North Codorus Twp. v. North Codorus Twp. Zoning Hearing Board,
873 A.2d 845 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005)

Case Details:

Three days before a partnership submitted a land development plan, the township enacted a revised zoning ordinance-to be effective in five days-that would limit the partnership’s development. The partnership submitted its plan after the zoning amendment was enacted, but before the amendment became effective. Thereafter, the partnership asked the zoning officer whether the recently amended version of the zoning ordinance would apply to the review of the plan. The zoning officer advised the partnership that the amendment would apply. Partnership appealed to the zoning hearing board.

Citing Section 508(4)(i) of the Municipalities Planning Code, which states that a land development application “shall be entitled to a decision in accordance with the provisions of the governing ordinances or plans as they stood at the time the application was filed,” the zoning hearing board found for the partnership. Township appealed, arguing that Section 508(4)(i) should be interpreted to mean that enacted ordinances were standing ordinances and were not required to be effective on the date a land development plan is submitted for review.

Affirming the decisions below, the Commonwealth Court denied relief to the Township. First, the Commonwealth Court found that the zoning officer had made a “determination” within the meaning of the MPC when the officer notified the partnership that the amended version of the zoning ordinance would apply to the land development plan. Under Section 909.1(a)(3) of the MPC, a zoning hearing board has jurisdiction over determinations made by a zoning officer. Second, the Commonwealth Court cited the Supreme Court’s prior decision in Naylor for the proposition that Section 508(4)(i) of the MPC requires that “applications for approval of a subdivision plat [be] governed by ordinances in effect at the time the applications were filed.”

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