Zoning


The Zoning department administers the Zoning Ordinance for the City of Erie [Ordinance Number 80-2005] as authorized under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC). The zoning ordinance divides all land within the City of Erie into districts and creates regulations that apply generally to the municipality as a whole as well as specifically with individual zoning districts. The zoning ordinance serves a dual purpose: to coordinate and guide development and to provide certain standards for development.

Zoning Approvals & Permitting:

The Zoning department is the first stop for obtaining most construction permits in the City of Erie. The permit approval process varies based on project type, scope of work, and location. Once zoning approval is granted, the project is reviewed by our Building Code officials prior to issuing a permit.

Examples of projects that require zoning review and approval include:

    • New building construction
    • Interior/exterior renovations to buildings
    • Decks and porches
    • Parking lots
    • Use changes to any part of a building
    • Additions/expansions to existing buildings
    • Garages, carports and sheds
    • Swimming pools
    • Sign installation or replacement
    • Subdivisions and land development

Regulations:

City of Erie Zoning Ordinance 80-2005 Rev H
City of Erie Zoning Map
Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance

Violations:

The Zoning department investigates possible violations of the zoning regulations set forth in the ordinance. If you believe you have witnessed a violation please contact Jenna Bisel, Zoning Officer, at (814) 870-1265 or jbisel@erie.pa.us

Related Information:


  • The City Planning Commission was established in 1962 and consists of a five member body comprised of City residents. Planning Commission members are appointed by the Mayor and approved by City Council. Appointments are for four (4) year terms.
     
    Powers and Duties
     
    The planning commission acts as an advisor and recommending body to City Council. The MPC authorizes a planning commission to conduct the following activities for the municipality:
     

    1. Prepare a comprehensive plan for the long-term growth, development, and well-being of the municipality to present it for consideration and adoption
    2. Prepare and present a zoning ordinance, and make recommendations on proposed amendments to it
    3. Prepare, recommend, and administer subdivision and land development and planned residential development regulations
    4. Make recommendations concerning the adoption or amendment of an official map
    5. Submit a recommended capital improvements program
    6. Review the zoning ordinance, subdivision and land development ordinance, official map, provisions for planned residential development, and such other ordinances and regulations governing the development of land

     
    Meetings
     
    Planning Commission meetings are scheduled for the third Tuesday of each month of the calendar year. The meetings are held at 1pm and are located in Room 500 of the City of Erie Municipal Building, 626 State Street, Erie PA 16501.
     
    Agendas & Minutes
     
    Planning Commission Agendas
    Planning Commission Minutes
     
    Please contact Jake Welsh, Planning Commission Secretary, at (814) 870-1273 or jwelsh@erie.pa.us for information regarding the process for submitting items for Planning Commission review.


  • The Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) is a quasi-judicial body that hears and renders decisions regarding specific types of land use actions. The ZHB functions like a court, although formal court procedures are not necessarily required. The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) provides a specific set of rules that must be followed by the ZHB (ZHB Procedures).
     
    The Zoning Hearing Board of the City of Erie consists of a five member body comprised of City residents. Board members are appointed by City Council. Appointments are for five (5) year terms.
     
    Powers and Duties
     
    The Zoning Hearing Board is authorized to conduct hearings and render decisions in specific areas of review including:
     

    • Applications for a variance (from a specific zoning ordinance requirement)
    • Applications for a use by special exception
    • Appeal from a Zoning Officer’s determination
    • Substantive challenges to the validity of any land use ordinance

     
    Meetings
     
    Zoning Hearing Board meetings are scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month of the calendar year. The meetings are held at 1pm and are located in the Council Chambers of the City of Erie Municipal Building, 626 State Street, Erie PA 16501.
     
    Agendas & Minutes
     
    Zoning Hearing Board Agendas
    Zoning Hearing Board Minutes
     
    Please contact Jenna Bisel, ZHB Secretary, at (814) 870-1265 or jbisel@erie.pa.us for information regarding the process for submitting applications to the ZHB.

