Converting open land to a new use is something that should be the subject of careful study by the landowner, by the municipality in which the subdivision or land development is to be located, and by the County. Once "brick and mortar" replaces open fields and woodlands, it becomes a permanent part of the community and County landscape. It cannot easily be reshaped except through the costly process of community renewal. The primary purpose of the Venango County Subdivision & Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) is to encourage the best possible development of the total County Community. The SALDO applies to all municipalities in the County. The following municipalities have additional Planning or Zoning Boards requiring consultation:
Although Venango County does not have a county-wide zoning ordinance, there are municipalities within the county which have adopted zoning ordinances. We recognize the need to consolidate this information for the purposes of making informed development and regulatory decisions. The challenge with presenting this information is that each municipality has adopted varying language for each zone with further variating descriptions. The Municipal Zoning Summary (PDF) is an attempt to generalize our understanding of zoning, by standardizing and grouping similar zones together and presenting them as such. We hope that this summary will provide a general overview of the status of zoning within the county; however, please note that it is not a concluding review. Municipalities hold the authority to enforce and regulate their zoning, and therefore, would have the final determination on such matters. This Municipal Zoning Summary (PDF) was created by the Venango County Regional Planning Commission.
Disclaimer: This map is for general reference only. There is no guarantee of accuracy for this information and it may not incorporate all changes to a municipality's zoning from the time of enactment. Do not use this map for making decisions of consequence.Please contact the municipality directly for final determinations of zoning districts, allowed uses, and other zoning information.
A subdivision is the process of redefining the boundaries of a lot, which could either involve the creation of two or more lots from an existing lot or the transfer of a part of one lot to become part of another lot. The latter action is commonly referred to as a Part & Parcel. A minor subdivision is a subdivision containing ten (10) or fewer lots or dwelling units, or a development on a single lot involving fewer than two (2) buildings that is served by an existing public street and has a combined building and paved parking area of 20,000 square feet or less. A minor subdivision application must be submitted to and approved by the Venango County Regional Planning Commission (VCRPC) before the sale of lots, issuance of building permits, and/or construction and occupancy of proposed buildings.
One main purpose of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) is to ensure that subdivided lots are suited to the use for which they are proposed. In general, this purpose includes supporting the development of buildable lots, but it can also include lots specifically dedicated to agriculture, silviculture, recreation, or open space. Buildable lots have specific dimensions which support the construction of buildings and the installation of water and sewer systems, whether connection to a public system is available or it is feasible to install a well and septic system on site. In Venango County, it is assumed that water is accessible simply by drilling a well.
In lots that have an approved location for a new septic system, a copy of the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) approval letter of that sewage system must be submitted to the Planning Commission before a subdivision plan can be approved. Lots without an approved septic location or access to public sewer will require a non-building waiver before a subdivision plan can be approved. In order to apply for a non-building waiver, the applicant must obtain and sign a form maintained by DEP called a “Request for Planning Waiver & Non-Building Declaration.” This form will also need to be signed by the municipality, the planning commission staff, and the municipal Sewage Enforcement Officer (SEO). This form documents the location of the proposed waiver and serves as a disclosure that the owner will include the required language in the Deed or other transfer documents that are filed. If someone wants to build on this lot in the future, that owner must file a new deed after obtaining proof of septic approval.
How to request a minor subdivision:
1. Discuss the lot plan with our office and obtain application materials.
2. Request a survey from a professional licensed land surveyor.
3. Submit a draft survey copy to our office for pre-application review.
4. Notarize six (6) copies of the plan set with the planning commission title block, verifying that you understand the proposal to be compliant with the SALDO. A copy of the approved plan and approval letter will be submitted to the following parties:
1) Filed in the Planning department records,
2) Filed with the Assessment office,
3) Filed with the Register and Recorder office,
4) Mailed to the municipality,
5) Mailed to the Sewage Enforcement Officer (SEO), and
6) Returned to the applicant via mail.
5. Submit completed application, all notarized copies of the plan set, and supply a $30 check or money order made out to the Venango County Register and Recorder. A Non-Building Waiver may also be required if the lot has not been evaluated by DEP for septic suitability, and the plans must specify the lot as such.
Note: Planning Commission staff are granted up to 90 days to review the final plan. The application will be approved by staff under the following conditions:
- No lot shall be created or sold which is smaller than the minimum lot size, as defined in the SALDO.
- Drainage easements or rights-of-way shall not be changed.
- The proposed lots shall front on an existing public or municipally recognized private street and shall provide vehicular access that does not interfere with normal movement of traffic.
- Street alignments shall not be changed.
- All applicable SALDO provisions can be fully met, including lot dimensions and minimum setbacks.
If any modifications are needed or variances requested, they will require board approval at the monthly VCRPC meeting, which must be initiated at least one week before the upcoming meeting. Otherwise, the approved subdivision will be recorded by staff within ninety (90) days of the approval date on the plan.
6. Record a written deed and file with the Venango County Register and Recorder.