As a general rule, the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) as well as several Lower Alsace Township Ordinances require that a property owner or the owner’s authorized agent obtain a building, plumbing, mechanical and or a zoning permit before commencing any work and that said work be inspected as per the requirement of the Township.
The following is a list of items that may and / or may not require a permit from the Township. Please note that this list is intended to assist homeowners with general questions with residential properties. To be sure, please contact the Township Office at (610) 779-6400.
Building permits are required for any structural changes, new construction, additions, decks, basement renovations, garages and storage barns, signs, porches, roofing, swimming pools. Corner properties will be considered as having two front yards for building set-back measurements.
Zoning permits are required for changes in use such as changes in use for businesses, home occupations, fences, accessory structures (sheds) replacement of sidewalks and new driveways.
RESIDENTIAL ELECTRICAL PERMITS *
Electrical Permits are required for any new work to erect, install, enlarge, alter, convert or replace any electrical system. The applicant shall first make application to Lower Alsace Township to obtain the required permit for the work prior to the start of the work. Work such as repairing or replacing an individual electrical device, such as a switch or receptacle, does not require a permit. Any work that requires new wiring or devices / fixtures to be installed does require a permit.
COMMERCIAL ELECTRICAL PERMITS *
Commercial Electrical Permits may be acquired by the property owner or by a licensed electrician. Commercial electrical permits are required for any new work to erect, install, enlarge, repair, alter, convert or replace any commercial electrical system. The applicant shall first make application to Lower Alsace Township to obtain the required permit for the work prior to the start of the work.
PLUMBING AND MECHANICAL PERMITS *
Plumbing and Mechanical Permits are required for all projects that will, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any plumbing system and or mechanical system, the installation of which is regulated by the plumbing code shall first make application to Lower Alsace Township to obtain the required permit for the work.
* Plumbers, Electricians and HVAC or Mechanical Contractors desiring to provide services in Lower Alsace Township are required to have and present their credentials (a valid contractor license that was acquired after having successfully passed an examination from another municipality or jurisdiction recognized by the Township of Lower Alsace) as well as a certificate of insurance as part of the permit application process.
PROPERTY SETTLEMENT AND INFILTRATION INSPECTIONS
Before a building or home is used, occupied, transferred or sold the Township must perform an inspection and issue a Use & Occupancy Certificate to ensure that the structure meets the building code and safety requirements for those accessing or residing in the structure. Among the required under the various UCC and International Property Maintenance Codes, the Township Code Inspector will check for smoke detectors, sidewalks, curbing and other safety-related items. A checklist that will be utilized by the codes inspector is listed on the back of the Use & Occupancy Certificate application. Please note that either the buyer or the seller may apply for a Use & Occupancy Approval and they must be obtained prior to the scheduled settlement date.
If your property is connected to the public sewerage system, you will be required to obtain an approved infiltration permit inspection prior to settlement of your property. This inspection will contribute towards the protection and preservation of the public sewerage treatment plant which is critical to the health safety and welfare of the township residents. It is important to note that the Use and Occupancy inspections performed by the Township should not be considered a substitute for what is commonly referred to as a “home inspection”. The inspections do not represent any warranty on behalf of the Township and buyers are advised to arrange for an independent home inspection if they so desire.
If you need to arrange for a dumpster to be delivered to your property but have no room, you may be permitted to temporarily park it on the Township’s Street with an approved permit to assure that the location will permit safe travel for the neighborhoods motorists and to assure that all protections are in place to preserve the township road surface.
Burn Permits may be issued for two categories of fires as follows:
- Outdoor Patio stoves, Chimineas, or Factory built metal novelty stoves for residential private property within all zones of Lower Alsace Township, provided they are used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and shall not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material.
- The burning of yard waste is allowed with an approved Township Burn Permit and will only be permitted for those properties located in the Rural Conservation (RC), Industrial and Residential 1 and 2 zones of the township provided the property is a minimum of five (5) acres in size and that the burn area can be located 150 feet or more from any building or structure. Yard debris must originate from the same property. No burning or smoldering shall occur outside of the above stated hours and all approved burning shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished. A minimum of one fire extinguisher or other approved on-site fire-extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.
The following regulations apply to both types of burn permits:
It shall be unlawful for any person to open burn any material, including the following, at any time in any zone within Lower Alsace Township: Household municipal waste, books, magazines, newspapers, cardboard and/or any items that are required to be recycled in Lower Alsace Township under the Pennsylvania Act 101, including leaf waste and scrap lumber or any vegetation, plywood, drywall plastic products, insulation material, upholstered furniture, garbage, dead animals, human and animal excrement, human and animal hair, rubber products including tires, hydrocarbon products or flammable liquids, asphalt or tar shingles or roofing materials, bedding, foam rubber, nylon, rayon, cotton, wool, polyester or other synthetic material, insulation from copper or other wiring, solid waste and/or construction waste as defined by the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act and 25 PA Code 271.1. Additionally if smoke, ash, or smell omitting from such Patio stoves, Chimineas, or Factory built novelty stoves, become objectionable or offensive to neighboring properties, the Township may suspend the operation of same.
NO PERMITS ARE REQUIRED FOR
- Decorative landscape features (non-structural items such as trellises, ponds less than two feet in depth, or landscape block walls less than four feet in height) non-structural changes such as concrete patios, walkways within the property
- Dish antenna provided it’s no greater than three feet in diameter
- Remodeling with no structural modification and no additions, alterations nor any relocation of plumbing, heating or electrical installations
- Replacement of existing electrical fixtures, switches, receptacles and circuit breakers, except where wiring replacement is part of the scope
- Recreational apparatus, such as swing set or basketball hoop
- Routine maintenance and replacement of finishes such as carpet, hardwood flooring, tile, paint and wallpaper
- Tent or canopy (residential)
- Window or door replacement with no change in the size or location of opening
- Swimming pool less than 24 inches in height (or water depth of less than 24” per manufacturer’s fill depth)
- At grade walkways and patios within property lines (public walkways improvements and repairs require permits)
- Cabinetry and furniture without electrical and plumbing connections
- Repairs of pipes, valves or fixtures and the removal and reinstallation of water closets (toilets), provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes of fixtures
- Portable heating, ventilation and cooling units
- The replacement of any minor part that does not alter the approval of equipment or an appliance or make such equipment of appliance unsafe
- Self-contained refrigeration systems that contain 10 pounds or less of refrigerant, or that are actuated by motors of 1 horsepower or less
Regardless of permit requirements, always call 811 before you dig.
Call 811 at least a few days before you start any digging project.
Whether you are planning to do it yourself or hire a professional, smart digging means calling 811 before each job.