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: December 2015

Trial Courts Cannot Grant Petition For Sale For Unpaid Taxes Without Inquiry Into Factual Averments

In this case, the Commonwealth Court was asked to weigh in on the procedures a trial court must follow before it can order the sale of a property for unpaid taxes. Specifically, the court found that trial courts must make an independent inquiry into the facts asserted in the municipality’s petition for sale, and cite in its opinion the record evidence it relied upon in concluding that the petition’s factual averments were true.

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SALDOs Without A Mandate Cannot Be Enforced By A Writ Of Mandamus

In this case out of Susquehanna County, the Commonwealth Court determined that where a subdivision and land development ordinance (SALDO) does not impose a mandate upon a municipality to enforce it, the municipality cannot be compelled to enforce the SALDO by a writ of mandamus.  The court also determined that where a lease does not convey a discrete portion of land to a lessee, it does not constitute subdivision that triggers approval under the SALDO.

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Neighbors Left In Stinky Situation After Supreme Court Finds Nuisance Claims Barred By Right To Farm Act

The Supreme Court, in an appeal from Superior Court, held that judges, not juries, should determine the applicability of the Right to Farm Act’s (“RTFA”) prohibition on nuisance claims. It further determined that the use of recycled biosolids as fertilizer constituted a normal agricultural use under the RTFA.

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Property Owners Can Be Required to Pay Business Privilege Tax on Rental Proceeds

In this case the Supreme Court held that businesses that obtain all of their income from leasing property can be compelled to pay business privilege tax (BPT), despite a provision in the Local Tax Enabling Act (“LTEA”) prohibiting municipalities from levying, assessing, or collecting “any tax” on leases or lease transactions.

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Municipalities Cannot Require Group Living Facilities Have 24-hour Onsite Supervision

In this exclusionary zoning case out of Beaver County, the Commonwealth Court determined that requiring group living facilities to have 24-hour onsite supervision was de jure exclusionary of “partial” Community Residential Rehabilitation Services (CRRS) and therefore unconstitutional.

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Twenty Years Not Enough To Cure Fatal Flaws In Quiet Title Action

In this subsurface mineral rights case out of Lycoming County the Superior Court weighed in on the requirements for obtaining alternative service in a quiet title action. It also looked at the impact of failing to include indispensable parties despite 20 years passing between the entering of the judgment and defendants’ motion to open/strike.

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