Monger v. Upper Leacock Twp., 132 A.3d 585 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016)

Appeals from land use decisions must be brought within 30 days of the adverse decision, unless the claim asserts an unconstitutional deprivation of due process.
Case Details:

Under Section 1002-A of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), applicants have 30 days to appeal adverse land use decisions. Developers’ land use application was denied in 2008. Developers did not appeal the decision until 2012, asserting their application to the Planning Commission formed a contract between those parties and that the Township’s representations before and during the application process caused them to suffer losses. Therefore, they argued their claim is not an appeal of the decision, but of the Township’s conduct that resulted in breach of good faith and fair dealing. The trial court entered summary judgment due to the Developers’ failure to appeal within 30 days and the Commonwealth Court affirmed the ruling.

The Court stated the MPC is the exclusive governing law for appeals of land use decisions. Under Section 1002-A, “[a]ll appeals from all land use decisions rendered pursuant to Article IX shall be taken to the court of common pleas of the judicial district wherein the land is located and shall be filed within 30 days after entry of the decision.”  Further, the same section states “it is the express intent of the General Assembly that . . . the 30-day limitation in this section shall be applied in all appeals from decisions [except due process claims].”  Though the Court acknowledged the Township has a duty of good faith in considering applications, the untimely appeal meant Developers lost their right to appeal the adverse land use decision.

Date of Decision: 1/7/16

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