In re Appeal by Grande Land, L.P., 174 A.3d 1178 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2017)

Where an ordinance requires that a proposed development plan shows the development will be served by a sewage disposal system approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), applicants are only required to show the proposed system is one that is typically approved by DEP.
Case Details:

Developer sought a special exception to construct an apartment complex on property in a medium density residential district in which townhomes and multi-family dwelling units were permitted by special exception. The Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) denied Developer’s application. Developer appealed to the trial court, which affirmed the decision of the ZHB. Developer then appealed to the Commonwealth Court.

On appeal to the Commonwealth Court, Developer argued the ZHB erred by concluding Developer failed to meet the sewage disposal requirements under the applicable ordinance. The ZHB refused to grant Developer’s application because there was no proof that DEP approved the system. The ordinance, however, only required proof that the proposed development will be served by a sewage disposal system approved by DEP. The ordinance did not set forth any further requirements. Therefore, all the ordinance required at this stage was a showing that the proposed sewage disposal system would be one that is regularly approved by DEP.

Date of Decision: 11/17/17

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