An ordinance dividing the Township of Bethlehem into districts and regulating the use of land and the location, use and density of buildings within these districts and providing for the administration and enforcement of this Ordinance is considered zoning. Zoning ordinance permits, prohibits, regulates, restricts and determines the uses of land, watercourses and other bodies of water; the size, height, bulk, location, erection, construction, repair, maintenance, alteration, razing, removal and use of structures; the areas and dimensions of land and bodies of water to be occupied by uses and structures, as well as areas, courts, yards and other open spaces and distances to be left unoccupied by uses and structures; and the density of population and intensity of use; and further the Ordinance contains provisions for special exceptions and variances to be administered by a Zoning Hearing Board; provisions for administration and enforcement and such other provisions as may be necessary to implement the requirements of the Ordinance.
The latest update to the Zoning Ordinance was the 2004 Zoning Ordinance Update, which applied "overlay districts" to land along the major corridors in the Township. The overlay zoning adds new uses to property, while retaining the underlying zoning. For instance, properties along Freemansburg Avenue, William Penn Highway/Easton Avenue and Nazareth Pike/191 may have underlying residential zoning, but also have additional "commercial" uses layered on top. In almost all cases, any land owner/developer interested in converting property from residential to commercial uses must submit a "Site Plan" application to the Planning Department. Review by the Planning Commission and approval by the Board of Commissioners is necessary.
The latest Zoning Ordinance which includes all underlying zoning. can be accessed through the "Downloads" feature of the website.