Section Photos

Departments and Services

Code and Zoning

Sinclair Salisbury
Director of Code Enforcement
425 Wells Road
Doylestown, PA 18901
Phone: 215-348-9915
Fax: 215-348-8729

Mission
To ensure that the Health, Safety, Welfare and quality of life of the residents and visitors to Doylestown Township is maintained and improved through the required compliance with the Ordinances, including adopted construction and property maintenance codes, which have been enacted by the residents representatives, the Township Supervisors.
Construction Code
CONSTRUCTION CODES

All jurisdictions within Pennsylvania follow the PA UCC (Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code). The PA UCC is the administrative regulation which references the construction codes to be followed; and those are at present the 2009 editions of the ICC (International Codes Council) codes, except for accessibility in non-residential buildings which follow the 2012 editions as referenced.  The PA UCC is administered by the PA Department of Labor & Industry and you can access the full regulations by visiting their Uniform Construction Code homepage at http://www.dli.pa.gov/ucc/Pages/default.aspx#.Vrpv-fkrK03.

Residential construction projects use the International Residential Code 2009 and additional codes and standards as referenced.

Non-residential/commercial projects use the International Building Code 2009 and additional codes and standards as referenced.

Copies of the Codes are available for reference in the Code Enforcement office at the Township Administration building.

Planning a Home Improvement Project
You may be planning some home improvement projects; these can be a major family investment that you want to go as smoothly as possible. The following resources may help in planning your projects, whether they are large or small, and in choosing a contractor. Since July 2009 all contractors, with a few limited exceptions, that do work at residential properties in Pennsylvania are required to be registered with the PA Office of the Attorney General. This includes landscaping and painting as well as all the construction trades. We encourage you to visit the PA Attorney Generals website at attorneygeneral.gov to see how the law affords protections to consumers who hire contractors for home remodeling projects. When you enter the website select “Consumers” then “Consumer Home Improvement Information” where you will find information that will assist you in choosing a contractor, and the procedures that contractors should be following when offering you contracts to do work. To access our local Consumer Protection Department for further advice select “Government”, “Community Services” then “Consumer Protection” at the County website BucksCounty.org.

One important consideration to remember when your work involves a Township Building Permit is the property owner’s responsibility under the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code to ensure a Final Inspection takes place and a Certificate of Occupancy is issued. Our recommendation to you is that no final payment is made to a contractor until they schedule and receive a final inspection and the certificate is issued. Failure to do this may result in the property owner being responsible to make changes or complete work to pass the final inspection. When the contractor has left the site with full payment it may be difficult to get them back to complete their responsibilities. There may be serious negative insurance implications for property owners who put into use uncompleted projects without a Certificate of Occupancy; so only pay the final installment on receipt of the Certificate of Occupancy.

Please view the guidelines section for direction on applying for various projects.

Permit Applications and Guidelines

Click here for permit application forms and additional project guidelines.

DEED REGISTRATION

When a residential or commercial property is sold a copy of the new deed is required to be registered with the Township using the Deed Registration Form. The fee is $10. If you submit the Deed and Registration Form with the $10 fee by mail, enclose a self-addressed envelope if you wish a receipt. A Move-In permit, for which there is no charge, must also accompany residential deeds. Both applications are accessible from the Code Enforcement section of Forms For Download.

DECK GUIDELINES

Submit your application for a deck on the Building Permit Application form.

  • Enclose two copies of a site plan showing existing features, including septic field if applicable, with location and dimensions of the proposed deck. Show the distance the deck will be to the rear and side property lines. Show dimensions and location of any Easements on the property.
  • Decks with any part of the structure 30 inches above grade are to show full construction details including diagonal bracing and location on ledger of Lateral Load Connectors. For construction detail guidance follow the recommendations found in the “Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide” found on the American Wood Council website at http://www.awc.org/publications/dca/dca6/dca6-09.pdf
  • If lighting or additional electrical circuits are associated with the deck, cut sheets of the light fixtures (required to be shielded down lighting that do not shine over the property boundary) and an Electrical Permit Application will also be required.
  • Decks that hold a Hot Tub require plans and construction details signed and sealed by a PA Engineer or Architect.

SHED GUIDELINES

Only a structure with a floor area 144 square feet or less, with a maximum height of 20 feet, is classified as a “shed”; a structure greater than 144 sq. ft. is an “Accessory Building” (see separate Guidelines).

  • Submit your application for a shed on the Zoning Permit Application form.
  • A shed is permitted to be no closer than 7 feet to the property line.
  • Enclose two copies of a site plan showing existing features, including septic field if applicable, with location and dimensions of the proposed shed. Show the distance the shed will be to the rear and side property lines. Show dimensions and location of any Easements on the property.
  • A site plan can be hand drawn or use a “Google Earth” or other aerial print of the property.
  • If electricity is run to the shed, an Electrical Permit Application will be required.

