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ZONING VARIANCES  & HARDSHIPS

 

HOLD THE LINE ON GRANTING VARIANCES    We need to trust that our Zoning Hearing Board is standing up for our  rights. We expect they will uphold the  laws and that variances to our codes, regulations & laws will not granted the minute we are not looking .   The men & women who sit on the Zoning Hearing Board put in many hours and we need to be glad that someone is willing to do that - but we also need to ask them to start holding the line on granting variances giving rights to some residents  while others lose theirs.

The granting of variances  becomes a slippery slope. If you grant a sign variance for one business, how do you not allow  the next business owner the same privilege?   If you grant a side yard variance for one homeowner, how will you deny the next homeowner the same privilege? Unfortunately, some of us have come to realize that the variances already granted are going to change the nature of our Township.  We need to have the process backed up .

HARDSHIPS

Variances are not supposed to be granted without hardships. this is supposed to uphold the integrity of your Township zoning.  Hardships are required to be named in any application for zoning relief.  If hardships are granted with little or no regard to whether a true hardship exists, it undermines the fabric of your zoning, as one applicant can refer to another applicants approval to plead for the same treatment.

EXAMPLE OF "SPOT ZONING " The Baederwood Shopping Center has been in the throes of decline as the owners there seek in every way to develop beyond what their current rights allow. You can read the entire issue by clicking here.  In a nutshell, the Baederwood Shopping Center owners  have about 8 acres of beautifully green, wooded, sloped land  behind them. This land is zoned R1 - single family residential where each house would require approximately one acre. But the similar zoning all around the parcel has been given variances over the years to the extent that hundreds and hundreds of units were allowed. As of 5-09 the Baederwood owners have hired an attorney to claim that they deserve the same privilege and say that the law supports them. The "spot" zoning allowed by our Zoning Hearing Board has created a challenge to the validity of our ordinance. The owner suggests the law does not allow us to "re-zone" for one and then not for another. But is this happening all over the township.  The time for residents to be concerned is now.

 EXAMPLE OF SIGN VARIANCES  Here and there throughout the Township there are digital signs appearing. A  large sign with a digital banner presenting  messages to the travelers on York Rd  was  installed at Noble Plaza (2007-2008 ) and was promoting an anti-union message.  It was the message that caught everyone's eye. But the underlying issue here is: how did the large digital sign get there that required a variance to our sign laws.  Were we notified. Did anyone come? What will result if we allow this again & again?
           Residents of Abington took their time over the years to protest digital signs. They wanted their township to look nice and they took the time to see that codes, regulations and ordinances were passed to preserve that.  The concern over the the variances issued becomes  greater when we see individuals getting exceptions that are unnecessary, and do not seem to reflect any hardship ---- and greater still when the people receiving these variances sit on our Economic Development board, which should hold the preservation of our character and well- being at the top of its list.
         Without those residents having taken their own time to protest this sign, which happened because of the message, and to write about it in the paper, many of us would never have known even about the variances that were issued in this case.

        Variances do amount to "spot zoning". And the hardships under which they are granted should be reviewed carefully and held to the greatest possible standards for the preservation of the property rights of the owners of all of the nearby properties as well as for the preservation of our township into the future.

  SEE ZONING GUIDE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Our codebook is in 2 parts 
Part 1
  Township's Codebook    except for  zoning
Part 2 Zoning Portion of Township Codebook

or go to http://www.abington.org/info/newcodebook.htm



  

    Please feel free to send your  information to us  and please be sure to  tell us about any information you believe to be incorrect - write  lel@abingtoncitizens.com

 

 

BROKEN LINKS ALERT  

Abington Township recently completely revamped their website at the end of 2015 . All links directed to the old site were broken. We will be reinstating links as we find them and if the data is still available.  
Please  let us know if you find a broken link . Send us the name of the link and the page it is on , and if we can reinstate it, we will.

 


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The information on this page or in this site may have unintentional inaccuracies, and also has opinions. It should not be relied upon as fact until investigated personally by the reader.  Please read our full  Disclaimer
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