The official title of this Title Six of Part Twelve, the Planning and Zoning Code, is the “Lawrence Park Township Zoning Ordinance.”  This Title Six shall take effect on March 14, 1985.  This Title Six repeals and replaces the former Township Zoning Ordinance, which was enacted on October 12, 1972, as well as all amendments made through July 9, 1985.


The provisions of this Zoning Code shall be held to be minimum requirements, adopted for the promotion of the public health, safety, and general welfare.  Whenever the requirements of this Zoning Code are in conflict with the requirements of any other lawfully adopted rules, regulations or ordinances in force within the Township, the most restrictive or that imposing the higher standard shall govern.


Should any section or provision of this Zoning Code be declared by the courts to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the Zoning Code as a whole, or any part thereof, other than the part so declared to be unconstitutional or invalid.


This Zoning Code is adopted and designed pursuant to the authority vested in the Township by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act of 1968 (P.L. 805, No. 247) as amended.


No structure shall be located, erected, constructed, reconstructed, moved, altered, converted or enlarged, nor shall any structure or land be used, except in full compliance with all provisions of this Zoning Code and after the lawful issuance of any permits, certificates or approvals as are required by this Zoning Code.


This Zoning Code and the Zoning Map adopted in Section 1226.01 are intended to promote, protect, and facilitate the public health, safety, general welfare, coordinated and practical community development, proper density of population, civil defense, the provisions of adequate light and air, police protection, vehicle parking and loading space, transportation, water and sewage, schools, public grounds and other public requirements, as well as to prevent the overcrowding of land, blight, danger and congestion in travel and transportation, loss of health, life, or property from fire, flood, panic, or other dangers.  More specifically, these broad purposes are designed to clearly achieve the community development objectives of the Lawrence Park Township Comprehensive Plan of 1983.

1260.07   AMENDMENTS

(a)        Manner of Originating.  The Board of Commissioners may introduce and consider amendments to this Zoning Code and to the Zoning Map, as proposed by a member of the governing body, by the Planning Committee, or by a petition of a person residing or owning property within the Township.

(b)       Petitions.  Petitions for amendment shall be filed with the Board of Township Commissioners, and the petitioner, upon such filing, shall pay a filing fee, in accordance with a schedule established annually by the Township.

(c)        Referral to Other Planning Agencies.  Any proposed amendment presented to the Board of Commissioners shall be referred to the Township Planning Committee and the Erie County Department of Planning for review prior to a public hearing by the Board of Commissioners.  A forty-five-day review period of these planning agencies shall be allowed before the Board of Commissioners may take final action on the amendment.

(d)       Public Hearings.  Before acting upon a proposed amendment, the Board of Commissioners shall hold at least one public hearing thereon.  Notice of such public hearing, containing a brief summary of the proposed amendment and a reference to the place where copies of the same may be examined, shall be published once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation within the Township.  The first publication shall be at least fourteen days, but not more than thirty days, prior to the date of the hearing.

(e)        Curative Amendments.  A landowner in Lawrence Park, who desires to challenge on substantive grounds the validity of this Zoning Code or Map, or any provision thereof which prohibits or restricts the use or development of land in which he/she has an interest, may submit a curative amendment to the Board of Township Commissioners, with a written request that his/her challenge and proposed amendment be heard and decided as provided in Sections 609.1 and 609.2, as well as Section 916.1 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act of 1968 (P.L. 805, No. 247), as amended.  As with other proposed amendments, the curative amendment shall be referred to the Township Planning Committee and the Erie County Department of Planning at least thirty days before the hearing is conducted by the Board of Township Commissioners.


Certain words used in this Zoning Code are defined below.  Words used in the present tense shall include the future; the singular number shall include the plural, and the plural the singular; and the word “shall” is mandatory and not permissive.

(1)        “Accessory structure”  means a structure customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal use and located on the same lot as the principal use, including, but not limited to, solar devices, wind devices, and satellite dishes.

(2)        “Animal” is not reserved to, but includes dogs and cats.

(3)        “Animal care” means the boarding, breeding, housing, or medical treatment of four or more animals, six months old or older.

(4)        “Basement” means a story having more than fifty percent of its clear height below finished grade.  A basement is not considered part of interior living area.

(4A)     “Bed and breakfast” means a permitted home occupation use of a residence to provide temporary overnight lodging and a breakfast meal, subject to the provisions of Section 1286.10.

(5)        “Board” means the Zoning Hearing Board of Lawrence Park Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania.

(6)        “Boarding, rooming, tourist, fraternity, or lodging house” shall be as defined in Section 1286.09.

(7)        “Bottle club” means a place of assembly owned, maintained or leased, for pecuniary gain, in which no intoxicating liquors are sold, but where patrons are being permitted to bring intoxicating liquors upon the premises for their own use and consumption.

(8)        “Building” means a roofed structure enclosed by walls for the shelter, housing or enclosure of persons, goods, materials, or animals.

