In Re: Brickstone Realty Corp.,
789 A.2d 333 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2001)

Case Details:

Landowner entered into an agreement with a commercial party to build a hotel. The zoning ordinance permitted hotels in this district by special exception. Objecting to the developer’s subsequent application for a special exception, residents argued that the use would create undue traffic congestion. The zoning hearing board agreed and denied the application. Developer appealed and won approval for the application. Objectors appealed to the Commonwealth Court.

Reinforcing existing precedent, the Commonwealth Court found that the zoning hearing board erred by accepting lay witness “expressions of concern for increased traffic.” Rather, objectors are required to demonstrate “concrete evidence of a high probability that the inn would generate traffic that would . . . threaten the health and safety of the community.” The Commonwealth Court also concluded that the concrete or substantial evidence standard ordinarily would require the objecting party to show “traffic counts, accident records, and expert” testimony to meet its burden of proof.

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