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: September 2016

Requests For DEP Review Of Local Zoning Ordinances Pursuant To Act 13 Enjoined

In this follow up case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth, 83 A.3d 901 (Pa. 2013) in which the Court struck down several provisions of Act 13, the State’s oil and gas law, that provided uniform statewide regulation of land uses associated with oil and gas operations, the Court dealt another blow to Act 13 by finding additional provisions either unconstitutional or not severable. The Court struck down additional sections related to allowing gas companies to employ eminent domain, exempting private water sources from being notified following spills, preventing doctors from disclosing or using information about patients’ chemical exposures, and allowing requests for state review of local ordinances.

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Financial Information In Outside Vendor Contracts Excluded From RTKL Disclosure

In this case, the Commonwealth Court was asked to apply the Right-to-Know Law (“RTKL”) and determine whether financial information contained in contracts between state agencies and outside vendors is excluded from disclosure through RTKL requests.  In reversing the Office of Open Records (“OOR”) final determination, the Court concluded that such information was specifically excluded under § 708(b)(26) and could be redacted by the responding state agency.

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No Illegal Spot Zoning Where Property Not Characteristically Similar To Surrounding Area

This case out of Erie County involved a substantive validity challenge of an ordinance down-zoning a property based on an allegation of illegal spot zoning.  In affirming the dismissal of the challenge, the Commonwealth Court concluded that Objectors had failed to satisfy their burden of establishing that the parcel was characteristically similar to surrounding properties.

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Short-Term Rentals Permitted Under Single Family Dwelling Uses

In this case the Commonwealth Court was asked to determine whether “short-term rentals” of residential dwelling units were encompassed within the definition of a “single-family dwelling,” or constituted a separate commercial use.  In reversing the trial court’s decision, the Commonwealth Court concluded that such rentals must be permitted, unless expressly prohibited by, or encompassed within another defined use in, the applicable zoning ordinance.

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Uniform Condominium Act Applies Retroactively To Declarations Enacted Under Predecessor Statute Where No Conflict Exists Between Declaration And UCA Provision

In this dispute between a condominium association council and three condominium owners, the Superior Court was asked to determine whether a provision of the Uniform Condominium Act (UCA) requiring a two-thirds majority vote of owners to amend a Declaration of Condominium, applied retroactively to a Declaration enacted under its precursor, the Unit Property Act (UPA). The Superior Court concluded that because the Declaration was silent about the percentage required for Declaration amendments, no conflict existed between it and the UCA, and thus the UCA provision governed Declaration amendments, requiring a two-thirds vote..

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