Pennsylvania Real Estate, Land Use, Zoning, and Municipal Lawyers

This blog features case law related to real estate, land use, zoning, and municipal law in Pennsylvania

Month: June 2015

Marketing Efforts / Existing Nonconforming Use Insufficient to Establish Unnecessary Hardship Justifying Use Variance

On June 26, 2015, Commonwealth Court again considered what circumstances constitute an “unnecessary hardship” justifying a use variance.

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Cause and Effect, Disparate Impact Claims Cognizable Under Fair House Act

In June 2015, the United States Supreme Court held that disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. § 4601, et seq. 

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U.S. Supreme Court Addresses Regulation of Signs Based on Content

The U.S. Supreme Court in a 9-0 decision found that the sign code of Gilbert, Arizona violated the 1st Amendment because its regulation depended “entirely on the communicative content of the sign” and that it did not survive a 1st Amendment strict scrutiny analysis because it singled out specific subject matters for differential treatment.

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Zoning Officer’s Denial of Certificate of Compliance Deemed Not Whistleblowing

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has found a Middle Smithfield Township zoning officer, who was suspended and ultimately fired after denying a certificate of compliance to a local school district, was not entitled to whistleblower protection.

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Landlord Gets Burned by Gas Bills

A landlord learned an expensive lesson this week about the Municipal Claims and Tax Liens Act (“MCTLA”), when the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania found liens placed on the property by the City of Philadelphia were his responsibility. Property owner, Raymond Perfetti,  discovered liens had been placed on his properties after tenants who were responsible for their own gas bills vacated the property without paying the respective gas bills.  Perfetti argued that his due process was  violated by the City’s filing of liens against his property for the unpaid bills and claimed to have no notice of his tenants’ delinquencies, or of the four liens placed on the property,  only discovering them three years later.

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Commonwealth Court Determines that Borough May Enforce Ordinance Assessing Monthly Municipal Improvement Fee through Summary Proceedings

On June 5, 2015, Commonwealth Court held that Charleroi Borough could enforce an ordinance establishing a monthly fee to pay for the construction and installation of the Borough’s new storm water collection system through a summary proceeding.

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