Zoning Hearing Board
The Zoning Hearing Board members are as follows:
- Elizabeth Curtis Swain, Chair
- Lee Fulton
- Peter S. Murphy
- John Haedrich
- Robert Whipps
William J. Gallagher, Esq., Solicitor to the Zoning Hearing Board
About the Board
The Zoning Hearing Board is appointed by the Supervisors to hear cases where someone claims to be aggrieved by the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. The Hearing Board may grant a Variance or a Special Exception under the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance to provide relief. The decision of the Hearing Board can be appealed to the Chester County court system.
If you would like to contact the Zoning Hearing Board, call the Zoning officer, Diane Hicks at 610-388-1300, ext. 12
What is a Zoning Hearing Board and what does it have the authority to decide?
Membership of the ZHB is composed of three residents of the Township, appointed by the Board of
Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors may appoint up to three alternate members each of whom must
be a resident of the Township. Members of the ZHB including alternate members, cannot hold any
elected or appointed office in the Township nor can a member be an employee of the Township.
The Zoning Hearing Board shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and render final
decisions in the following matters:
A. Substantive challenges to the validity of a Zoning Ordinance or the Zoning Map within certain
conditions as expressed in the Zoning Ordinance.
B. Validity or procedural challenges to a Zoning Ordinance of the Zoning Map which challenges shall
be raised by an appeal taken within 30 days after the effective date of the ordinance.
C. Appeals from Zoning Officer decisions, including, but not limited to, the granting or denial of
any permit or failure to act on the application therefor, the issuance of any cease and desist
order, or the registration of or refusal to register any nonconforming use, structure or lot.
D. Appeals from a determination by the Township Engineer or the Zoning Officer with reference to
the administration of any floodplain
E. Applications for variances from the terms of the Zoning Ordinance.
F. Applications for special exceptions under the Zoning Ordinance.
G. Appeal from preliminary opinion of Zoning Officer.
H. Appeals from the determination of the Zoning Officer or Township Engineer in the administration
of this chapter or provision thereof with reference to sedimentation and erosion control and
stormwater management insofar as the same relate to development.
What is the procedure for hearings of the ZHB?
Requests for hearings before the ZHB are filed with the Township using
application forms available from the Township. An application fee as specified by the Township must
accompany the filing of the completed application.
Upon filing a request for a hearing, a reasonable time and place is fixed for public
hearings. Notice, stating the location of the lot or building and the general nature of the
question involved, is given to all interested parties as required by Township Ordinance and MPC.
Hearings. Hearings of the ZHB for a matter submitted by an applicant must be held within 60 days
from the date of receipt of the applicant's application, unless the applicant has agreed in writing
to an extension of time. If subsequent hearings are required they must be scheduled within 45 days
of the prior hearing unless an extension is agreed upon in writing. Keep in mind the applicant
needs to complete presentation of their case within 100 days of the first hearing. Any persons
opposed to the application are given the opportunity to present their case in opposition within 100
days after completion of the applicant’s case. Both applicant and any person in opposition can be
granted extensions to enable completion of their respective cases
or to present rebuttals.
Parties to the hearing:
The parties to the hearing include the Township, any person affected by
the application who has made timely appearance of record before the ZHB, and any other person
entitled to notice, including civic or community organizations permitted to appear by the ZHB.
Rights of the parties. The parties shall have the right to be represented by counsel and will be
afforded the opportunity to respond, to present evidence, and to argue and cross-‐examine adverse
witnesses on all relevant issues. All parties presenting testimony must be sworn under oath prior
to giving testimony.
Record of the proceedings:
The ZHB keeps a stenographic record of the proceedings. The appearance
fee of a stenographer is to be shared equally by the applicant and the ZHB. The Township uses the
application fee to cover costs of the hearing including the applicant’s share of the appearance fee
of a stenographer. The cost of the original transcript shall be paid by the ZHB if the transcript
is ordered by the ZHB or shall be paid by the person appealing from the decision of the Board if
such appeal is made, and in either event the cost of additional copies shall be paid by the person
requesting such copy or copies. In other cases, the party requesting the original transcript shall
bear the cost thereof.
At the hearing the Township places into the record of the proceedings the application,
record of notice, and other documents or maps relevant to the application. These become exhibits
used during the hearing. If the applicant wishes to use documentary materials, such as maps,
pictures, reports and the like they must be placed into the record of the proceedings.
The Township has guidance on format and type of documentary exhibits.
Communications. The ZHB cannot communicate, directly or indirectly, with any party or his
representatives in connection with any issue involved except upon notice and opportunity for all
parties to participate and shall not take notice of any communication, reports, staff, memoranda,
or other materials, except advice from the ZHB Solicitor, unless the parties are afforded an
opportunity to contest the material and shall not inspect the site or its surroundings after the
commencement of the hearings with any party or his representative unless all parties are given an
opportunity to be present.
How are decisions of the ZHB communicated?
The ZHB needs to render a written decision or, when no decision is called for, make
written findings on the application within 45 days after the last hearing before the ZHB. Where the
application is contested or denied, each decision shall be accompanied by findings of fact and
conclusions based thereon, together with the reasons therefor. Nothing in this section shall
prejudice the right of any party opposing the application to appeal the decision to a court of
competent jurisdiction. A copy of the final decision or, where no decision is called for, of the
findings shall be delivered to the applicant personally or sent by certified mail not later than
the day following the date of the decision of the ZHB. The ZHB shall provide by mail or otherwise a
brief notice of the decision or findings and a statement of the place where the full decision may
be examined to all other persons who have filed their names and addresses with the ZHB no later
than the last day of the hearing.
Records of the ZHB are maintained at the Township and are available for inspection.