Dambman v. Bd. of Supervisors, 171 A.3d 969 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2017)

Where a township’s subdivision and land development ordinance is silent as to when a zoning permit must be obtained in relation to an application for approval of a land development plan, there is no requirement that an applicant obtain zoning permits before seeking approvals for the land development plan.
Case Details:

Developer sought approval for a preliminary and final land development plan for a retirement community. To construct the necessary buildings, Developer needed a temporary construction road, which is a use not permitted in a residential zoning district. The Board of Commissioners (BOC) approved the plan over Objectors’ opposition. Objectors sought review of the BOC’s decision, claiming Developer failed to secure a zoning permit for the temporary construction road before seeking approval for the land development plan.

The trial court affirmed the BOC’s decision because the Township’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) did not require applicants to obtain zoning permits before seeking approval of a land development plan. On appeal, the Commonwealth Court affirmed the decision of the trial court because, under the SALDO, applicants are only “encouraged” to “meet informally” with the BOC to get “information regarding zoning and subdivision requirements.”  Since the SALDO was silent on when an applicant should obtain zoning permits, Objectors’ argument failed.

Date of Decision: 10/6/17

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