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Zoning/Codes Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a permit for a deck or patio?
Yes, All Decks and patios require a zoning permit.  Decks 30 inches above grade level require a building permit in addition to a zoning permit.
Do I need a permit to cut or trim my tree?
Yes, if the tree is a street tree.  All trees planted in, or whose branches or limbs extend into the right-of-way anywhere in the borough require a permit.  If the tree is removed due to damage or disease, the tree must be replaced with a tree from our approved list.  *Any tree on private property and not within the right-of-way does not need a permit to be trimmed or cut down*
Do I need a permit to build a shed?
Yes, accessory structures such as sheds require a zoning permit.  Sheds must be placed on a base of stone, on pavers, or concrete pad.  All sheds must be secured to the base as to not allow wind or water to move the shed.
Do I need a roof permit?
Yes, roof permits are required for any roof being replaced.  Any roofing work that is less than 25% of the roof area requires a local roof permit.
Do I need a permit for a “kiddie pool”?
Swimming pools less than 24 inches high do not require a permit, but must be emptied when not in use.  All pools over 24 inches require a zoning permit.  Please note that all pools over 24 inches must be protected by a perimeter fence.
Do I need a permit to install a fence?
Yes, fences do require a zoning permit and there are regulations that apply.  A fence may be up to 6 feet high if located in the side and rear yards.  Fences located in front yards shall not be taller than 3 feet.  Fences may be placed directly on the property line, unless there is an associated street or alley way.  In which case, the fence would need to be set back 5 feet.
Does the Borough have regulations controlling weeds and grasses?
Yes, weeds and grasses must be less than 8 inches tall.  The Borough Code Enforcement Officer enforces the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code which regulates this code section.  Any property with weeds or grass in excess of 8 inches would get a notice in the mail to correct such violations, or face fines.
Do I need a permit for a Dumpster or Storage Container (POD)?
Yes, all dumpsters and portable storage containers (PODS) require a permit.  Dumpsters or PODS must be placed on the property and cannot be placed in the street without approval from the Code Enforcement Officer.  PODS may not be stored on any one property for longer than 5 days.
What are the setbacks for an Accessory Structure?
An accessory structure must be set back 3 feet from side and rear property lines unless associated with a street or alley way in which case the set back is increased to 5 feet.
Are Chimineas legal in Hellertown?
Yes, the Borough of Hellertown has an ordinance that allows the use of chimineas and other factory built novelty stoves.  If however, the smoke and ash become a nuisance to neighbors, then all burning must cease.
Do I need a permit to replace old doors and windows?
No, as long as the original door and window opening stays the same, no permit is required.  If however, any structural alterations are needed to fit a bigger or smaller window or door, a building permit is required.
Does the Borough issue Certificate of Occupancy Permits?
Yes, occupancy permits are issued for all newly constructed commercial or residential properties and also when existing structures have a change in use.
What are the requirements of a site plan?
A site plan must accompany all zoning permit applications.  The plan must show all dimensions of property lots and include dimensions of proposed work and how the work relates to the property lines.  This is to ensure proper set backs are met.
When is an Earth Disturbance/Grading Permit required?
In general, any area greater than 1,000 square feet in size that is stripped of vegetation or ground cover requires a grading permit.  This includes cutting or filling dirt, modifying or affecting overland storm water flow, and installation of a dam, ditch culvert, drainpipe, bridge, etc.  Also, any excavation that disturbs storm water runoff onto adjacent properties will also require a grading permit.
How do I start a Home Occupation?
There are a few steps to start a home occupation.  First, we need to see if a home occupation is an allowable use in your district.  If it is in fact allowed, you then need to apply for a business registration and a certificate of occupancy.  Once all reviews and inspections are done, you will be issued both permits and be able to operate your business.
Are apartments allowed in the R1 & R2 Districts?
No.  Borough ordinances do not allow conversion of a residential home in to an apartment within the R1 & R2 zoning districts.  Preexisting apartments within these districts are “grandfathered”.  Changing from a owner occupied to a rental is allowable as long as a Residential Rental License is obtained.
When are moving permits required?
A moving permit is required whenever you move into, out and within the Borough.  Please go to the “Forms” page(Click Here) to review the current fee schedule and obtain a moving permit application.
Can I rent out my house?
Yes, as long as you acquire a Residential Rental License.  If this is a new rental property a rental inspection would be required prior to making the property available for rent.  Please note, converting a single family dwelling into a multi family dwelling is not allowed in certain districts.  For more information on rental properties call the Zoning/Codes office.
What is a sidewalk inspection?
A sidewalk inspection is a thorough inspection of the curb and sidewalk on properties within the Borough that are up for sale or undergoing a site plan review.  Ordinance 683 outlines the specific requirements for sidewalk inspections.  One of the requirements is that all properties up for sale need to schedule a sidewalk inspection and make any repairs to failed sidewalks and curbs before any deed transfer.   *All responsibility of the sidewalk inspection and incurred costs is the responsibility of the property owner/seller, not the buyer*
Please go to the “Forms” page (Click Here) to review the current fee schedule and obtain a sidewalk inspection application.
If I pull a permit, is a follow up inspection required?
Yes, most permits do require both rough and final inspections.  Permits which require inspections will have a contact number directly on the permit.  Please pay careful attention to the front of the permit when you pick it up from Borough Hall.

FAQ- Public Works

If you find a dead deer on the roadway/side of the road?
Call the Game Commission at 610-926-3136
What can I do with tree trimmings from my property?
Tree trimming and yard waste (exclusive of grass clippings) may be taken to the Saucon Valley Compost Center located at 2011 Springtown Hill Rd.
Please (Click Here) to go to the Saucon Valley Compost Center  Webpage to view the current hours of operation.
Does the Borough pick up leaves?
Yes- leaf collection usually starts in October and runs through December with announcements in the Valley Voice, Express Times and our web site.  The Current Schedule can also be found by Clicking Here
Does the Borough sweep my street?
Yes –the Borough Public Works department will sweep streets throughout the year and as time permits.
There is a loose dog running around the neighborhood, who can I call?
Please call Northampton County dispatch at 610-759-2200
My mailbox was damaged during snow plowing, who is responsible?
Please contact the Borough office during Business Hours 610-838-7041
How can I dispose of my Christmas tree?
Christmas Trees may be disposed of at the Saucon Valley Compost Center.
Please (Click Here) to go to the Saucon Valley Compost Center  Webpage to view the current hours of operation.
I would like to report a street light out, who do I call?
Call PPL at 1-800-342-5775 include the pole number
I would like to report a pothole or other necessary street repair, who do I call?
Please contact Borough Hall at 610-838-7041
If street signs need replacement / have fallen down?
Please contact Borough Hall 610-838-7041
Who is responsible for maintenance of Borough roads?
There are approximately 20.68 miles of Borough maintained roads, and approximately 3.52 miles of PennDOT maintained roads in Hellertown Borough.
If you want to report a problem on a PennDOT road please contact
1-800-FIX-ROAD (1-800-349-7623).
The following are roads maintained by PennDOT: Main, Easton, Walnut, Cherry