Appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board

Application to Appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board

The Zoning Hearing Board is enabled to hear and act on challenges, appeals, variances, and special exceptions, as noted below:

The most commonly request before the Zoning Hearing Board is a Variance Request: When an applicant believes the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance inflict unnecessary hardship, the applicant may request the Zoning Hearing Board grant a variance.

Another request before the Zoning Hearing Board is a Special Exception Request: A special exception is a use permitted or denied by the Zoning Hearing Board provided certain standards are met.

Application and Instructions for Appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board (PDF)

The meeting date for the Zoning Hearing Board is the first Monday of each month. Here are the current year’s meeting and application submission for the Zoning Hearing Board Deadlines and Hearing dates. The Board holds their regular meetings at 6:30 p.m. in the Public Meeting Room located within the Municipal Building, 1840 Municipal Drive, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Zoning Hearing Board Deadline and Meeting Dates

All applications must be received on or before the application submission date to be heard at the following month’s meeting in order to allow sufficient time for review by the Assistant Zoning Officer and to give sufficient public notice of the proposed appeal.

What Happens at a Zoning Hearing Board Meeting?

  • The meeting is called to order
  • Roll call is taken and a quorum is confirmed
  • The cases to be heard are announced
  • Each case is heard

- A stenographer is present to transcript the hearing

- The applicant is sworn in and presents the facts of the case

- Other parties wishing to participate are sworn in and sign in to confirm their status

- Upon completion of the presentation by the applicant, other parties are given to opportunity to comment or offer additional evidence depending on party status

- At the conclusion of the case, the testimony is submitted into evidence and the case is closed

  • Normally, the Zoning Hearing Board votes on the case the same evening as the hearing but in some instances the case is continued.
  • Any party who sought party status has 30 days to appeal the decision of the Zoning Hearing Board

How Should the Applicant Prepare for the Meeting?

The applicant should be prepared to present the case in a clear and concise manner referencing the section(s) of the Zoning Ordinance where relief, a special exception or appeal is being requested. Further, the criteria outlined in the Zoning Ordinance related to a variance or special exception shall be addressed. Applicants are not required to secure legal counsel when presenting to the Zoning Hearing Board but some applicants chose to seek legal counsel due to the nature of the request.

What Are the Next Steps?

Following approval by the Zoning Hearing Board, the applicant has one (1) year from the date of approval to pull a permit and two (2) years from the date of approval to commence construction. If the above timeframes are not met, the approval of the Zoning Hearing Board becomes null and void.

Following the Zoning Hearing Board decision, the applicant or anyone who was given party status has thirty (30) days from the date of the Zoning Hearing Board decision to appeal the decision.