RESIDENTIAL ACCESSORY BUILDING GUIDELINES

Accessory Buildings are structures with a floor area 145 square feet or greater, with a maximum height of 20 feet. A structure less than 145 sq. ft. is a “Shed” (see separate Guidelines). Accessory Buildings have to conform to the main building setbacks (distance from property lines) of the Zoning District. If in doubt about your Zoning District and setbacks look at the Zoning Map and Chapter 175 of the Twp. Code accessible on the Twp. website. However, some developments have unique setbacks; the Code Enforcement office will be able to supply those setbacks. If the Accessory Building is a Detached Garage see the separate Guideline.

  • Submit your application for an Accessory Buildings between 145 sq. ft. and 999sq.ft. on a Zoning Permit Application form.
  • Submit your application for an Accessory Building 1000 sq.ft. or GREATER on a Building Permit Application form.
  • Enclose two copies of a site plan showing existing features, including septic field if applicable, with location and dimensions of the proposed Accessory Building. Show the distance the Accessory Building will be to the main dwelling, rear and side property lines. Show dimensions and location of any Easements on the property. Show grade/slope of site at proposed structure location.
  • Complete the Impervious Surface work sheet.
  • Show compliance with Stormwater requirements, Ch.148 in the Township Code
  • For total land disturbance 1000 sq. ft. or greater include a copy of your Conservation District permit (www.bucksccd.org).
  • For total land disturbance 5000 sq.ft. or greater also apply for a Twp. Grading Permit.
  • Enclose two copies of construction details.
  • If any utilities, electrical, plumbing or mechanical, are being supplied to the Accessory Building, submit all permit applications at the same time.
  • If exterior lighting is associated with the Accessory Building, cut sheets of the light fixtures (required to be shielded down lighting that does not shine over the property boundary) and an Electrical Permit Application will also be required.

FENCES and WALLS

Fences and walls are permitted to be a maximum height of 8 feet in the side and rear yards, and 6 feet in the front yard. No fence or wall is permitted in the street right of way; contact the Code Enforcement office if you wish to apply for a fence/wall in the front yard but are not certain how far up your property the right of way extends. It is expected with traditional post and panel fencing that the posts face into the property applying for the permit.

There is no set distance that a fence or wall has to be from a property line, however, it cannot be located on the property line as that is jointly owned with your neighbor. The recommendation is that if the fence or wall has to be maintained, or grass cut behind it, it should be located far enough from the property line that you can access behind it without stepping onto the neighboring property.

  • Submit your application for a fence/wall on the Zoning Permit Application form.
  • Enclose two copies of a site plan showing existing features, including septic field if applicable, with location and height of the proposed fence/wall. Show the distance the fence/wall will be to the property lines. Show dimensions and location of any Easements on the property, a fence or wall is not permitted within an Easement.
  • For fences or walls in a front yard show “Right of Way” and distance fence will be from the center of the road. If you are unsure of the location of the Right of Way line in your front yard the Code Enforcement office will be able to help you.
  • A site plan can be hand drawn or use a “Google Earth” or other aerial print of the property.
  • Walls over 4 feet tall, or any wall supporting a surcharge will require a signed and sealed engineered construction plan.
  • For fences that form part of the barrier around a pool, see the swimming pool leaflet in the Code Enforcement Guidelines section of this website.

DETACHED GARAGES

Accessory buildings classified as Detached Garages which are accessory to residences are permitted to be located no closer than 15 feet to rear and side property lines and must be set back behind the front of the principal building.

A notarized letter indicating that the Detached Garages will “only be used for the storage of motor vehicles and not for any other use” is required to be submitted with the application.

  • Submit your application for a Detached Garage 999sq.ft. floor area or less on a Zoning Permit Application form.
  • Submit your application for a detached Garage 1000 sq.ft. or GREATER on a Building Permit Application form.
  • Enclose two copies of a site plan showing existing features, including septic field if applicable, with location and dimensions of the proposed Detached Garage. Show the distance the Detached Garage will be to the principal dwelling, rear and side property lines. Show dimensions and location of any Easements on the property. Show grade/slope of site at proposed garage location.
  • Complete the Impervious Surface work sheet.
  • Show compliance with Stormwater requirements, Ch.148 in the Township Code.
  • For total land disturbance 1000 sq. ft. or greater include a copy of your Conservation District permit (www.bucksccd.org).
  • For total land disturbance 5000 sq.ft. or greater also apply for a Twp. grading permit.
  • Enclose two copies of construction details.
  • If any utilities, electrical, plumbing or mechanical, are being supplied to the Detached Garage, submit all permit applications at the same time.
  • If exterior lighting is associated with the Detached Garage, cut sheets of the light fixtures (required to be shielded down lighting that does not shine over the property boundary) and an Electrical Permit Application will also be required.
  • Include the notarized letter with the application.

