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Township of Unity, PA
Westmoreland County
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A. 
Uses listed. The permitted uses for each district are shown on the Table of Permitted Uses, Conditional Uses, Uses by Special Exception, Yard and Area Requirements attached as Addendum "A" to this chapter.[1] Uses not specifically listed as permitted uses in a district shall be prohibited in that district.
[1]
Editor's Note: Said addendum is included as an attachment to this chapter.
B. 
Review by Zoning Officer. A permitted use may be reviewed and approved by the Board of Supervisors as if it were a conditional use if the Zoning Officer determines that such use is:
(1) 
Adjacent to any natural or artificial body of water;
(2) 
Within 200 feet of the intersection of any arterial or collector road;
(3) 
To be developed on a site having land exceeding a slope of 25% or having other recognized hazardous geologic conditions;
(4) 
Within an airport overlay district;
(5) 
Within a floodplain; or
(6) 
Of unique historic significance.
The following provisions shall apply to accessory uses and structures:
A. 
Temporary trailers. Temporary structures and trailers used in conjunction with construction work may be permitted only during the period that the construction work is in progress. Temporary trailers or structures accessory to the construction of commercial facilities shall be issued permits and must comply with the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code.
B. 
Use of mobile home as temporary residence. The use of a mobile or manufactured home as a residence during the period of construction of a permanent dwelling on the same lot shall only be permitted by a request for a special exception filed with the Zoning Hearing Board. The request for a special exception may be granted by the Zoning Hearing Board when it finds:
(1) 
That the placement of the mobile home does not interfere with required setbacks in the zoning district;
(2) 
That the placement of the mobile home does not interfere with any site distance requirements or create a visual impairment for adjoining property owners;
(3) 
The mobile home has adequate sewage and water facilities;
(4) 
The mobile home proposed to be used is of sound construction and suitable for occupancy throughout the period of construction;
(5) 
The use of the mobile home as a residence shall not continue more than 12 months from the date a building permit is issued; and
(6) 
The placement of the mobile home shall not adversely affect the health, safety or well-being of adjoining property owners.
C. 
Securing and removal of mobile home from site. Any mobile home used as a temporary dwelling must be secured to the satisfaction of the Township to prevent movement. Any mobile home used as a temporary residence must be removed from the site within 30 days of the receipt of an occupancy permit for the permanent dwelling. Under no circumstances shall any mobile home be used as a secondary dwelling after the occupancy permit for the permanent dwelling is issued. In the event construction of the dwelling is not completed within 12 months of the date a building permit is issued, the applicant must request an extension of time to continue using the mobile home as a temporary dwelling from the Zoning Hearing Board.
D. 
Private outdoor swimming pools.
(1) 
A single private outdoor swimming pool is permitted as an accessory use to a residential structure, provided that such swimming pool is for the private use of the residents of the residential structure or their guests. Such a pool may not be located within the required rear or side yards of the district in which the pool is to be located, except that any walk, fence, slide, deck or accessory pool appurtenances surrounding the body of water may extend not more than three feet into any required side or rear yard.
(2) 
At a minimum, all in-ground pools shall be surrounded and enclosed by a four-foot-high fence structurally suitable to prevent direct access to the body of water in the pool. Such a fence shall not have openings, holes or gaps therein larger than four inches in width, or, if larger than four inches in width, no larger than four inches in length except for doors or gates; provided, however, that if a picket fence is erected or maintained, the horizontal dimensions shall not exceed four inches. A dwelling house or accessory building may be used as a part of such a fence.
(3) 
Fences shall be constructed of weather-resistant materials and shall be assembled or fabricated with sufficient rigidity to prevent any substantial alteration or deformation of the lawful openings, holes or gaps. Fences surrounding in-ground pools shall be anchored using concrete pilings installed below the frost line.
(4) 
All gates or doors opening through such enclosure shall be equipped with a self-closing and self-latching device designed to keep, and capable of keeping, such door or gate securely closed at all times when not in actual use; provided, however, that the door of any dwelling occupied by human beings which forms any part of the enclosure hereinabove required need not be so equipped.
(5) 
The sides of a pool constructed above ground level shall be considered to meet the requirements for a fence preventing direct access to the pool, provided that such side of the pool is at least four feet high, and provided further that any stairs, steps or ladders used to reach the water surface of the pool are removable or capable of being folded up or secured in a way which would prevent their use when the pool is not in operation by the residents of the property or their guests. Sides of above-ground pools that are less than four feet above ground level shall be fenced in accordance with this section.
(6) 
A privacy fence may be constructed to surround and enclose a pool constructed above the ground level; provided, however, that the height of any such fence shall not be greater than 4 1/2 feet, measured from the top of the side of the pool to the top of the fence.
(7) 
The fencing provisions of this section shall not be limited or affected by the general fencing requirements set forth herein; provided, however, that fencing existing on the perimeter of a property may be substituted to comply with the fencing requirements of this section where its proximity to the pool satisfies the purpose and intent of the fencing requirements contained in this section.
