Municipal Procedure

Liberties Lofts LLC v. Zoning Bd. of Adjustment

An objector waives the issue of an applicant’s standing to apply for zoning relief if the objector does not raise the issue at a zoning board hearing. A zoning board can conclude that an applicant is the equitable owner of the property based on the applicant’s testimony that he or she is the equitable owner of the property.

Liberties Lofts LLC v. Zoning Bd. of Adjustment, 2018 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 106 (April 2, 2018)

Date of Decision: 4/2/18


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Bd. of Supervisors of Willistown Twp. v. Main Line Gardens, Inc.

The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code permits municipalities to recover “all costs and attorney fees incurred as a result of the violation, which may encompass appeals from the enforcement notice.” Once the municipality establishes the relatedness of the fees, the burden shifts to the party contesting the fees to provide evidence establishing “a basis for segregating the hours spent on successful and unsuccessful claims.”

Bd. of Supervisors of Willistown Twp. v. Main Line Gardens, Inc., 2018 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 160 (May 9, 2018)

Date of Decision: 5/9/18


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Lower Mt. Bethel Twp. v. Gacki

When a landowner receives a notice of violation of an ordinance and fails to appeal within the time permitted, he or she loses the right to appeal, resulting in a “conclusive determination of [the] violation of the [o]rdinance.”

Lower Mt. Bethel Twp. v. Gacki, 150 A.3d 575 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016)

Date of Decision: 11/30/16


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Embreeville Redevelopment, L.P. v. Bd. of Supervisors of W. Bradford Twp.

Zoning map changes are ordinances that enact changes so comprehensive that there results “a substantial change to the manner in which the tract of land is zoned in comparison to the surrounding tracts of land that were similarly zoned.” To determine if an ordinance is a zoning map change, courts look to the overall effect of the changes, not the number of proposed changes.

Embreeville Redevelopment, L.P. v. Bd. of Supervisors of W. Bradford Twp., 134 A.3d 1122 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016)

Date of Decision: 3/2/16


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All State Signz Co. v. Burgettstown Borough

Where parties submit affidavits tending to prove and disprove the existence of a zoning hearing board, there is a dispute concerning issues of material fact.

All State Signz Co. v. Burgettstown Borough, 154 A.3d 416 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2017)

Date of Decision: 2/6/17


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River’s Edge Funeral Chapel & Crematory, Inc. v. Zoning Hearing Bd. of Tullytown Borough

Where a zoning ordinance does not define a use, considering how other relevant documents, such as dictionaries or related statutes, define the term is reasonable. When considering whether a use is the principal use or an accessory use, it is proper to consider the relative size of the area utilized by both uses, employment needs, and operations, among other considerations. In addition, zoning hearing boards should enforce an ordinance in accordance with applicable law and not impose their own belief of what the zoning ordinance should require.

River’s Edge Funeral Chapel & Crematory, Inc. v. Zoning Hearing Bd. of Tullytown Borough, 150 A.3d 132 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016)

Date of Decision: 11/16/16


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Borough of W. Conshohocken v. Soppick

Under Sections 616.1 and 617.2 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), a municipality may initiate enforcement proceedings against an individual who “has violated or permitted the violation of the provisions of a zoning ordinance.” Therefore, any enforcement actions are premature and cannot stand when initiated while an appeal from a notice alleging violations of a zoning ordinance is pending.

Borough of W. Conshohocken v. Soppick, 164 A.3d 555 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2017)

Date of Decision: 6/12/17


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In re McGlynn (2009)

Objector cannot argue decision should be reversed for improper notice of public hearing where objector appeared and participated at the public hearing and the costs to the municipality of conducting another hearing with the same expected result are unreasonable.

In re McGlynn, 974 A.2d 525 (2009 Pa. Commw. Ct. 2009).


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