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Township of Unity, PA
Westmoreland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
All applications for a subdivision or land development shall be submitted to the Zoning/Planning Office. Once the application is determined to be administratively complete, it shall be scheduled for Staff Review. Following Staff Review, depending on the nature of the request, the application shall be forwarded to the planning commission and/or Board of Supervisors for review, recommendation and/or decision. If the application is forwarded to the Planning Commission, the planning commission shall review the application and submit a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for disposition. The Board of Supervisors may thereafter take action to approve, approve with conditions or deny the application pursuant to this chapter.
Applications for subdivision or land development shall be classified according to the following criteria and definitions, and shall be processed according to the provisions contained in this section. Questions regarding the applicability of submission requirements for a particular application shall be determined by the Zoning/Planning Office. Such office should be contacted prior to the submission of the application.
A. 
Major subdivisions. A subdivision that includes either one or more of the following characteristics:
(1) 
Multiple phasing of a plan;
(2) 
Public improvements, including one or more of the following: streets, stormwater detention and stormwater retention facilities and public utilities;
(3) 
An on-lot sewage disposal system that services more three or more structures on an individual lot, or services any structure off the lot on which the system is located;
(4) 
Any commercial development;
(5) 
A subdivision which does not qualify as a "Simple Subdivision" as set forth hereafter;
(6) 
A subdivision which the Zoning/Planning Office requires to be treated as a major subdivision.
B. 
Simple subdivisions. A subdivision which does not include any of the characteristics included in the major subdivision category. In general, a simple subdivision may be permitted by the Township for:
(1) 
The adjustment of lot lines for existing lots;
(2) 
Lot additions; and/or
(3) 
The creation of not more than five new lots that are already serviced by a public road, public utilities or a previously approved on-lot septic system, and no new extension of any existing improvements or facilities are required. No conditional approval shall be granted for a simple subdivision.
C. 
Land developments. Land developments shall be deemed to include, but shall not necessarily be limited to, the following:
(1) 
A nonresidential development located in or on two lots or more;
(2) 
All multifamily developments located on one lot or more;
(3) 
A new nonresidential development located on one lot;
(4) 
A change of use from an existing building or use of land to a nonresidential use which also affects the land area by creating one or more of the following:
(a) 
Additional parking requirements, not currently being met on the site;
(b) 
New or improved stormwater management systems;
(c) 
Change in ingress, egress or traffic circulation;
(d) 
Required landscaping and buffer improvements necessitated by the development.
(5) 
Any land development that includes the construction of new public or private streets;
(6) 
Any Planned Residential Development or Planned Group Unit; and/or
(7) 
Any land development that includes construction within an environmentally sensitive area.
D. 
Preliminary and final approvals.
(1) 
The application may be considered by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors for preliminary and final approval. In the event preliminary approval has been recommended by the planning commission, and if the applicant has satisfied all plan requirements needed for final approval, the applicant may immediately request the planning commission consider the plan for final plan approval.
(2) 
An application classified as a simple subdivision may be granted final approval by the Board of Supervisors without completing the submission requirements for preliminary approval.
A. 
Pre-application meetings:
(1) 
Applicants may request a staff conference or advisory meeting to discuss subdivision or land development plans prior to the formal submission of preliminary or final applications. Any advisory meeting with the planning commission shall be held during a regular meeting of the planning commission. The purpose of the advisory meeting and staff conference is to review the proposed development and development site and to identify issues which should be addressed in the application. The advisory meeting and staff conference afford an opportunity to the applicant to discuss the proposed project on an informal basis. At the advisory meeting and staff conference the applicant may discuss applicable regulations governing the subdivision or land development on the property and the feasibility and timing of the application. The planning commission or professional staff may offer comments upon the proposed application, however, no approval or disapproval of the application shall be given and no comments or recommendations shall be binding. The request for an advisory meeting of staff conference shall not constitute an application and shall not begin the required time period for application review as specified in the MPC.
(2) 
An applicant desiring to participate in an advisory meeting or staff conference shall submit a request on an official form supplied by the Township together with all required information to the Zoning/Planning Office not less than 10 calendar days before a regularly scheduled planning commission meeting. A separate review fee, as listed in the Township Fee Resolution, for such advisory meeting or staff conference shall be paid to the Township at the time the official form requesting same is submitted.
