MapLink™ | Procedures | Special Exceptions

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Special Exceptions
A. Special exceptions. Uses specified as special exceptions shall be permitted only after review and approval by the Zoning Hearing Board pursuant to the express standards and criteria as provided for specific special exceptions in this chapter and in Subsection D.
(1) Expansions. Expansions or additions to uses classified as special exceptions shall also be considered special exceptions. The addition of an accessory structure of less than 500 square feet of gross floor area shall not be considered a special exception.
(2) Procedure.
(a) Submission. The application shall be submitted to the designated Township official.
(b) Zoning Officer review. The Zoning Officer may report, in writing or in person, to the Planning Commission or the Zoning Hearing Board stating whether the application complies with this chapter. The Zoning Officer may recommend a review by the Township Engineer.
(c) Planning Commission review of special exception uses.
[1] The Township Planning Commission shall be provided with an opportunity to review any proposed special exception use. The Planning Commission, at its option, may provide a written advisory review.
[2] If such review is not received by the Zoning Hearing Board within the time limit within which the Board must issue its decision, then the Zoning Hearing Board may make a decision without having received comments from the Planning Commission.
(d) Zoning Hearing Board action on special exception uses.
[1] The Board shall hear and decide a request for a special exception use under the procedures in § 400-125 of this chapter and § 908 of the MPC.
[2] In granting a special exception, the Zoning Hearing Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed in this chapter, as it determines are necessary to implement the purposes of the MPC and this chapter, and to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.
B. Standards and criteria for conditional uses and special exceptions. In addition to the applicable general provisions of this chapter and to the standards and criteria provided in this chapter for specific conditional uses and specific special exceptions, the standards and criteria in this Subsection D shall be applied in the review of applications for conditional uses and special exceptions. The applicant shall supply evidence regarding compliance with the express standards and criteria contained herein; and data or evidence may be accepted from protestants. Such evidence shall be evaluated relative to the injurious impact on the public health, safety, and welfare; and, the proposed use shall be approved with appropriate conditions or denied based on said evaluation.
(1) Comprehensive Plan; ordinances. The proposed use shall be consistent with the purposes, goals, objectives and standards of the Coolbaugh Township. Borough of Mount Pocono, Tobyhanna Township, and Tunkhannock Township Regional Comprehensive Plan, this chapter, and all other ordinances of the Township.
(2) Location. The proposed use shall also be evaluated as to the degree to which the proposed location may be particularly suitable or unsuitable for the proposed use in terms of the physical characteristics of the site.
(3) Adverse effects. The proposed use at the proposed location shall not result in a substantial or undue adverse effect on adjacent property, the character of the neighborhood, traffic conditions, parking, public improvements, public sites or rights-of-way, adjacent property values, or other matters affecting the public health, safety, and general welfare, either as they now exist or as they may in the future be developed as a result of the implementation of this chapter, or any other plan, program, map or ordinance of the Township or other government agency having jurisdiction to guide growth and development.
(4) Public improvements. The proposed use shall not impose an undue burden on any of the improvements, facilities, utilities, and services of the Township, whether such services are provided by the Township or some other entity. The applicant shall be wholly responsible for providing such improvements, facilities, utilities, and services as may be required to adequately serve the proposed use when the same are not available or are inadequate to serve the proposed use in the proposed location. As part of the application and as a condition of approval of the proposed use, the applicant shall be responsible for establishing ability, willingness, and binding commitment to provide such improvements, facilities, utilities, and services in sufficient time and in a manner consistent with this and other ordinances of the Township. The permit approval shall be so conditioned.
(5) Additional factors. The following additional factors shall be considered:
(a) Location, arrangement, size, design and general site compatibility of buildings, lighting, and signs.
(b) Adequacy and arrangement of vehicular traffic access and circulation, including intersections, road widths, pavement surfaces, dividers, and traffic controls.
(c) Location, arrangement, appearance and sufficiency of off-street parking and loading.
(d) Adequacy and arrangement of pedestrian traffic, access and circulation, walkway structures, control of intersections with vehicular traffic and overall pedestrian convenience.
(e) Adequacy of stormwater and drainage facilities.
(f) Adequacy of water supply and sewage disposal facilities.
(g) Adequacy, type and arrangement of trees, shrubs, and other landscaping constituting a visual and/or noise buffer between the applicant's and adjoining lands, including the maximum retention of existing vegetation.
(h) Adequacy of fire lanes and other emergency zones and the provision of fire hydrants.
(i) Special attention to the adequacy and impact of structures, roadways, and landscaping in areas with susceptibility to ponding, flooding and/or erosion.
C. Conditions of approval for conditional uses and special exceptions. No application shall be approved unless it is found that, in addition to complying with all of the standards and criteria enumerated above, all of the applicable standards contained in this chapter shall be met. In instances where the supplemental standards contained herein do not adequately protect the general health, safety, and welfare of parties affected, all conditions and safeguards deemed necessary by the Board of Supervisors or Zoning Hearing Board to protect the general health, safety, and welfare, as well as to implement the purposes of this chapter and the MPC, shall be imposed as conditions of approval in accord with § 912.1 or 913.2 of the MPC,[4] as the case may be. Conditions which may be imposed may include, but not be limited to, provisions for additional parking, traffic control, landscaping, setbacks, special measures addressing sales period activities, environmental controls and other measures which mitigate any potential adverse impact the use may have on adjoining uses.
D. Limitation of approval. Unless a shorter period is established as a condition of approval, any conditional use approval granted by the Township Supervisors and any special exception approval granted by the Zoning Hearing Board shall expire five years from the date such approval was granted if no building construction as approved has taken place or the use is not otherwise established as a functional and constructive activity prior to the expiration date. Upon such expiration, the said approval, and any permit issued subsequent thereto, shall be deemed null and void and the developer shall be required to submit another application for the same. The Board of Supervisors or Zoning Hearing Board, as the case may be, may grant succeeding one-year extensions of the time limitation, for good cause shown by the applicant.
E. Subdivision and land development plans.
(1) Timing of submission. The Township Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors or the Zoning Hearing Board will process an application for a conditional use or a special exception, respectively, prior to, or concurrently with, land development approval, if such subdivision or land development approval is required under the provisions of Chapter 355: Subdivision and Land Development, of the Code of the Township of Coolbaugh. The intent of prior action on a conditional use or a special exception is to afford the applicant the opportunity to obtain initial zoning approval before committing the resources necessary to prepare and submit a detailed plan to conform to the requirements of Chapter 355: Subdivision and Land Development.
(2) Conditions. At the time of land development approval which has been preceded by conditional use or special exception approval, the Board of Supervisors shall have the right to attach any and all reasonable conditions of approval to any subdivision or land development plan which was preceded by conditional use or special exception approval.
See § 400-14: District regulations for more detailed information.

