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
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 .
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?
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
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
Codebook except for zoning
Zoning Portion of Township Codebook
or go to
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