Advantage v. Board of Supervisors of Jackson Township, 743 A. 2d 1008 (2000).

Plan Denial Letters: Reasons for denial must be specified. Incorporation by reference to municipality's engineer's report may be sufficient.
Case Details:

Cross Reference: MPC Section 508(2)

The MPC provides clear direction that a municipality must specify the defects found in the application and describe the municipal requirements which had not been met citing the relevant provisions of the ordinance. A prime purpose for this provision is to provide the applicant with sufficient detail of the reasons for the denial so that he can effectively appeal the denial to court.

In this case the municipality incorporated (by reference) the findings and recommendations of the municipal engineer contained in his Report to the municipality. The developer appealed, citing the failure to comply with the literal wording of MPC 508(2). The trial court found the denial letter to be sufficient based on an earlier decision, Warwick Land Development, Inc. v. Board of Supervisors of Warwick Township, Chester County, 695 A 2d 914(Pa.Cmwlth.(1997). In Warwick the court had found that incorporation by reference of three documents did not meet the MPC requirements for specificity. In this decision the court made it clear that in Warwick it did not mean to imply that incorporated material could never suffice, only that the material incorporated in the denial letter in that case was not sufficient to meet the test of MPC 508(2).

The court then found that the Report in question contained sufficient detail of the reasons for denial, including references to the ordinance provisions violated, as to comply with the requirements of the MPC. The court also made clear that the requirements of MPC 508(2) apply equally to initial plan submissions as to plans resubmitted on remand of a prior appeal to court.

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