Zoning

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When the idea of municipal zoning was originally contemplated over 100 years ago, the primary purpose of zoning was to protect public health, safety and welfare by separating incompatible uses from each other. At the time it was not uncommon for residential, commercial and heavy industrial uses to exist in close proximity, often with undesirable consequences for personal health and property values.

At its core, zoning is a system where complementary land uses, most commonly residential, commercial and industrial, are segregated into clearly defined districts by level of intensity. The 2016 Lower Merion Township Zoning Code contains 11 separate residential districts, four mixed-use districts, four separate commercial districts, four institutional districts and one manufacturing district; each with its own prescribed level of density and intensity of use.

The Zoning Hearing Board is unique in that it is a quasi-judicial body. The Zoning Hearing Board essentially has no legislative power as it can neither make nor modify zoning policy.

The Role of the Zoning Hearing Board
The Municipal Planning Code (MPC) grants the Zoning Hearing Board exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide the following matters:Understanding the Types of Requests made to the ZHB

1. Applications for variances;
2. Applications for special exceptions.
3. Appeals from a determination of the Zoning Officer, including but not limited to the following:
- The granting or denial of any permit, or failure to act on the application;
- The issuance of any cease and desist order;
- The registration or refusal to register any nonconforming use, structure or lot; or
- A preliminary opinion
4, Appeals from a determination by the Township Engineer or Zoning Officer with respect to the administration of the floodplain ordinance.
5. Substantive and procedural challenges to the validity of any land use ordinance, except curative amendments.

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For more information contact the Zoning Officer/Building and Planning Department at 610-645-6200 or the Zoning Officer Michael Wylie at MWylie@lowermerion.org or 610-645-6172.

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