In Re:  The Appeal of LVGC Partners, LP and Lebanon Valley Golf Club, Inc., from the Decision of the Jackson Township Zoning Hearing Board on the Petition regarding the Validity of Adoption of Ordinance No. 5-2006 —A.2d —-, 2008 WL 2002412 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2008).

Under the Municipalities Planning Code, personal notice is not required for a hearing regarding the adoption of a zoning ordinance.
Case Details:

In the summer of 2006, Jackson Township (Township) began considering an Ordinance to change the zoning of the Landowner’s Property.  Section 609 of the Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) required a public hearing to accept public comment regarding the Ordinance.  After giving proper notice, the meeting was held on December 4, 2006, where Landowner’s representatives were present but failed to testify in opposition to the Ordinance.  In compliance with Section 610 of the MPC, the Township gave notice again and held a Supervisors’ meeting where the Ordinance was adopted on December 16, 2006.

Landowner challenged the Ordinance’s enactment with the Board, claiming he should have received personal notice of the December 16th meeting and the Township improperly restricted comments at the December 4th meeting to Township residents, preventing Landowner’s representatives from testifying in opposition.  The Board held that the procedural requirements under the MPC were followed properly on December 16th and there was no evidence that the representatives could not speak at the December 4th meeting.  Landowner appealed.

The trial court affirmed the Board, stating that the Township fully complied with the procedural requirements of Section 610 of the MPC on December 16th and that there was no evidence that Landowner’s representatives were prevented from testifying at the December 4th meeting.  Landowner then appealed to the Commonwealth Court, arguing that it did not have proper notice of the December 16th meeting.

The Commonwealth Court affirmed the Board and trial court, stating that the Township acted properly by not passing the Ordinance on December 4th since that Section 609 requires a public hearing only to receive comments about the Ordinance.  The Ordinance was properly enacted under the process governed by Section 610 of the MPC.  Landowner’s due process rights were not violated either since there was no evidence that Landowner was prevented from offering testimony at the December 4th hearing.

Date of Decision: 5/12/08

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