Planning/Zoning/Permitting


Planning


Lower Nazareth Township has adopted Zoning and Subdivision & Land Development Ordinances. It is the intent, purpose and scope of these Ordinances to protect and promote the safety, health and morals of the community. These Ordinances attempt to accomplish coordinated development and growth, provide for the general welfare of our constituents by guiding and protecting amenity, conveniencLower Nazareth Township Planninge, future governmental, economic, practical, and social and cultural facilities, as well as the improvement of governmental processes and functions. They also are tools to guide uses of land and structures, type and location of streets, public grounds and other facilities and to promote the preservation of the community’s natural and historic resources and prime agricultural land. The Township has also adopted a joint municipal comprehensive plan with 9 other municipalities. The township comprehensive plan is generally consistent with the county comprehensive plan. The Township is currently in the process of updating their Zoning Ordinance. This effort is being undertaken in order to have the Zoning Ordinance better conform to the township’s comprehensive plan. All of the aforementioned Ordinances are consistent with the requirements of the Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) which is developed by the State Legislature. The Lower Nazareth Township Planning & Zoning Office is responsible for the front line administration of the subdivision and land development process and the Zoning Ordinance. The staff works in concert with the Township Engineer, Solicitor, Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board and Township Manager in the endeavor of processing the numerous activities related to planning and zoning.

Contact Information

Questions related to zoning, planning or building should be directed to:

Lori B. Seese, Planning & Zoning Administrator and Building Code Official, 610-759-7434 Ext. 1003

or by email at LSeese@lowernazareth.com. Please include your name, address and phone number in all correspondence.

Mailing address:

Lower Nazareth Township
Planning & Zoning Office
623 Municipal Drive
Nazareth, PA 18064

Subdivision and land development review

All subdivisions and land developments are reviewed by the Planning & Zoning Office to ensure compliance with both the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) and the Zoning Ordinance.

The Planning Commission is presented with most subdivision and or land development projects for their comments. The Planning Commission is a 5-Member Board appointed by the Board of Supervisors. Their primary function is to provide comments and recommendations regarding the various projects to the Board of Supervisors.

The Planning Commission meets predominately on the third Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in the Lower Nazareth Township Municipal Building. This date may vary depending on holiday conflicts. Please refer to the Township Calendar for actual dates.

Example of the subdivision and land development process

Below is a brief summary of the subdivision and land development process. Any forms or schedules may be obtained by on the Forms, Publications & Ordinances page. Please note – This information is provided for informational purposes and should not be construed as all regulations that may apply. Discussion of your project with the Planning & Zoning Administrator prior to application is recommended. Review of the SALDO is also highly recommended.

Lower Nazareth Family

  1. All applications to the Lower Nazareth Planning Commission shall be made in writing on the Subdivision, Land Development & Zoning Site Plan Application form and shall be in accordance with the SALDO and Zoning Ordinance. The completed application, with all required fees, plans and supplemental information shall be submitted 21 days prior to the next scheduled Planning Commission meeting pursuant to Township Meeting Schedule.
  2. The applicant should note that submission deadlines are strictly adhered to in order to allow township staff, board members, and consultants ample time to review the submitted application. Any plan submitted after a deadline will be rescheduled to the next regularly scheduled meeting.
  3. All SALDO waivers must be made in writing on the application form. Waivers will not be entertained by the Board of Supervisors until reviewed by the Planning Commission.
  4. An escrow account shall be established for plan review fees. Any funds remaining in this account at the culmination of the project may be refunded.
  5. The Township Engineer and Zoning Administrator will report to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors regarding compliance with the SALDO and all Lower Nazareth Township Zoning Ordinances.
  6. If the plan is recommended for approval by the Planning Commission, the plan may move on for review by the Board of Supervisors. Again, all applications shall be in accordance with the SALDO, Zoning Ordinance and Meeting Schedule.
  7. A subdivision and land development is typically approved by resolution adopted by the Board of Supervisors. This resolution will contain the conditions that must be satisfied to record a plan, and ultimately begin construction.
  8. Upon satisfaction of any conditions imposed by the Board of Supervisors, the plan may be submitted for recording. All plans presented for recording must:
    • be signed by the current owner of the property and notarized
    • have a notary seal or stamp that is legible
    • have the property address(es) clearly depicted on the plan

    Once the plan is ready for recording, it can take up to a minimum of two weeks, depending on availability of signers and Northampton County plan recording requirements. All fees necessary to record the plan with Northampton County will derive from the developers established escrow account.

