PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
One of the first official actions of the newly created Borough of Bear Creek Village was to create a Planning Commission which then developed and recommended a Zoning Ordinance, a Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, and a Comprehensive Plan. An ordinance establishing a 3-person Planning Commission was adopted on April 18, 1994 (just 8 months after the first governing body was elected). The Planning Commission was established under the provisions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code Act of 1968, P.L. 805, and has the powers and duties conferred upon it pursuant to that code.
The Borough of Bear Creek Village Zoning Ordinance and the Borough of Bear Creek Village Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) were first adopted in 1995/6 and amended in 2010. The full text of these two ordinances may be reviewed by clicking on the Ordinances Link found under the Documents menu above. The purpose of the Zoning Ordinance is to establish comprehensive controls for the development of land in Bear Creek Village in a manner that promotes and protects health, safety, comfort, convenience and the general welfare of the people. The Zoning Ordinance contains detailed descriptions of what may or may not be done in terms of erecting or altering structures, or altering the natural environment. The purpose of the SALDO Ordinance is to assure that standards of development are carried through to larger tracts of land.
The purpose of the Borough of Bear Creek Village Comprehensive Plan was to guide the growth of the community in a coherent and thoughtful manner with special emphasis placed on the "protection of the Borough's distinctively rustic character: the wooded mountainsides, the pine and hemlock woods, the streams and wetlands, the buildings clad in shingles or rough-cut clapboard."
The property owner or his/her agent must obtain a zoning permit before:
Erecting a new Structure (including but not limited to residences, garages, sheds, barns, fences and swimming pools)
Altering or changing the use of an existing structure
Altering the natural environment (by removing natural vegetation, cutting down large trees or altering the path of waterways
Establishing a home occupation
Encroaching on a roadway
The above list is illustrative rather than exhaustive. If you have questions about a particular activity, please review the Zoning Ordinance, or call or email the Zoning Officer, Mike Harostock, at 570-430-8414, or email@example.com.
When completed, the Zoning Permit Application form should be submitted, along with any needed attachments to the Zoning Officer. The Zoning Permit Application fee is $50.00. If the proposed project is in compliance with the requirements specified in the Zoning Ordinance, the Zoning Officer can grant the Zoning Permit. If the project does not fully comply with the Zoning Ordinance requirements, the Zoning Officer must deny the permit. When a Zoning Permit is denied, the propery owner may appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board for a zoning variance. The fee for an appeal is $500.00, which covers costs to advertise and hold a public hearing and hire stenographic help. Checks for the payment of fees should be made payable to Borough of Bear Creek Village.
The Zoning Permit only confirms that the proposed project is in compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. One or more construction permits may be required to assure any construction complies with Uniform Construction Code (UCC) standards; an On-Lot Sewage permit may be required for construction of a new or alteration of an existing on-lot sewage system; and a stormwater management permit may be required if an impervious area or significant ground disturbance is created.
If you know at the time you submit a zoning permit application that it must be denied because the request does not comply with Ordinance requirements, you may file a Zoning Hearing Board Application for a variance before or at the same time that you file the application for a zoning permit.
Please click on the Building Requirements, Sewage Requirements and Stormwater Management links found under the Borough Services and Requirements menu above for more information.
A Subdivision Permit Application is required whenever a property owner wants to divide a large parcel into several smaller parcels for development, to alter lot lines or to combine parcels. The SALDO ordinance describes two types of Subdivisions--Major and Minor. Major subdivisions involve dividing a larger parcel into four or more smaller parcels for development and/or creating parcels that will require changes to Borough infrastructure such as roads. Minor Subdivisions include changing lot lines, combining several parcels into one, or splitting a larger parcel into two or three parcels without requiring changes to Borough infrastructure. All Subdivision Permits are submitted to the Planning Commission for review and recommendation and are then heard by the Council for a decision to approve or deny.
There is no permit form for requesting approval of a subdivision project. The Major Subdivision application procedure is very complex and will not be discussed here. The Minor Subdivision application procedure is relatively simple and is outlined below:
Property owner - Review the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance for information about minor subdiviions and procedures to request modifications. If you have questions about the classification of your project as a minor subdivision or about the information that must be included on plot plans submitted to the Planning Commission you may contact Planning Commission member, George Albert, by phone at (570) 954-4048 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Property owner - prepare six (6) sets of plans and mail to Borough of Bear Creek Village, P.O. Box 332, Bear Creek, PA 18602, or hand deliver the plans to the Borough Secretary. Contact the Borough Secretary at email@example.com or 570-728-9106 for a delivery time and place. The Minor Subdivision application fee of $400.00 payable to the Borough of Bear Creek Village must be included with the plans.
Planning Commission - review the plans and recommend that Council approve or deny. If the proposed project is more complicated than simple lot line adjustments review by the Borough Engineer may also be required in which case the property owner will be responsible for fees charged by the Borough Engineer. The Borough Engineer fees will vary based on the amount of work required and will be payable to the Borough upon Borough's receipt of an invoice from the Borough Engineer.
Borough Council - approve or deny the Minor Subdivision. If approved, sign the plans as approved and return four copies to the property owner.
Property owner - submit approved plans to the Luzerne County Planning Commission (LCPC) and the office of the Recorder of Deeds along with any fees charged by those two agencies. The LCPC will not accept any application that has not been approved by the Borough and the Recorder of Deeds will not accept any document that has not been approved by the LCPC.
Property owner - if requested provide evidence of filing with the Recorder of Deeds to the Borough.