Frequently Asked Questions
When is a permit required?
Any time one of these activities occurs a permit must be obtained:
1) construct or alter a structure
2) construct an addition to an existing structure (this includes decks)
3) demolish or move a structure
4) make a change in occupancy of a structure
5) install or alter any equipment which is regulated by the building code
a) heating equipment
b) air conditioning
d) electrical service
6) Move a lot line, which affects an existing structure
ORDINARY REPAIRS do not require a permit. Some examples of such would be new gutters, painting, replacement of windows where the existing opening in the structure isn't altered.
NOT included in ordinary repairs are:
1) cutting away of any wall, partition, or portion thereof
2) the removal, replacement, re-enforcement or cutting of any structural beam for load bearing support
3) the removal or change of any required means of egress
4) the rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the means of egress
5) addition to, alteration of, or replacement or relocation of any water supply, sewer, drainage, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping
6) addition to, alteration of, or replacement or relocation of any electrical wiring
7) addition to, alteration of, or replacement or relocation of any mechanical equipment
The simple acid test to apply to a question about whether or not work requires a permit is this:
Does common sense dictate that the proposed work could affect the public health, safety, and welfare by compromising structural strength, means of egress, sanitary equipment, light and ventilation, and fire safety of the building?
The permit process is designed to ensure that the erection, repair, removal, demolition, or change of occupancy of a building be accomplished in compliance with the building code.
More info can be found on our Building Permit webpage.
How do I get a resale Use & Occupancy Permit
Any building changing ownership in the Township must obtain a Use & Occupancy Permit and inspection prior to the closing sale. The three types of U&O Applications are available at https://www.westrockhilltownship.org/get-a-permit in the right hand column. Please download the applications, fill them out, and follow the instructions on the back of the form.. Please note the items we will be inspecting listed on the form.
How can I reserve a pavilion at James Park for a party?
James Park has two pavilions which may be reserved: the larger Derstine Pavilion and the smaller Markley Pavilion. A completed James Park Rental Application, fee, and security deposit must be submitted to the Township before a date can be reserved.
Who do I call to remove a dead animal from the road?
Please contact the PA Game Commission at 610-926-3136 if the animal is on a local road, or call Penn DOT at 215-345-6060 if it occurs on a state road.Do I need a resale U&O permit for my home
Are landlords required to register tenants?
Yes, a Tenant Registration Form must be completed yearly.
Is recycling mandatory in West Rockhill Township?
Yes, your private trash hauler is required to provide curbside recycling; please contact them for details.
Who do I call about potholes or road problems?
Please make note of the road and location of the problem. If it is a state road, please call PennDOT at 215 345-6060. State Roads in West Rockhill Township are: Allentown Road, Bethlehem Pike, Cat Hill Road, County Line Road, Diamond Street, Finland Road, Ridge Road, Ridge Valley Road, Route 152, South Main Street, and State Road. You may also call PennDOT's 1-800-FIX-ROAD to report a pothhole. If it is a local road, please call the Township office at 215-257-9063 to report the problem.
Who is responsible for maintenance and replacement of driveway pipes?
Residents are responsible for clearing, maintaining and replacing their driveway pipes. New pipe installation requires a Driveway Permit. Please call the Township at 215-257-9063 for information.
How can I register a complaint with the Township?
If you have a question, comment or concern you wish to formally address with the Township, please fill out a Resident Concern Form and fax, mail, or drop it off at the Township building. If you wish to make a formal complaint about a zoning violation, please use the Official Zoning Violation Form. The Township Manager will investigate the issue and take action, if necessary.
How many horses can I have on my property?
Raising of livestock is a permitted use in the RC, RA, SR, PI & REC Zoning districts. You must have at least 3 acres of land. The remainder of the regulations follows:
A11. Residential Accessory Livestock
The keeping of livestock or horses shall be permitted as an accessory use to Use B1 Single- Family Detached Dwelling, subject to the following requirements:
1. The use shall be clearly accessory to a principal single-family detached dwelling use.
2. The use shall be set back a minimum 50 feet from the principal dwelling.
3. In addition to the minimum lot area required for the principal use, the lot shall have
a minimum three (3) acres of pastureland.
4. The keeping or raising of livestock or horses shall be limited to no more than one (1)
head of livestock per acre of pastureland for a maximum of seven (7) livestock or
horses. Lots with a greater intensity of livestock or horses must meet the requirements
of Use A1 Farming/Agriculture.
The production of agricultural, horticultural, arboricultural, viticultural, apicultural and dairy products; the keeping of livestock, poultry, and associated products; the raising of furbearing animals and the associated products; and all related buildings associated with this use (barns, sheds, silos, etc.) including the farmhouse.
