Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code

Article IV - Official Map

Section 401. Grant of Power.

(a) The governing body of each municipality shall have the power to make or cause to be made an official map of all or a portion of the municipality which may show appropriate elements or portions of elements of the comprehensive plan adopted pursuant to section 302 with regard to public lands and facilities, and which may include, but need not be limited to:

(1) Existing and proposed public streets, watercourses and public grounds, including widenings, narrowings, extensions, diminutions, openings or closing of same.

(2) Existing and proposed public parks, playgrounds and open space reservations.

(3) Pedestrian ways and easements.

(4) Railroad and transit rights-of-way and easements.

(5) Flood control basins, floodways and flood plains, storm water management areas and drainage easements.

(6) Support facilities, easements and other properties held by public bodies undertaking the elements described in section 301.

(b) For the purposes of taking action under this section, the governing body or its authorized designee may make or cause to be made surveys and maps to identify, for the regulatory purposes of this article, the location of property, trafficway alignment or utility easement by use of property records, aerial photography, photogrammetric mapping or other method sufficient for identification, description and publication of the map components. For acquisition of lands and easements, boundary descriptions by metes and bounds shall be made and sealed by a licensed surveyor.

Section 402. Adoption of the Official Map and Amendments Thereto.

(a) Prior to the adoption of the official map or part thereof, or any amendments to the official map, the governing body shall refer the proposed official map, or part thereof or amendment thereto, with an accompanying ordinance describing the proposed map, to the planning agency for review. The planning agency shall report its recommendations on said proposed official map and accompanying ordinance, part thereof, or amendment thereto within 45 days unless an extension of time shall be agreed to by the governing body. If, however, the planning agency fails to act within 45 days, the governing body may proceed without its recommendations.

(b) The county and adjacent municipalities may offer comments and recommendations during said 45-day review period in accordance with section 408. Local authorities, park boards, environmental boards and similar public bodies may also offer comments and recommendations to the governing body or planning agency if requested by same during said 45-day review period. Before voting on the enactment of the proposed ordinance and official map, or part thereof or amendment thereto, the governing body shall hold a public hearing pursuant to public notice.

(c) Following adoption of the ordinance and official map, or part thereof or amendment thereto, a copy of same, verified by the governing body, shall be submitted to the recorder of deeds of the county in which the municipality is located and shall be recorded within 60 days of the effective date. The fee for recording and indexing ordinances and amendments shall be paid by the municipality enacting the ordinance or amendment and shall be in the amount prescribed by law for the recording of ordinances by the recorder of deeds.

Section 403. Effect of Approved Plats on Official Map. After adoption of the official map, or part thereof, all streets, watercourses and public grounds and the elements listed in section 401 on final, recorded plats which have been approved as provided by this act shall be deemed amendments to the official map. Notwithstanding any of the other terms of this article, no public hearing need be held or notice given if the amendment of the official map is the result of the addition of a plat which has been approved as provided by this act.

Section 404. Effect of Official Map on Mapped Streets, Watercourses and Public Grounds. The adoption of any street, street lines or other public lands pursuant to this article as part of the official map shall not, in and of itself, constitute or be deemed to constitute the opening or establishment of any street nor the taking or acceptance of any land, nor shall it obligate the municipality to improve or maintain any such street or land. The adoption of proposed watercourses or public grounds as part of the official map shall not, in and of itself, constitute or be deemed to constitute a taking or acceptance of any land by the municipality.

Section 405. Buildings in Mapped Streets, Watercourses or Other Public Grounds. For the purpose of preserving the integrity of the official map of the municipality, no permit shall be issued for any building within the lines of any street, watercourse or public ground shown or laid out on the official map. No person shall recover any damages for the taking for public use of any building or improvements constructed within the lines of any street, watercourse or public ground after the same shall have been included in the official map, and any such building or improvement shall be removed at the expense of the owner. However, when the property of which the reserved location forms a part, cannot yield a reasonable return to the owner unless a permit shall be granted, the owner may apply to the governing body for the grant of a special encroachment permit to build. Before granting any special encroachment permit authorized in this section, the governing body may submit the application for a special encroachment permit to the local planning agency and allow the planning agency 30 days for review and comment and shall give public notice and hold a public hearing at which all parties in interest shall have an opportunity to be heard. A refusal by the governing body to grant the special encroachment permit applied for may be appealed by the applicant to the zoning hearing board in the same manner, and within the same time limitation, as is provided in Article IX.

