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Township of Upper Hanover, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
In expansion of the declaration of legislative intent and statement of community development objectives in §§ 500-101 and 500-102 of Article I of this chapter, it is the intent of this article to benefit the public health, safety and welfare by protecting areas of floodplain subject to and necessary for the containment of floodwaters, in conformance with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, Open Space and Environmental Resource Protection Plan, and the following objectives:
A. 
Permit only those uses which will not impede the flow or storage of floodwaters, or otherwise cause danger to life and property at, above or below their locations along the floodplain, and prohibit structures or other development in areas endangered by flooding.
B. 
Help protect landowners along the floodplain and municipalities within the watershed from the harmful impacts of improper development and the consequent increased potential for flooding.
C. 
Minimize danger to public health by protecting the quantity and quality of surface and subsurface water supplies and by preserving natural drainageways for safe and sanitary drainage.
D. 
Protect drainagecourses which carry abnormal flows of stormwater in periods of heavy precipitation, and protect the open floodplain to provide for the deposition of flood-borne sediment.
E. 
Retain land as open space while allowing uses compatible with these objectives and which are conducive to the maintenance of constant rates of water flow throughout the year.
F. 
Maintain the ecological balance among the floodplain's natural systems, including wildlife and vegetation, that are dependent upon watercourses and adjacent riparian land areas.
G. 
Establish regulations to achieve the intent of this article and to ensure eligibility for owners of flood-prone properties in compliance with the requirements for Federal Flood Insurance.
H. 
Reduce financial burdens imposed on the Township by increased expenditures for public works and disaster relief caused by periodic flooding.
I. 
Protect properties developed under relief from the provisions of these requirements or developed prior to enactment of these requirements, and require that any uses permitted in the floodplain be protected from flood damage in accordance with the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program, P.L. 90-448, and the Pennsylvania Floodplain Management Act, P.L. 851, No. 166.
[Amended 2-9-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
A. 
The Floodplain Conservation Overlay District is defined and its boundaries are established as set forth in Chapter 240, Floodplain Management, and more specifically Article IV, Identification of Floodplain Areas.
B. 
All activities within the Floodplain Conservation Overlay District shall conform with all applicable provisions and requirements of Chapter 240, Floodplain Management.
The Floodplain District shall be an overlay on all zoning districts and shall function in accordance with the following:
A. 
For any lot or portion thereof lying within the floodplain, the regulations of the Floodplain District shall take precedence over the regulations of the underlying district.
B. 
Should the underlying zoning of any lot or any part thereof which is located in the Floodplain District be changed through any legislative or judicial action, such change shall have no effect on the overlying Floodplain District unless such change was included as part of the original application.
C. 
Should the overlying Floodplain District be declared inappropriate to any lot through any legislative or judicial actions, such change shall have no effect on the underlying Zoning District.
D. 
[1]All uses, activities and development occurring within any floodplain district shall be undertaken only in strict compliance with the provision of this article, with all federal and state laws, and with all other applicable Township codes and ordinances.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection D, regarding setback requirements, was repealed 2-9-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02. This ordinance also redesignated former Subsection E as Subsection D and repealed former Subsection F, regarding the use of floodways, which immediately followed this subsection.
[Amended 2-9-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
The following uses and no other will be permitted in the Floodplain Conservation Overlay District; all such uses shall be subject to the provisions and requirements of Chapter 240, Floodplain Management:
A. 
Cultivation and harvesting of crops in accordance with recognized soil conservation practices.
B. 
Pasture and grazing land with necessary fencing in accordance with recognized soil conservation practice, but permitting no structures. Pasture fencing may be permitted, provided that, if placed in the Floodway, it shall be installed and oriented so that it does not obstruct the passage of floating debris.
C. 
Wildlife sanctuary, woodland preserve, passive recreation and passive park including bicycle, bridle, and hiking trails but including no facilities subject to damage by flooding.
D. 
Forestry, lumbering and reforestation in accordance with recognized natural resource conservation practices.
E. 
Utility transmission lines.
F. 
Sealed water supply wells and water supply lines.
