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 found in §§ 500-101 and 500-102 of Article I of this chapter, it is the intent of this article to permit the reuse of agricultural buildings for limited nonagricultural purposes, in conformance with the goals and objectives of the Comprehensive Plan, Open Space and Environmental Resource Protection Plan, and the following objectives:
A. 
Encourage the continued maintenance and use of large, old agricultural buildings, especially those that contribute visually to the Township's historically rural character and agricultural heritage.
B. 
Permit flexibility in the R-1, R-2 and R-3 Districts to permit a variety of land uses that may provide an economic incentive to retain these buildings.
C. 
Encourage continuation of active farming and discourage subdivision of farms into suburbanized developments by allowing farmers to supplement their agricultural income with income from these alternative uses in order to remain economically viable.
D. 
Permit renovation and adaptive reuse of large, old agricultural buildings in compliance with applicable codes for use and habitation, while maintaining their historically rural agricultural character.
E. 
Retain the rural, agricultural settings in which these buildings are traditionally found by retaining a spacious lot, generous setbacks, and active farming surrounding these uses.
F. 
Minimize potential traffic impacts by restricting building coverage and traffic generation and by permitting the most traffic-generating uses only where vehicular access is from principal or minor arterial or major collector roads.
G. 
Provide performance standards with which these uses shall comply as prerequisites and continuing obligations for the opportunity to vary and intensify the land use.
The Board of Supervisors may authorize any of the following as conditional uses in R-1, R-2 and R-3 Zoning Districts, only in compliance with the procedure for consideration of a conditional use application in § 500-818 and the performance standards and criteria in § 500-2402.
A. 
Farmhouse uses:
(1) 
Single-family detached, two-, three- or four-family dwellings.
(2) 
Business or professional office.
(3) 
Studio for teaching or producing visual or performing arts, not including radio or television facilities.
(4) 
Bed-and-breakfast facility, tourist home, or similar short-term, low-intensity facility accommodating not more than 12 guests.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
(5) 
Low-intensity retail shop primarily selling specialized items such as antiques, handmade crafts, flowers, or locally grown or processed farm products.
(6) 
Restaurants whose character depends on a spacious, rural setting and the rustic character of an authentic farmstead.
(7) 
Institutional uses, including churches schools, and community clubs such as Rotary Kiwanis or Lions.
B. 
Barn uses:
[Amended 9-13-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-10]
(1) 
Uses permitted as farmhouse uses in § 500-2401A herein.
(2) 
Small-scale light manufacturing, machine shop, building trades contractor's shop.
(3) 
Butcher, processing of locally grown livestock or other food products for human or animal consumption.
(4) 
Veterinary facilities, boarding of horses, riding stables.
(5) 
Clubhouse, operations and maintenance center, or similar uses in conjunction with and as part of an outdoor recreation facility.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Original subsection F, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 9-13-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-10.
C. 
Uses for all other agricultural buildings. All other agricultural buildings may be used for the uses permitted in Subsections A and B, Farmhouse uses and Barn uses, respectively, in compliance with the additional performance standards and criteria in § 500-2402D(12) herein.
Conditional use approval shall not be granted unless an applicant provides sufficient evidence to indicate and guarantee compliance with the performance standards and criteria contained herein.
A. 
Agricultural building qualifications:
(1) 
These nonagricultural uses shall be permitted only in buildings which qualify as agricultural buildings in compliance with the criteria contained herein.
(2) 
Agricultural buildings are the buildings built and used for the residential and farm operation purposes of a family farm prior to 1940.
(a) 
They are classified as the self-evident categories of "farmhouses," "barns" and "all other agricultural buildings."
(b) 
If any doubt or dispute exists as to the proper category for a specific building, it shall be considered to be "all other agricultural buildings."
(3) 
Agricultural buildings built after 1940 and existing at the time this chapter is adopted may qualify, provided they have been used for agricultural purposes as part of a family farm operation for a minimum of 10 years at any time prior to application for conditional use approval.
(4) 
The building shall be structurally sound and in substantially complete condition, subject to Township inspection and expert testimony regarding its structural quality and adaptability for the purposes intended.
(5) 
Foundations or other remnants of buildings shall not be used to create essentially new buildings for these purposes.
B. 
Dimensional standards:
(1) 
A minimum gross tract area of 20 acres shall be required for one or more buildings to be granted conditional use approval. A farmstead consisting of a farmhouse, barn and one or more other agricultural buildings may all be approved for conditional use within the twenty-acre minimum area.
(2) 
Minimum building setback from any residence on an abutting lot shall be 200 feet.
(3) 
Maximum building coverage for any one building shall not exceed 1% of gross tract area, and total building coverage (including agricultural and nonagricultural uses) shall not exceed 3% of the gross tract area.
