Morris v. South Coventry Township Bd. of Supervisors, 898 A.2d 1213 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006).

Pursuant to section 503(9) of the MPC, a local subdivision ordinance may mandate that final plan approval be conditioned upon the receipt of all necessary state permits.
Case Details:

Landowner desired to develop a residential subdivision. The Board preliminarily approved the land development plan subject to certain conditions which included the receipt of the necessary state agency permits. A neighboring property owner (Objector), filed a Land Use Appeal of the Board’s preliminary plan approval to the trial court. The trial court affirmed the Board’s decision.

Objector appealed to the Commonwealth Court arguing, among other things, that she did not receive a full and complete hearing below; the doctrine of judicial estoppel precludes the developer from assuming a position inconsistent with his assertion in a previous action (in Morris I, developer indicated that he would need all permits before the Board could give final approval); and the trial court erred when it approved the developer’s final plan before the developer received the necessary state permits.

The Commonwealth Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling. Assessing the substance of the claim, the court determined that 503(9) of the MPC and Section 407(C)(5) of the Subdivision Ordinance, pertaining to the attachment of conditions to final plan approval, were not a prohibition against approving a final plan, rather the provisions mandated that final plan approval must be conditioned on receipt of state agency approval permits.  Once the conditions of the Subdivision Ordinance had been complied with, there was no need to delay granting final plan approval because the Board had decided all matters over which it had discretion.

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