INTRODUCING THE TOWNSHIP OF DERRY DRAFT ZONING ORDINANCE
We are excited to present the Township of Derry Proposed Zoning Ordinance for your consideration. This document represents the embodiment of portions of the Township’s recently adopted 2015 Comprehensive Plan in a legislative form. The Comprehensive Plan was the final culmination of a long, collaborative planning process which engaged community members, elected and appointed officials, Township staff, and technical experts. The 2015 Comprehensive Plan laid out a strategic direction for the future of the Township through achievable goals and objectives for implementation of Smart Growth development doctrines, including updating the Township’s Zoning Ordinance. The 2015 Comprehensive Plan is available for viewing on the Township’s website at www.derrytownship.org. Its principles are summarized in the mission and vision statements that were adopted with the Plan. They are:
MISSION – Our mission is to promote and encourage the development of safe, healthy, and distinctive living environments, amenities and services for our residents and visitors.
VISION – We envision Derry Township as a safe, healthy and active community valuing open space; vibrant cultural, social and business offerings; and welcoming neighborhoods and gathering places. We envision a variety of housing opportunities with shops and services within walking distance and connected by a network of transportation options accessible to all. We envision a prosperous future driven by our dynamic health care, research, educational, entertainment, business and manufacturing economies, while respecting our cultural heritage and scenic beauty.
The proposed Zoning Ordinance is structured differently than our existing Zoning Ordinance. It contains more tables and images to provide much of the basic information in a graphic format. As you begin to page through the document, the best way for you to initially become acquainted with the work may be to choose a particular property to “research” and, using Section 225-107, see what you can do on that property and what special approvals may be necessary.
Another good way to familiarize yourself with the new regulations is to review them Article by Article. In summary, they are:
Article I, Authority and Purpose. This section includes the regulatory authority and the ground rules for using the text of the regulations, as well as the “How to Use this Ordinance” section (225-107).
Article II, Form and Function. This section includes the basic rules for use of the mapping as well as a use matrix and general dimensional criteria.
Article III, Zoning Districts and Overlays, contains a listing of the base and overlay zoning districts, the (to be) official zoning maps and 11×17 maps and text of each Base Zoning district, with overlays which describe the uses allowed in the district and basic dimensional requirements, all on one handy sheet.
Article IV, Performance Standards and Supplementary Regulations, contains the parking, landscaping, special criteria for the overlay zoning districts, Master Plan process, sensitive environmental and floodplain regulations, signage, and other general standards.
Article V, Conditional Uses and Special Exceptions, contains the solution path and all the specific criteria for conditional uses and special exceptions.
Article VI, Nonconformity Regulations, addresses all of the nuances associated with uses and structures which existed prior to applicable zoning regulations, also commonly known as “grandfathered.”
Article VII, Rezoning, sets new procedures and standards for anyone wishing to have their property rezoned.
Article VIII, Permits, describes when permits are and are not required, permit procedures, and relationship with other approvals.
Article IX, Amendments, is basic requirements for ordinance amendments referenced to the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code legislative language.
Article X, Administration and Enforcement, addresses the duties of the Zoning Officer, establishment and duties of the Zoning Hearing Board, and enforcement of the regulations.
Article XI, Definitions, although last, it is a very important section of the regulations as many interpretations and determinations rely on the usage of the words.