  9. All outstanding fees and engineering and or legal invoices must be paid prior to recording of the final plan.
  10. A pre-construction meeting is required prior to earthmoving/site construction. This pre-construction meeting is not held until the final plan has been recorded.
  11. A Building Permit application may be submitted upon recording of the final plan.


Zoning


Lower Nazareth Township adopted its first Zoning Ordinance in 1970. The Zoning Ordinance was most recently amended in April 2006. The purpose of the Zoning Ordinance is to regulate the use of land, regulate the location, use and density of buildings, and provide for the administration and enforcement of the Ordinance. The intent of zoning regulations is to allow a property owner a reasonable use of their land while not causing a detriment to adjoining property owners or the neighborhood.

zoning-mapEvery property in Lower Nazareth Township is classified to determine how the property may be used. The zoning classifications outline three types of uses:

  • Permitted by Right – can be approved by the Zoning Administrator if all conditions are met.
  • Special Exception or Variance – application for approval must be made to the Zoning Hearing Board.
  • Conditional Use – application for approval and a public hearing must be held before the Board of Supervisors.

Any use that is permitted only by special exception, variance, or conditional use must apply to the appropriate Board for approval.

Documents may be found on Forms, Publications & Ordinances page.

Property Record Information

Very often, property owners want to find information about their property such as tax parcel number, sales data, lot dimensions, etc. You can find this information on Northampton County’s Public Records Site at www.ncpub.org. An important item to note is that the County’s zoning classification often differs from Lower Nazareth Township’s. If you are looking for this information, please call the office to confirm the Township’s zoning classification.


Permitting



*Please note: An appointment with the Planning & Zoning Administrator is required to turn in your permit. Please call for an appointment at 610-759-7434, Ext. 1003, Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

When Do I Need A Permit?

Zoning Permits

A Zoning Permit is required prior to the start of any of the following activities:

  • Erection, construction, movement, placement or expansion of a structure, building or sign
  • Change of the type or expansion of an existing use of a structure or area of land or creation of a new use
  • Creation of a new use, including but not limited to: single family dwellings, fences, patios, decks, sheds, pools, accessory buildings, driveways, home office, home occupation, new commercial projects, etc.
  • Grading
  • Demolition of a structure

poolThese activities pertain to accessory buildings or structures including but not limited to detached garage, carport, swimming pool, gazebo, shed, greenhouse, children’s playhouse or children’s play equipment, post or pier mounted lights; brick or masonry piers; masonry mailboxes, certain types of walls; fences and gates, home office, home occupation, signs, and commercial projects. Building Permits may also apply to some of these structures depending on their size and construction.

It is very important to apply for your permit prior to conducting any of the activities above. The Township must confirm that the use is permitted, setbacks are complied with, and that you are not potentially disturbing your septic system.

In general, residential Building Permits are required for:

  • A new single family dwelling
  • Any home addition, including sunrooms and covered patios
  • An accessory structure over 500 s.f.
  • A deck over 30” above grade and/or has a roof
  • An above-ground or in-ground pool, more than 24” deep
  • A hot tub
  • Retaining walls over 48″ high
  • Interior alterations that require a structural change
  • A change of a required means of egress
  • Addition to, or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical

A Use and Occupancy Permit is not required when an existing dwelling is sold. However it is required for a new single family dwelling, and for any construction related to a Building Permit. Use and Occupancy Permits are also required for any change in use. Typically, this applies to commercial properties.