G. 
Sealed sanitary sewers.
H. 
Front, side or rear yards and required lot areas in any district, provided that such yards are not to be used for on-site sewage disposal systems or for fence (except as allowed in Subsection B above) or for any other structure; however, in no case shall the floodplain encroach into a building envelope such that the building envelope is equal to less than 1/2 of the area of the building envelope that would be available based on a lot created using the minimum lot area and setback dimensions required by the underlying district.
I. 
Streambank stabilization.
J. 
Storm sewers.
K. 
Paved road, paved driveway, and unpaved agricultural use crossings where disturbance within the Floodplain Conservation Overlay District is minimized to the greatest extent possible.
L. 
Culverts and bridges.
[Amended 2-9-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
The following uses; or the commencement of any of the following activities; or the construction, enlargement or expansion of any structure used, or intended to be used, for any of the following activities are specifically prohibited in the Floodplain Conservation Overlay District:
A. 
Landfills, dumps, and junkyards.
B. 
Outdoor storage of vehicles and materials.
C. 
Structures involving hazardous materials.
(1) 
In accordance with the Pennsylvania Flood Plain Management Act,[1] and the regulations adopted by the Department of Community and Economic Development as required by the Act, any new or substantially improved structure which:
(a) 
Will be used for the production or storage of any of the following dangerous materials or substances; or
(b) 
Will be used for any activity requiring the maintenance of a supply of more than 550 gallons, or other comparable volume, of any of the following dangerous materials or substances on the premises; or
(c) 
Will involve the production, storage, or use of any amount of radioactive substances.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 32 P.S. § 679.101 et seq.
(2) 
The following list of materials and substances are considered dangerous to human life, including but not limited to:
(a) 
Acetone.
(b) 
Ammonia.
(c) 
Benzene.
(d) 
Calcium carbide.
(e) 
Carbon disulfide.
(f) 
Celluloid.
(g) 
Chlorine.
(h) 
Hydrochloric acid.
(i) 
Hydrocyanic acid.
(j) 
Magnesium.
(k) 
Nitric acid and oxides of nitrogen.
(l) 
Petroleum products (gasoline, fuel oil, etc.).
(m) 
Phosphorus.
(n) 
Potassium.
(o) 
Sodium.
(p) 
Sulphur, sulfur products.
(q) 
Pesticides (including insecticides, fungicides, and rodenticides).
(r) 
Radioactive substances, insofar as such not otherwise regulated.
D. 
On-lot sewage disposal systems.
E. 
Water supply wells, except as permitted in § 500-2003F.
F. 
The relocation of any watercourse, except as permitted in § 500-2005E.
G. 
Hospitals (public or private).
H. 
Nursing homes, convalescent homes, any type of housing and/or care facilities for the elderly and/or physically and/or mentally disabled (public or private).
I. 
Jails or prisons.
J. 
Manufactured home parks or manufactured home subdivisions, and substantial improvements to existing manufactured home parks.
K. 
Manufactured homes.
L. 
All structures or additions to existing structures, buildings and retaining walls with the exception of those specifically allowed in §§ 500-2003 and 500-2005.
M. 
Stripping of topsoil, ground cover, vegetation or removal of trees within 25 feet of a stream bank except where such activities are necessary to prepare land for a use permitted under §§ 500-2003 and 500-2005.
N. 
The storage or use of recreational vehicles.
O. 
Placement or storage of topsoil, grass clippings, and other similar earthen or organic materials.
P. 
Sod farming.
[Amended 2-9-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
The following and no other uses are permitted when authorized as a conditional use by the Board of Supervisors provided that such use shall meet the standards set forth in this article. Such use shall be permitted subject to such reasonable conditions and safeguards as the Board of Supervisors may determine. All conditional uses must meet the requirements of the underlying district.
A. 
Game farm, fish hatchery, or hunting and fishing reserve, for the protection or propagation of wildlife.
B. 