(4) 
Paving of driveways, parking, loading and other vehicular use areas shall be discouraged and shall not exceed 3% of the gross tract area.
(5) 
Building heights shall be determined by the existing buildings. If additions or renovations are permitted, they shall not exceed the existing height of the subject building, except when required by the Board of Supervisors under § 500-2402D(12)(b).
C. 
Traffic generation:
(1) 
For nonresidential uses, traffic generated by the proposed uses shall not exceed five vehicular trips per day for each 1,000 square feet of gross building floor space, using ITE standards.
(2) 
Nonresidential uses expected to generate a higher volume of traffic than permitted by § 500-2402C(1) above shall be permitted only on parcels with safe, sufficient access to principal or minor arterials or major collector roads, that otherwise qualify under this article.
D. 
Adaptive reuse standards:
(1) 
No changes that are out of character with the existing building shall be permitted, except that limited numbers of windows and doors may be permitted for reuse of barns and other buildings which typically have few windows or doors.
(2) 
Changes that are out of character may be permitted only to facades that are not visible from the road or adjacent dwellings.
(3) 
Additions may be permitted that do not exceed 33% of the building coverage of the subject building existing at the time this chapter is adopted, if consistent with the building's character, height and materials.
(4) 
Farmhouse porches shall be retained and shall not be enclosed to be used for indoor rooms or storage space.
(a) 
The open, airy visual character of porches may be modified by screening or by windows to create a sun-porch effect, but opaque walls shall not be permitted.
(b) 
Missing or deteriorated porches may be replaced by new construction of similar design to the old porch. Modern greenhouse design or other styles that are out of character with the farmhouse shall not be permitted where they are visible from the road or adjacent dwellings.
(5) 
Positive and desirable building character and setting shall be retained to the greatest extent possible and shall not be compromised by the introduction of elements which, in the opinion of the Board of Supervisors, would appear strange, alien, foreign, exotic or otherwise out of place in a rural agricultural setting. The Board of Supervisors may impose any or all of the following as conditions of approval, for the purpose of maintaining and/or enhancing the rural and agricultural character and setting of the subject property:
(a) 
Screening of views of the proposed use considered undesirable or incompatible with rural character, as seen from nearby roads and residential lands. Extensive landscaping shall be used, including trees, shrubs and earth mounding.
(b) 
Architectural renovations to improve negative or undesirable building character.
(c) 
Parking located to the side and/or rear of the structure, with substantial landscape screening of areas of five or more vehicles.
(d) 
Landscaping that reflects a rural character, rather than a manicured, park-like urban or suburban character. Landscape elements may include hedgerows, meadows, pasture, tilled fields, and reforestation. Reforestation or dense plantings of native evergreen trees for screening shall be encouraged to be in informal patterns rather than rigid, linear forms. The Board of Supervisors may permit use of linear plantings where they are more appropriate than informal patterns.
(6) 
All uses permitted under this article shall be subject to an annually renewable permit and annual inspection to determine continuing compliance with these regulations. Permit and inspection fees shall be established by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
(7) 
Driveway entrances to public streets shall be paved and provided with properly engineered drainage facilities for safety and maintenance purposes.
(8) 
No outdoor storage of products, supplies or vehicles shall be permitted except farm-related vehicles or equipment in an amount normally needed for operation of a family farm.
(9) 
Noise, dust, smoke, odors and other potentially offensive emissions shall be limited by appropriate design and technology to remain at reasonable levels. The Board of Supervisors may impose additional controls, where necessary, as conditions of approval of a use or renewal of annual permits, including the performance standards contained in § 500-1704 of the chapter.
(10) 
Signs for these conditional uses shall not exceed a total of 24 square feet. Internally lighted signs shall be prohibited.
(11) 
Although the type and intensity of use may be changed by approval of a conditional use, the spacious rural character of the farmstead shall be maintained, and at least 60% of the tract shall remain as farmed fields, pasture, meadow and/or woodlands.
(12) 
For the category of "all other agricultural buildings" whose uses are specified in § 500-2401C herein, the following additional performance standards and criteria shall apply:
(a) 
Corn cribs, silos and other odd structures shall not qualify independently for conditional uses. The Board of Supervisors may permit use of such structures in coordination with use of another qualifying structure.
(b) 
Coops, storage buildings, and other structures that may be less attractive may be required to add architectural features to make them more attractive or they may need to be more heavily screened.
E. 
Land development processing. All uses proposed under this article shall be considered land developments and shall require formal plan processing in compliance with Chapter 425, Subdivision and Land Development.
The Board of Supervisors may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed in this chapter, as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes and intent to this article, including, but not limited to:
A. 
Certification of adequate water supply and sewage disposal.
B. 
Restrictive covenants and/or such other legal agreements as may be appropriate.
The regulations of this article shall take precedence in any case where there in a conflict with other regulations of the Township.