Longswamp Township
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Zoning
Berks County > Municipalities > Longswamp Township

 

GENERAL INFORMATION ON ZONING AND BUILDING PERMITS
 
PERMITS:
 
Zoning permits are issued by the Township to verify that the proposed use is a conforming use in the zoning district in which it is situated, and also to confirm that a proposed structure’s location on the property conforms to the zoning ordinance.
 
Building permits are regulated by Pennsylvania’s statewide building code—the Uniform Construction Code (U.C.C.).  Under the U.C.C., permits for work on existing homes are only required if the work involves anything structural, or if the work involves accessibility issues (i.e. handicapped accessibility, emergency egress from a building, exits, etc.).
 
For detached residential accessory structures (sheds, garages, gazebos, carports, greenhouses, pole barns, etc.) a zoning permit is always required, but a building permit is required only if the structure’s footprint exceeds 1000 square feet. An electrical permit is required when the structure is to be supplied with electricity.
 
Setbacks required are somewhat complicated, and should be discussed with the township ZONING OFFICER (John Yoder, LTL Consultants, Ltd. 610/987-9290 or toll free 1-888-987-8886).  All residential accessory structures greater in size than 720 square feet must meet the same setbacks that a new home would have to meet.
 
For projects which only require a zoning permit, your application should be accompanied by a plot plan showing your property outlines, the location, dimensions, and height of your proposed structure, the location of your well, septic system, and all other improvements on the property, and the distances from your project to adjacent property lines. For changes of use of a property a detailed narrative explaining the use to be established shall be submitted with the application.
 
For residential projects that require a building permit, two (2) sets of drawings need to be submitted with the application, which includes information concerning structure, footings, framing, energy requirements, electrical wiring, means of egress, plumbing, foundation drains, safety guards, etc.

Commercial buildings require two sets of drawings by a design professional.

Worker’s Compensation Insurance: By Pennsylvania state law, all contractors doing work in the Commonwealth must either be covered by a worker’s compensation insurance policy, or demonstrate on a form (which can be provided by the Building Code Official) that they are exempt from this requirement because they:  1) do not have employees, or 2) claim a religious exemption (e.g. Amish, Mennonite, etc.).  The above documentation must be provided at the time of submission of permit application, and failure to do so will be considered grounds for denial of your permit.
 
PLEASE NOTE: While the Building Code Official will gladly discuss your proposed project with you, conversations on the phone or in our office with the Building Code Official are not binding on the Building Code Official, because of misunderstandings which arise in communications of this nature.  What you think you said may not be what we think we heard.  You must submit a permit application, along with the required supporting documentation (see above) to get a formal and unequivocal response from the Building Code Official/Zoning Officer
 
 
S.E.O. Approval:  Modern septic systems (tanks and absorption fields) are sized according to the number of bedrooms in the home.  If your project will involve the net addition of bedrooms to your home, you must contact the Township S.E.O., JOHN YODER (610/987-9290) for a review of your situation.  This also applies if your project will involve re-routing of septic lines or replacement of septic components.
 
PERMIT PROCEDURE: When you submit an application, we will ask you to give us a $50 permit deposit in cash or check.  The Building Code Official/Zoning Officer will review your submittal for completeness, legibility, etc., and compliance with the building code.  Non-residential applications require a deposit of $500.00.  The review period for residential permits is fifteen (15) working days and commercial (non-residential) permits shall be reviewed within thirty (30) working days.  Once the permit is issued, you will be contacted by the Township office, notified of the permit fees and when you may pick up the permit.
If only a zoning permit is required, the application can be handled more quickly by only the Zoning Officer.  There will be no construction details necessary, and no inspections, although this does not relieve the property owner of the obligation to adhere to the appropriate building codes.
 
ACT 132: PENNSYLVANIA’S HOME IMPROVEMENT CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT:  This law, which went into effect on July 1, 2009, is meant to protect property owners from unscrupulous contractors and, with a few exceptions, applies to all work done in, on, or around the home.  Information on this law, which is enforced by local district attorneys and the state attorney general, is available at the Township Municipal Building.
 
GENERAL S.E.O. PERMITS:  Permits for altering a septic system or its components, repairing or replacing a septic system component (including baffles and risers), or the installation of a new septic system are issued by the Township S.E.O. (see above—“S.E.O. Approval”).  Applications for septic permits may be picked up at the Township Building in the office of the Building Code Official.
 
COMPLAINTS: The appropriate township officer will respond to all complaints registered at the municipal building by filling out and signing a complaint form, except in the case of emergencies.