Conditional Uses and Special Exceptions

Dunbar v. Zoning Hearing Board, Pa. Commw. (2016)

Once an applicant proves the proposed use satisfies the zoning ordinance’s objective requirements for special exceptions, the burden shifts to objectors to prove the specific use will have greater detrimental effects than those normally expected from the particular use, and that these impacts will pose a substantial threat to the health and safety of the community. Objectors must present more than unsubstantiated concerns or concerns that are merely vague generalities. In addition, doctrine of natural expansion permits a nonconforming use to be expanded in scope as the business increases in magnitude over the ground occupied by the business owner at the time the zoning ordinance was enacted.

Dunbar v. Zoning Hearing Bd., 144 A.3d 219 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016)

Date of Decision: 7/18/16

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In re AMA/Am. Mktg. Ass’n, Pa. Commw. (2016)

Where an ordinance requires a conceptual conditional use plan that indicates recorded easements, actions that meet such a requirement include, but are not limited to: (1) submitting a declaration that describes the easement and its placement; (2) submitting a copy of a subdivision plan that indicates the presence of an easement; or (3) submitting a document showing where the easement will be in relation to the proposed use. Title concerns or private property right issues are not zoning or land development matters and, therefore, must be heard by the courts.

In re AMA/Am. Mktg. Ass’n, 142 A.3d 923 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016)

Date of Decision: 6/14/16

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Kretschmann Farm, LLC v. Township of New Sewickley, Pa. Commw. (2016)

This decision discusses the quality of evidence required for objectors to meet their burden of proof of adverse impacts that will result from a proposed use. The court also dismisses the objectors' challenge to the constitutionality of the zoning ordinance where the objector raised the argument on appeal rather than by filing a challenge in accordance with the MPC.

Kretschmann Farm, LLC v. Twp. of New Sewickley, 2016 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 33 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016).

Date of Decision: 1/7/16

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In re: Appeal of Deemed Approved Conditional Use, Pa. Commw. (2009)

A neighboring landowner successfully challenged a conditional use permit – granted by deemed approval based on the municipality’s failure to issue a written decision – as the permit was improper where the proposed use was prohibited by the applicable zoning ordinance and the landowners failed to obtain seven necessary variances prior to filing their application for conditional use permit.

In re: Appeal of Deemed Approved Conditional Use, 975 A.2d 1193 (Pa. Commw. 2009).

Date of Decision: 5/19/09

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Good v. Zoning Hearing Board of Heidelberg Township, Pa. Commw. (2009)

In issuing a special exception concerning animal operations, a municipality may impose conditions more stringent than those provided by Federal and State law, and conditions designed to promote public safety and health will be upheld absent an abuse of discretion.

Good v. Zoning Hearing Board of Heidelberg Township, 967 A.2d 421 (Pa. Commw. 2009).

Date of Decision: 1/9/09

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