B. 
General application submission requirements and application processing:
(1) 
All applications for a subdivision or land development shall be submitted on official forms prepared and supplied by the Zoning/Planning Office.
(2) 
All applications must be administratively complete and submitted to the Zoning/Planning Office no later than the close of business 10 days prior to the regularly scheduled meeting of the planning commission to be placed on the agenda for such meeting. Any applications submitted after this date (i.e., within 10 days of any regularly scheduled planning commission meeting) shall be considered at the following monthly meeting.
(3) 
Upon submission, the application shall be reviewed by the Zoning/Planning Office to determine its administrative completeness. In order for an application to be administratively complete, filed and placed on the planning commission agenda, it shall include and/or contain:
(a) 
The correct number of copies of all plats and reports, as referenced in this article;
(b) 
Meet all requirements for submission based on the classification of the plan. The review of the submission requirements shall not include a review of the correctness of the plan, but rather a review that the required items for review have been submitted;
(c) 
The appropriate application fee set forth in the Comprehensive Fee Resolution of the Township of Unity as amended;
(d) 
All original signatures of all property owners or agents for property owners involved in the application;
(e) 
Evidence of filing of all necessary permits from any regulatory agency having jurisdiction over the project;
(f) 
Evidence that the applicant has made a request to the UTMA for sewage facilities approval where necessary;
(g) 
Evidence of the applicant's interest in the property that provides standing for the submission of the application; and
(h) 
Any fee required for the processing and recording of the final plat.
(4) 
Official filing date. When the Zoning/Planning Office's initial review has determined that the application satisfies the administrative requirements applicable thereto and is in full compliance with the requirements of this chapter for filing and submission, the application shall be accepted. The date on which the Zoning/Planning Office's determines the application is "administratively complete" shall be used as the application's official filing date.
(5) 
If the application is determined to be incomplete, the applicant shall be contacted by the Zoning/Planning Office to remedy the deficiency. In the event the applicant fails or refuses to remedy the administrative deficiency within 10 days of receipt of such notice, all submitted documents may be rejected and returned to the applicant, including the application fee along with a letter indicating the application deficiency(ies). The application shall not be considered by the planning commission until it is filed with all required components, and shall not constitute the starting of the ninety-day review period required by the MPC.
(6) 
Once the application is determined to be "Administratively Complete" it shall be submitted for professional staff review. Following the professional staff review, the Zoning/Planning Office shall generate a list of comments concerning the application and place same on the agenda of the regularly scheduled planning commission meeting. A copy of these comments shall also be communicated to the applicant.
(7) 
After presentation and review of the application, the planning commission shall forward its recommendations in writing to the Board of Supervisors and the applicant. Any plan recommended with conditions shall include a list of those conditions. In cases of a recommendation for denial, the planning commission shall state the reasons for same and cite those sections of the Township ordinances and other applicable codes which form the basis for its recommendation.
(8) 
The Board of Supervisors may thereafter render a decision approving, approving with conditions, or denying the application, taking into consideration the recommendations of the planning commission.
(9) 
Any decision of the Board of Supervisors shall be in writing and sent to the applicant, or the applicant's designated agent by regular U.S. mail, postage prepaid, at the address for same appearing on the application. Such decision shall be transmitted within the time period prescribed by the MPC.
(10) 
Extensions of time. If, during the review of the plan, the planning commission or the Board of Supervisors desires additional time to consider the application for preliminary approval or final approval, the applicant may waive the ninety-day time limitation established by law, and grant the Township an additional period of time to complete review of the application. This extension shall be communicated in writing and be signed by the applicant or their designated agent. In the event no such time extension is agreed to by the applicant, and it is determined that the application does not meet requirements prescribed in this chapter, the Board of Supervisors shall deny the plan according to procedures established herein.
(11) 
Public hearing. Before acting on any application, the Board of Supervisors may, in its sole discretion, hold a public hearing to solicit comment on the plan.
