Harman v. Forest County Conservation District and Planning Bd., 950 A.2d 1117 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2008).

A decision by a Subdivision Administrator, as agent of the Planning Board, constituted a final decision and was appealable to the court of common pleas.
Case Details:

Landowner agreed to convey a fifty foot wide strip of land for an access road to a landlocked neighbor and filed an application with the County Planning Board for a minor subdivision, which was approved.  The owners of the adjacent property (“Objectors”) filed an appeal with the trial court.  The County Planning Board filed a motion to quash arguing that the Objectors should have appealed the approval to the Zoning Hearing Board.  The motion was granted.

The Objectors appealed to the Commonwealth Court arguing that the trial court erred in concluding that it lacked jurisdiction over its appeal. They argued that because the Subdivision Administrator, who approved the subdivision application, is an agent of the County Planning Board, the Objectors had no right to appeal to the full County Planning Board and that the approval was a final decision of such Board, appealable to the trial court.

The Commonwealth Court reviewed the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance and concluded that it does not give any landowner the right to seek full County Planning Board review of the Subdivision Administrator’s approval.  Therefore, approval constitutes a final decision by such Board.  Under the MPC, final decisions of any board under any land use ordinance are appealable to the common pleas court.  Therefore, the Objectors had the right to appeal to the trial court.

Date of Decision: 6/11/08

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