Zoning Validity Challenges

Circleville Rd. Partners, L.P. v. Twp. of Ferguson

An amendment to a zoning ordinance that (1) does not change the entire nature of the existing zoning district and (2) treats similarly situated tracts of land within a particular district equally is a textual amendment rather than a zoning map change.

Circleville Rd. Partners, L.P. v. Twp. of Ferguson, 2019 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 453 (May 15, 2019)

Date of Decision: 5/15/19


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DeAngelo v. N. Strabane Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd.

A variance constitutes a use variance when it contemplates more than a reasonable adjustment from area and space requirements in order to develop a permitted use. Variance applicants must be given a fair and full opportunity to present their request for a variance to the zoning hearing board

DeAngelo v. N. Strabane Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd., 2019 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 372, (Apr. 26, 2019)

Date of Decision: 4/17/19


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London v. Zoning Board of Phila., Pa. Commw. (2017)

Legislation is presumed to be constitutional, therefore, constitutional challengers must overcome a heavy burden to prevail. A challenged provision is invalid, as being overbroad, if it prohibits a substantial amount of protected speech. Provisions are only void for vagueness if “persons of common intelligence must necessarily guess at [the law’s] meaning and differ as to its application.”

London v. Zoning Bd. of Phila., 173 A.3d 847 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2017)

Date of Decision: 11/15/17


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Appeal of Chester County Outdoor, LLC, Pa. Commw., (2017)

Where a proposal is not appended to a validity challenge of a zoning ordinance, the one-year time limitation to file for a building permit under Section 10916(g) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) is not applicable. Further, a trial court does not have jurisdiction to grant site specific relief if the developer did not first file an appropriate application with the local municipality. Finally, while a developer must first submit its request for site specific relief to a municipality, the trial court is the ultimate decision maker and has broad discretion as to its review of the record and additional evidence.

Appeal of Chester County Outdoor, LLC, 64 A.3d 1148 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2013).

Appeal of Chester Cty. Outdoor, LLC, 167 A.3d 280 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2017), aff’d. Appeal of Chester Cty. Outdoor, LLC, 2018 Pa. LEXIS 545.

Date of Decision: 7/28/17


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Davis-Haas v. Exeter Township Zoning Hearing Board, Pa. Commw. (2017)

Where a procedural validity challenge is filed within 30 days of an ordinance’s effective date, the challenger need only prove the municipality failed to strictly comply with the required procedures set forth in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC). Also, a challenger does not lose standing for a procedural validity challenge where the challenger sells a portion of the relevant property but maintains an ownership interest in the property during the proceedings.

Davis-Haas v. Exeter Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd., 166 A.3d 527 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2017)

Date of Decision: 7/12/17


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Delchester Developers, L.P. v. Zoning Hearing Bd., Pa. Commw. (2017)

Where a stormwater ordinance is limited to regulating stormwater, zoning hearing boards do not have jurisdiction under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) to hear substantive validity challenges because such an ordinance is not a land use ordinance as defined by the MPC. Also, municipalities may except eased and constrained areas of a lot from the calculation when determining the percentage of the lot that is developable.

Delchester Developers, L.P. v. Zoning Hearing Bd., 161 A.3d 1081 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2017)

Date of Decision: 5/9/17


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KS Dev. Co., L.P. v. Lower Nazareth Township, Pa. Commw. (2016)

A claim that zoning restrictions render development of some use economically infeasible is a claim of de facto exclusion, not de jure exclusion. Where de facto exclusionary claims exist, analysis under Surrick is appropriate. In addition, where a zoning ordinance defines the term “apartment,” and other uses are individually restricted so as to preclude inclusion as an apartment nor included in the definition of apartment, the other uses are not apartments. However, a use permitting residential multifamily/apartment dwelling on upper floors and commercial uses on the first floor is an apartment use.

KS Dev. Co., L.P. v. Lower Nazareth Twp., 149 A.3d 105 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016)

Date of Decision: 11/4/16


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TWL Realty, LLC v. W. Hanover Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd. (2016)

Municipality is not permitted through its zoning ordinance to regulate matters of parole and probation. The Commonwealth, alone, determines whether a Department of Corrections resident is a potential menace to public safety, and if the resident is permitted to enter a "work-release facility."

TWL Realty, LLC v. W. Hanover Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd., 2016 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 8 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016).

Date of Decision: 1/5/16


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Arbor Resources Limited Liability Co. v. Nockamixon Township, Pa. Commw. (2009)

Zoning ordinances regulating oil and gas operations, including restrictions on lot size, setback requirements and environmental protections, constitute traditional zoning which may be challenged only through the statutory zoning appeal procedure in the MPC. The Common Pleas Court could not exercise equitable jurisdiction to review the same unless the challenger first exhausted the appeal procedure in the MPC.

Arbor Resources Limited Liability Co. v. Nockamixon Township, 973 A.2d 1076 (Pa. Commw. 2009).

Date of Decision: 5/11/09


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