(12) 
Approval with conditions. An application may be granted preliminary approval or final approval subject to specific conditions. These conditions shall be set forth and included in the written decision sent to the applicant. In addition, such written decision shall include a notice that unless the applicant agrees to the conditions within 15 days of the date the decision is communicated, the application is shall be deemed denied in accordance with this chapter. The applicant shall notify the Township in writing of his or her acceptance or rejection of the conditions of approval. If the applicant does not so notify the Township, in writing, of the acceptance of all conditions within 15 days of the date of such Notice, the approval shall be deemed rescinded, and be rescinded, without written notice to the applicant.
(13) 
Plans receiving only preliminary approval by the Board of Supervisors will require final approval by the Board of Supervisors thereafter. The applicant may request final plan approval after all requirements of this chapter have been met and the applicant has satisfied any conditions attached to the preliminary approval.
A. 
Submission of application and plans. All requests for subdivision or land development approval shall be submitted along with a completed and signed application form and any required application fee. All plans or plats shall set forth and/or contain the information set forth hereafter and comply with the standards set forth herein. Any plan submitted on multiple sheets shall contain the following information on all sheets, where applicable.
(1) 
The number of copies of the plan or record for a subdivision, or the master plan for a land development, as determined by the Zoning/Planning Office. In addition, three copies of plan detail sheets and other detailed plans (erosion and sedimentation, utilities, stormwater management, landscaping, etc.) shall be submitted along with the application. The number of copies required may be adjusted by the Zoning/Planning Office as part of the application form.
(2) 
The plan shall be drawn at a scale of one inch equals 10 feet, one inch equals 20 feet, one inch equals 30 feet, one inch equals 40 feet, one inch equals 50 feet, or one inch equals 100 feet.
(3) 
Each sheet shall be numbered and shall show its relationship to the total number of sheets. Sheets shall be 24 inches by 36 inches. Plats to be recorded at the Westmoreland County Courthouse shall be 18 inches by 24 inches and meet other applicable standards of the Westmoreland County Recorder's Office.
(4) 
Dimensions shall be set in feet and decimal parts thereof, and bearings in degrees, minutes and seconds to two decimal places with the bearing placed in a counterclockwise direction around the proposed lot or lots.
(5) 
The plan shall bear a legend to indicate clearly which features are existing and which are proposed.
(6) 
The plan shall include the names, county deed book references, Westmoreland County Tax Map Parcel Number and Zoning District classification of all adjoining property owners.
(7) 
A graphic scale, north arrow and date shall be shown on all plans.
(8) 
A title block containing the proposed name of the subdivision or land development, the project number assigned by the firm that prepared the plans, the plan date and dates of all plan revisions.
(9) 
A site location map, taken from a USGS quadrangle map. The location map shall be at scale and size sufficient to show clearly where the project is located.
(10) 
The existing platting of land abutting the subdivision or land development. All existing buildings, sewers, water mains, fire hydrants, culverts, petroleum or high-pressure gas lines and other utilities on or within 200 feet of the site shall also be shown.
(11) 
All existing and proposed public and/or private easements, together with their locations, widths and purposes.
(12) 
All existing streets, on or adjacent to the tract, including their name, right-of-way width and cartway width.
(13) 
Where applicable, a notation on the plat that access to a state highway shall only be authorized by a highway occupancy permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation under Section 420 of the State Highway Law (P.L. 1242, No. 428 of June 1, 1945), 36 P.S. § 670-420.
(14) 
The location of all monuments and lot markers.
(15) 
Places on the plat for approval by the planning commission, the Board of Supervisors and review by the Westmoreland County Planning Department, and a place on the plan for seals of the professional preparing the plan, the Board of Supervisors, the Westmoreland County Planning Department; the Recorder of Deeds, a notary public and the property owners.
(16) 
Certification by a registered surveyor to the effect that the plat represents a survey made by him or her, and that all monuments indicated thereon actually exist, that their location, size and material are correctly shown, and that all engineering requirements of this chapter have been fully complied with.
(17) 
The name and address of the developer and, if the developer is not the owner, the name and address of the owner.
(18) 
The source of the title to the land as shown on the books of the Recorder of Deeds of Westmoreland County and the Westmoreland Tax Map Parcel Number for the parent tract.
