Can a Business Be Forced to Change Operations By the Zoning Laws After 43 Years?

Full Question:

A NONPROFIT ORIGINATION HAS BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR 43 YEARS AND WE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE TOWNSHIP WE HAVE A COUNTRY MUSIC SHOW EVERY YEAR FOR 43 YEARS AND NOW THEY WANT TO SHUT US DOWN FOR A SEWAGE PROBLEM THAT WE DON'T HAVE WE HAVE TWO 2000 HOLDING TANKS PUT ON THE GROUNDS FOR OUR SEWAGE 1 BATH ROOM AND A KITCHEN THAT GOES INTO THE ONE HOLDING TANK AND WE HAVE IT PUMPED EVERY TIME IT IS NEEDED THE OTHER HOLDING TANK IS A DUMP STATION THAT WE PUMP TO NOW THEY WANT US TO PUT A SANDMOUND IN TO. WHY DO WE HAVE TO PUT A SAND MOUND AND WHY CAN'T WE HOOK THE MEMBERS CAMPERS UP TO THE HOLDING TANKS AND HAVE RUINING WATER TO OUR CAMPERS. THEY SAY IT TO CONVENIENT AND WON' T ALlOW US TO HOOK UP THEN THEY TELL US WE HAVE TO PUT ALL THE WATER LINES UNDER GROUND AND THE SOWER LINES TO SO WE CAN'T USE THEM WE PAY TO HAVE THE TANKS PUMPED ANSWER WHY WE CANNOT BE GRANDFATHER IN WE WOULD LIKE TO OPERATE WITH HOLDING TANKS AND PORTAPOTIES AND THEY DISAGREE THE TO PREVEYS THAT HAVE BIN USED FOR 43 YEARS AND IS THERE ANY REGULATIONS ON HOW MANY PORTAPOTIES WE MUST USE.
06/13/2011   |   Category: Zoning   |   State: Pennsylvania   |   #25019

Answer:

A grandfather clause typically applies to a business that has been in business since a specified date. The suspension of business operations may make the grandfather clause inapplicable. The answer will depend in part on the wording of the zoning regulation and whether any applicable permits or licenses lapsed.

It may be possible to petition for a special use permit or variance. The most common way of providing relief from the provisions of a zoning ordinance is through the granting of a variance. This is an authorization to use land or to operate a business in a way that would otherwise be prohibited by the zoning ordinance. It is also used to give relief from, or permit reduction of, one or more requirements of the ordinance as applied to a particular site.

An appeal is usually made by the completion and filing of an appeal form as required by local procedures, and should include the specific reason for the appeal. The appeal may be brought by a person (the property owner, lessee or option holder) aggrieved by the refusal of the building inspector or designated administrative officer to approve an action, or by a person aggrieved because another person’s proposal was approved, or by a person who has been cited for a violation of the zoning regulations.

We suggest contacting the local zoning board or land use commission, or having a local attorney review all the facts and documents involved.