Driveway Permits Any time you repair, repave (overlay) or reconstruct your driveway, you must apply for a Driveway Permit.

Township regulations require a permit for the installation of home security systems. An Alarm Permit registers your security system with the Township and provides the township the authority to enforce the provisions for excessive false alarms. The Alarm Permit fee enables the township to properly administer this program.

Burning Permits are only granted for agricultural/farm properties to burn brush or for those fires set solely for recreational or ceremonial purposes. In general, open burning is prohibited in Lower Nazareth Township.

Peddler’s Permits are required for anyone canvassing or soliciting orders or contributions goods or merchandise, door-to-door within Lower Nazareth Township.

Applications for the Permits noted above may be found on the Forms, Publications & Ordinances page.

Building Permit Application Process – Residential & Commercial

Prior to application of a building permit, an applicant shall obtain all required pre-construction approvals, including but not limited to: subdivision & land development, sewer, zoning, stormwater management, PADOT, and erosion and sediment control.

Applications shall include a signed permit application, (2) set of plans and supporting documentation, proof of Worker’s Compensation coverage, and the permit fee. Plans for residential projects do not have to be drawn by an architect. Plans for commercial projects, however, must be signed and sealed by an architect or engineer licensed in Pennsylvania. Regarding Worker’s Compensation insurance, a property owner doing their own work is not required to provide proof of insurance; however, they are required to sign the waiver stating they are performing the work themselves.

Upon receipt of a complete application, the application will be submitted to the Township’s Third Party Agent for their review and approval. The review shall determine whether the construction described is in accordance with the PA Uniform Construction Code. Residential permits will be approved or denied during the (15) business days permitted by law. Commercial permits will be approved or denied under a (30) business day review period. If there are any questions or the application is denied, you will be notified in writing by the Lower Nazareth Township Building Code Official listing the reasons for denial.

Lower Nazareth PermitUpon approval of the application, one set of plans and documents will be returned to the Applicant to be kept on the site at all times. The second set will be retained by the Municipality. The permit must be posted in a visible location for the street for the duration of the construction process. A building permit is valid for (1) year from the date of application with an option to apply for an extension, which must be in writing.

*Permit Tip! If you are planning to do any additional work in within the next year, you may want to include it in your permit application so it can be approved all at one time. This can save you time and money!! Otherwise, if it is not included in the application, separate permits will be required.

The Applicant shall call for inspections in accordance with the inspection schedule attached to the permit. Any zoning or outside agency approvals shall be obtained prior to scheduling a final building inspection. Upon receipt of final approval, the Township’s Third Party Agent will notify the Township accordingly. The Building Code Official will issue a Use and Occupancy permit within (5) days of notice by the Construction Code Official. Any outstanding issues with zoning or outside agencies may delay issuance of a Use and Occupancy permit.

The application for a Building Permit may be found on the Forms, Publications & Ordinances page.

Click here for information on Uniform Construction Codes (UCC Codes).

International Code Council Online Library – You are limited in your abilities to search and print, however all sections of the codes are available for you. See the Pennsylvania Labor & Industry website for the current edition adopted by the Commonwealth.

If you are planning a remodeling project on your home, click the link to make sure your contractor is registered with the State Attorney General’s Office or calling 1 888 520-6680. Informational pamphlets are also available in the Township Office.

PLEASE REMEMBER PA ONE CALL “CALL BEFORE YOU DIG”: 1-800-242-1776

Design Criteria for Lower Nazareth Township

Roof Snow Load: 30 psf
Ground Snow Load: 30 psf
Wind Speed (mph): 90 mph
Seismic Design: D
Frost Line Depth: 36 inches
Termite: Moderate to Heavy
Decay: Slight to Moderate
Winter Design: 9
Ice Shield: Required
Air Freezing Index: 0 – 1000
Mean Annual Temp.: 55°
Flood Hazard: Jurisdiction entry to National Flood Insurance Program – June 18, 1971