Does My Project Require a Permit?

If your project involves new construction, demolition, an addition or alterations, then the answer is yes.   Permits are also required for many accessory structures for your home or business, such as detached garages and other additions, fences, decks, patios, pergolas, sheds, swimming pools, playground equipment, and more.  Some improvement projects such as painting a room, replacing kitchen cabinets or installing new flooring do not require a permit.

Permits (and sometimes plans) are required to ensure that your repairs, additions, and alterations are done according to state and township codes and regulations.   Additional supplemental permit information may also be required if your project is in a historic district, a floodplain/floodway, or contains more than 1,000 square feet of new impervious surface.  Below is a list of some of the more common projects that occur and what permits are required. This list does not cover all activities that require permits.

Please keep in mind, this information is intended as a guide only. Additional plans and permits may be required prior to the issuance of a Building Permit and/or Zoning Permit. For more information, contact the Community Development Office before starting any work at your home or business.

Does My Project Require a Stormwater Plan?

Any development creating 5,000 square feet or more of impervious surface requires a full stormwater management report and in-depth review.

Within Chapter 214, Stormwater Maintenance Ordinance, projects that create more than 1,000 but less than 5,000 square feet of impervious surface requires stormwater management review.

For projects of this size, we’ve created a supplemental packet, “Simplified Approach,” which affords residents an opportunity to come up with an acceptable level of stormwater management control without having to hire an engineer.

The intent is that residents can work through the spreadsheet and design a stormwater management area on their property while saving time and money. The Stormwater Mapping Tool is now provided (see the link below) to assist applicants while filling out the Simplified Approach document.

We recommend looking at the user manual prior to launching a map. The manual is easy to follow and will assist in creating a map that suits the individual purpose.

Projects You May Need Permits For

Basement Alterations

A building permit is required. Discuss project with the Building Code Official. 

Buildings and Building Additions

All new buildings and building additions require a Building Permit and Zoning Permit.  Buildings and additions that are in a historic district, floodplain or floodway, or create more than 1,000 square feet of new impervious surface area require supplemental permits.

For commercial and institutional buildings, emergency radio communication compliance will be necessary.  Visit our 800 MHz page for additional information.

Burn Permits

Burn permit applications are available at the Township office and on the Permits page of this website. Applications require a minimum of 72 hour notice to allow adequate time for processing by the Fire Marshal. Permits can be valid for up to one week. Please consider this timeline before you make any plans that might require a permit.

  • Burning is not permitted on Sundays and federal holidays.
  • Residential and recreational fire pits and fireplaces do not require a burn permit.
  • All residents must abide by any burn ban notice. For information on the Fire Danger Rating System, click here.
  • All burning must comply with Township regulations. To find out more about burn requirements, go to Chapter 26.

Change In Property Use

A Certificate of Zoning Use & Occupancy Permit is required when the use of a property changes (i.e. home occupation or change of existing business).  If alterations will be made to the interior to exterior of the building, then a Building permit is also required.

Decks And Patios

A Zoning Permit is required for a new or expansion of a concrete slab, patio, or sidewalk. Replacement of a deck (keeping the existing size) requires a Building Permit. Expansion of a deck or construction of a new deck (whether attached to the main structure or ten feet away) requires a Building Permit and Zoning Permit.  Additions that are in a historic district, floodplain or floodway, or create more than 1,000 square feet of new impervious surface area require supplemental permits.

Demolition

Demolition of buildings and/or accessory structures require a building permit.

Doors

No permit is needed when installing and/or replacing a door, garage door, or storm door in the same opening.

If installing and/or replacing a door where the dimensions or framing will be altered, then a Building permit is required.

Driveways

A Zoning Permit is required for installation of a new driveway or expansion of an existing driveway.

Electrical

Any electrical work, including upgrades, requires a Building permit, as well as, a third party inspection as detailed at the bottom of this page.

 

Excavation And Fill

Excavation and fill permits are required for any grading changes or building improvements are made that require two cubic yards of earth or material to be moved.

