child day-care facilities in Subsection A above:
(1) 
Minimum distance between facilities.
(a) 
In order to avoid a concentration of individual group day-care homes in residential neighborhoods, group day-care homes shall be located a minimum of 300 feet from each other as measured from the respective property lines. This dispersion requirement shall not apply in cases where a proposed group day-care home is located within 300 feet of a school facility or church which provides child-care services.
(b) 
The above requirement may be waived if the applicant provides a petition signed by 2/3 of the residents within 300 feet of the proposed facility stating that the residents do not object to the proposed use.
(2) 
Dropoff area.
(a) 
A dropoff area shall be provided with sufficient area to allow the temporary parking of two vehicles. An existing driveway or common parking lot spaces may be used as the dropoff area if it can be demonstrated that there is sufficient space available in the driveway that is not otherwise occupied or committed to safely accommodate two parked vehicles. If a driveway is used for the dropoff area and the proposed use fronts on an avenue or state road, an on-site turnaround area shall be provided so that vehicles can exit the site driving forward. In cases where the existing driveway cannot function as a dropoff area, two new on-site dropoff spaces shall be provided. The dropoff area shall conform to the municipal dimensional standards for residential parking spaces.
(b) 
In cases where the on-site dropoff area cannot be accommodated, the applicant shall demonstrate that there is on-street parking or some other available parking area located within 250 feet of the property line of the proposed facility.
(3) 
In order to physically contain the activity of children in the outdoor play area, a minimum four-foot high fence shall be erected along the perimeter of the outdoor play area. When applicable, the fence shall be located along property lines. Natural or physical barriers such as hedgerows, walls, dense vegetation, etc. may be substituted for fencing if it can be demonstrated that such barriers can effectively contain the activity of the children.
D. 
Day-care centers. Any proposed day-care center shall comply with the following standards in addition to the general provisions for all types of child day-care facilities in Subsection A above:
(1) 
A minimum of one safe dropoff space shall be provided for each 20 children that the facility is licensed to accommodate.
(a) 
Whenever possible, the dropoff area shall be located immediately adjacent to the facility. The dropoff area should be designed in such a way that pedestrians do not cross vehicular traffic lanes in any parking area or driveway. The dropoff area may be designed either as a part of the on-site parking area or the required dropoff spaces may be designed as part of a driveway providing direct access to the facility.
(b) 
When the dropoff area is incorporated into the on-site parking area, the parking spaces nearest to the facility shall be designated as dropoff spaces. When the dropoff area is incorporated into a driveway, the dropoff spaces shall be located within a vehicle turnaround area 12 feet in width exclusive of the driveway through traffic lane(s).
(2) 
In order to physically contain the activity of children in the outside play area, a minimum four-foot-high fence shall be erected along the perimeter of the outside play area. When applicable, the fence may be located along property lines. Natural or physical barriers such as hedgerows, walls, dense vegetation, etc. may be substituted for fencing if it can be demonstrated that such barriers can effectively contain the activity of the children.
(3) 
Play equipment in designated on-site play areas shall be located at least 10 feet from an abutting property line.
(4) 
The proposed day-care center shall not be detrimental to the use, development, peaceful enjoyment, and economic value of the surrounding properties or the neighborhood.
(5) 
The proposed day-care center shall be compatible with the existing character of the neighborhood.
Professional home offices or studios shall be permitted only by special exception in the R-1, R-2 and R-3 Residential Districts.
A. 
These professional home offices shall be permitted only within an existing single-family detached structure which has a lot size of not less than 15,000 square feet.
B. 
No external alterations inconsistent with the residential character of the dwelling shall be permitted.
C. 
The activity must be performed indoors without any outdoor storage.
D. 
No display of products shall be permitted.
E. 
The residential appearance of the structure shall not be altered.
F. 
There shall be only one practitioner, and not more than two employees shall be permitted at any given time.
G. 
The practice or professional office shall not occupy more than 40% of the floor area of the structure.
H. 
Signs shall be in accordance with Article XV of this chapter.
I. 
Parking shall be in accordance with Article XIV of this chapter.
Adult uses shall be permitted only as a special exception in the Industrial District.
A. 
No establishment housing or intended for an adult use shall be placed on a lot area of less than 7,500 square feet.
B. 
No adult use establishment shall be located within 500 feet of a school, church, day-care center, public library, public park or playground, or residential district.
C. 
No such establishment shall be located within 500 feet of any existing adult use.
D. 
There shall be a planted visual screen as defined in Article II and provided in accordance with § 213-114.
E. 
No obscene material, representation, or sign shall be placed or displayed so as to be visible from outside the adult establishment. Signs shall be limited to a verbal description of materials or services available on the premises and shall not include any graphic or pictorial depiction of such services or materials.
