Highway Materials, Inc. v. Bd. of Supervisors of Whitemarsh Twp., 974 A.2d 539 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2009).
Township demonstrated impermissible bad faith in plan review process by ignoring the developer's attempts to receive feedback on plan issues and by not agreeing to accept the time extension offered by the developer.
Applicant owned a 54-acre tract of land in a district in which high-density residential use was permitted by right. Applicant submitted a plan to develop the property with a high-density residential use and neighbors objected. The Township amended its zoning ordinance to prohibit high density residential development on the property. In the interim, the Applicant’s engineer and attorney did not receive responses from the Township on slight defects with the plan. Without those responses, it was almost impossible for the Applicant to address deficiencies on the plan. In addition, the Township refused Applicant’s extension to permit the Township more time to review the plan. The Board of Supervisors ultimately denied the plan and Applicant appealed alleging that the Township acted in bad faith.
The Commonwealth Court held municipalities must act in good faith when reviewing a plan. Here, the Board of Supervisors failed to act in good faith when it ignored Applicants inquiries regarding plan revisions, denied Applicant’s time extension, and did not afford Applicant an opportunity to present to the Township. As a result, the Court determined the Township acted in bad faith and required the Board of Supervisors to review the plan in good faith.
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