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: October 2017

Commonwealth Court Approves Much of Land Use Settlement but Holds Trial Court Did Not Have Jurisdiction over Property That Was Not at Issue in Underlying Litigation

This case involved an appeal from a 2015 land use settlement entered into between Lower Mount Bethel Township (the “Township”) and Gravel Hill Enterprises, Inc. (“Gravel Hill”).  The settlement revolved around the use of Gravel Hill’s property as a location for stump grinding to create mulch and top soil.  There were concerns regarding truck traffic, increased noise, declining property values, and other issues on the part of the Township and many of its residents.

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Borough Waived Issues It Did Not Raise in Front of Zoning Hearing Board

This case required the Commonwealth Court to determine if a municipality had a right to appeal the granting of a special exception by its zoning hearing board.  The court held that it did not because the municipality failed to make the appropriate objection in front of the zoning hearing board, and thus, the issue was waived.

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Commonwealth Court Holds That Records Must Be in Existence at Time of Request to Be Considered “Public Records” and Requesters Cannot Expand Scope of Request After the Fact

The Commonwealth Court was required to decide whether records that were not yet completed at the time of a request made pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law (the “RTKL”) were public records.  The court held that an agency is required to produce only those records that were in existence at the time of the request, and incomplete records do not count.

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Commonwealth Court Holds That Board of Supervisors Did Not Need to Wait for Developer to Obtain Zoning Permit Before Approving Land Development Plan

In this case, the Commonwealth Court had to decide whether a board of supervisors was wrong to consider and approve a land development plan prior to the developer obtaining zoning relief.  Because the municipality’s subdivision and land development ordinance (“SALDO”) did not require that a land development applicant obtain zoning relief first, the board of supervisors did not err by considering and approving the land development plans.

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