1. Any structure used for the keeping or raising of cattle, livestock, horses, bees, furbearing animals or poultry shall be located not less than one hundred (100) feet from any street or property line.
2. Accessory dwelling units shall meet the requirements of Use A8 Accessory Farm Dwelling.
3. Horses may be boarded, bred and cared for on the property. However, a Riding Academy (Use A5) is not included in this use.
4. A Kennel (Use A4) is not included in this use.
5. The keeping or raising of livestock, horses, and poultry shall be limited to parcels having a minimum lot area of three (3) acres. On parcels of three (3) acres or more but less than twenty (20) acres, the keeping or raising of livestock or horses shall be limited to no more than two (2) head of livestock per acre of pastureland. On parcels of three (3) acres or more but less than twenty (20) acres, the keeping or raising of fowl shall be limited to twenty-five (25) fowl per acre of land, regardless of whether the land is held in pasture or not. Agricultural operations with a higher level of animal intensity than this shall not be considered Use A1 and shall be required to meet the standards of Use A3 Intensive Agriculture, including the minimum lot area of twenty (20) acres.
6. This use does not include the making of compost and/or mulch using materials from offsite.
7. This use does not include any separately defined use.
8. No Game or Wildlife (as defined in 34 Pa.C.S. Section 102) or Exotic Wildlife (as defined in 34 Pa.C.S. Section 2961), may be kept except in accordance with the provisions of the Game and Wildlife Code of Pennsylvania 34 Pa.C.S. Section 101, et. Seq. and the regulations adopted pursuant thereto and in addition to the following requirements:
a. All game or wildlife, as defined in 34 Pa.C.S. Section 102, exotic wildlife, as defined in 34 Pa.C.S.§2961, shall be confined in primary and secondary enclosures that are sufficient to prevent such animal from running at large.
b. No part of the primary enclosure shall be closer than two hundred (200) feet from the exterior limits of any dwelling or of any property line.
c. A primary enclosure is defined in this Ordinance as any building, cage, pen or similar enclosure designed and used for the purpose of restraining and confining an animal. All primary enclosures shall be designed and constructed to meet all state and federal laws and regulations.
d. A secondary enclosure is defined in this Ordinance as an enclosure which is not used for primary confinement, exercise, or training of wild animals, but which surrounds or encompasses all primary enclosures where such animals are kept. The purpose of the secondary enclosure is to serve as a perimeter fence surrounding all primary enclosures, in order to protect the public by prevention of escape by an animal accidentally freed from its primary enclosure. The strength of the secondary enclosure shall be appropriate to the animals enclosed. The applicant must submit a plan for secondary enclosure subject to the approval of the Township.
e. All primary and secondary enclosures shall be designed, constructed and maintained so that no foreseeable event or series of events shall break the structural integrity of the primary or secondary enclosures.
f. The applicant must submit an annual inventory report of animals to the Township.
9. Impervious surface ratio shall not exceed ten percent (10%).
10. The retail sales of agricultural products shall be permitted as an Accessory Use in accordance with the provisions governing Use A6 Accessory Agricultural Retail.
11. Accessory Agricultural Businesses shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions governing Use A9 Accessory Farm Business.
12. All facilities shall meet the requirements of the Pennsylvania Nutrient Management Act, as amended.
13. Minimum parking requirement: One (1) space per employee.
Who can answer voting questions?
Please call the Bucks County Board of Elections at 215-348-6154. The Township provides Voter Registration Forms. Absentee Voter Forms can be downloaded from the Bucks County website:http://www.buckscounty.org/docs/boe/absenteeballotapplication.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Your polling place is determined by your registered address. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. There are two polling places in West Rockhill Township:
Forrest Lodge VFW St. John’s Lutheran Church
2118 Old Bethlehem Pike 910 Allentown Road
Sellersville, PA 18960 Sellersville, PA 18960
What are the Regulations for Snowstorms? Snow tips:
Please refrain from parking on Township roadways after the start of continuous snowfall until the streets have been plowed the full width of the road. There is “no parking” in any Township cul-de-sacs. Please park in your driveway until the roadway has been plowed. This will facilitate a more thorough, safe and faster snow removal operation.
Clear the snow from around any fire hydrant near your home. This could save valuable time in a fire emergency. Do not shovel or plow snow into the street as you clear your driveway. The snow from your driveway will end up back on your property or your neighbor’s property after the snow plow passes.
Do not clear the end of your driveway until the storm has stopped and the road is plowed from curb to curb. This will save you additional work and will lower your frustration level.
