In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the Zoning Hearing Board has jurisdiction to hear and decide on a number of issues dealing with land use and zoning ordinances. In Palmer Township the Zoning Hearing Board generally holds hearings that deal with the following:
Applications for a variance to some part of the zoning ordinance. For example, there are specific regulations on setbacks from a property line to the side of a house. If a builder or land owner can not meet that setback then he would have to ask for a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board.
Applications for a special exception as required by the zoning ordinance. In the ordinance there are various uses for different densities of residential use, commercial use, business use, etc. In those various land use sections there are specific uses such as permitted (which does not require a hearing before any board or commission) and special exceptions (which does require a hearing before the Zoning Hearing Board).
Appeals from the determination of the Zoning Officer, including, but not limited to the following:
- the granting of denial of any permit, or failure to act on an application;
- the issuance of any cease and desist order, or;
- the registration or refusal to register any nonconforming use, structure or lot.
If you have an appeal that falls into one of the categories above then the process to follow would be:
1. Discuss the appeal with the Zoning Officer in the Municipal Building
2. Fill out the Zoning Hearing Application Form as the notice to appeal and follow the instructions on the cover sheet
3. Submit the request form to the Zoning Officer along with the fee (check made payable to Palmer Township). (IMPORTANT)...submit seven copies of any and all descriptions, maps, plans, sketches, etc., of the proposed use or construction. Original photographs may be presented as evidence at your zoning hearing (you will not need 7 prints of each photograph).
4. The Zoning Officer will schedule the zoning hearing. The applicant will be notified of the date, time and place of the hearing.
Once the hearing testimony is closed the Zoning Hearing Board has 45 days to render a decision. If the applicant wishes to appeal the decision of the Zoning Hearing Board there is a 30 day appeal period from the date of the decision letter.
In cases requiring transcription of notes of testimony, copies of notes will not be released unless applicant pays all costs associated there-with over and above the appeal fees set forth above. The Zoning Officer may require deposits of up to $1,000 to secure payment of such cost of notes of testimony in protracted cases likely to involve appeal.