Building, Zoning & Code Enforcement
The ordinances contained in the Township Code strive to promote and improve the quality of life for all residents by protecting the health, safety, welfare of residents and safeguarding natural and cultural resources.
Forms & Applications
Building permits are required to construct, enlarge, alter, or demolish a structure or change the occupancy of a building or structure that requires greater strength, exit-way, or sanitary provisions. Permits are also required to change to another use or install or alter any equipment that is regulated by the Statewide Building Code (UCC) adopted by the Township. View a list of activities that require permits (PDF). Visit the Documents and Forms page for permit application forms.
Moving Soil on Your Property
If you want to rework the soil on your property (e.g. rent a small Bobcat or similar machine to push the dirt to achieve a fresh look or in preparation for a bigger project), almost all of these projects require an Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control (aka earth moving) Permit from the Township. The only time a permit is not required is if all of the following are true:
- The project area that will be disturbed (vegetation removed down to the dirt) is less than 5,000 square feet.
- The alteration to the ground surface is less than 6 inches in depth (which includes excavations for proposed structures or additions).
- The total volume of dirt being disturbed is less than 100 cubic yards.
Before starting any earthmoving projects please contact the Township Engineer, Mark Lucas, or schedule a free consultation to identify potential permitting issues with Melissa Needles. The Stormwater Management Page provides more information and permit forms are available on the Documents and Forms page.
811 Call Before You Dig
Whether digging to plant a tree, build a fence, or lay a foundation, any contact with underground power lines can injure or kill. Contact PA One Call by calling 811 or via Pennsylvania One Call System three business days before digging. They will coordinate with local utilities to locate and mark gas, electric, and telephone lines.
Solicitation permits are required for anyone soliciting door to door in the Township. If a solicitor comes to your door, request to see the Township Solicitor's Permit issued to them with their photo attached. Some non-profit organizations are not required to have a permit but still must register with the Township. If you have a concern about a solicitor, please do not hesitate to contact the West Chester Police Department at 610-696-2700 or 610-431-1212. are available on our Documents and Forms page.
- Can you make my neighbor cut their grass?
Every summer, the Township receives a number of calls about the height of grass in developed communities. There are two sections of the Code that deal with tall vegetation. One provision is in the Nuisance Ordinance. This regulation prohibits the growth of noxious and invasive vegetation above 12 inches. The other provision is in the Zoning Ordinance. This regulation applies to residential properties (mainly those that are three acres or less) and requires that lawn areas be controlled to a maximum height of 12 inches during the growing season (with a few exceptions). On the occasion that the Township determines that there is a violation, we must proceed through an established enforcement process. Therefore, it can take several weeks – even months – to resolve a violation of this nature. To report a complaint, email email@example.com.
- Are there regulations governing bamboo?
Under current Township ordinances, bamboo is not prohibited from being planted, but we want to advise residents that once planted, it is very difficult to contain and/or remove. The Township does not regulate bamboo encroachment from one property to another. That said, if bamboo (or any vegetation) creates a hazard on a roadway, the Township can require property owners to prevent it from interfering with the road.
- How many chickens can I have?
The Zoning Ordinance allows chickens on properties that are at least one acre in size with a limit of six chickens per acre and a maximum of 30 chickens allowed. To review the additional requirements for keeping chickens on your property, please visit Section 115-75 of the Township Code (“Keeping of Animals”).
- Can I burn on my property?
While burning for the purpose of getting rid of brush and yard debris is not permitted, a few burning activities are allowed. Open burning regulations are contained in Chapter 76 of the Township Code and the application form is available on the Documents and Forms webpage. Questions should be directed to the Township Fire Marshal, Rich Hicks.