(19) 
The name, address, certification and seal of the registered engineer and/or surveyor, or landscape architect who prepared the plat and the professional registered surveyor who did the survey shown on the plat.
(20) 
A Schedule of Zoning District requirements, including area and bulk regulations, building and yard requirements, and zoning of the parcel(s) to be developed and adjoining properties. Front yard, rear yard and side yard setbacks required by Chapter 118, Zoning, for the Zoning District in which the subject tract is located, and all adjoining properties shall also be indicated.
(21) 
Variances or other zoning approvals which have been requested or have been granted by the Township or the Zoning Hearing Board.
(22) 
A copy of the deed for the subject tract and/or an option agreement, lease-purchase agreement or other such document or instrument conveying to the applicant a right of possession to, or an interest in, the property within the proposed subdivision or land development.
(23) 
Utility feasibility. Reports from all utility providers expected to service the proposed subdivision or land development, which, at a minimum, shall include a letter as to whether the utility has the capability and facilities to serve the proposed subdivision or land development.
(24) 
For applications for development of sites along any geopolitical municipal boundary, information pertaining to zoning in the adjacent municipality. Approval may be required by the adjoining municipality if the subdivision of development is partially located in that municipality and may be a condition of approval by the Township.
(25) 
Digital files. Submitted plats must also be submitted in a digital format so they may be directly imported into the Township's geographical information systems (GIS) in a manner consistent with the standard outlined in this chapter. The Township will assess that fee set forth in the Township's Comprehensive Fee Resolution against any applicant who fails or refuses to submit a plat in a digital format.
B. 
Application requirements for major subdivisions and land developments. In addition to the requirements stated in Subsection A, the following conditions and standards set forth in Subsections C and D shall also apply and be included for major subdivisions and land developments.
C. 
Existing conditions. The following existing conditions shall be depicted on all plans, consistent with the requirements set forth hereafter:
(1) 
Contours, shown at two foot vertical intervals or ten-foot intervals where slopes exceed 40%. Existing contours with dashed lines must be shown and numbered clearly. Locations and elevations of datum to which contour elevations refer must be stated. Datum used shall be a known, established benchmark. Contours plotted from USGS quadrangle maps shall not be acceptable. The benchmark used shall be cited and labeled with the elevation and the northing and easting coordinates on the state plane coordinate system.
(2) 
Delineation of steep slope area(s), with categories of slope shall be oriented as follows:
(a) 
25% to 40%;
(b) 
Over 40%, accurately depicted and noted on the plat.
(3) 
Identification of soil series as shown in the soil survey of Westmoreland County. Soil limit lines on the base map shall be indicated.
(4) 
If any part of the site lies within a floodplain indicated on a certified FEMA map, the applicant shall plot the floodway and one-hundred-year floodplain boundary on the map and reference the community panel number, map name, date and map panel numbers.
(5) 
All wetlands and/or otherwise classified as such by state or federal agencies.
(6) 
Potentially hazardous features, including quarry sites, surface and subsurface mines, gas wells and undermined areas, including location of all areas of subsurface mining on the site with less than 100 feet of cover.
(7) 
Significant cultural features, including cemeteries, burial sites, archaeological sites, historic buildings, structures, plaques and markers, or monuments.
(8) 
Existing surface water resources such as watercourses, streams and ponds, and other natural drainage features.
D. 
Proposed conditions and improvements. The following proposed conditions and improvements shall be depicted on all plans, consistent with the requirements set forth hereafter:
(1) 
The proposed street layout in the subdivision or land development including streets, roads, alleys, driveways, sidewalks, or other means of access shall be located on the site. The plat must include name, jurisdiction of ownership, width, type and location of right-of-way, and existing grades and types of curbs.
(2) 
The layout of lots (showing scaled dimensions), lot numbers in sequence, and the areas of lots in square feet.
(3) 
Portions of the site or parcels proposed to be reserved for schools, parks, playgrounds or other public, semipublic or community purposes and all proposed improvements for these portions.
(4) 
Proposed rights-of-way, easements, depicting their locations, widths and purposes.
(5) 
Proposed public improvements. The details of each shall be shown and the locations or distances to each existing utility indicated.
