In re Petition of Dolington Land Group and Toll Brothers from the Decision of the ZHB of Upper Makefield Twp., 839 A.2d 1021 (Pa. Dec. 30, 2003):

Case Details:

In the case In re Petition of Dolington Land Group, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court initially reviewed the appeal in order to describe the application of the analytic method announced in Surrick v. ZHB of the Twp. of Upper Providence, to a validity challenge of a multi-municipal zoning ordinance. The Dolington Group asserted that the Joint Zoning Ordinance (JZO) was invalid under the Surrick model because it contained inadequate provisions for multi-family development. The court avoided analyzing this case under Surrick by stating that the record contained insufficient evidence to determine whether the multi-municipal area was within the path of growth. The court further concluded that even if it had determined that the area was within the path of growth, Dolington’s challenge would have failed at the third and final stage of the Surrick analysis. The final stage of the Surrick analysis assesses the degree to which a challenged regulation has the effect of excluding higher-density, multi-family residential uses.

The court also concluded that the Conservation Management zoning district regulations do not unreasonably restrict a landowner’s right to develop land, stating the appropriateness of considering agricultural soils among other sensitive environmental areas deserving protection and distinguishing between the CM District’s emphasis on design and layout of property, rather than focusing on the amount or intensity of development which had been deemed invalid in C&M Developers. C & M Developers, Inc. v. Bedminster Tp. Zoning Hearing Bd., 573 Pa. 2, 820 A.2d 143 (Pa., 2002).

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