§ 156.151  FUNCTIONS.
   The Zoning Hearing Board shall conduct meetings, hearings and make decisions on matters as provided by this chapter in accordance with the provisions of 53 P.S. §§ 10908, 10909, 10910, 10912 and 10914 of the Planning Code which includes the following functions.
   (A)   Request and application procedure. All requests, applications or appeals made to the Board shall be in writing on forms prescribed by the Board. Every appeal or application shall refer to the specific provision of the ordinance involved and shall set forth the interpretation that is claimed, the use which is sought, and/or the details of the variance that is applied for, and the grounds on which it is claimed a request should be granted. At least ten days before the date of the hearing, on a request, application or appeal, the Board shall transmit to the Planning Commission a copy of said request, application or appeal in order that the Planning Commission may have an opportunity to submit a report to the Board, if it so desires.
   (B)   Appeals from the Zoning Officer. The Board shall hold a hearing and decide all appeals where it is alleged by the appellant that the Zoning Officer has failed to follow prescribed procedures or has misinterpreted or misapplied any provisions of this chapter or map, or any valid rule or regulation governing the action of the Zoning Officer. Such appeals of determination shall be filed in accordance with 53 P.S. §§ 10919 of the Planning Code. All appeals and applications made to the Board shall be in writing on forms prescribed by the Board.
   (C)   Variances. The Board shall hear requests for variances, in accordance with 53 P.S. §§ 10910.2 of the Planning Code, where it is alleged that the provisions of this chapter inflict unnecessary hardship upon the applicant. The Board may grant a variance provided the following findings are relevant:
      (1)   That there are unique physical circumstances or conditions, including irregularity, narrowness or shallowness of lot size or shape, or exceptional topographical or other physical conditions peculiar to the particular property and that the unnecessary hardship is due to such conditions and not the circumstances or conditions generally created by the provisions of the zoning ordinance in the neighborhood or district in which the property is locate;
      (2)   That because of such physical circumstances or conditions, there is no possibility that the property can be developed in strict conformity with the provisions of the zoning ordinance and that the authorization of a variance is therefore necessary to enable the reasonable use of the property;
      (3)   That such unnecessary hardship has not been created by the appellant;
      (4)   That the variance, if authorized, will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood or district in which the property is located, nor substantially or permanently impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent property, nor be detrimental to the public welfare;
      (5)   That the variance, if authorized, will represent the minimum variance that will afford relief and will represent the least modification possible of the regulation in issue; and
      (6)   In granting any variance, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards as it may deem necessary to assure compliance with the objectives of this chapter.
   (D)   Special exceptions. The Board shall have the power to decide applications for special exceptions as specified in this chapter, in harmony with its general purpose and intent and in accordance with the standards set forth. The Board shall approve a special exception use only if it meets with the following standards and criteria:
      (1)   The use is compatible with adjacent uses and structures;
      (2)   The use is suited to the topography and other characteristics of the site;
      (3)   The use complies with all other provisions and regulations of this chapter, including regulations specific to the particular special exception for which application is made; and
      (4)   The interpretation and application of the provisions of this chapter shall be held to be the minimum requirements for the health, safety and general welfare of the city. In granting a special exception, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed in this chapter, as it may deem necessary to assure compliance with the objectives of this chapter. Such conditions may include, but not be limited to, parking, buffer strips, hours of operation, lighting, traffic flow, signs and performance standards.
   (E)   Non-conforming uses. The Board shall have the power to authorize changes of lawful non-conforming uses in accordance with §§ 156.035 through 156.044.
   (F)   Conditional uses. City Council shall have the power to decide applications for conditional uses as specified in this chapter, in harmony with its general purpose and intent and in accordance with the standards set forth. City Council shall consider applications for conditional uses only after receiving recommendations from the Planning Commission, and shall approve a conditional use only if it meets with the following standards and criteria:
      (1)   The use is compatible with adjacent uses and structures;
      (2)   The use is suited to the topography and other characteristics of the site;
      (3)   The use complies with all other provisions and regulations of this chapter, including regulations specific to the particular conditional use for which application is made; and
      (4)   The interpretation and application of the provisions of this chapter shall be held to be the minimum requirements for the health, safety and general welfare of the city. In granting a conditional use, the Board may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards, in addition to those expressed in this chapter, as it may deem necessary to assure compliance with the objectives of this chapter. Such conditions may include, but not be limited to, parking, buffer strips, hours of operation, lighting, traffic flow, signs and performance standards.
   (G)   Performance standards. In cases involving performance standards, the Board may:
      (1)   Require a plan of the proposed construction or development, a description of machinery proposed and specifications for the mechanisms and techniques to be used;
      (2)   Obtain qualified expert consultants to testify as to whether a proposed use will conform to the performance requirements. The cost of such services shall be borne by the applicant; and
      (3)   Impose such conditions as it deems necessary for the protection of adjacent property and the public interest.
(Ord. 1347, passed 3-18-1991)