PA Municipalities’ Requirements
Article by: Sharon E. Myers
The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code requires that each municipality that adopts a zoning ordinance must establish a board that is made up of three to five members. These members are appointed by a resolution adopted by the local municipality. One to three alternate board members may also be appointed to serve in the event that the zoning hearing board does not have a quorum due to absences or disqualifications.
The zoning hearing board is represented by a solicitor. The Municipalities Planning Code requires that the zoning hearing board solicitor be an attorney other than the municipal solicitor.
The members of the zoning hearing board must be residents of the municipality. In addition, none of the members can hold any other elected office within the municipality nor can they serve on the local planning commission. If the board is a three member board the terms of office are three years and if the board is a five member board the terms of office are five years.
Zoning hearing board members should have an understanding of municipal government and how the board and the governing body interact. In addition, the members should feel a vested interest in the community and should be committed to making decisions fairly. Board members should have the public’s health, safety, and welfare in mind rather than their own personal interests. Also the board members should have an understanding of land use and building concerns of the local municipality.
Zoning hearing board members should participate in education and training. The members of the zoning hearing board should keep in mind that the board is created to assure the fair and equitable application and administration of the zoning ordinance.