(9)        “Building (setback) line” means an imaginary line fixed by the required yard depth, measured from the property line to the nearest point that a building may be constructed to the front, side and rear yards.

(10)      “Cartway” means, in the case of an improved road, the portion which is paved or improved for travel, and in the case of an unimproved road, the entire grade surface.

(11)      “Church” means an establishment designed and intended for religious instruction or public worship and designated as tax exempt property by the Erie County Tax Assessment Office.

(12)      “Club” means an establishment operated for social, recreational, athletic or educational purposes, but open to members and not the general public.

(12A)   “Commercial equipment” means and includes trucks rated by the manufacturer as greater than one ton, tandems, tractor trailers, school buses, tractors or other commercial construction, earth-moving or cargo-moving vehicles or equipment, and all commercial trailers.

(13)      “Commissioners” means the elected Board of Lawrence Park Township Commissioners.

(13A)   “Communications antenna” means any device used for the transmission or reception of radio, television, wireless telephone, pager, commercial mobile radio service, or any other wireless communications signals, including, without limitation, omnidirectional or whip antennas and directional or panel antennas, owned or operated by any person or entity licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate such device.  This definition shall not include private residence-mounted satellite dishes or television antennas or amateur radio equipment, including, without limitation, ham or citizen band radio antennas.

(13B)   “Communications equipment building” means an unmanned building or cabinet containing communications equipment required for the operation of communications antennas and covering an area on the ground not greater than 250 square feet.

(13C)   “Communications tower” means a structure, other than a building, such as a monopole, self-supporting or guyed tower, designed and used to support communications antennas.

(14)      “Conditional use” means a use or activity which the Board of Township Commissioners are permitted to authorize in specific instances listed in this Zoning Code, under the terms, procedures, and conditions prescribed herein.

(15)      “Condominium” means a form of ownership of space and use in a multifamily dwelling.

(16)      “Coverage, maximum lot” means the total allowable percentage of the lot area covered by principal and accessory structures.  Driveways, sidewalks, patios, etc. are exempted from maximum lot coverage requirements.

(17)      “Drive-in facility” means a commercial business that provides service to the occupants of a vehicle from a window, booth, or other structure designed to provide such service, while the patrons are parked in an off-street parking space.  This shall include, but not be limited to, such establishments as drive-in banks, drive-in beverage distributors, restaurants, laundries, and service stations.

(18)      “Dwelling” means any structure or portion thereof designed or used as the living quarters for one or more families.

(19)      “Dwelling, single-family” means a detached building designed for and used exclusively for occupancy by one family and having a minimum of 900 square feet of enclosed, interior living area on a permanent foundation.

(20)      “Dwelling, multifamily” means a building designed for or occupied by three or more families living independently of each other, with separate living, cooking, sanitary and entrance facilities for each, e.g. apartment buildings, condominiums, and townhouses.

(21)      “Dwelling, multiple.”  See Section 1286.09.

(22)      “Dwelling, two-family” means a building designed for or occupied by two families living independently of each other, with separate cooking, sanitary and entrance facilities for each, e.g. a duplex.

(23)      “Dwelling unit” means one or more living and/or sleeping rooms, together with exclusive cooking and sanitary facilities for one family.

(24)      “Essential services” means the erection, construction, alteration or maintenance, by public utilities or municipal or other governmental agencies, of underground or overhead gas, electrical, steam or water transmission or distribution systems, collection, communication, supply or disposal systems and their essential buildings, excluding communications towers and communications antennas, as defined herein.

(25)      “Family” means:

         (A)       A collective body of one or more persons living together as a separate housekeeping unit in a relationship based upon blood, marriage, adoption, or law, plus necessary domestic help which shall not exceed two individuals except by variance before the Zoning Hearing Board with proper documentation.

(B)       A collective body of not more than three unrelated, or not all related, persons living and cooking together as a single housekeeping unit.

(26)      “Front yard depth.”  See building (setback) line.

(27)      “Handicapped ramp” means an accessory structure attached to an entrance of a primary residence, required solely for safe and ready access to or egress from a residence by a permanently or temporarily disabled resident.

(27A)   “Height of a communications tower” means the vertical distance measured from the ground level to the highest point on a communications tower, including antennas mounted on the tower.

(28)      “Home occupation” means an income-producing activity, conducted by a resident in or around his/her residence, in which articles or materials are offered for sale or are manufactured or assembled or stored on the premises, or in which services are offered for sale and provided on the premises.  The use of the resident’s telephone or mail or incidental interior space for clerical or accounting work by the resident relating to a professional, sales, service, or other business activity conducted at some other location is not a home occupation for the purposes of this definition, unless clients, customers, suppliers, or employees frequently or regularly visit the residence.

(29)      “Junkyard” means land or a structure used for the collecting, storage, processing and sale of scrap metal, scrapped, abandoned, or junked motor vehicles, machinery, equipment, waste paper, glass, rags, containers, and other discarded materials.  It shall not include, however, refuse or garbage kept in a proper container for the purpose of prompt disposal.

