Applications for relief from decisions of the Zoning Officer, variances from requirements in the Zoning Ordinance, or special exception approval as required by the Zoning Ordinance are handled by the Zoning Hearing Board. Applications must be submitted by the first day of the month of the meeting at which the applicant wants to appear. Those meetings, which are open to the public, are usually held on the fourth Thursday of the month.
Conditional Use [PDF] approval is similar to special exceptions, except that the process goes through the Township's Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.
The Zoning Ordinance divides the Township into Zoning Districts [PDF] to accommodate various types of development. Each zoning district has a list of permitted uses such as single family dwellings, apartments or offices. If a use is not on the list, then it is not allowed in that district. Some uses not deemed acceptable for an entire district but appropriate under the right circumstances are allowed by special exception or conditional use. Uses not included in a district's list but in place before the adoption of the applicable provision of the Zoning Ordinance may be grandfathered as a "nonconforming use" and therefore permitted. However, an extension of that nonconforming use may require approval from the Zoning Hearing Board.
Each zoning district also has "bulk and height" regulations that determine the buildable area of each lot. These regulations include minimum lot sizes, minimum size of required yards in which buildings cannot be located, maximum amount of property that can have buildings or impervious surfaces, and maximum height for buildings. The dimensions and locations of new buildings or additions must comply with the district's bulk and height regulations. Existing lots or buildings that do not comply with regulations adopted after the lots or buildings were created or constructed may be grandfathered as nonconforming and therefore permitted. However, new construction or additions to such lots or buildings may require approval from the Zoning Hearing Board.
Zoning regulations also govern topics including but not limited to: parking, signs, accessory structures such as sheds and pools, building in a floodplain, rules about communication towers, etc.
The Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map [PDF] (which defines zoning districts) may be purchased at the Township Building. The cost for the Zoning Ordinance is $40 and $50 by mail. They also are available for review at the Tredyffrin and Paoli libraries.
Zoning Certificates may be obtained by writing a letter to the Zoning Officer indicating the address and tax parcel of the property for which you are requesting the certificate. Please submit the letter with the appropriate fee.