PATIOS

  • Submit your application for a Patio on a Zoning Permit Application form.
  • Enclose two copies of a site plan showing existing features, including septic field if applicable, with location and dimensions of the proposed Patio. Show the distance the Patio will be to the rear and side property lines. Indicate the location of built-in features like a natural gas grill or a gas/wood burning fireplace and show their distances to combustible construction and property lines. Show dimensions and location of any Easements on the property.
  • A site plan can be hand drawn or use a “Google Earth” or other aerial print of the property.
  • Show compliance with Stormwater requirements, Ch.148 in the Township Code.
  • For total land disturbance 1000 sq. ft. or greater include a copy of your Conservation District permit (www.bucksccd.org).
  • If any utility such as natural gas (propane is exempt from local municipality permits by State regulation) or electricity is run to the Patio, appropriate Permit Applications will be required.
  • If exterior lighting is associated with the Patio, cut sheets of the light fixtures (required to be shielded down lighting that does not shine over the property boundary) and an Electrical Permit Application will also be required.
  • Any steps with 4 or more risers will require a handrail; a guard will be required if the edge of the flight of stairs exceeds 30 inches above grade.

MOVE-IN-PERMIT
Doylestown Township Ordinance Number 258 requires that all people moving into the Township register with the Township using the Move-In-Permit registration form which can be printed here. Landlords are to register the names and ages of all their tenants that move into rental properties and update the information if tenants change. There is no charge to file a Move-In-Permit.

GEOTHERMAL SYSTEMS
A geothermal system is a mechanical device for heating or cooling which involves the use of deeply buried piping to utilize the steady underground temperature to warm or cool fluids within the system which in turn heats or cools the building. Closed loop geothermal systems are approved for use in Doylestown Township. A Bucks County Health Department Well Permit is required for all geothermal systems.

  • Submit your application on a Mechanical Permit Application form.
  • An Electrical Permit Application form is to be submitted if a new electrical circuit is being run to the equipment.
  • Include a copy of any equipment installation instructions.
  • Include a copy of the Bucks County Health Department Well Permit.
  • Enclose two copies of a site plan showing existing features, including septic field if applicable, with location of the proposed geothermal well locations. Show the distance the well locations will be to the rear and side property lines. Show dimensions and location of any Easements on the property.
  • A site plan can be hand drawn or a “Google Earth” or other print of the property.
  • Show protective measures to be taken during drilling so as not to impact neighboring properties with water run-off.
  • Any land disturbance over 1000sq.ft.  will require a permit from the Conservation District (www.bucksccd.org). If applied for include a copy of this permit with your application.

STANDBY/BACKUP GENERATORS

  • An Electrical Permit Application is required.
  • If the generator is fueled by natural gas include a Mechanical Permit Application with a piping diagram indicating materials used.
  • Submit a copy of your PECO application for an “Increase In Natural Gas Usage”.
  • If the generator is fuel by propane a mechanical permit IS NOT REQUIRED (propane is exempt from local municipality permits by State regulation).
  • Provide two copies of installation instructions that show how far the generator is to be located from combustible construction, windows that open etc.
  • Include two copies of a site plan that show the location of the generator and its distance from the building, opening windows and property lines.
  • A site plan can be hand drawn or a “Google Earth” or other print of the property.
  • The generator should be no closer than 7 feet to property lines.

PHOTOVOLTAIC INSTALLATIONS

  • For a free standing or roof mounted system use a Zoning Permit Application form.
  • Include a site plan showing the size and location of the installation. Free standing systems are to conform to the requirements for accessory structures: meet the principal building setbacks of the zoning district and be no taller than 20 feet.
  • A site plan can be hand drawn or use a “Google Earth” or other aerial print of the property.
  • An Engineer of Architect is to supply a signed report indicating that an existing roof is adequate to support the extra load of a roof mounted system, or provide detail drawings of how the roof is to be modified to take the extra load.
  • If roof modifications are to be made, a Building Permit Application is required with two signed and sealed copies of the construction details.
  • All applications will require an Electrical Permit Application and two copies of installation wiring diagrams reviewed and approved by a Third Party Electrical Plan Review Agency. (See Forms for Download on the Twp. website or the PA Dept. of Labor & Industry website for a list of Third Party Agencies).
  • Part 1 of the Utility Interconnection Agreement is to be submitted with the permit applications. (The final inspection of the installation will not be approved until Part 2, the Utility Company approval, is received by the Code Office).

OUTDOOR LIGHTING

Click here for information on Light Pollution in Doylestown Township.

