Citation:

Shaw v. Twp. of Upper St. Clair Zoning Hearing Bd., 71 A.3d 1103 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2013).

Summary:
Zoning amendment that purports to be a text amendment can be considered a map amendment where the amendment is overly narrow and specific to the point it could only be applied to one property and no other lots in that zoning district.
Case Details:

Applicant took title to a property located in a Special Business zoning district and demolished the 140,000 sq. ft. office building located thereon.  Applicant submitted an application for a text amendment to permit mixed-use development as a conditional use in the Special Business zoning district.  Following public meetings, the Board of Commissioners approved the amendment which added more than 20 new permissible uses to the Special Business zoning district in addition to many new regulations applicable to only mixed-use development.  A resident appealed arguing the ordinance was not a text amendment, and that it was actually a map amendment which required more robust public notice under the MPC.  The trial court dismissed the appeal finding that the ordinance was a text amendment.

On appeal, the Commonwealth Court determined the amendment was a map amendment because of the significant regulations applicable to only mixed-use development.  The amendment was, therefore, overly narrow and specific to the point it could only be applied to one property and no other lots in that zoning district.  Consequently, the ordinance substantially altered the property’s zoning relative to the other parcels located in the same zoning district and, for that reason, constituted a map amendment that can be adopted only pursuant to more stringent public notice procedures.

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