Commonly Asked Questions

What are the minimum setback requirements for my shed, pool, or deck?

This depends on the zoning district. Residential and residential uses in a mixed-use zoning district are a minimum of 5-feet from the side and rear property lines. If located within a Planned Residential Development (PRD), the setbacks are based on the specific development. Also, if on a corner lot, the side yard adjacent to a street must meet the front yard setback. In addition, the structure cannot be located on an easement or right-of-way.  


Where do I find the location of my easements or right of ways?

They are located on the official property survey.


Where do I get an official property survey?

If your home was recently constructed, a survey should have been provided by the builder. If the home was constructed after 2010, the Township may have a copy on file. The Township will not have surveys on file before 2010; you will need to have one completed by a registered surveyor.

Do construction documents need to be signed and sealed by an architect or engineer?

In most cases, an architect and/or engineer is required to stamp and seal the construction documents for renovation work, changes of use, additions, or new buildings.


What if I cannot meet the setback requirements?

You will need to relocate the proposed accessory structure to a compliant location or apply for a zoning variance request. The basics for a zoning variance are typically 6-8 weeks for a hearing and the cost is $600.00 along with a $1,000.00 deposit. The deposit is used to cover all Township incurred expenses. Any remaining monies left over will be returned to the applicant. The Zoning Hearing Board Application form can be found here (description) on our website or in the Township entrance vestibule rack.


Is there any way I can construct my deck, pool, shed, etc., on an easement or right of way?

Yes, there is a possibility of doing so by applying to the Township for an easement encroachment agreement. The fee is $350.00, the request must be approved by the Board of Supervisors, and this may take up to four weeks to process. During processing, the permit cannot be issued and work cannot commence. The Easement Encroachment Agreement Application and Procedures form can be found here or in the Township entrance vestibule rack.


How far does a driveway or retaining wall need to be setback from the property line?

They do not have to meet any setbacks and can extend up to the property line. A permit is needed for a retaining wall.


Am I permitted to keep chickens, ducks, or bees on my property?

Please see the zoning ordinance sections located in the magazine rack in the Township entrance vestibule or in the Township Ordinance #477 Sections 803, 804, and 805 (pages 234-236)A zoning permit is required.


Where can I find the sign ordinance requirements?

Sign requirements may be found in Township Ordinance #477 Article X; Sections 1001-1009 (beginning on page 271). You may also purchase a zoning ordinance at our customer service counter.

Do I need a permit if I am just replacing an existing sign?

Yes, a permit is needed to replace a sign, including replacing a panel in an existing sign box.


What is the maximum square footage a building sign is allowed to be?

Building signs are permitted to be 2 square feet per linear foot of building frontage (i.e. 2:1 ratio) with a 200 square foot maximum per building.

Where can I find fence requirements?

This information can be found here or in the Township entrance vestibule rack.

What is the permit fee for my project?

General permit fee information can be found here or in the Township entrance vestibule rack. The inspector will be able to give specific fee information once your permit application has been reviewed.


Which inspections are required for my project and how do I schedule them?

The required inspections will be printed on the building permit placard along with instructions on when they’re required and how to schedule them. This information can also be found here or in the Township entrance vestibule rack.


Do I need a permit if I am just replacing my existing deck, porch, shed, or pool?

Yes! Unless you are simply replacing decking boards, roof shingles on a shed, pool liner, or pool pump/filter.


What don't I need a permit for?

Any residential work that does not involve structural work or a change to a means of egress. This includes finished basements, bathroom or kitchen remodels, replacement shingles, siding, or replacement windows and doors. Permits are also not required for patios on grade, playground-type equipment, playhouses, or sidewalks and driveways. (Note: if a driveway is new or being widened, you will need a Road Occupancy Permit from Public Works.)

Zoning permits (only) are required for residential-detached accessory structures (less than 1,000 square feet), residential decks (less than 30 inches below grade), agricultural buildings (regardless of size), fences (less than 6 feet in height), and retaining walls (less than 4 feet in height).


Are inflatable or blow-up type swimming pools permitted?

They are not permitted without a permit and safety barrier (fencing) unless they are NOT capable of being filled with greater than 24 inches of water.


How long will it take to get my permit?

Most permits are reviewed within 2-5 business days. If any issues need to be resolved before issuing the permit, or once the permit is issued and ready for pick-up, the inspector will email you.


How do I know if I need a Grading Permit or not and if I do, where is the application?

Grading and excavating information can be found here, and the form can be found here or in the magazine rack at the Township entrance vestibule.


Do I need an occupancy permit for my new business?

Yes. Occupancy permit information can be found here and the permit can be found here or in the Township entrance vestibule rack.  

What are the regulations for open burning?

This information can be found here or in the Township entrance vestibule rack.

How do I get in touch with the Fire Marshal?

We do not have a Fire Marshal. The Building Code Official acts in the capacity of the Fire Marshal. You can contact Gary Hamilton, our Building Code Official, at 724-693-3081.

Is a permit required for a security system?

A permit is not required for a security system; however, you should call the Police Department non-emergency number at 412-787-8900 to advise them of the security system being installed.

Are banners, sandwich board signs, balloons, blow-ups, or temporary ground signs on stakes permitted?

Unfortunately, these types of signs are prohibited, although non-profit organizations (schools, athletic associations, municipalities, scouts, fire departments, libraries, churches, etc.) may display these types of temporary signs on a limited basis for athletic sign-ups, school events, craft fairs, fundraisers, and other special community-related events. In addition, political signs are permitted during election seasons. Please contact the Community Development Director at 724-693-3104 for more information.


Where can I find all the forms and guides?

All forms and guides can be found on our website as well as in the Township entrance vestibule rack which is open 24/7.

I am completely confused and I don't know where to start!

Take a deep breath and call the office at 412-788-4888 or email us at We’re here to help you!