Fee Schedule
View the Doylestown Township Fee Schedule here.(note: All fees are subject to change by an act of the Township Supervisors)
Leaf and Natural Vegetation Burning
Open burning is no longer permitted in Doylestown Township.  Click here for information regarding our Leaf and Yard Waste Drop off program.
Inspections
Please contact the Code Enforcement office 24 hours (one day) prior to the date of requested inspection. Your assistance is greatly appreciated and makes your construction process run with less interruption.
On-Line Access to the Code of the Township of Doylestown
The Code of the Township of Doylestown is now available online. You can view the E-Code by visiting  http://ecode360.com/DO1312?needHash=true  or visit the General Code Publishers website at  http://www.generalcode.com and click on the E-Code Online Library.
Zoning Hearing Board
To view the Township’s zoning map, click here.Municipalities in Pennsylvania, including Doylestown Township, follow the regulations in the Municipalities Planning Code (known as the MPC) which is “Act of 1968, P.L. 805, No. 247 as reenacted and amended”. If the Municipality enacts local Zoning the procedures outlined in the MPC are to be followed including the establishment of a Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB). The MPC and regulations concerning the ZHB can be seen in its entirety on the PA Department of Community and Economic Development website www.dced.state.pa.us

What is the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB)?

The primary purpose of the ZHB is to help assure fair and equitable application and administration of the Zoning Ordinances by hearing appeals on the Zoning Officer’s determinations and by granting relief from the literal enforcement of the ordinance in certain hardship situations.It is important to understand that the ZHB has no legislative power; it does not make nor modify the Township Zoning Ordinances, neither does the Board have any enforcement powers. The Board is a “quasi-judicial body” that schedules hearings on applications and appeals that come before it, takes evidence, and issues written decisions with findings of fact and conclusions of law. For example, the Zoning Ordinance may say a house is to be no closer than 20 feet to the side property line but an application is made to the ZHB to build an addition 15 feet from the property line. If after a public hearing the request is granted, the ZHB has not changed the zoning regulation, just granted a variance from the regulation for that property. Note also that the ZHB decision runs with the property, so should a new owner take control of the property the zoning variance is still valid and does not disappear with change of ownership.

It is also important to understand that as the ZHB is a body that hears appeals to the Zoning Ordinances enacted by the residents elected representatives, the Supervisors; it is in effect one legal step above the Township. The ZHB is to remain unbiased, so Township staff do not discuss with the ZHB members the merits of forthcoming hearings, but only receive the application, check it for completeness and forward it to the ZHB members and the ZHB attorney. The only time the Township becomes involved in a ZHB meeting is if the Supervisors wish to become a party to the proceedings at the meeting, either to oppose or support the application, where they will be represented by the Township Solicitor. In most cases the Supervisors leave it to the ZHB to make a determination on the merits of the application. In fact there is no requirement for a member of the Township staff to attend a ZHB hearing unless the Township is a party to the proceedings, but a staff member usually attends as a courtesy to the ZHB.

Who are the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) members?

The ZHB consists of three members who are required to be residents of the municipality. Doylestown Township board is appointed by resolution of the governing body, the Supervisors and their term lasts for three years. Board members are residents of Doylestown Township who hold no other office in the municipality. The ZHB is advised by an attorney who attends the meetings and advises on points of law but does not take part in the decision making.

The ZHB is subject to the open meeting provisions of the PA Sunshine Law (Act 1986-84) which requires public meetings, public votes and written minutes. Please see ZHB agendas and decisions under the link on the Code and Zoning web page.

Please contact the Code Enforcement Office for guidance and Zoning Hearing Board Application Forms.

Upcoming Agendas and Zoning Decisions

Planning Commission

What is the Planning Commission?

The Planning Commission performs three primary functions for the Township:

  • Firstly, the Commission works closely with the Board of Supervisors, planning consultant, and Bucks County Planning Commission to consider current development plans and the ordinances which govern these developments.
  • Secondly, it is responsible for preparing a comprehensive plan for the development of the Township as set forth in the State Planning Code. The most recent comprehensive plan was completed was amended in 2008.
  • Finally, the Commission maintains records of all its actions. These materials are kept in the possession of the Board of Supervisors for their continued reference and use.

Who are the Planning Commission members?

The Planning Commission consists of five members that serve four year terms.  The Township Planning Consultant, a Recording Secretary, and Board of Supervisors’ Liaison also attends these meetings.  The current membership and Liaison can be found by clicking here.

What plans are currently under review?
Planning Commission Agendas and Minutes
List of Current Plans Under Review

Township Comprehensive Plan (Amended in 2008)

2007 Doylestown Community Park,Recreation and Open Space Plan

Monthly Permit Reports