Conditional uses and special exceptions. Conditional uses and special exceptions are permitted uses which require individual consideration because of their special characteristics and are referred to the Planning Commission for review and preparation of a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors and Zoning Hearing Board, respectively. Following a public hearing, and based on its determination that the proposed use meets the standards of this chapter, the Board of Supervisors for conditional uses and the Zoning Hearing Board for special exceptions may approve the issuance of a zoning permit by the Zoning Officer.
See § 400-121: Permits and certificates for more detailed information.

Monitoring of conditional uses and special exceptions. If a reasonable doubt exists that a conditional use or special exception would violate the performance standards or any condition of approval, the Supervisors or Zoning Hearing Board may require a use to fund such reasonable and necessary monitoring to ensure its compliance.

Uses not specified in schedule of uses.
(1) Jurisdiction. Whenever a use is not specifically allowed in any of the various zoning districts established under this chapter (i.e., not specifically allowed anywhere in the Township) and an application is made to the Zoning Officer for such use, the application shall be submitted to the Zoning Hearing Board which shall have the authority to permit the use or deny the use as a special exception.
(2) Findings. The use may be permitted only if the Zoning Hearing Board makes all of the following findings; and, the burden of proof shall be upon the applicant:
(a) The use is similar to and compatible with the uses listed for the subject zoning district by the Schedule of Use Regulations.
(b) The use in no way conflicts with the intent of the zoning district and the general purpose and intent of this chapter.
(c) The use is not permitted in any other zoning district.
(3) Planning Commission review. At the time the application is submitted to the Zoning Hearing Board, the Zoning Officer shall also provide a copy to the Township Planning Commission for its recommendation. The Zoning Hearing Board shall not conduct a public hearing on the application until the comments from the Planning Commission are received or 30 days have passed from the time the application was referred to the Planning Commission.
(4) Conditions. The Zoning Hearing Board may attach reasonable conditions and safeguards to any special exception approval granted for a use not specified in the Schedule of Uses, incorporating standards in this chapter for similar uses in the district and such other conditions as the Zoning Hearing Board may deem necessary to protect and promote the public health, safety, morals and welfare and to implement the purposes of this chapter and the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.