Tower Access Grp., LLC v. S. Union Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd.

When an applicant for a special exception provides sufficient evidence establishing that the application complies with an ordinance’s general requirements, an objector opposing the application has the burden to establish, to a high degree of probability, that the proposed use would be detrimental to the public health, safety, or welfare.

Tower Access Grp., LLC v. S. Union Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd., 192 A.3d 291 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2018)

Date of Decision: 7/30/18


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Gorsline v. Bd. of Supervisors of Fairfield Twp.

Where a “savings clause” in a zoning ordinance permits a proposed use as a conditional use or special exception if it is similar to and compatible with other uses permitted in the zoning district, there must be sufficient findings of fact establishing that similarity and compatibility. Additionally, a proposed use is not similar to nor “of the same general character” of a “public service facility” use or an “essential services” use if the proposed use does not provide services to residents of the municipality.

Gorsline v. Bd. of Supervisors of Fairfield Twp., 186 A.3d 375 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2018)

Date of Decision: 6/1/18


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Fowler v. City of Bethlehem Zoning Hearing Bd.

Where there is a change in theory regarding a zoning application, the doctrine of res judicata and collateral estoppel do not apply. Additionally, seeking to convert a conforming use to a nonconforming use is inconsistent with the burden to show that property cannot be used for a permitted purpose.

Fowler v. City of Bethlehem Zoning Hearing Bd., 2018 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 171 (May 22, 2018)

Date of Decision: 5/22/18


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Bd. of Supervisors of Willistown Twp. v. Main Line Gardens, Inc.

The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code permits municipalities to recover “all costs and attorney fees incurred as a result of the violation, which may encompass appeals from the enforcement notice.” Once the municipality establishes the relatedness of the fees, the burden shifts to the party contesting the fees to provide evidence establishing “a basis for segregating the hours spent on successful and unsuccessful claims.”

Bd. of Supervisors of Willistown Twp. v. Main Line Gardens, Inc., 2018 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 160 (May 9, 2018)

Date of Decision: 5/9/18


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Friends of Lackawanna v. Dunmore Borough Zoning Hearing Bd.

A property owner has standing to object to a land use decision if he or she has a substantial, direct and immediate interest in the decision. An association has standing, “even in the absence of injury to itself, if the association alleges that at least one of its members is suffering immediate or threatened injury as a result of the action challenged.” In addition, a notice of land use appeal should not be dismissed for not being concise, pursuant to Section 1003-A(a) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, where its factual background section is voluminous but it still clearly and concisely sets forth the grounds on which the appeal is based.

Friends of Lackawanna v. Dunmore Borough Zoning Hearing Bd., 2018 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 157 (May 7, 2018)

Date of Decision: 5/7/18


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Clean Air Council v. Sunoco Pipeline L.P.

The Environmental Rights Amendment does not impose duties or obligations on private parties. The Eminent Domain Code is the exclusive procedure for challenging an entity’s condemnation power and public utility status.

Clean Air Council v. Sunoco Pipeline L.P., 2018 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 145 (April 30, 2018)

Date of Decision: 4/30/18


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Pa. Envtl. Def. Found. v. Commonwealth

When the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania acquires proceeds from leasing state forest lands for mineral extraction, the Commonwealth must direct such proceeds toward the maintenance and conservation of public natural resources.

Pa. Envtl. Def. Found. v. Commonwealth, 161 A.3d 911 (Pa. 2017)

Date of Decision: 4/6/18


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Liberties Lofts LLC v. Zoning Bd. of Adjustment

An objector waives the issue of an applicant’s standing to apply for zoning relief if the objector does not raise the issue at a zoning board hearing. A zoning board can conclude that an applicant is the equitable owner of the property based on the applicant’s testimony that he or she is the equitable owner of the property.

Liberties Lofts LLC v. Zoning Bd. of Adjustment, 2018 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 106 (April 2, 2018)

Date of Decision: 4/2/18


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Monroe Land Invs. v. Zoning Bd. of Adjustment

Applicants have both the burden of proof and persuasion to convince a zoning hearing board that the proposed use satisfies the zoning ordinance’s objective requirements for special exceptions. Once satisfied, the burden shifts to objectors to prove the specific use has greater detrimental effects than those normally expected from the particular use, and that those impacts will pose a substantial threat to the health and safety of the community. Testimony by objectors cannot be merely speculative.

Monroe Land Invs. v. Zoning Bd. of Adjustment, 2018 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 97

Date of Decision: 3/26/18


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