Taylor v. Harmony Twp. Board of Commissioners 851 A.2d 1020 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004).
The court held that the revision to the Judicial Code, 42 Pa. C.S. § 5571(c)(5), forbids procedural challenges to a township’s ordinance beyond 30 days after the “intended effective date” of the ordinance. Prior to this decision, the controlling case was Shadler v. ZHB of Weisenberg Twp., 814 A.2d 1265 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2003). Schadler was decided under the pre-amended Judicial Code that stated that an action needed to commence within 30 days of the effective date of the ordinance. The Shadler court held that if there was a procedural flaw with an ordinance, the ordinance did not have a date that it became effective, thereby, permitting a procedural challenge to be brought at any time.
The landowner also argued that the ordinance unreasonably restricted forestry activities because it prohibited timber harvesting in landslide-prone areas. The MPC forbids municipalities from unreasonably restricting forestry. As the MPC only applies to the creation of official maps, subdivision and land development ordinances, planned residential developments, and zoning ordinances, the court held that the MPC did not apply to the ordinance because it did not deal with zoning. The Court explained that when an ordinance’s goal is to regulate an activity in general and not land use specifically, the ordinance is not a zoning ordinance. The court also said that even if the MPC did apply, the ordinance did not unreasonably restrict forestry because it merely limited the areas that harvesting could happen and did not prohibit it in general.
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