Southmont Borough Zoning Information
Mark Walker, Zoning/Codes Enforcement Officer - (814) 255-3413
Borough Ordinance Requirements and Building & Zoning Permits
The purpose of Zoning Ordinance #514 is to promote proper community development. Building Permits are required to enlarge, construct, alter or demolish a structure. Permits are also required for any proposed change that occurs in the use of a building. It is the property owners responsibility to obtain a permit. If you are considering any new construction, additions or alterations and have questions, please call the Borough Office before any project begins.
Contractors must provide Worker Compensation forms before approval of any building permit.
Pennsylvania Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act Information
The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act affords protection for consumers who hire contractors for home remodeling projects. The law went into effect July 1, 2009 and provides that contractors who perform home improvements totaling $5,000 or more per year must register with the Office of Attorney General. The law requires written contracts between the contractor and consumer when the price of the project exceeds $500 and provides for criminal penalties for home improvement fraud and civil penalties for violations of the act. If you are remodeling your home, be sure your contractor is registered with the Office of Attorney General at www.attorneygeneral.gov or call toll free 1-888-520-6680 before you sign a contract.
Home improvement fraud occurs when:
A contractor intentionally provides false or misleading information to convince a consumer to enter into an agreement for home improvements.
A contractor receives payment and fails to provide the services or materials
A contractor damages a person's property in order to solicit an agreement for services or materials
A contractor alters a contract or other documents without the consent of the consumer
A contractor publishes false or deceptive advertisements
A contractor misrepresents material as special order material or misrepresents the cost of special order material
lA contractor represents himself or herself as an employee of a governmental unit or public utility
Business Permits and Sign Permits
Many residents choose to have a business within their home. This type of business, as well as those in the Commercial District, require a Business License permit. Home Occupation is permitted by special exception under Zoning Ordinance #514. The permit is a one time registration fee.
Several requirements must be met by homes in the Borough of Southmont.
Houses shall have smoke detectors. Trees are not to obstruct sidewalks or streetlights. Storing of unlicensed or uninspected vehicles on streets or property is prohibited. house numbers must be visible from the street. Fences, hedges, trees, shrubs, weeds, or vines must not obstruct the vision of motorists. All exposed metal or wood surfaces must be painted or have other protective coatings. Pools and accessories must be at least 10 feet from the overhead wires and 5 feet from the rear or sides of property. Pools should not be drained across neighbors property. A pool (in-ground or above) requires a secure fence. Accessory buildings require a building permit. Fences, posts and decorative landscaping must not be constructed on Borough right of way. Weeds and grass are not to exceed 12". Yards must not be littered or cluttered with trash and rubbish. Obtain building permits for permanent improvements to your home or business. A building permit must be obtained and approved prior to any new construction, erection or alteration or any permanent improvement. Contact the Zoning Officer at 255-3104.
Property maintenance is provided for under the International Code Property Maintenance (Ordinance #314) making it unlawful to store abandoned or junked, unlicensed vehicles on property or to place garbage, rubbish or other debris on property within the Borough. In addition, all areas are to be kept free of weeds or plant growth within the growing season. High grass and overhanging trees and brush must be kept clear of the streets and walkways withing the Borough. Recommendations are to mow grass throwing it in direction away from the curb lines, keeping grass clippings off the streets, to help prevent clogging of sewer lines.
Sidewalks and Curbs
Current Borough Ordinance (#'s 39, 397 and 403) provides that all owners (or agent of owner) with property abutting or fronting upon any street, are required to keep the public walkway immediately abutting their property in good repair. The Borough will inspect and the property owner will be notified that repairs are necessary. If not done by the property owner, the Borough will contract to have the work done at the property owners expense.
A permit is required before any door to door canvassing or solicitation transactions are made (Ordinance #3). Permits are to be shown upon request. The permits may be obtained at the Borough Office and are subject to Police approval. Solicitation Permits are $100.00. Ask for identification if you do not know them. Never open your door to a stranger.
Since March of 2003, Southmont Borough has operated its storm sewer system under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination (NPDES) General Permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (Southmont Ordinance #447). This permitting was required of the Borough, along with other surrounding municipalities, by the federal EPA in order to minimize discharges of undesirable contaminants into the waterways of the Johnstown Urbanized Area.
In follow-up to last year's direct mailing of the PADEP brochure "When It Rains, It Drains," Southmont Borough is beginning a series of articles to emphasize activities that the community can assist in protecting the water resources of the area. With the onset of spring, and everyone's desire to begin outdoor activities, this article focuses on springtime issues.
The disappearance of snow will allow us to keep our cars cleaner. PADEP recommends commercial car washes as the best way to do this. That way, the wash water will be treated and/or recycled. Untreated wash water carries the soap scum, oils and dirt into the storm sewers and subsequently into the waterways where it is unhealthy for fish and other aquatic life. If you choose to wash your car at home, please try to locate this activity where the water will run off into a grass or gravel area that will help filter out these contaminants before they can reach the storm sewers.
Warmer weather also allows the start of yard work. Excessive fertilizer applied during undesirable weather conditions can wash out of your yard with storm runoff and into the storm sewers and waterways. This causes algae to grow, which uses up oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive. Please use lawn fertilizers sparingly and in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
Although much of the watershed in Southmont Borough is comprised of urbanized storm sewers and a flood protection channel, the receiving waters of the Stonycreek River have been seeing progressive improvement as a result of other cleanup efforts. Public participation in controlling urban contaminants will aid the progress of this improvement and the overall quality of life of the region.