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

  • The zoning office is open to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays. We recommend that if someone is coming in to file an application that they come in no later than 3:00 p.m. The front counter and cashier for Code Enforcement closes at 4:00.
  • All building permits require zoning approval, including those for interior renovations. However, only some will require a plot plan (change of use, new parking, additions, etc.). Contact the Zoning Officer to find out more.
  • Yes. All of our files are public information. Once an application has been filed, it’s public record.
  • Contact Building Inspection at 870-1471.
  • Not necessarily. The district allows a two-family dwelling but certain code requirements must be met, including side yard setbacks, lot area, and parking requirements. You should speak to one of the zoning specialists
  • You will need to speak to the Zoning Officer. Make sure your intention is to change the zoning of a property rather than simply wanting to change the use of the property. For complete sequence of the procedure, see Rezoning Procedures.
  • Zoning certificates shall be obtained at the request of the property owner, at the time of a change of a nonconforming use to another nonconforming use, at the time of a creation of a nonconforming use, or when changing a nonconforming use to a conforming use.
  • There isn’t anything that can be done by the City. You should contact a private surveyor, and afterwards a District Justice or an Attorney.
  • Fence Details are shown at this link. Maximum height is 6’6” in a Residential District and 8’6” in a Non-Residential District. Any enclosure may be placed up to, but Not Exceed the property line. You may also refer to the Zoning Ordinance, Article 2 section 204.19.
  • We refer to this as a home occupation. A home occupation is defined as ‘ A commercial or commercial activity administered or conducted as an accessory use which is clearly secondary to the use as a residential dwelling and which involves no customer, client or patient traffic, whether vehicular or pedestrian, pickup, deliver or removal functions to or from the premises, in excess of those normally associated with residential use.

    The commercial or commercial activity must satisfy the following requirements:

    (a) the commercial activity shall be compatible with the residential use of the property and surrounding residential uses
    (b) the commercial shall have no employees
    (c) there shall be no display or sale of retail goods and no stockpiling or inventory of a substantial nature
    (d) there shall be no outside appearance of a commercial use, including, but not limited to, parking, signs, or lights
    (e) The commercial activity may not use any equipment or process which creates noise, vibration, glare, fumes, odors, or electrical or electronic interference,
    (f) The commercial activity shall be conducted only within the dwelling and may not occupy more than 25% of the habitable floor area
    (g) The business may not involve any illegal activity.

    Who do I contact about a subdivision of a property?
    You will need to speak to Jenna Bisel at (814) 870-1265.

  • You, as the property owner, must prepare a “composite deed” which contains a revised metes and bounds description of the consolidated parcel. The deed must be recorded at the Erie County Recorder of Deeds office. For more information, you can visit the County website at www.eriecountygov.org or call the Recorder of Deeds office at (814) 451-6246
  • The Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Maps are available in print at the Department of Code Enforcement, (Erie City Hall, 626 State Street Room 407 in Downtown Erie) for $15 each. There are also downloadable links available on this website.

    Zoning Ordinance
    Zoning Map

    Please contact the Zoning Office at (814) 870-1265 with any questions concerning the zoning code. Also, be sure to visit the Zoning Office Fee Schedule.

  • Prior to the issuance of a new zoning certificate, the following must be completed
    Reduction in the Number of Units (per unit to be removed)
    1. Removal of all kitchen appliances
    2. Removal of the kitchen sink. Water supply and waste lines must be capped by a licensed plumber
    3. All utility meters must equal the number of dwelling units being requested
    4. Smoke Alarms must be installed and maintained at all of the following locations:
      1. On the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms
      2. In each room used for sleeping purposes
      3. In each story of the dwelling unit, including basements and cellars but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics
    5. All floors must be fully integrated on the interior of the structure

    Conversion of a Rooming House to a single or multiple family dwelling

    1. Each unit proposed must have it’s own bathroom, kitchen and a minimum of 120 square foot living area
    2. Only passage locks will be allowed on bedroom doors
    3. Each dwelling unit must have separate utilities
    4. A house meter for common areas must be installed.
    5. With the exception of an entrance vestibule, no common entrances or areas shall be shared between dwelling units.
    6. Smoke Alarms must be installed and maintained at all of the following locations:
      1. On the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms
      2. In each room used for sleeping purposes
      3. In each story of the dwelling unit, including basements and cellars but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics

  • You should contact Jenna Bisel, Zoning Officer, at (814) 870-1265.
  • If you think that you have witnessed a violation, you may contact Jenna Bisel, Field Zoning Officer at 814-870-1265

    When it appears that a violation has occurred, the Zoning Officer shall send an enforcement notice to the property owner stating the following:

    • Name & Location of property in violation
    • The specific violation with a description of the requirements which have not been met
    • The date before which the steps for compliance must be commenced and completed
    • That the recipient of the notice has the right to appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board

  • Contact the Engineering Department at (814) 870-1371.
  • Contact the Traffic Division of the Department of Engineering at (814) 870-1396.

      );
      Translate »