Section 406. Time Limitations on Reservations for Future Taking. The governing body may fix the time for which streets, watercourses and public grounds on the official map shall be deemed reserved for future taking or acquisition for public use. However, the reservation for public grounds shall lapse and become void one year after an owner of such property has submitted a written notice to the governing body announcing his intentions to build, subdivide or otherwise develop the land covered by the reservation, or has made formal application for an official permit to build a structure for private use, unless the governing body shall have acquired the property or begun condemnation proceedings to acquire such property before the end of the year.

Section 407. Release of Damage Claims or Compensation. The governing body may designate any of its agencies to negotiate with the owner of land under the following circumstances:

(1) whereon reservations are made;

(2) whereon releases of claims for damages or compensation for such reservations are required; or

(3) whereon agreements indemnifying the governing body from claims by others may be required. Any releases or agreements, when properly executed by the governing body and the owner and recorded, shall be binding upon any successor in title.

Section 408. Notice to Other Municipalities.

(a) When any county has adopted an official map in accordance with the terms of this article, a certified copy of the map and the ordinances adopting it shall be sent to every municipality within said county. All amendments shall be sent to the aforementioned municipalities. The powers of the governing bodies of counties to adopt, amend and repeal official maps shall be limited to land and watercourses in those municipalities wholly or partly within the county which have no official map in effect at the time an official map is introduced before the governing body of the county, and until the municipal official map is in effect. The adoption of an official map by any municipality, other than a county, whose land or watercourses are subject to county official mapping, shall act as a repeal protanto of the county official map within the municipality adopting such ordinance. Notwithstanding any of the other terms or conditions of this section the county official map shall govern as to county streets and public grounds, facilities and improvements, even though such streets or public grounds, facilities and improvements are located in a municipality which has adopted an official map.

(b) When a municipality proposes to adopt an official map, or any amendment thereto, a copy of the map and the proposed ordinance adopting it, or any amendment thereto, shall be forwarded for review to the county planning agency, or if no such agency exists to the governing body of the county at the same time it is submitted for review to the municipal planning agency. The comments of the county planning agency shall be made to the governing body of the municipality within 45 days, and the proposed action shall not be taken until such comments are received. If, however, the planning agency fails to act within 45 days, the governing body may proceed without its comments.

(c) Additionally, if any municipality proposes to adopt an official map, or amendment thereto, that shows any street or public lands intended to lead into any adjacent municipality a copy of said official map or amendment shall be forwarded to such adjacent municipality for review and comment by the governing body and planning agency of the adjacent municipality. The comments of the adjacent municipality shall be made to the governing body of the municipality proposing the adoption within 45 days, and the proposed action shall not be taken until such comments are received. If, however, the adjacent municipality fails to act within 45 days, the governing body of the proposing municipality may proceed without its comments. When a municipality adopts an official map, a certified copy of the map, the ordinance adopting it and any later amendments shall be forwarded, within 30 days after adoption, to the county planning agency or, in counties where no planning agency exists, to the governing body of the county in which the municipality is located. Additionally, if any municipality adopts an official map, or amendment thereto, that shows any street or public lands intended to lead into any adjacent municipality, a certified copy of said official map or amendment shall be forwarded to such adjacent municipality.


Table of Contents

  • Article I General Provisions (click here)
  • Article II Planning Agencies (click here)
  • Article III Comprehensive Plan (click here)
  • Article IV Official Map (click here)
  • Article V Subdivision and Land Development (click here)
  • Article V-A Municipal Capital Improvement (click here)
  • Article VI Zoning (click here)
  • Article VII Planned Residential Development (click here)
  • Article VII-A Traditional Neighborhood Development (click here)
  • Article VIII Zoning Challenges; General Provisions (click here)
  • Article VIII-A Joint Municipal Zoning (click here)
  • Article IX Zoning Hearing Board and other Administrative Proceedings (click here)
  • Article X Appeals (click here)
  • Article X-A Appeals to Court (click here)
  • Article XI Intergovernmental Cooperative Planning and Implementation Agreements (click here)
  • Article XI-A Joint Municipal Zoning (click here)
  • Article XII Repeals (click here)

 

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