(6) 
Tabulation of site data, total acreage of land to be subdivided, the number of lots, the acreage of individual lots, the acreage of the subdivision and the acreage of proposed open space and recreation areas.
(7) 
Detailed construction drawings for public improvements prepared by a registered professional engineer. Such drawings shall:
(a) 
Be drawn at a scale cited in § 104-16A(4) of this chapter on sheets of 24 inches by 36 inches. More than one sheet may be used for large parcels, but each sheet shall be properly indexed.
(b) 
Be designed in conformance with the design standards established in this chapter and in other applicable Township, county, state and federal codes and regulations.
(c) 
Include a plan and profile of each street within the site and at least 200 feet beyond the edge of the site, including labels showing the sight distance at each intersection.
(d) 
Contain at least three cross sections at intervals not to exceed 100 feet and extending 50 feet on each side of the street center line or 25 feet outside of the street right-of-way, whichever is greater.
(e) 
Complete curve data for all curves included in the plan.
(f) 
Indicate the location of all necessary sewers, manholes and catch basins.
(g) 
Show drainage easements over private property and label them as public or private.
(h) 
Show the top and invert elevation of each inlet and manhole, together with the grade of each sewer line.
(i) 
Show the grade line, material, distance and pipe size of each line in the storm drainage system within the plan and any storm drainage system immediately adjacent to the site. Show the permit number if connections are made to PADOT storm sewers.
(j) 
Show the location of each wye proposed for installation.
E. 
Additional items required for land developments. In addition to the foregoing, all plans for land developments shall contain the following information, where applicable:
(1) 
The location and dimensions (in square feet) of planned principal and accessory buildings, including basement area, loading and unloading areas. If the calculation of parking spaces required, per Chapter 118, Zoning, is a function of square footage of the proposed use, a detailed floor plan shall be submitted.
(2) 
The proposed use, location, area, height, and bulk of all proposed structures and dimensions of all yards.
(3) 
Patterns of pedestrian and vehicular circulation on-site and on adjacent streets to show ingress, egress, and circulation in and out of the site.
(4) 
Provisions for off-street parking area to include the layout of parking areas and a computation of the number of parking spaces to be provided.
(5) 
Provisions for off-street loading facilities.
(6) 
Proposed planting and landscaping with specific locations, sizes, species and quantities; proposed open space and buffers; and screening and fencing for storage and dumpster areas, as required by this chapter and Chapter 118, Zoning.
(7) 
Location and specifications for lighting of parking areas and walkways, including lighting detail and a photometric plan.
(8) 
Any other requirements for that specific Zoning District, pursuant to Chapter 118, Zoning.
(9) 
Location, size, and specifications for private improvements, such as curbs, sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, fencing, signs, landscaping, planters, outdoor lighting and wheel stops.
(10) 
Proposed fire lanes.
(11) 
Location, size and specifications for public improvements.
(12) 
Location, size and specifications for storm sewers, stormwater management facilities, sanitary sewers, water lines, and fire hydrants.
(13) 
Elevation drawings for all proposed buildings.
(14) 
A plan drawn to scale showing the front, rear and side perspectives of proposed building(s) shall be submitted. Such plan shall include the building's architectural features, exterior building materials, first floor elevations, the height of the building in feet, the number of stories, and the building's relationship to the finished grade immediately surrounding the building.
F. 
Reports and permits for major subdivisions and land developments. Unless exempted by the Zoning/Planning Office, the following reports and permits shall be required as part of the submission of an application:
(1) 
A stormwater management plan, prepared pursuant to the terms of this chapter and the unity Township stormwater management ordinance of the Township of unity, as amended and in effect at the time of the application's official filing date.
(2) 
An erosion and sedimentation control plan approved by the Westmoreland County Conservation District. Applications shall at a minimum require submission of the plans submitted to the Conservation District with a dated letter of transmittal.
(3) 
Road and grading plans together with phasing and engineering information deemed necessary for consideration of the proposed development, if applicable.
(4) 
A phasing plan and schedule shall be required for all developments proposed for construction in stages. This schedule shall include a proposed schedule for the filing of applications for final approval for each phase.
