Planning and Zoning FAQs

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Permit Questions

Do I need a zoning permit to finish my basement?

Yes, a zoning permit is required to be obtained prior to beginning work to finish a basement in any type of structure.

Do I need a zoning permit to install a fence on my property?

No. Approvals are not needed from the Township to install a fence. However, fences are not permitted to interfere with the site distance on corner properties, nor are they permitted to be located in a floodplain, drainage way, or stormwater easement.

While the Township does not require a permit for a fence, you should check with the Centre Region Code Agency to determine whether a permit is needed from their office. The office can be reached by calling (814) 231-3056.

Do I need a zoning permit to install a temporary inflatable swimming pool?

Yes, a permit must be obtained to install these pools. Permits are generally required for pools as defined under the Building Code. If you take the pool down over the winter, a new permit is required to be obtained when it is installed again. Please also check with the Centre Region Code Agency regarding the need for stairs and fencing associated with certain sized pools.

Additional questions may be directed to the Township Zoning Administrator by email or by calling (814) 238-4651.

Do I need a zoning permit to install a propane gas tank?

Yes, a permit must be obtained for propane gas tanks and underground gas tanks.

Do I need a zoning permit for a temporary structure?

Yes, a permit is required for a structure with an ascertainable location whether or not it is permanently affixed to the land.

Do I need a zoning permit to install a small shed?

Yes, a zoning permit is required for any size accessory structure.

Do I need a permit to hand out flyers or sell door-to-door?

Anyone engaging in any of the following activities is required to apply for and obtain a license from the Township Manager:

  • Peddling, soliciting, or taking orders, either by sample or otherwise for any goods, wares, or merchandise on any street, sidewalk, public ground, or from house to house in Ferguson Township;
  • Selling, soliciting, or taking orders for any goods, wares, or merchandise from a fixed location within the Township, on a temporary basis, which shall include, but shall not be limited to such activities conducted at the time of special occasions or celebrations, for seasonal purposes, or for or in advance of specific yearly holidays;
  • Any required State or County licenses shall also be obtained and provided at the time of application to the Township. Every license holder is required to carry such license or display it at the location where he is engaged in business.
How long are permits good for?

The permitted work must begin within two years of the issuance of the permit.

Do I need a permit if I am putting in a patio that is flat to the ground?

Yes, a zoning permit is required for the proposed erection, extension, or alteration of any structure or portion of a structure, including patios that are flat to the ground. For more information, click here. To view a fact sheet on zoning permit requirements, click here.

Zoning Questions

Can I establish an apartment or in-law quarters in my single family dwelling if I am in the R-1 zoning district?

No. Apartments of any size are prohibited within the R-1 zoning district.

Can I keep chickens as pets?

The Board of Supervisors adopted a Domestic Chicken Ordinance at its Regular Meeting on July 18, 2016. The ordinance allows residents living in residential districts to keep up to six chickens provided they meet certain criteria and obtain a permit. You may view the ordinance online, or call or visit the Township offices if you have any questions about the regulations or wish to obtain a permit.

What can I do about a barking dog in my neighborhood?

Barking dogs can be in conflict with the noise regulations of the Township. A noisy animal shall be defined as one or more animals which make(s) noises habitually, so as to constitute annoyance to a person of ordinary sensibilities. If you have a complaint about a barking dog, you should contact the Township's Ordinance Enforcement Officer.

Must dogs be leashed at all times?

Dogs are prohibited from running at-large within the Township and must be under control of the owner at all times. If you have a complaint about a dog running at-large, you may contact the Township's Ordinance Enforcement Officer.

During what hours are the Township's noise regulations applicable?

Generally, the noise regulations are effective between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. The Township Noise Ordinance applies any time with the exception of noise caused by construction.

How do I rent a pavilion in a Township park?

Pavilion rentals are controlled by the Centre Region Parks and Recreation Department. You may find more information by clicking here, or by calling (814) 231-3071.

Where can I find my zoning district?

You may view a map of Ferguson Township zoning districts online by clicking here.

How can I find out what the permitted uses are in our zoning district?

Chapter 27 of the Township's Code of Ordinances includes a listing of permitted uses in each zoning district. Click here to view Chapter 27 online. You may also direct any questions regarding permitted uses to the Zoning Administrator by email or by calling the Township office at (814) 238-4651 during regular business hours.

What are the setbacks in our zoning district?

Chapter 27 of the Township's Code of Ordinances includes a listing of required setbacks in each zoning district. Click here to view Chapter 27 online. You may also direct any questions regarding required setbacks to the Zoning Administrator by email or by calling the Township office at (814) 238-4651 during regular business hours.

Concerning rentals, how many unrelated people are permitted in a residence?

The Township's Zoning Ordinance prohibits more than three unrelated individuals occupying the same residence. Some exceptions to this restriction apply in multi-family dwellings as defined in the Township's Zoning Ordinance. Questions regarding this ordinance should be directed to the Zoning Administrator by email or by calling the Township office during regular business hours at (814) 238-4651.

What are the floodplain regulations in Ferguson Township?

Floodplain conservation and protection are accomplished through the Ferguson Township Code of Ordinances (§27-801 Floodplain Conservation, Part 8, Supplemental Regulations). The intent of this section is to preserve the natural functions of floodplains, protect life and property from the hazards of flooding, properly manage Township waters, and minimize the financial burdens that floods impose on the community.

These regulations stipulate that no construction is permitted in any floodplain throughout the Township. Any proposed construction shall provide a 50-foot buffer between land disturbance and the confirmed flood zone. 

Ferguson Township Zoning Administrator Jeff Ressler, who is also a certified floodplain manager, can assist residents in determining their property location in relation to a floodplain.

FEMA determines the floodplain zones
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) generates the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). FEMA last revised the maps in 2009.

Zone X on the FIRM indicates an area outside the floodplain.
Zone A indicates an area shown as an approximate floodplain;  the area has not been studied and therefore the elevation has not been determined.
Zone AE on the FIRM is a confirmed floodplain, where FEMA has determined the base flood elevations.


Floodplains provide natural benefits
Homeowners very often view floodplain areas as a potential burden because of the possible risks and expense. The Township strives to preserve them because they provide many natural benefits. Maintaining floodplain areas helps to reduce the number and severity of floods, manage stormwater runoff, and minimize non-point water pollution.

According to the Ordinance, floodplains may be used only for the following, provided such uses and structures do not conflict with the limitations specified in Subsection C of the Ordinance:

1) the tilling of the land, raising of crops, fruits and vegetables, and the raising and keeping of livestock and poultry
2) horticultural uses related to the raising, propagating and selling of trees, shrubs, flowers and other plant materials

3) forestry uses related to the harvesting of lumber products

4) public and private conservation areas for the conservation of open space, water, soil and wildlife resources

5) essential services

6) retaining walls, flood retention dams, culverts and bridges, as permitted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
7) customary uses accessory to the above

When flood insurance is required or advised
When a home is in a floodplain, flood insurance typically is required if the homeowner has a federally insured mortgage.  

If the property is in a floodplain, but the home is not, the homeowner may qualify for a reduced flood insurance rate.
In areas that are not listed as floodplain, but homes or other structures have flooded, it is advisable to consult with your home insurance provider about available flood insurance options.

For more information about floodplain regulations, consult the Ordinance, or contact Jeffrey Ressler, Zoning Administrator and Certified Floodplain Manager