The Zoning Ordinance for the Township of Bethlehem is adopted to carry out all of the objectives and purposes authorized for a zoning ordinance as specified in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as well as to assist in carrying out the goals and intent of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Floodplain Management Act, Pennsylvania Stormwater Management Act, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection regulations on erosion and sedimentation control, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation regulations on highway access control and other relevant federal and state laws, regulations, official policies and relevant court decisions.
The Zoning Ordinance divides the Township of Bethlehem into zoning districts, such as residential, commercial, industrial, etc., with consideration for the character of the Township, its various parts and the suitability of the various parts for particular uses and structures. The Ordinance guides development and redevelopment in such a way to best protect the nature of our neighborhoods and afford opportunities for commercial and industrial businesses to thrive. Zoning also provides regulations relating to safety, such as clear sight lines at intersections, and environmental concerns, such as limits to impervious coverage on a lot.
No building, structure, area of a use or land shall be used, subdivided, occupied, erected, moved, structurally altered, enlarged, constructed, converted, maintained, extended, created, reconstructed, replaced, changed in use, excavated or expanded in intensity except pursuant to the regulations and procedures of the Zoning Ordinance. Persons desiring to undertake any new construction, structural or site alteration or changes in the use of a building or lot shall apply to the Township Zoning Officer for a permit under this chapter by filling out the appropriate application form and by submitting the required fee at such time and any additional required information (such as a site plan).
Whenever a use clearly is not permitted by right, by condition or by special exception by this chapter anywhere in the Township, the use is prohibited in the Township, except that the applicant may apply to the Zoning Hearing Board. The Zoning Hearing Board may permit such a use if the applicant proves to the satisfaction of the Zoning Hearing Board that the use would clearly be less offensive in impacts and nuisances than permitted uses and be compatible with permitted uses in that district. The Zoning Hearing Board may additionally grant variances from other regulations of the Zoning Ordinance, such as setbacks, restrictions on signage, number of required parking spaces, etc.
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