F. 
No persons under the age of 18 shall be permitted in an establishment containing adult materials.
Conversions of single-family detached dwellings and single-family semidetached dwellings shall be permitted only as a special exception in the R-2 and R-3 Residential Districts and in the C-1 and C-2 Commercial Districts, subject to the following requirements:
A. 
In order to be eligible for conversion, a dwelling shall have a minimum floor area of 1,500 square feet, excluding basement space.
B. 
The maximum number of units created by the conversion shall be two.
C. 
Two off-street parking spaces shall be required for each unit created by the conversion. Such spaces shall be paved and have direct access to a street or alley. The stacking of motor vehicles (an arrangement where it is necessary to move a given vehicle to allow another vehicle to exit) is prohibited.
D. 
No external alterations inconsistent with the residential use of the structure and the architectural character of the neighborhood shall be permitted.
E. 
Each unit shall be a complete, separate housekeeping unit that is independent of any other unit.
F. 
Where there is no sidewalk along the frontage of the property, such sidewalk shall be constructed before the conversion is permitted.
G. 
Prior to conversion, the applicant shall obtain a permit from the Zoning Officer.
H. 
All utility connections shall meet the standards of the utility company.
I. 
Applications for conversion shall contain the following items:
(1) 
Floor plan showing the layout, including all dimensions of each unit.
(2) 
Site development plan showing the location of the dwelling.
(3) 
Other existing buildings, all property lines, proposed additions, and building setback line; location, size, and extent of all rights-of-way and easements; required parking spaces; and one-hundred-year floodplain.
J. 
All plans shall be drawn to a scale of not less than one inch equals four feet for the floor plans and one inch equals 20 feet for the site development plan.
Tattoo parlors shall be permitted by special exception in the Industrial District only, subject to the requirements listed below:
A. 
The lot on which a tattoo parlor is placed or maintained shall have an area of not less than 7,500 square feet.
B. 
No person, organization, or corporation may operate a tattoo parlor unless it has obtained a certificate of registration from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
C. 
Such certificate shall be obtained annually and shall not be transferable.
D. 
The current certificate shall be posted in a prominent and conspicuous area where patrons may readily see it.
E. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in the business of operating a tattoo parlor without first obtaining a permit to engage in such business in accordance with the provisions in this article.
F. 
The room in which tattoo procedures are conducted shall have an area of not less than 100 square feet.
G. 
The establishment shall take all measures necessary to ensure against the presence or breeding of insects, vermin, and rodents within the establishment. Pest control records are to be available during normal business hours.
H. 
The establishment shall have proper facilities for the disposal of waste materials.
I. 
The establishment shall have a cleaning area which shall have an area for the placement of an autoclave or other sterilization unit located or positioned a minimum of 36 inches from the required ultrasonic cleaning unit.
J. 
Before working on each patron, each tattoo artist shall clean his or her fingernails with his or her individual fingernail file and shall thoroughly wash and scrub his or her hands with hot running water, soap, and his or her individual hand brush. Hands shall be dried with individual single use towels. The operator shall wear a clean, new pair of latex gloves, designed for use in surgery, for each customer.
K. 
No tattooing shall be done on any skin that has a rash, pimples, boils, and infections or manifests any evidence of unhealthy conditions.
L. 
All facilities and procedures shall comply with the requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The second floor of commercial uses in the C-1 and C-2 Commercial Districts may be converted to apartments when authorized as a special exception, in compliance with the requirements below:
A. 
The apartment created by way of conversion shall have a gross floor area of not less than 625 square feet.
B. 
The lot area shall be not less than 12,000 square feet.
C. 
Only one apartment shall be created on a second floor by way of conversion.
D. 
Applicants for conversions on lots where there is no existing sidewalk shall install a sidewalk along the frontage of the property prior to completing the conversion.
E. 
All utility connections shall meet utility company standards.
F. 
Prior to conversion, the applicant shall obtain a permit from the Zoning Officer.
G. 
The Zoning Officer may inspect any proposed conversion for compliance with the Building, Maintenance, Zoning, and any other applicable Borough codes.
Funeral homes shall be permitted as a special exception in the C-2 Commercial District, in accordance with the requirements below:
A. 
The minimum lot areas shall be not less than 15,000 square feet.
B. 
At least one property line shall have frontage on an arterial road.
C. 
No building in which funeral-related activities are performed shall be located within 30 feet of a residential district or use.
D. 
Where a lot on which the funeral home is located abuts a residential district, a planted visual screen, as defined in Article II and in accordance with § 213-114, shall be provided.