Public and private recreational uses and activities, such as parks, camps, picnic areas, golf courses, fishing, wildlife and nature preserves, sport or boating clubs, including piers, docks, floats, or open shelters usually found in developed outdoor recreation areas. No enclosed structures, or structures that will interfere with the flow of floodwaters are permitted. Toilet facilities may be acceptable when connected to public water and sewage systems.
C. 
Outlet installations for sewage treatment plants and sewage pumping stations.
D. 
Grading or regrading of lands.
E. 
The temporary relocation of a watercourse, provided that the flood-carrying capacity within the altered or relocated portion of the watercourse shall be maintained or increased, but not reduced, and that it has been approved by all necessary Township, county, state and federal entities. Prior to any such relocation, notifications of the proposal shall be sent to all contiguous property owners and communities and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
F. 
Development of elevated and flood-proofed buildings on brownfield sites in redevelopment areas encouraging economic revitalization.
G. 
Any other similar uses not listed are to be considered conditional uses and subject to the requirements herein.
[Amended 2-9-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
Requests for conditional uses shall be considered by the Upper Hanover Township Board of Supervisors in accordance with the applicable procedures contained in Article VIII of Chapter 500, Article IX of Chapter 240, and the following. Requests for variances shall be considered by the Upper Hanover Township Zoning Hearing Board in accordance with the applicable procedures contained in Article VI of Chapter 500, Article IX of Chapter 240, and the following:
A. 
No conditional use or variance shall be granted for any construction, development, use, or activity within any Floodway Area/District that would cause any increase in the BFE (as defined by Chapter 240).
B. 
No conditional use or variance shall be granted for any construction, development, use, or activity within any AE Area/District without floodway (as defined by Chapter 240) that would, together with all other existing and anticipated development, increase the BFE at any point.
C. 
No variance shall be granted for the specifically prohibited uses contained in § 500-2004C, G, H, I and J.
D. 
If granted, a variance shall involve only the least modification necessary to provide relief.
E. 
In granting any conditional use or variance, the Board of Supervisors and Zoning Hearing Board, respectively, shall attach whatever reasonable conditions and safeguards they consider necessary in order to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, and to achieve the objectives of this chapter.
F. 
In reviewing any request for a variance, the Zoning Hearing Board shall consider, at a minimum, the following:
(1) 
That there is good and sufficient cause, including:
(a) 
That there are unique physical circumstances or conditions, including irregularity, narrowness, or shallowness of lot size or shape, or exceptional topographical or other physical conditions peculiar to the particular property and that the unnecessary hardship is due to such conditions and not the circumstances or conditions generally created by the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance in the neighborhood or district in which the property is located;
(b) 
That because of such physical circumstances or conditions, there is no possibility that the property can be developed in strict conformity with the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance and that the authorization of a variance is therefore necessary to enable the reasonable use of the property;
(c) 
That such unnecessary hardship has not been created by the appellant;
(d) 
That the variance, if authorized, will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood or district in which the property is located, nor substantially or permanently impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent property, nor be detrimental to the public welfare.
(2) 
That failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant.
(3) 
That the granting of the variance will:
(a) 
Neither result in an unacceptable or prohibited increase in flood heights, additional threats to public safety, or extraordinary public expense;
(b) 
Nor create nuisances, cause fraud on, or victimize the public, or conflict with any other applicable state or local ordinances and regulations.
G. 
Whenever a variance is granted, the Zoning Hearing Board shall notify the applicant in writing that:
(1) 
The granting of the variance may result in increased premium rates for flood insurance.
(2) 
Such variances may increase the risks to life and property.
H. 
A complete record of all variance requests and related actions shall be maintained by the Township. In addition, a report of all variances granted during the year shall be included in the annual report to the FEMA.
I. 
Notwithstanding any of the above, however, all structures shall be designed and constructed so as to have the capability of resisting the base flood.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 500-2007, Procedures for consideration of a conditional use or variance, § 500-2008, Standards for granting of conditional uses or variances, § 500-2009, Additional standards for granting of variances, § 500-2010, Boundary disputes and appeals procedure, and § 500-2011, Limit of municipal liability, were repealed 2-9-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02.