1264.01   ESTABLISHMENT AND ORGANIZATION

In accordance with Article IX of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, being the Act of 1968 (P.L. 805, No. 247), as amended, a Zoning Hearing Board shall be appointed by the Board of Township Commissioners, which Board shall adopt rules to govern its procedure.  The Board shall hold meetings, keep minutes and pursuant to public notice, conduct hearings, compel the attendance of witnesses, take testimony under oath and render decisions or findings.  For the filing of any appeal or proceeding with the Board, a fee shall be charged in accordance with a schedule established annually by the Board of Township Commissioners.

The membership of the Board shall be arranged in accordance with the provisions of Section 903 of the Planning Code.  The organization of the Board shall be based upon Section 906 of the Planning Code and the removal of any members of the Board shall be undertaken pursuant to Section 905 of the Planning Code.  There shall be no compensation to any member of the Board for the performance of his/her duties.  However, the Board of Township Commissioners may from time to time appropriate moneys for clerical, technical, or legal consultants for necessary services.

1264.02   FUNCTIONS

The Zoning Hearing Board shall conduct hearings and make determinations on matters as provided in this Zoning Code in accordance with the provisions of Sections 908 et seq. of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, including the following functions:

(a)        Appeals from Decisions of the Zoning Administrator.  The Board shall hear and decide appeals where it is alleged by the appellant that the Zoning Administrator has failed to follow prescribed procedures or has misinterpreted or misapplied any provision of this Zoning Code or Map or any valid rule or regulation governing the action of the Zoning Administrator.  Such appeals shall be filed within thirty days as provided in Section 914.1 of the Planning Code.

(b)       Variances.  The Board shall hear requests for variances where it is alleged that the provisions of this Zoning Code inflict unnecessary hardship upon the applicant.  The Board may grant a variance, provided the following findings are made where relevant:

(1)        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 this Zoning Code in the neighborhood or district in which the property is located.

(2)        Because of such physical circumstances or conditions, there is no possibility that the property can be developed in strict conformity with the provisions of this Zoning Code and that the authorization of a variance is, therefore, necessary to enable the reasonable use of the property.

(3)        Such unnecessary hardship has not been created by the appellant.

(4)        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.

(5)        The variance, if authorized, will represent the minimum variance that will afford relief and will represent the least modification possible of the regulation in issue.

(6)        The Zoning Hearing Board should consider neighborhood concerns when considering variances.

In granting any variance, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes and objectives of this Zoning Code.

(c)        Special Exception Uses.  The Zoning Hearing Board shall have the power to hear and decide applications for special exception uses as specified in Chapter 1286 of this Zoning Code in harmony with its general purpose and intent and in accordance with the standards set forth.  The Board shall approve a special exception use only if it meets the following standards and criteria.

(1)        The use is compatible with adjacent uses and structures.

(2)        The use is suited to the topography and other characteristics of the site.

(3)        The use complies with all off-street parking and other provisions of this Zoning Code.

(4)        In interpreting and applying the provisions of this Zoning Code, they shall be held to be the minimum requirements for the health, safety, and general welfare of the Township.

(5)        The Zoning Hearing Board should consider neighborhood concerns when considering special exception uses.

(d)       Challenge to the Validity of Zoning Code or Map.  The Board shall hear challenges to the validity of this Zoning Code or Map as indicated in Section 909.1 and Section 916.1 of the Planning Code.  In all such challenges, the Board shall take evidence and make a record thereon as provided in Section 908 of the Planning Code.  At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board shall decide all contested questions and shall make findings on all relevant issues of fact which shall become part of the record on appeal to the court.

(e)        Unified Appeals.  Where the Board has jurisdiction over a zoning matter, it shall also hear all appeals which an applicant may elect to bring before it with respect to any Municipal ordinance or requirement pertaining to the same development plan or development.  In any such case, the Board shall have no power to pass upon the nonzoning issues, but shall take evidence and make a record thereon as provided in Section 908 of the Planning Code.  At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board shall make findings on all relevant issues of fact, which shall become part of the record on appeal to the court.

(f)        Request and Application Procedure.  All requests, applications, or appeals made to the Board shall be in writing on forms prescribed by the Rules of Procedure of the Board.  Every appeal or application shall refer to the specific provision of the Zoning Code involved, and shall set forth exactly the interpretation that is claimed, the use which is sought, or the details of the variance that are applied for and the grounds on which it is claimed a request should be granted.  At least ten days before the date of the hearing, on a request, application, or appeal, the Board shall transmit to the Township Planning Commission a copy of said request, application, or appeal in order that the Planning Commission may have an opportunity to submit a report or opinion to the Board.

1264.03   HEARING PROCEDURES

The Board shall conduct hearings and make decisions in accordance with the provisions of Section 908 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.

1264.04   APPEAL FROM BOARD’S DECISION

Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Board, or any taxpayer or member of the Township Board of Commissioners may, within thirty days after such decision of the Board, appeal therefrom in accordance with Article X-A of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.

1264.05   FEE FOR ZONING APPEALS HEARING

The fee for a zoning appeals hearing shall be one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00).