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Zoning Ordinance of Sadsbury Township

Classes of Districts

Zoning Terminology

2001 Sadsbury Township Zoning Map with Proposed Changes (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)


Township government puts policies, called ordinances, in place that apply to different parcels or areas of land. The purpose of these ordinances is to protect residents from inappropriate development (e.g., retail in the middle of a residential community, hazardous uses. etc.) All types of development are addressed, including rural residential (RR), high density residential (R2), commercial (C1 and C2) and industrial (I1). Sadsbury Township's ordinances were approved in November 2001 after 3 years of consulting with the Chester County Planning Commission.

Zoning Ordinance of Sadsbury Township

The Zoning Ordinance of Sadsbury Township, adopted on October 31, 2001, was enacted in accordance with an overall program that seeks to preserve the character of the Township in terms of its suitability for particular uses and structures, and is designed and enacted:

        To promote, protect, and facilitate one or more of the following:

-     The public health, safety, morals, and general welfare;

-     Coordinated and practical community development;

-     Proper density of population;

-     Emergency management preparedness and operations, airports, and national defense facilities;

-     The provisions of adequate light and air, police protection, vehicle parking, and loading space;

-     Transportation, water, sewerage, schools, recreational facilities, and public grounds;

-     The provision of a safe, reliable, and adequate water supply for domestic, commercial, agricultural or industrial use and other public requirements; and

-     Preservation of natural resources (forests, wetlands, aquifers, floodplains) scenic and historic values in the environment.


        To prevent the following:


-     Overcrowding of the land, blight, danger, and congestion in travel and transportation;

-     Loss of health, life, or property from fire, flood, panic or other dangers.


       To conserve prime agriculture and farmland considering the topography, soil type and classification, and present use.

       To provide for the use of land within the Township for residential housing of various dwelling types encompassing all basic forms of housing, including single-family and two-family dwellings, and a reasonable range of multi family dwellings in various arrangements, mobile home parks, provided, however, that this Zoning Ordinance shall not be deemed invalid by a court of law with competent jurisdiction for failure to provide for any other specific housing type heretofore not mentioned.

       To accommodate reasonable overall community growth, including population and employment growth, and opportunities for development of a variety of residential dwelling types and non-residential uses.

Classes of Districts

R-R (Rural Residential) - permits single family detached dwellings; minimum lot size of 2 acres.

R-1 (Medium Density Residential) - permits single family detached dwellings; minimum lot size of 1/2 acre - 1 acre; allows for cluster development with an open space requirement of at least 45% of the gross site area.

R-2 (High Density Residential) - permits single family detached, two-family detached (duplex), single-family semi-detached (twins), single-family attached (townhouse), and multi-family dwellings Some types of dwellings require conditional use approval from Township Supervisors.

The 2001 Zoning Ordinance specified maximum gross density of six (6) units per acre; in December 2003, the Township Supervisors increased the gross density to ten (10) units per acre in order to accommodate the wishes of local developers.

SV (Sadsburyville Village District) - permits small scale residential and commercial uses that preserve the historic character of the Village of Sadsburyville.

C-1 (Limited Commercial) - permits limited commercial, retail, and office uses to serve the needs of the local residents. This includes restaurants; professional, administrative, or medical offices; automobile service stations; banks and financial institutions; and other commercial uses.

C-2 (General Commercial) - provides for commercial uses to server the general region. This includes most C-1 uses, plus wholesale sales, storage, and distribution; movie theatres; convenience stores; township municipal uses; and other commercial uses.

L-1 (Light Industrial) - permits industrial development that is in keeping with the rural character of the Township and is located in areas where adequate infrastructure is available. This includes research, engineering, or testing laboratories; production, manufacturing, processing, cleaning, testing, repair, storage, and distribution of associated materials, goods, foodstuffs and products; office or industrial park; self-storage facilities (mini-warehouses); and other light industrial uses.

Zoning Terminology

By Right Use:  land uses that are automatically allowed within existing zoning (example: R2 or high density zoning allows only single family detached dwellings, agricultural uses, public parks, municipal uses and minor home occupations by- right). Uses such as multi-family dwellings like townhouses, apartments, or condos would only be permissible as a "conditional use".

Cluster Development - an arrangement of residential structures that allows for grouping the structures by reducing lot area and yard requirements and incorporating the remaining areas as open space.

