Zoning Hearing Board

W. Patrick Boyer



Robert Shader

Vice Chairman

Walt LeMunyon

Steve Bilko


Tami Krysko

Richard Murphy

Board Member

Beth Fitzanko

Matt Adams

Board Member



The North Strabane Township Zoning Hearing Board is a quasi-judicial body comprised of five (5) members and up to three (3) alternate members as required by the Municipalities Planning Code.  The primary purpose of the board is to assure fair and equitable application and administration of the Township's zoning ordinance by hearing appeals and granting relief from the literal enforcement of the ordinance in certain hardship situations.  Specifically, the Zoning Hearing Board has exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide the following:


 1.)   substantive challenges to the validity of any land use ordinance, except curative     amendments;

 2.)   procedural challenges to a land use ordinance;

 3.)   appeals from the determination of the zoning officer;

 4.)   appeals from a determination by the municipal engineer or zoning officer with respect to the administration of any flood plain or flood hazard ordinance;

 5.)   applications for variances;

 6.)   application for special exceptions;

 7.)   appeals from the determination of any officer or agency charged with the administration of  transfers of development rights or performance density provisions of the zoning ordinance;

 8.)   appeals from the zoning officers determination regarding a preliminary opinion; and,

 9.)   appeals from the determination of the zoning officer or municipal engineer in the administration of any land use ordinance regarding sedimentation and erosion or stormwater management not involving subdivision, land development, or planned residential development application.


Since the board has no legislative power, it can neither make or modify zoning policy.  Those powers are reserved to the governing body.  Neither does the zoning hearing board have enforcement powers.  The board schedules hearings on applications and appeals that come before it, takes evidence, and issues written decisions with findings of fact and conclusions of law.


One of the more frequent functions of the zoning hearing board is to act on applications for variances and special exceptions.  Provisions of the zoning ordinance may place undue hardship upon a property owner; however, the ordinance contains provisions designed to remedy these situations.


Variances.  A variance is a means of adjusting the literal terms of the zoning ordinance to fit the land which it regulates.  It enables a property owner to use his land which, due to specific location, topography, size or shape, would otherwise not be suitable for development under the strict interpretation of the zoning ordinance.  It is a permission granted as relief from unnecessary hardships that would be imposed by strict adherence to ordinance provisions.  The variance acts as a relief valve to solve problems in applying general legislation to specific situations.


 Special Exceptions.  A special exception is permission or approval granted an applicant to use his land for a purpose other than what is generally permitted outright in that district.  A special exception is neither special nor is it an exception.  An applicant for a special exception is following the zoning ordinance.  The application is one that is permitted by the ordinance if certain standards and conditions are met.  The function of the zoning hearing board is to determine whether the application is consistent with the public interest as defined by the specific standards in the ordinance.  All special exceptions for each zoning district are specifically listed under the provisions for each district.


 Application for the Zoning Hearing Board, including variances and special exceptions, are available on this website.  The application fee for residential requests is $275.00 and $325.00 for commercial requests.


Zoning Hearing Board Application