Alexander v. Zoning Hearing Board of Mount Joy Township, (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2008).

A property owner’s concerns about the impact of future development on his land were too remote to establish standing to challenge the validity of a zoning ordinance.
Case Details:

Objector filed an application for a hearing with the Township’s zoning hearing board challenging the Zoning Ordinance, Township Code and approval of plans for a proposed residential development adjacent to his home.  The board concluded that Objector lacked standing because he did not show that there was any current or threatened future harm to his property.  The board also rejected all of Objector’s arguments including his argument that the board had not complied with hearing notice provisions.  The trial court affirmed the board’s findings.

Objector appealed to the Commonwealth Court arguing that he did, in fact, have standing and that the board failed to review evidence that Objector had offered.  Section 916.1 of the MPC sets forth who has standing to bring a challenge to the validity of an ordinance: (a) a landowner who desires to change the validity of an ordinance because it prohibits or restricts the use of the development of land in which he has an interest or (b) persons aggrieved by a use or development permitted on the land of another.

Here, Objector did not have standing under section (a) above because he did not complain about the effect of the ordinance on the use of his land.  In order to show that one has standing under section (b), a person must show that “it has a substantial, direct, and immediate interest in the subject of the litigation that is not remote.”  The Commonwealth Court concluded that although Objector was concerned with the impact that future development would have on his property, these concerns were too speculative to establish standing.

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