Be prepared: get all necessary foods, water, medications, etc. Make sure you have enough supplies to last at least two to three days.
Residents are asked to remain patient. Patience and co-operation from residents will help us conduct a more efficient snow removal operation.
During a snow storm, the Public Works Department may first open one lane of traffic in each direction on every town road depending on the amount of snow. This is done in anticipation of any emergencies that may arise. Then we will go back and plow the snow back to the curb exposing the storm drains.
What are the rules for a Home Occupation?
H1 Home Occupation
1. The home occupation shall be accessory to a residence and carried on wholly indoors and within a dwelling or other accessory structure and shall be clearly incidental and subordinate to its use for residential purposes by its occupants.
2. The use shall not include the following: contractor services, animal hospital,commercial stable and kennel, funeral parlor and undertaking establishment, restaurant, rooming, boarding and lodging house, clinic or hospital.
3. No more than one (1) home occupation is allowed per property.
4. There shall be no exterior storage of materials or refuse resulting from the operation of the home occupation.
5. In no way shall the appearance of the residential structure be altered or the occupation within the residence be conducted in a manner which would cause the premises to differ from the residential character by the use of colors, materials,construction, lighting, show windows or advertising visible outside the premises to attract customers or clients, other than those signs permitted in this Ordinance.
6. One (1) sign is permitted per home occupation provided that it is no larger than two (2) square feet per side bearing only the name, occupation, and offices hours of the practitioner. In addition, it shall not be illuminated or placed in a window.
7. No articles shall be sold or offered for sale except such as may be produced on the premises or routinely used as part of the services provided by the home occupation.
8. The home occupation shall be carried on only by owner-inhabitants of the dwelling and not more than two (2) additional employees.
9. The floor area devoted exclusively to home occupations whether within the principle structure or an accessory structure shall not be more than 25% of the ground floor area of the principal residential structure, or 800 square feet, whichever is less.
10. No equipment or process shall be used in such employment or occupation which creates discernible noise, vibration, glare, fumes, odors or electrical interference at the property line and no equipment or process shall be used which creates visual or audible interference in any radio or television receiver off the lot or causes fluctuations in fine voltage off the lot.
11. All commercial vehicles shall be parked on-lot. Off-street parking spaces are not permitted in the front yards. A ten (10) foot driveway providing access to parking areas in the side or rear of the property may be located in the front yard. All offstreet parking areas must be located at least ten (10) feet from any property line. Off-street parking lots with three (3) or more spaces shall be buffered from abutting residences. The buffer shall include either an evergreen hedge on three foot centers or a six (6) foot cedar or spruce fence placed around the perimeter of the parking area. Only one business vehicle may be parked on the property.
12. Minimum parking requirement: One (1) space per employee in addition to residential parking requirement.
What is West Rockhill's PSD Code? 091108
Regulations for an In Law Suite / Family Apartment
H8 Accessory Apartments for Family Member
One apartment accessory to a single family detached dwelling shall be permitted provided the following conditions are met. The intent of these provisions is to allow for related family members to reside on the premises but to prohibit the creation of for-profit apartments in districts where multifamily housing is not otherwise permitted.
1. The accessory apartment may contain separate cooking, sleeping, living and bathroom facilities.
2. The accessory apartment shall be part of the principal residence or may be contained in an existing accessory structure such as a garage. No new separate structures on the same lot with the principal residence shall be permitted to be constructed for this use. The accessory apartment shall not be located in basement areas (area having one-half or more of its floor-to ceiling height below the average level of the adjoining ground) except where at least one wall of the accessory apartment is at grade level with direct access to the outside from the accessory apartment.
3. The accessory apartment shall be occupied only by related family members.
4. There shall be no changes to the exterior of the residence which suggest that the dwelling unit is other than a single family detached dwelling or which otherwise detract from the single family character of the neighborhood.
5. No more than one accessory apartment shall be permitted per single family detached dwelling.
6. Each accessory apartment shall be registered with the township zoning officer who shall keep a record of its use to insure that the intent of this Ordinance is being met.
7. A restriction shall be placed in the deed for the property noting that the accessory apartment may only be used in a manner which complies with this Ordinance and not as a rental apartment unit.
8. The applicant shall provide evidence from the Bucks County Health Department that the septic system or other sewage disposal system will be adequate to safely treat and dispose of additional wastewater generated by the residents of the accessory apartment.
9. Minimum parking requirement: One (1) space in addition to that required for the primary dwelling.
Can I have Backyard chickens?