(5) 
An environmental constraints study which details areas within any natural resources overlay on the site and provides information on how the development is planned not to interfere with these features and/or how all applicable local, state and federal regulations are being complied with.
(6) 
Sewerage feasibility study, percolation tests and other evaluations of the site's suitability for on-site sewage disposal as required by this chapter.
(7) 
Other studies authorized or required by Township ordinances and deemed necessary by the Zoning/Planning Office, the Township Engineer, the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors.
(8) 
Other studies required by state or county regulations, or which are deemed necessary under such regulations by the Zoning Office, the Township Engineer, the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors.
(9) 
A Transportation Impact Study (TIS) prepared pursuant to the requirements of this chapter.
(10) 
Proof, to the satisfaction of the Township, of an adequate potable water supply.
(11) 
The letter of approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection indicating approval of private water supplies.
(12) 
The planning module components' submission to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for all sanitary sewers.
(13) 
Roadway occupancy submissions to the state, county or Township, as may be required to provide site access and service.
(14) 
Any other permits or permit submissions required by Township Ordinances, or which are deemed necessary by the Zoning/Planning Office, Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors or professional staff following any pre-application conference.
(15) 
Any other permits or permit application submissions required by federal, state or county regulations, or which are deemed necessary under such regulations by the Zoning/Planning Office, planning commission or Board of Supervisors. Such permits and applications include but are not limited to those required for Floodplain Management, Stormwater Management, Clean Streams Law Permit, NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permit, and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Planning Module permits and sewer authority permits.
A. 
Performance bond and financial security.
(1) 
No plan shall be recorded or permits issued until the developer has deposited with the Township Financial Security in a form acceptable to the Township. The amount of the Security shall be sufficient to cover the cost of constructing public improvements and common amenities including, but not limited to, roads, stormwater detention and/or retention basins, and other related drainage facilities, recreational facilities, open space improvements, landscaping, and buffers or screen plantings which may be required, by this chapter and/or as shown on the final plat.
(2) 
The amount of the financial security to be posted for the completion of the public improvements shall be equal to 110% of the cost of completing the improvements. The amount of the security shall be determined by the Township, based on a cost estimate submitted by the developer and subject to review and modification by the Township Engineer.
(3) 
The financial security shall provide for, and secure to the public, the completion of any public improvements as required in the final approval within a time period mutually agreed upon by the developer and the Township. The amount of the security may be adjusted annually in accordance with Section 509(f) of the Municipalities Planning Code (MPC).[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10509(f).
(4) 
The final plat shall not be approved by the Board of Supervisors until a satisfactory performance bond has been posted with the Township.
(5) 
The developer shall also pay any required inspection fee consistent as hereinafter provided in this chapter, and the fee for any required fire hydrants and street signs prior to the release of the plan for recording.
B. 
Developer's agreement. The Board of Supervisors shall require the developer to execute a developer's agreement with the Township, prepared and reviewed by the Township Solicitor at the expense of the developer. Such agreement shall contain provisions that are reasonably required to guarantee compliance with the conditions of approval, if any, and to guarantee the proper installation of on-site and off-site improvements related to the subdivision or land development. Said agreement shall be executed, the required financial security shall be posted, and all required fees shall be paid, before the Township approves and signs the final plat for recording purposes. No plan shall be signed for recording until certified copies of all permits and approvals required by applicable federal, state, county and Township Codes and Regulations are received by the Township and the cost estimate for completing public improvements is received by the Township and reviewed and/or modified by the Township Engineer.
C. 
Recording of plans.
(1) 
The grant of preliminary approval by the Board of Supervisors shall not entitle the applicant to record such plan in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds of Westmoreland County.
(2) 
The final plan, as approved by the Board of Supervisors, signed by the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, and attested to by the Township Secretary shall be recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds of Westmoreland County, within 90 days of the decision of the Board of Supervisors. The applicant shall deposit a fee with the Township at the time of plan submission sufficient to cover the costs associated with processing and recording the final plat.
D. 
Issuance of permits. The Township shall not issue any permits for any construction activity for a plan until such time that the plan has been duly recorded at the Recorder of Deeds Office of the County.