Zoning Hearing Board

Purpose

The Zoning Hearing Board shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and render final adjudications in the following matters:

  • Substantive challenges to the validity of any land use ordinance, except when a curative amendment is brought before the Scranton City Council; 
  • Challenges to the validity of a land use ordinance raising procedural questions or alleged defects in the process of enactment of adoption
  • Appeals from the determination of the Zoning Officer
  • Appeals from a determination by the City Engineer or the Zoning Officer with reference to any floodplain or flood hazard ordinance or such provisions within a land use ordinance
  • Applications for variances
  • Applications for uses by special exception
  • Appeals from the determination of any officer or agency charged with the administration or any transfer of development rights or performance density provisions
  • Appeals from the Zoning Officer’s determination under Section 916.2 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC)
  • Appeals from any determination of the City Engineer or the Zoning Officer in the administration of any land use ordinance or provision thereof with reference to sedimentation and erosion control and stormwater management insofar as the same relate to development not involving subdivision and land development applications or applications for a planned residential development.

To learn more about the process for the Zoning Hearing Board, please click here to read Article I: Administration of the Zoning Ordinance. To learn more about the procedures for hearings, please click here to read Section 445-11 of the Zoning Ordinance regarding the Board.

Meetings

The Zoning Hearing Board meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 6:00pm, pending on zoning cases. Dates may vary depending on case submittals. Meetings are advertised twice before the hearing board meets.

Applications are available online by clicking here. They are due three weeks before each scheduled meeting.  

The Zoning Hearing Board meetings are livestreamed on ECTV. To view previous hearings or to watch live, click here.

Board Members

MemberTerm End
Shawn Walsh (Chairman)7-1-2023
Robert Gattens7-1-2026
Jim McDermott7-1-2024
Robert Collins7-1-2023
Robert J. Morris7-14-2024
Albert Young (Alternate)
*Members are appointed by the City Council for 3 year terms.

Staff

Solicitor: Daniel L. Penetar, Jr., Esq.

Acting Zoning Officer: Donald J. King, AICP, CFM (dking@scrantonpa.gov)

Next Meeting

Tentatively: Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at 6:00pm 

Agenda TBA

Application Process

From the Zoning Ordinance Article I Subsection C. Applications.

(1) Any request for a decision, interpretation or variance by the Zoning Hearing Board or for a permit under this chapter shall be made, in writing, on a form provided by the City. Such completed application, with any required fees and with any required site plans or other required information, shall be submitted to a City employee responsible for processing such application. The applicant is responsible to ensure that a responsible City official notes the date of the official receipt on the application.

(2) Unless waived by the Zoning Officer, seven copies of a site plan shall be submitted if an application requires action by the Zoning Hearing Board and two copies shall be submitted if action by the Board is not required. Such site plan shall be drawn to scale.

(3) Any application to the Zoning Officer or Zoning Hearing Board shall include the following information, unless the Zoning Officer determines that a site plan or such information is unnecessary to determine compliance with this chapter:

  • The location and dimensions of the lot;
  • Locations, dimensions, heights and uses of existing and proposed structures, signs, parking and loading areas and locations of existing and proposed uses of areas of land, with differentiation between existing and proposed features;
  • Existing and proposed numbers of parking spaces;
  • The name and address of the applicant or appellant;
  • The name and address of the owner of the affected property;
  • A description of the existing and proposed use(s) of the property, including numbers of dwelling units, minimum square feet of proposed dwelling units and numbers of proposed business establishments, if any;
  • Plans for any required buffer plantings (see § 445-74);
  • Such additional information that the Zoning Officer may determine is reasonably necessary to determine compliance with this chapter; and
  • All other applicable information listed on the official City application form.

(4) Submittals to the Board. In addition to the information listed in Subsection C(3) above, an application requiring a site plan and action by the Zoning Hearing Board shall also include the following information, unless the Zoning Officer determines that such information is unnecessary for determination of whether the proposal complies with this chapter:

  • The present zoning district and major applicable lot requirements;
  • A description of the proposed nonresidential operations and storage in sufficient detail to indicate potential nuisances and hazards regarding noise, large truck traffic, glare, odors, dust, fire or toxic or explosive hazards or other significant public health and safety hazards;
  • If a principal nonresidential use is proposed within close proximity to dwellings, a description of hours of operation and proposed methods of storing garbage outdoors on-site;
  • A listing of any specific sections of this chapter being appealed, with the reasons for any appeal; and
  • For a mineral extraction use, such additional information as listed in § 445-34 for such use.

(5) Other laws. The Zoning Officer may withhold issuance of a permit under this chapter if there is clear knowledge by him/her that such a use would violate another City, state or federal law or regulation.

(6) Ownership. No person other than a landowner or his/her specifically authorized agent or a tenant or lessee with written permission of the landowner shall submit a zoning application (see definition of “landowner” in Article II).

(7) Advisory reviews. The Zoning Officer may submit a copy of any plan and application to any appropriate agencies and/or individuals (such as the Planning Commission, the Lackawanna County Regional Planning Commission, the County Conservation District or the City Engineer) for review and comment.

Fee Schedule

Section 104 (4)(5), as amended:

Fees for submittal to the Zoning Hearing Board for a variance or special exception or to the City Council as a conditional use shall be as follows:

Construction/Alteration Cost (from Permit)Fee
$0 – $150,000$400.00
$150,000 – $1,000,000$750.00
$1,000,000 and up$750.00/million dollars of construction cost or fraction thereof up to a maximum fee of $5,000

Special hearings requested require a filing fee of $800.00, and if over $1,000,000, then $800 per million

Rules

  1. All applications for zoning relief shall be filed not less than twenty-one (21) days prior to the hearing date for which the application will be placed on the agenda. No application will be accepted which is incomplete and does not contain all of the required information including a listing of all abutting, adjoining and across the street land owners and their addresses, a brief statement concerning the justification for the zoning relief requested and the citations to the applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance.
  2. Any request for a continuance for any hearing scheduled before the board shall be in writing and received by the Staff to the Zoning Hearing Board not less than seventy-two (72) hours prior to the hearing. The continuance request shall contain a brief statement concerning the reason therefore. All continuance requests shall be reviewed by the Zoning Hearing Board on a case by case basis and the decision of the Zoning Hearing Board will be communicated not less than forty-eight (48) hours prior to the scheduled hearing. No continuance shall be granted unless authorized by the Zoning Hearing Board pursuant to these rules. In approving a request for a continuance, the Zoning Hearing Board may require the applicant to pay an administrative fee not to exceed One Hundred ($100.00) Dollars to defray any additional expenses incurred by the Zoning Hearing Board in any case where a continuance is granted.
  3. The Zoning Hearing Board shall meet, as needed, on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in Scranton City Hall Chambers to conduct hearings on all applications for zoning relief. To the extent practicable, no special hearings will be scheduled or conducted by the Zoning Hearing Board unless authorized by the Zoning Hearing Board. Any request for a special hearing shall be in writing and attached to the application. No special hearing shall be granted unless authorized by the zoning hearing board pursuant to these rules. In approving a request for a special hearing, the zoning hearing board may require the applicant to pay an administrative fee not to exceed Five Hundred ($500.00) Dollars to defray the expenses incurred by the zoning hearing board in conducting a special hearing.
  4. The Zoning Officer shall attend all hearings before the Zoning Hearing Board to assist the Board from time to time in its consideration of any application on the agenda.

Proposed Zoning Ordinance Information

The City of Scranton, as a part of the Scranton-Abingtons Planning Association, is updating its Zoning Ordinance after 29 years of using its current ordinance. Information for the new ordinance can be found below.

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