(30)      “Light manufacturing” means the making or processing of materials into finished products through small scale industrial operations which meet with the performance standards set forth in Section 1286.17.

(31)      “Loading space” means a space on a lot usable for the standing, loading, or unloading of trucks and having a minimum dimension of fourteen feet by fifty-five feet with a vertical clearance of fourteen feet.

(32)      “Lot” means a parcel of land occupied or capable of being occupied by one or more structures or dwelling units in a structure, provided the requirements of this Zoning Code are met.

(33)      “Lot, corner” means a lot at the junction of and fronting on two or more intersecting street right of ways.  Any corner lot that is being built on must meet front yard setbacks for both streets.

(34)      “Lot, minimum area of” means the area of a lot computed exclusive of any portion of the right of way of any public thoroughfare.

(35)      “Lot of record” means any lot which individually or as a part of a subdivision has been recorded in the office of the Recorder of Deeds in Erie County.

(36)      “Lot width” means the mean width measured at right angles of its depth.

(37)      “Mobile home” means a transportable, single-family dwelling intended for permanent occupancy, office or place of assembly contained in one unit, or in two units designed to be joined into one integral unit capable of again being separated for repeated towing, which arrives at a site complete and ready for occupancy, except for minor and incidental unpacking and assembly operations.  Mobile homes located on a single (out-of-park) lot must be attached to a permanent foundation and contain a minimum of 900 square feet of enclosed, interior living space.

(38)      “Mobile home park” means a parcel of land under single ownership, which has been planned and improved for the placement of mobile homes for nontransient use, consisting of two or more mobile home lots.

(39)      “No-impact home-based business” means a business or commercial activity administered or conducted as an accessory use which is clearly secondary to the use as a residential dwelling and which involves no customer, client, or patient traffic, whether vehicular or pedestrian, pickup, delivery, or removal functions to or from the premises, in excess of those normally associated with residential use.

(40)      “Nonconforming structure” means a structure or part of a structure manifestly not designed to comply with the applicable use provisions in this Zoning Code or any amendment heretofore or hereafter enacted, where such structure lawfully existed prior to the enactment of such ordinance or amendment or prior to the application of such ordinance or amendment to its location by reason of annexation.  Such nonconforming structures include, but are not limited to, nonconforming signs.

(41)      “Nonconforming use” means a use, whether of land or of a structure, which does not comply with the applicable use provisions in this Zoning Code or any amendment theretofore or hereafter exacted, where such use was lawfully in existence prior to the enactment of such ordinance or amendment or prior to the application of such ordinance or amendment to its location by reason of annexation.

(42)      “Permit” means a written authorization or certificate issued by Zoning Administrator for occupancy, conversion, division, construction or reconstruction, alteration, addition, demolition, mobile home, placement of signs or other existing or proposed uses necessary to properly enforce this Zoning Code.

(43)      “Permitted use” means the main or primary purpose for which a building, other structure and/or land may be used, occupied, or maintained under the provisions of this Zoning Code.

(44)      “Planning Code,” “Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code” means the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, being the Act of July 31, 1968 (P.L. 805, No. 247) and amendments to same as may be adopted from time to time.

(45)      “Public notice” means a notice published once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the Township.  Such notice shall state the time and place of the hearing and the particular nature of the matter to be considered at the hearing.  The first publication shall be not more than thirty days or less than fourteen days from the date of the hearing.

(46)      “Public utility transmission tower” means a structure, owned and operated by a public utility company regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, designed and used to support overhead electricity transmission lines.

(47)      “Rear yard depth” means the mean horizontal distance between the rear of a structure and the rear lot line.

(48)      “Renewable energy source” means any method, process or substance whose supply is rejuvenated through natural processes and, subject to those natural processes, remains relatively constant, including, but not limited to, biomass conversion, geothermal energy, solar and wind energy and hydroelectric energy, and excluding those sources of energy used in the fission and fusion processes.

(49)      “Side yard” means the mean horizontal distance between a structure and a side lot line.

(50)      “Sign” means any structure or natural object, used to state an announcement, direction, or advertisement, designed to attract the attention of the public.  However, the word “sign” shall not include a flag or pennant, nor shall it include legal notices, addresses, or official signs of any governmental agency, or traffic controls or directions.

(51)      “Special exception use” means a use or activity which the Zoning Hearing Board is permitted to authorize in specific instances listed in this Zoning Code, under the terms, procedures, and conditions prescribed herein.

(52)      “Structure” means anything built, constructed, or erected which requires location on the ground or attachment to something located on the ground.

(53)      “Surfacing, all-weather” means all weather cement, concrete, blacktop, bituminous surface, loose gravel, or tar/chip.

(54)      “Variance” means a departure from the strict letter of this Zoning Code as it applies to specific properties as authorized by the Zoning Hearing Board in accordance with the provisions of this Zoning Code.

(55)      “Zoning Code” means Ordinance 300-85, passed March 4, 1985, as amended, codified herein, as Title Six of Part Twelve – the Planning and Zoning Code.