Planning and Zoning

The Department of Planning and Zoning oversees construction and renovation within the Township. From new development to home improvements, you’ll probably need a permit. The permit process is designed to help maintain compliance with Township and National Codes set in place to preserve the health, safety, quality of life, and fitness of our properties and community.

The zoning code and ordinances guide new development to blend with existing uses and separates use of incompatible properties. Zoning also helps protect property values. Sometimes a simple permit application is all that is needed for review. For larger projects, you’ll be guided through a more formal review process that may include further levels of approval.

Finding and Submitting Permits

While professional developers and contractors are usually familiar with these forms, we’re here to answer questions. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, be sure to thoroughly review our project information documents on our Permits and Applications page, and download the applications and documents relevant to your project. If you still have questions, our staff will help you.

Permits & Applications

Flood Preparation

The Department of Planning and Zoning, working with our Emergency Management Coordinators, bring together federal, state, county, and local resources to property owners. Upper Makefield can guide you through Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) regulations and Flood Insurance options that may help you prepare for flooding emergencies. Read More about FEMA Flood Preparation

Conditional Use

Certain property uses listed in the Zoning Ordinance require a Conditional Use Application. The application pertains only to the use of the property, although the review process with the Planning Commission followed by the Board of Supervisors is the same as the Subdivision process.

Electrical Inspections

All electrical work must be inspected at rough-in and final stages and a cut card sent to the Township. Neither the final inspection of a project nor the permanent Certificate of Occupancy will be issued until an underwriter completes the final inspection of the electrical work and a sticker is on the electrical box. At that time, the Township must be notified for a final inspection. Electrical Application Form.

Flood Insurance, Preparation, and Cleanup

View our Flooding page.

Generator Permits and Safety Tips

If you use a temporary mobile generator, follow the instructions supplied by the manufacturer to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, fire, electric shock or electrocution. Note these general cautions:

  • Always use the generator outdoors, and place it 25 feet from any building.
  • Before refueling, turn off the generator and let it cool before refueling. Gas spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

If you purchase a permanently placed emergency stand-by generator, you must complete zoning and electric permit applications. before installation. Download the permit here.  As you budget and plan for installation, note these required provisions:

  • The generator must be installed on an approved pad
  • It must be screened from plain view
  • The electrical work must be inspected by a third party electrical inspector
  • Generators should be exercised Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Homeowners' Association Updates

Issues arise when Township officials need to address Homeowners’ Associations’ building requirements and common areas owned by the Association.  Please update us whenever there are changes to your Homeowners’ Association leadership, elected or appointed. Please report any updates to the Planning & Zoning office at 215-968-2868. You can email us a current list, if you have one.

On-Lot Sewage System—File Pumper/Inspection Reports Every 2-3 Years

To ensure that on-lot systems function properly, all owners of on-lot sewage disposal systems are required to have their tanks emptied by a licensed hauler every 2- 3 years, depending on location. After pumping the tank, the property owner is required to submit a copy of the hauler’s Pumper/ Inspector Report to the Planning and Zoning Office within 15 days. List of current waste haulers.

Dolington and Taylorsville Designated Areas
Require Annual Inspections and Pumping

Residents in the designated areas of Dolington/Taylorsville are required to submit annual Resident Inspection Reports. Additionally, those systems must also be pumped annually.

Open Burning Permits

Request a permit for open burning from Fire Marshal John Kernan at  or 215-968-3340.
Please note the residential open burning is not permitted in Upper Makefield.

Permit Process

You can view the list of the most common permit applications here. Call us if you need help filling out a permit. You can submit most permits via email, unless they include large plans that require hand delivery. Applications for a large project, including large additions and pools, require review by Township consultants. When scheduling your project, please consider the additional time needed for review.

Subdivision and Land Development Applications

If you are considering subdivision of your property, please contact the Planning & Zoning Department to obtain the application and procedural requirements. These applications are reviewed by the Planning Commission and forwarded to the Board of Supervisors for their review and final approval. Relief from a zoning district regulation will require an application to the Zoning Hearing Board. The Zoning Hearing Board meets the 4th Tuesday of each month as needed.

Tree Removal Permits

If you plan to remove a tree that is six inches or more in diameter, you need to apply for a permit. This includes dead tree removal, which must also include photos of the tree(s) to be removed. Here is a list of forms and submissions required before any trees are removed:

  • Zoning Use and Occupancy Permit Application, include the number of trees to be removed in the Description of Proposed Improvement. This constitutes the tree removal permit. The application should also include:
  • A Plot Plan indicating each tree location, tree species and dimensions.
  • A Reforestation Plan of the proposed replacement trees, noting location, caliper and species, where applicable.
  • A Letter from owner indicating reason for tree removal.
  • A Certificate of Insurance from the arborist removing the tree, naming Upper Makefield Township as “Certificate Holder.”

Please call the Planning & Zoning office at  215-968-3340 with any questions.

Private Water Well Management

Here is a concise guide to drinking water well management. The Penn State Extension Service provides a comprehensive (84-page) guide to homeowners with private wells. The U.S. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offers comprehensive information by topic.

Wood/Coal Stoves and Inserts

Permits are required before installing any wood/coal/other burning stoves or inserts. Download our Zoning Permit. With this information in hand, call or stop in to meet our Planning and Zoning staff to discuss details of your permit request.