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Community Development

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The Community Development staff administers programs, based upon adopted codes and standards, intended to result in:

  • Well-planned development,
  • Properly constructed and maintained buildings
  • Mitigation of life safety and property damage hazards
  • Compliance with state and federal environmental regulations
  • Elimination of nuisances that could affect health, safety or property values

The types of regulated activities within these program areas include:

  • Building construction—includes new buildings, additions, alterations, relocation and demolition
  • Subdivision and development of land—includes review of traffic, stormwater, and environmental impacts
  • Zoning (land use)–includes permitted uses, required parking, signs, building height limits, use standards
  • Stormwater management—includes planning, impact mitigation, installation & maintenance of facilities
  • Excavating and filling land—includes stormwater management and erosion/sediment pollution controls
  • Right-of-way (streets, curbs, sidewalks, driveways)–includes construction standards, trenching & boring rules
  • Use and occupancy of buildings and land—includes property maintenance, compliance with fire protection rules
  • Floodplain management—includes use and construction rules to limit flood damage & qualify for flood insurance

The department staff is responsible for three primary categories of public services:

Codes Enforcement *
Planning and Zoning
Engineering

* A small percentage of development in Lower Allen Township is not served by the public sewer system, and must rely upon on-lot sewage disposal methods.   All PA municipalities are governed by the PA Sewage Facilities Act and PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations for private sewage disposal.  Our staff includes a DEP certified Sewage Enforcement Officer who can assist with sewage disposal planning for new development; soil evaluation, permitting and inspection services; and repair and maintenance issues.

CODES ENFORCEMENT

The Codes Enforcement staff applies a combination of statewide and locally adopted construction, property maintenance, fire prevention, environmental protection and nuisance abatement standards.     Administration of these regulations focuses on assuring that new construction meets or exceeds minimum standards established by the PA Uniform Construction Code (UCC), and that all properties are maintained in a safe and sanitary manner.  Code compliance helps maintain or improve property values and quality of life.

Our local UCC Program
The Township has been administering a local UCC compliance program since the state regulations went into effect in 2004. Our staff is currently certified in all local plan review and inspection disciplines, and a contract service provider is available to supplement staff capabilities.  All application, permitting and inspection services are coordinated from a single point of contact for residential and commercial construction customers.

UCC construction regulations
UCC regulations mandate the use of an inter-related series of model codes published by the International Code Council (ICC), including Building, Residential, Plumbing, Electrical, Mechanical, Fuel Gas and Energy Conservation. The PA Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) is responsible for updating UCC regulations, certification of  plan reviewers and inspectors, accessibility appeals, and related matters.  The Building Code page of the DLI  web site includes all statutory and regulatory amendments to the ICC codes and standards referenced therein.

Local modifications and additions to UCC codes & standards

When LAT opted to administer the UCC, it also continued to enforce existing local ordinances that adopted code compliance standards more stringent than, or not included in the UCC regulations.  This includes the International Property Maintenance Code, International Fire Code (to the extent not referenced in the International Building Code), and provisions in the International Residential Code  requiring permits for: accessory structures greater than 200 square feet; nonstructural alterations and repairs (except defined ordinary repairs); and attached residential decks.

Local ordinances adopting these codes and standards
The ordinances that enacted local administration of the UCC and the International Property Maintenance Code are located at Chapters 70 and 162, respectively, in the Code of Ordinances of Lower Allen Township.  This includes local amendments.

Where do I find the ICC codes that have been adopted by PA and Lower Allen Township?

Access to the ICC Codes is available free at CyberRegs, and printed or digital versions of the ICC codes are available for purchase at the ICC Store.  

PLANNING & ZONING

Subdivision and Land Development Plans are processed and reviewed through the Department. Each plan is examined in detail to insure that the plan complies with Township Ordinances regarding Zoning and Subdivision and Land Development. Where appropriate, Department staff insure that approvals from other State, County and local agencies are obtained by applicants before plans receive final approval.  All Subdivision and Land Development Plans which are submitted must be reviewed by the Township Planning Commission for comments and recommendations.  Final plan approval is granted only by the Board of Commissioners.

Staff answers citizen inquiries about the Zoning Ordinance and permitted uses and activities within the various Zoning Districts. The Department also issues Zoning Permits for uses and construction activities which are authorized by the Zoning Ordinance.  Requests for Variances, Special Exceptions and Appeals of the Zoning Officer’s Decision are processed through this Department. Decisions on these matters are made by the Township’s Zoning Hearing Board.

ENGINEERING

The Township Engineer works on items within the Community Development Department which involve: Subdivision and Land Development Plan review, traffic safety and traffic engineering, storm water management, floodplain management, and engineering matters related to building codes.

 

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