D. Kasun Associates v. Manheim Twp. Board of Commissioners,
879 A.2d 830 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005)
After township commissioners approved a developer’s application for a conditional use permit to convert historic warehouses into offices and residences, adjacent landowners of an industrial complex appealed to the court of common pleas arguing, among other things, that the commissioners had failed to consider the impact of the proposed use on its business. Pursuant to Section 1003-A of the MPC, the developers petitioned the trial court to require the appellant-landowners to post a bond before proceeding with the appeal because the appeal was frivolous.
The trial court determined that the appeal was frivolous because the appellant-landowners had failed to demonstrate that the proposed use would “adversely affect the welfare of the community in a way not normally expected from the type of use.” Moreover, the trial court found that the board-imposed contingency requiring the developer to negotiate an agreement with the adjacent property owners to alleviate encroachment concerns adequately addressed the appellant-landowner’s concerns. Landowners appealed the trial court’s imposition of a $300,000 bond to the Commonwealth Court.
The Commonwealth Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the appeal was frivolous and imposing a bond. Furthermore, the Commonwealth Court found the bond amount of $300,000 appropriate in lieu of the developer’s testimony that the estimated annual price escalation on the project would be ten to twenty percent.
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