Fences

All fences over two feet in height require a Zoning Permit. All fences over six feet in height require a Building Permit and Zoning Permit. In residential zoning districts, fences may be no more than 38 inches high in the front yard and 74 inches high in all other yards. If the property is a corner lot, it is considered as having two front yards. Fences cannot encroach into any easements and public or private rights-of-way. 

Heating / Cooling

When switching from one utility (source of energy) to another a Building permit is required.

When replacing an existing unit only, with a same sized/type of appliance, then no permit is needed.

Landscaping

No permit is required. Landscaped areas should not block any swales, easements, or public rights-of-way on the property.

Operational Permits

Operational permits are required for sale of fireworks, installation of temporary or permanent tents or other enclosed gathering areas, and other improvements which require compliance with the International Fire Code and any Township regulations.

Roofs

No permits are necessary unless structural improvements are required for residential structures. All non-residential roof repairs and replacements require a building permit.

Roof mounted structures, such as solar panels, require a building permit.

Sheds And Accessory Structures

Installation or construction of a shed or accessory structure that is less than 400 square feet requires a Zoning Permit. A Building Permit and a Zoning Permit are required for sheds and accessory structures that are larger than 400 square feet.  Sheds and accessory structures that are in a historic district, floodplain or floodway, or create more than 1,000 square feet of new impervious surface area require supplemental permits.

Solar Panels

Installation of solar panels on the roof of a building requires a Building Permit, while panels that are installed in the yard or other area not on a roof require both Building and Zoning Permits

Street Opening

A Street Opening Permit is required for all openings within a public right-of-way.  This includes openings along the grass or shoulder area that are outside of any paved surfaces but within the public right-of-way.

A street opening is not permitted on any road that has been improved within the last five years, unless approval is received by the Board of Commissioners.  To find out when a segment of roadway was improved, go to the Township’s Community Map at the bottom of the page, or call the Township for more information.

Swimming Pools

A Building Permit and Zoning Permit are required for any pool, hot tub, or spa that is capable of holding 24 or more inches of water. Only pools capable of holding less than 24 inches of water are exempt from the permitting process. All swimming pools (including inflatable pools) with a water depth of greater than 24 inches must be completely surrounded by a fence or barrier that is a minimum height of four feet.

All gates shall have a self-closing locking device (gate must swing away from pool area). Any pool that has a self-contained fence/wall four feet high or greater with an accessible retractable ladder or steps is exempt from this requirement.

Additional Information for All Permits

  • Instructions for permits are included with each application.
  • Permit Applications can be turned in to Community Development during normal business hours.
  • Permit Applications will be reviewed by staff for completeness.
  • Supplemental applications for floodplain and stormwater management may be necessary, depending on the project.
  • No structure may be placed in a right-of-way, easement, swale, or planting strip unless specifically permitted.
  • Once approved, permits can be picked up at the Community Development office during normal business hours.
  • Payment is due at the time of pick-up.  A permit is not considered to be valid and issued until it is picked up and paid in full.
  • Payment must be in the form of cash, check or credit card. Most credit cards are accepted with a minimum of $15 and a maximum of $1,000.

Third Party Electrical Inspection Service

As of August 1, 2013, Upper Allen Township will now allow property owners to use any approved Third Party Electrical Inspection Agency that is certified by the UCC to perform the required electrical plan review and inspection service.  The approved agency must carry the State mandated Workman’s Compensation insurance and mandatory Errors and Omissions insurance.  For a listing of approved Third Party Electrical Inspection Agencies the Township has on file at this time, go to our Forms page by clicking here: Forms

  • As part of the permitting process, electrical plan review approval must be obtained from the Third Party Electrical Inspection Agency before a building permit is issued.
  • Two sets of approved, stamped and signed electrical drawings must accompany the permit application to the Township.

Special Note: The applicant is responsible for submitting electrical drawings to third-party agencies for plan review and contract for scheduled inspection service.

*All costs associated with this service shall be paid directly to the third party agency. The Township will not collect nor accept any fees for this service.

Additional Community Services

Township Regulations

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Emergency Alerts & News

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Xpress Bill Pay

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Community Map

Upper Allen Township community map