Municipal Procedure

River’s Edge Funeral Chapel & Crematory, Inc. v. Zoning Hearing Board of Tullytown Borough, Pa. Commw. (2016)

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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Embreeville Redevelopment, L.P. v. Board of Supervisors of W. Bradford Township, Pa. Commw. (2016)

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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Quest Land Development Group, LLC v. Township of Lower Heidelberg, Pa. Commw. (2009)

The decision by members of a Board of Supervisors denying a request for special exception is valid and enforceable despite the failure of the board members to take their official oath or file financial statements, and the void ab initio doctrine does not apply to invalidate their actions.

Quest Land Development Group, LLC v. Township of Lower Heidelberg, 971 A.2d 540 (Pa. Commw. 2009).

Date of Decision: 4/30/09


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Gallagher v. Chestnuthill Township, Pa. Commw. (2009)

Where a property owner receives subdivision and land development approval for subdivision into one-acre lots, but fails to complete the required improvements within 3 years (5 years under the current version of the MPC), the property is subject to the provisions of the new ordinance restricting development to two-acre lots, whether or not the landowner paid taxes assessed on the one-acre lots prior to the zoning change.

Gallagher v. Chestnuthill Township, 968 A.2d 253 (Pa. Commw. 2009).

Date of Decision: 3/25/09


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Tioga Preservation Group v. Tioga County Planning Commission (2009)

An entity with an option to lease a property for which it seeks land development approval for a wind farm has an ownership interest sufficient to constitute an “applicant” and “landowner” as required by the Municipalities Planning Code, and a municipality may grant a waiver from a provision of its ordinance if it would exact undue hardship or the request for waiver is for an innovative design that advances the purpose of the ordinance.

Tioga Preservation Group v. Tioga County Planning Commission, No. 1749 C.D. 2008, 2009 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 77 (Pa. Commw. March 3, 2009).

Date of Decision: 3/3/09


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Rickert v. Latimore Township, Pa. Commw. (2008)

An applicant is entitled to approval of their final subdivision plan if their preliminary plan was approved as long as the final plan is substantially the same as the preliminary plan.

Rickert v. Latimore Twp. Board of Supervisors, 869 A.2d 1086 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005)

Rickert v. Latimore Township, 960 A.2d 912 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2008).

Date of Decision: 11/21/08


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Nextel Partners, Inc. v. Clarks Summit Borough, Pa. Commw. (2008)

Applicant was entitled to a deemed approval of its conditional use application because the Borough failed to hold a hearing within 60 days of receipt of the application. Once an application is accepted and retained by a municipality, the time limitations of the MPC begin.

Nextel Partners, Inc. v. Clarks Summit Borough, 958 A.2d 587 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2008).

Date of Decision: 10/10/08


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Southeastern Chester County Refuse Authority (SECCRA) v. Board of Supervisors of London Grove Township, Pa. Commw. (2008)

Applicant was not entitled to a deemed approval when the Township failed to adhere to the time periods set forth in the MPC because Applicant waived its right to a deemed approval by actively participating in eighteen hearings on the matter.

Southeastern Chester County Refuse Auth. v. Zoning Hearing Bd. of London Grove Township, 898 A.2d 680 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006).

Southeastern Chester County Refuse Authority (SECCRA) v. Board of Supervisors of London Grove Township,  954 A.2d 732 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2008).

Date of Decision: 7/30/08


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