(8) 
For purposes of this section, a "swimming pool" shall mean any above ground, below ground, temporary or collapsible structure more than two feet in height, and/or capable of holding more than 5,000 gallons water for swimming, play or other recreational purposes. A "structure" less than two feet in height and/or capable of holding less than 5,000 gallons of water shall not be a "swimming pool" for purposes of this section.
E. 
Location of utility sheds. Utility sheds not exceeding 200 square feet in size may be located within a required side or rear property setback, but shall not be placed closer than five feet to the rear or side property line. No development permit is required for the construction of such a utility shed.
(1) 
No utility shed of any size shall be located within any area designated as common open space or as or within a buffer zone indicated on a recorded plan.
(2) 
Not more than one utility shed of any size may be constructed on a property. Any request for the construction of more than one utility shed shall be made as a special exception request to the Zoning Hearing Board.
(3) 
No mobile home, travel trailer, trailer, commercial truck bed or other similar vehicle may be converted or used as a utility shed or storage shed on any property in the Township.
F. 
No-impact home-based businesses. A no-impact home based business shall be permitted in all residential zones as an accessory use permitted by right, except that such permission shall not supersede any deed restriction, covenant or agreement restricting the use of land nor any master deed, bylaw or other document applicable to a common interest ownership community.
G. 
Private garages. Private garages may be detached, attached or integrated to the residential use, according to the following criteria:
(1) 
A single-family private garage may be constructed as a permitted accessory use to a residential dwelling, subject to the following limitations:
(a) 
In the R-2 and R-3 Districts, such garage shall not exceed 1,000 square feet in area;
(b) 
In the R-1 District, such garage shall not exceed 1,400 square feet in area;
(c) 
In the C and A Districts, such garage shall not exceed 2,000 square feet in area.
(d) 
If an private garage is proposed to be constructed having a square footage in excess of that permitted in a zoning district, the applicant may seek a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board for such construction.
(2) 
In the event that more than one private garage is desired to be built, such private garages may be constructed as a permitted use, provided that the total square footage of all of the garages may not exceed the permissible area proscribed for the zoning classification in which it is located. If the square footage of all of the garages exceeds the maximum size permitted the applicant may seek a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board for such construction.
H. 
Use of trailers for storage. No mobile home, travel trailer, trailer, commercial truck bed or other similar vehicle may be converted or used for the storage or warehousing of materials or equipment as an accessory to a commercial use on any property in the Township. No mobile home, travel trailer, trailer, commercial truck bed or other similar vehicle may be converted or used for the storage or warehousing of materials or equipment as an accessory to any residential use in the Township.
I. 
Fences. A fence may be erected in any required side or rear yard on properties in residential use, provided:
(1) 
Such fence is located at least two feet from the property line, unless an abutting property owner consents in writing to placement on the common property line;
(2) 
Such fence is erected with its finished side facing the neighboring property;
(3) 
Such fence does not exceed six feet in height;
(4) 
Such fence is constructed at grade level and not upon a mound, hill, fill or other artificial elevation; and
(5) 
Such fence is of durable construction and installed in a workmanlike manner, consistent with industry standards.
(6) 
No fence may be erected in any required residential front yard.
(7) 
A chain link fence not more than 10 feet in height may be erected in any required yard for schools, playgrounds or parks. Such fence shall be located at least two feet from the property line unless an abutting property owner consents in writing to placement on their common property line.
(8) 
A chain link fence no more than 10 feet high may be erected in any required yard on property in industrial or commercial use. A solid fence no more than 10 feet high may be erected in any required yard on properties in commercial or industrial use. Such fence shall be located at least two feet from the property line unless an abutting property owner consents in writing to placement on their common property line.
(9) 
No fence shall be constructed without first making application for and receiving a permit from the Township.
(10) 
Electric or electrified fences shall not be permitted on properties in residential use and shall only be permitted for the confinement of farm animals for agricultural purposes or uses.
J. 
Residential accessory structures in the A and C Zones. On lots less than 60,000 square feet used entirely for residential purposes in any A or C Zoning District, accessory structures may be located not closer than 15 feet from any rear or side lot line. In the event the residence on lots less than 60,000 square feet used entirely for residential purposes in any A or C Zoning District is located within the required front yard, an accessory structure may be constructed along a line running parallel to the front building line of the residence, provided, however, that such accessory structure shall not be closer than 25 feet from the edge of the hard surface of any paved roadway.
K. 
Kennels and runs. No kennel, run, pen or other structure intended for use as a shelter for more than two common domestic pets shall be permitted as an accessory use or structure within any residential district. Where property in a residential district is used principally for agricultural purposes, a structure, run or pen intended for use as a shelter for other than common domestic pets shall be permitted as an accessory use, subject to the provisions of this chapter.