Zoning - FAQs

What is a zoning permit?
A zoning permit is required for any accessory structure not attached to your house such as: a shed, driveway and walkway, a patio, a fence, a detached garage, a gazebo, a pergola, a chicken coop, etc. A zoning permit does not include any construction which would fall under the PA Uniform Construction Code. A zoning permit also includes commercial uses, signage and parking lots.

I see I must draw a “Site Plan” to apply for my zoning permit. What is that?
A site plan for a zoning permit is fairly easy. Zoning is concerned with where a structure will be placed, as the proposed structure must follow all required minimum setbacks for the side, rear and front property lines. To draw your site plan, imagine you are a bird flying over your property. Nothing need be drawn to scale. Draw the shape of your lot. If you have a corner lot, name both the streets the lot sits against. Draw your house and driveway onto the lot. If you have any other structures in the rear yard, please add those and label what they are (such as a pool, a fence, a shed). Now locate the new structure on your lot and give the distances to the nearest property lines.

Do I need a permit to replace my driveway?
You do not need a permit if you are resurfacing or if you are removing a driveway and replacing it with the exact same size and shape. All driveways must be cement, decorative pavers or asphalt. If you are expanding the size, changing the shape or adding a parking pad, a permit is required. If the project requires any curb, sidewalk or apron work, you are required to get a permit from the Public Works Department prior to filing an application for a zoning permit.

Do I need a permit to replace my fence?
The only instance where you do not need a fence permit is if the only part of the fence you are replacing is the panels. You must use the same posts from the previous fence, or obtain a zoning permit for a new fence.

How many days does it take to get a zoning permit?
Zoning permits are somewhat seasonal. In the winter many outside projects cannot take place, so the wait time for a permit is less than a week. When weather permits, most of our outside projects are underway and a permit in summer and fall will take a week to ten days at best.

Bethlehem Township
4225 Easton Avenue
Bethlehem, Pa. 18020
Phone: 610-814-6400
Fax: 610-814-6408
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