MapLink™ | Procedures | Demolition (VR Zone)

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Demolition (VR Zone)
No structure shall be demolished without a permit obtained under this provision, except for emergency demolitions.
(1) Process: An applicant desiring the demolition of an accessory structure that is less than 400 square feet and that is not listed in the East Hempfield Township Historic Inventory shall apply directly to the Zoning Officer for a permit. All other requests for demolition shall be treated as a conditional use request under the PA Municipalities Planning Code, as amended. As such, the East Hempfield Township Planning Commission shall review each demolition request and offer their findings to the Board of Supervisors for consideration. The Board of Supervisors shall make a decision whether to grant or deny the permit.
(2) Request procedure: A request for demolition can be filed on any business day; however, the Planning Commission may review a request at a particular meeting only if the plan was filed at least 21 calendar days prior to the meeting.
(3) Request requirements: A written request shall be submitted with the following materials.
(a) A description of the structure in question, with the year it was built and Historic Resource Class designation, if available.
(b) The reasons for the demolition request.
(c) A certification from the landowner that the structure cannot be feasibly rehabilitated to meet a permitted use.
(d) Reference to a submitted or approved land development plan, where applicable. In the case of a request to demolish a principal structure, the request shall not be considered complete and will not be scheduled for hearing until a sketch plan depicting the subsequent redevelopment of the site is provided to the Township.
(4) Criteria for review: The burden of proof is on the property owner to demonstrate that the property owner has been deprived any profitable use of the relevant parcel as a whole. The recommendation of the Planning Commission and the decision of the Board of Supervisors shall be based upon a review of the information submitted by the applicant against all criteria and not any one criterion. The purpose of the Village Residential Zone shall also be considered.
(a) It is not feasible to continue the current use.
(b) Other uses permitted within the underlying zoning district, either as permitted uses, special exception uses, or conditional uses, have been denied or are not feasible due to constraints on the building or structure.
(c) Adaptive use opportunities do not exist due to constraints related to the building, structure or property.
(d) The building, it's permitted uses, and adaptive use potential does not provide a reasonable rate of return, based on a reasonable initial investment. Such reasonable rate of return shall be calculated with respect to the property taken as a whole.
(e) The applicant has not contributed to the existing conditions, either through neglect or prior renovation, conversion, alteration or similar physical action.
(f) The demolition will not adversely affect the character of the property, streetscape, neighborhood or community.
(g) A proposed new building, structure or use (if applicable) on or of the property will not adversely affect the character of the streetscape, neighborhood or community.
(h) The building is structurally unsound.
(i) The denial of demolition would result in unreasonable economic hardship to the owner.
(j) Sale of the building or structure is impossible or impractical.
(k) Denial of demolition will deprive the property as a whole of all beneficial use.
(5) Associated land development plan: If the application for a permit for demolition of one or more principal structure is being requested to facilitate future development of the land, the said permit shall not be issued until the following additional requirements have been satisfied.
(a) Approval of the land development plan by the Board of Supervisors;
(b) Issuance of any necessary zoning approvals; and
(c) The recording of the approved subdivision or land development plan for the parcel where the demolition is proposed.
(6) Pre-demolition requirements: In those instances where an application for demolition is approved, the building(s) to be demolished shall be historically and photographically documented. The extent of the documentation shall be determined by the significance of the building(s). When documentation is complete the building shall be dismantled and recycled to the greatest extent possible. Electronic copies of all documentation shall be submitted to the Township.
(7) Denial of demolition: All appeals from decisions of the Board of Supervisors in the administration of this section shall be made in accordance with the provisions of the Municipalities Planning Code, Article X-A.
(8) Enforcement: In addition to the enforcement provisions in § 270-9.2: Administration and enforcement; violations and penalties, the Zoning Officer, with the authorization of the Board of Supervisors, may take other appropriate legal action, which may include equitable and injunctive relief, to enforce the provisions of this section.
(9) Emergency demolitions: Emergency demolitions to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of East Hempfield Township are regulated under the East Hempfield Township Property Maintenance Code, Uniform Building Code, or its successors and the provisions of that Code shall take precedence over the provisions contained herein.
(10) Demolition by neglect:
(a) General requirements: Demolition by neglect is the absence of routine maintenance and repair which leads to structural weakness, decay and deterioration in a building or structure to the point where the building or structure meets the criteria for condemnation.
[1] Codes violations: If the Zoning Officer cited a property owner of a principal structure for conditions that has or could lead to structural weakness, decay or deterioration and the property owner fails to correct the condition(s) in the time specified, that property owner may be cited by the Zoning Officer also for demolition by neglect under these provisions and be subject to the penalties contained herein.
[2] The owner of unoccupied principal or accessory buildings or structures that have been cited for violations shall develop a written maintenance program for the protection of any and all unoccupied Class I or Class II historic resources. Said maintenance program shall be established in accordance with East Hempfield Township Property Maintenance Code. A copy of the maintenance program shall be filed with the Zoning Officer, with the Board of Supervisors authorization, and implementation begun in accordance with an established timetable.
[a] The maintenance program shall address measures to assure that structural components are protected and reinforced to stabilize and maintain the essential form of the building or structure. Structural features requiring stabilization include, but may not be limited to: roof, chimney(s), cornice, soffit, fascia, spouting, columns, beams, posts, as well as window and door sills, lintels and jambs.
[b] The exterior and interior of the building or structure shall be inspected no less than annually by the Zoning Office with the owner or the owner's agent to determine code compliance with the established maintenance program.
(11) Enforcement.
(a) In addition to the enforcement provisions in § 270-9.2: Administration and enforcement; violations and penalties, the Zoning Officer may authorize action to withhold issuance of any and all zoning and building permits for a period of up to two years for any property that, at the time of the enactment of these provisions, was occupied by a building or structure that was subsequently demolished by neglect, except that permits may be issued for the abatement of any cited condition governed by East Hempfield Township.
(b) In addition, the Zoning Officer may take other appropriate legal action, which may include equitable and injunctive relief, to enforce the provisions of this section.

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