Ordinance 231 states the following:
Zoning Ordinance Section 1604.A1.1 is hereby amended to read as follows:
1. Except as provided in Section 1604.A.1.5 for residential accessory chicken keeping, any structure used for the keeping or raising of cattle, livestock, horses, bees, non-domestic fur-bearing animals, or poultry shall be located not less than one hundred (100) feet from any street or property line.
Zoning Ordinance Section 1604.A1.5 is hereby amended to read as follows:
5. Keeping or raising of livestock, horses, and poultry.
a. -The keeping or raising of livestock, horses, and poultry as a principal use or for sale of agricultural products shall be limited to parcels having a minimum lot area of three (3) acres. On parcels of three acres or more but less than twenty (20) acres the keeping or raising of livestock or horses shall be limited to no more than two (2) head of livestock per acre of pastureland. On parcels of three acres or more but less than twenty (20) acres the keeping or raising of fowl shall be limited to twenty-five (25) fowl per acre of land, regardless of whether the land is held in pasture or not. Agricultural operations with a higher level of animal intensity than this shall not be considered Use A1 and shall be required to meet the standards of Use A3 Intensive Agriculture, including the minimum lot area of twenty (20) acres.
b. The keeping of chicken on lots one (1) to three (3) acres in size, as a residential accessory use, shall be permitted subject to the following restrictions:
i. This residential accessory use shall be permitted in the RC and RA zoning district only.
ii. This use shall be in the nature of a hobby or for personal food consumption with no commercial component. No chicken products shall be offered for sale, whether on or off the premises.
iii. The maximum number of chickens shall be 10 adult hens per acre. No roosters shall be kept on the property at any time.
iv. Chickens must be contained to an area of the yard dedicated to raising chickens. Each use must include a chicken coops or house, located in the areas of the yard dedicated to this accessory use. Chicken coops or houses, sheds, feed and watering facilities and the portion of the yard dedicated to raising chicken shall be located within chicken wire or palisade or board-on-board fencing. All aspects of the use, including, but not limited to, coops, houses or sheds, chicken wire and fencing, chickens, feed and watering facilities shall be located within the required rear yard and comply with the rear and side setback requirements for principal uses established in the West Rockhill Township Zoning Ordinance.
v. Areas used for raising chicken must be properly maintained to eliminate the possibility that any resulting odor or contamination or waste will affect any other property.
Zoning Ordinance Section 1604.H is hereby amended to add the following residential accessory use, as follows:
H21-Chicken-Keeping as a Residential Accessory Use
Chicken-keeping for non-commercial purposes shall be permitted as a residential accessory use in the RA and RC zoning districts under the terms and conditions set forth at Section 1604.A1.5.b. of this zoning ordinance.
The Table of Uses in the Zoning Ordinance, located between Section 1603 and 1604 shall be amended to add Use H21 which shall be permitted (P) in Zoning Districts RA and RC, and shall be listed as Not Permitted (N) in all other zoning districts.
All ordinance or parts of ordinances which are inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.
If any sentence, clause, section, or part of this Ordinance is for any reason found to be unconstitutional, illegal, or invalid, such unconstitutionality, illegality, or invalidity shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions, sentences, clauses, sections or parts of this Ordinance. It is hereby declared as the intent of the Board of Supervisors of West Rockhill Township, that this Ordinance would have been adopted had such unconstitutional, illegal, or invalid sentence, clause, section, or part thereof not been included therein.
How do I get the traffic counts on SR 563 (Ridge Road)
Noise Issues with valid permit
Anyone with a building permit or land development permit may work between the hours of 7:00 am & 6:00 PM Weekdays, and 9 am and 8 pm weekends / legal holidays. Section 1800.B.2 of the Zoning Ordinance. If you do have a noise complaint please call the Township Manager at 267-354-0065
Does West Rockhill Township require Deed Registration?
No we do not. There is no requirement to register deeds.
All open burning is prohibited in West Rockhill Township. This prohibition to open burning does not apply to charcoal burners and other open-flame cooking devices, or for recreational fires for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes. However, these allowable fires must be extinguished if the Police Department or Code Official finds that they are creating a hazardous or objectionable situation. Burning is also allowed for training of firefighting personnel when done under the supervision of the Fire Chief, provided that atmospheric conditions would not create offensive or objectionable smoke or odor on other premises. Tree branches of not more than two inches in diameter or more than four feet in length and brush may be dropped off the last Friday of the month by the mulch pile located behind the Township’s Municipal Building located at 1028 Ridge Road. The branches should be bundled with string or rope. Do not use wire.
How do I find out who the property owner is in West Rockhill Township.
Bucks County Board of Assessment website lets you search for any property, by address, owners name, or tax parcel number.