Southern Chester County Concerned Citizens Organization v. Lower Oxford Twp. Zoning Board, (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2007).
The payment of a filing fee is a requirement for the perfection of land use appeal.
Landowners submitted an application for a variance, which the Zoning Hearing Board granted. Appellants filed a notice of appeal which was returned to them for failing to include the filing fee. Appellants then returned the notice of appeal with the filing fee, but it was docketed and time stamped after the thirty day period for filing land use appeals had expired. Landowners filed a motion with the trial court to dismiss the appeal as untimely. The trial court found that the appeal was filed after the thirty day period and dismissed the appeal.
Appellants appealed to the Commonwealth Court arguing that the primary purpose of time limitations for appeals is to provide notice, and notice was provided even though the filing fee was not initially included. The Court rejected this argument. Appellants also argued that prothonotaries may exercise discretion regarding filing fees. The Court also rejected this argument and held that 42 Pa. C.S. § 1725 requires the payment of filing fees to commence an action. The Court also found that this was not a de minimus requirement and that the requirements set forth for an appeal are mandatory and jurisdictional. Since this appeal was not perfected in a timely manner, the appeal was properly dismissed.
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