Conditional Use: land uses not considered allowable "by-right" require special consideration.  When someone wishes to develop land in a manner that is not automatically allowed, they must petition the supervisors for conditional use approval. A public conditional use hearing is scheduled.  The supervisors are not required to grant the conditional use and can deny the request if the use is considered inappropriate due to density, traffic issues, etc. or if the use is considered inappropriate in size, scope, extent or character, or is considered inconsistent with the plan for future land use within the township.

Conservation Subdivision Design: a planning technique which devotes half or more of the buildable land area within a residential development as undivided permanent open space. These developments seek to create an interconnected network of open space spanning the entire municipality.

Conservation Zoning:  an arrangement of residential structures that allows for grouping the structures by reducing lot area and incorporating the remaining areas as open space. This approach is similar to clustering, but conservation zoning establishes higher standards for both the quantity and quality of open space that is to be preserved. Cluster developments set aside 20-50% of the gross property for open space, often including all of the most unusable land, in addition to undesirable, left-over areas such as storm water management facilities and land under high-tension power lines. Conservation zoning typically requires that at least 50% percent of buildable land be set aside as undivided open space.

Conventional Development - individual residential lots that encompass the entire development tract or area without retaining common open space associated with Cluster Development.

Dwelling Unit: a room or rooms within a building connected together, constituting a separate, independent housekeeping establishment for one (1) family only and containing independent cooking and sleeping facilities.  A single living space for one (1) family, excluding individual rental units in a motel, rooming house, tourist home, institutional home, dormitory, and the like.

Dwelling Types:

SINGLE-FAMILY DETACHED - a building designated for and occupied as a residence, containing one (1) dwelling unit and having no common or party wall with an adjacent dwelling.  A mobile home affixed to a permanent foundation shall be considered a "single-family detached dwelling."

TWO-FAMILY DETACHED (DUPLEX) - a building designed for and occupied as a residence, containing two (2) dwelling units that share a common floor/ceiling but have no common or party wall with an adjacent dwelling and having yards on all sides.

SINGLE-FAMILY SEMI-DETACHED (TWIN) - a building designed for and occupied as a residence, containing one (1) dwelling unit and having a common or party wall with another building and having yards on all but one (1) side.

SINGLE-FAMILY ATTACHED (TOWNHOUSE) - a building designed for and occupied as a residence, containing one (1) dwelling unit and having two (2)  or more common or party walls with other buildings.

MULTI-FAMILY - a building designed for and occupied as a residence, containing three (3) or more dwelling units.  Multi-family dwellings include apartment buildings, condominiums, and townhomes.

Easement - an interest in land owned by another that entitles the holder of the easement to a specific use or enjoyment of that land.

Mini-Warehouse - storage units provided for lease to the public for the purpose of storage of personal property generally stored in residential structures and in which each storage unit has direct access from the outside.


Overlay Zoning - the recent change to the properties West on Business 30 and North on Route 10 was approved as an "overlay district", which means that the underlying zoning of Rural Residential (2 acre housing) is still in effect. However, the new uses allowing higher density housing (2/3 to 3/4 acre lots), fronted by commercial , will now be permissible by "conditional use".  Uses other than 2 acre housing were not permissible under an conditions before the overlay zoning was put in place.


Open Space - a parcel or parcels of land or an area of water, or a combination of land and water, within a development site, designed and intended for the use and enjoyment by residents of such development and possibly the general public.  Common open space shall be substantially free of structures, but may contain such improvements as are in the finally approved development plan, and shall not include individually owned private yards, streets, and off-street parking areas unless provided in conjunction with a recreational facility.


Variance - the permission granted by the zoning hearing board, following a public hearing that has been properly advertised as required by the appropriate municipal code, for an adjustment of some regulation which, if strictly adhered to, would result in an unnecessary hardship, and where the permission granted would not be contrary to the public interest and would maintain the spirit and original intent of the chapter.

Zoning Ordinances - ordinances that regulate, by district, the uses of land and buildings for trade, industry, residence, and other purposes. The purpose of zoning is to protect the public's health, safety, morals, and general welfare. State and local governments, by making zoning ordinances, limit the size, height, density, and types of buildings that can be erected; regulate areas of open spaces, yards, and courts; and regulate and restrict the location of trade, industries, and buildings.


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Last modified: 12/01/07