MapLink™ | Procedures | Zoning Hearing Board (Hearings and Decisions)

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Zoning Hearing Board (Hearings and Decisions)
The Board shall conduct hearings and make decisions in accordance with the following:
A. Notice of Hearings.
Notice of all hearings of the Board shall be given as follows:
(1) Ad. Public notice shall be published, as defined by § 107 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10107. The notice shall state the time and place of the hearing and the particular nature and property address of the matter to be considered.
(2) Posting. Notice of such hearing shall be conspicuously posted on the affected tract of land at least one week prior to the hearing. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that such notice is posted and remains posted until the hearing. Such notice shall state the time and place of the hearing and a general description of the request.
(3) Persons Given Notice.
(a) Written notice shall be mailed or personally delivered to the applicant or his/her representative listed on an official application form.
(b) Notice should be delivered or mailed to the Chairperson of the Planning Commission, the Borough Manager, the President of Borough Council and the last known address of owners of record of property that is abutting or directly across the street from the subject property. The applicant shall provide the Borough with a list of such property owners. Failure of the Borough to notify all such persons shall not by itself invalidate any action by the Board.
(c) Also, such notice shall be mailed or delivered to the address of any other person or group (including civic or community organizations) who has made a written timely request (including an address) for such notice.
(d) All notice under this subsection should be intended to be received or posted at least seven days prior to the hearing date.
(e) Notice of decisions. See § 27-112(J).
(4) Adjacent Municipalities.
In any matter which relates to a lot which lies within 200 feet of the boundary of another municipality and where the Zoning Officer determines the proposed activity may have significant impact on that municipality, the Borough staff should transmit to the offices of the adjacent municipality a copy of the official notice of the public hearing on such matter prior to the hearing date.
(5) Fees.
The Borough Council may, by resolution, establish a reasonable fee schedule, based on cost, to be paid by: a) the applicant for any notice required by this chapter; and, b) those persons requesting any notice not required by this chapter.
B. Parties in Hearings.
(1) The parties to a hearing shall be the Borough, any person affected by the application who has made timely appearance of record before the Board and any other person, including civic or community organizations permitted to appear by the Board.
(2) The Board shall have power to require that all persons who wish to be considered parties enter appearances in writing on forms provided by the Board for that purpose.
(3) The Board may determine which objectors have standing on a particular application.
C. Oaths and Subpoenas.
The Chairperson of the Board or Hearing Officer shall have power to administer oaths and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant documents and papers, including witnesses and documents reasonably needed by and requested by the parties.
D. Representation by Counsel.
The parties shall have the right to be represented by legal counsel and shall be afforded the opportunity to respond and present evidence and argument and cross-examine adverse witnesses on relevant issues.
E. Evidence and Record.
Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded. The Board, at its option, may exclude written comments from persons who are not present at a hearing. The Board or the hearing officer, as applicable, shall keep a record of the proceedings as required by state law.
F. Communications Outside of Hearings.
(1) The Board shall not meet with, visit the site with or directly communicate specifically on the matter with the applicant or any officially protesting party or their representatives in connection with any issue involved, except if opportunity is provided for the applicant and any officially protesting party to participate.
(2) The Board shall not take notice of any communication, reports, staff memoranda or other materials directly affecting a proposed application unless the parties are afforded an opportunity to examine and contest the material so noticed or unless such materials are already a matter of public record. This restriction shall not apply to advice from the Board's Solicitor.
G. Advisory Reviews.
The Zoning Hearing Board may request that the Planning Commission, County Conservation District or Borough Engineer provide an advisory review on any matter before the Board.
H. Initiation of Hearings.
A hearing required under this chapter shall be initiated within 60 days of the date of an applicant's request for a hearing, unless the applicant has agreed in writing to an extension of time. A request for a hearing by an applicant shall not be accepted prior to submission of a duly filed application.
I. Decision/Findings.
(1) The Board shall render a written decision or make written findings (when no decision is called for) on each application within 45 days after the last hearing on that application before the Board, unless the applicant has agreed in writing to an extension of time.
(2) Where the application is contested or denied, the decision shall be accompanied by findings of fact and conclusions based thereon, together with the reasons for such conclusions.
(3) Any conclusion based on any provision of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq., or of this chapter should contain a reference to the provision relied on.
J. Notice of Decision.
(1) A copy of the final decision or a copy of the findings (when no decision is called for), shall be personally delivered or mailed to the applicant or his or her representative or their last known address not later than the time limit established by § 907 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10907.
(2) A copy of any final decision should be, but is not required to be, personally delivered or mailed to any persons who officially were accepted by the Board at the hearing as objectors to the applicant's request.
See § 27-112: Board Hearings and Decisions for more information.
See § 27-111: Zoning Hearing Board Actions and Variances for more information on this board.