MapLink™ | Procedures | Variances

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A. Variance.
(1) The Board shall hear requests for variances filed with the Board in writing by any landowner (or any tenant with the permission of such landowner).
(2) Standards.
The Board may grant a variance only within the limitations of state law. (As of 1993, the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq., provided that all of the following findings must be made, where relevant:
(a) 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 chapter in the neighborhood or district in which the property is located;
(b) 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 chapter and a variance is therefore necessary to enable the reasonable use of the property;
(c) Such unnecessary hardship has not been created by the appellant;
(d) 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; and,
(e) 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.)
(3) Variance Conditions.
In granting any variance, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards as it may deem necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter and to protect the public health and safety. The Board may in variance cases prohibit certain otherwise permitted uses on a lot where the Board finds that such uses would be contrary to the public interest considering the facts and circumstances of the case and the variance.
(4) Side Yard Exceptions for Accessory Structures.
(a) The following provision shall only apply to the placement of a one story customarily accessory structure of less than 600 square feet of building floor area or a household swimming pool serving a dwelling unit if such structure or pool is proposed within the required setback area for such use along abutting lot lines of another lot(s).
(i) If all abutting property-owner(s) of record along such abutting affected lot line sign a notarized statement clearly stating that he/she does not object to such reduction of the required setback for the placement of such structure or pool, and the Zoning Officer determines that no other Borough requirement would prevent such placement of such structure or pool, then the Zoning Officer shall permit such reduction or waiver of such required accessory setback, without the requirement for a zoning variance.
(ii) In such case, future owners of such abutting lots shall not have the right to require movement of such structure or pool.
(b) If the abutting property owner does not provide such waiver, that lack of support shall not by itself prevent the Board from granting a variance.
B. Time Limits on Permits and Variances. 
The following time limits shall apply to a zoning permit or the zoning portion of a building permit, but shall not limit the time limits for a permit under the Borough Building Code:
(a) After a variance is approved or a conditional or special exception approval is officially authorized under this chapter, then a zoning permit shall be secured by the applicant within 12 months after the date of such approval or authorization. Such action under such permit shall then substantially begin within 12 months of the issuance of the permit.
(b) If the applicant submits complete plans for a required site plan review or subdivision or land development approval or special exception or conditional use approval that is related to the variance or issuance of a permit under this chapter within the above time limits, then such time limits shall begin after such plan review is completed or such plan approval is granted.
(c) For good cause the Zoning Officer may, upon application in writing stating the reasons therefore, extend in writing the twelve-month application period to up to 18 months.
(d) If an applicant fails to obtain the necessary permits within the above time period, or, after obtained, the permittee fails to diligently commence substantial construction within 12 months or allows interruptions in substantial construction of longer than six months, it shall be conclusively presumed that the applicant has waived, withdrawn or abandoned the approval, and all such approvals, variances and permits shall be deemed automatically rescinded.
(e) Any building construction shall be completed within 30 months of issuance of an applicable permit, unless a written extension is granted by the Zoning Officer for good cause, or unless a more restrictive requirement is established by the Borough Building Code [Chapter 5: Code Enforcement]. Otherwise, a permit shall be considered to have automatically expired at the end of such thirty-month period.
See § 27-1115.C for more information on variances. 
See § 27-111: Zoning Hearing Board Actions and Variances for more information on this board.
See Forms and Applications for more information.
See Zoning for more information.