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

Month: March 2016

Temporary Use Variances Require Showing Of Unnecessary Hardship; Cannot Be De Minimis

In this appeal of the grant of a zoning variance out of Lebanon County the Commonwealth Court weighed in on whether an application for a temporary variance must meet the same requirements as a permanent variance, and whether the de minimis doctrine could be used to grant a use variance. The court held that the same requirements apply to a temporary variance as a permanent variance and that the de minimis doctrine does not apply to use variances, only dimensional variances.

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MPC Notice Requirements Not Satisfied By Objector’s Presence At Zoning Board’s Oral Decision

In this petition to open a judgment and intervene in a land use appeal the Commonwealth Court determined that a zoning board’s obligation to notify objectors of its final decision is not satisfied by the objectors being present at the board’s oral decision.  Rather, objectors must still be provided with notice of the decision, and failure to do so may permit objectors to make an untimely appeal where extraordinary cause exists.

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Years In Bankruptcy Estate Do Not Count For Adverse Possession Claims

In this quiet title action out of Fayette County, the court weighed in on whether a bankruptcy proceeding, by which a property becomes part of a bankruptcy estate, interrupts the continuous possession required to establish adverse possession.  Finding that it does, the court dismissed the adverse possession claim for failing to demonstrate that the property had been continuously possessed for 21 years, among other grounds.

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Court Finds Overall Effect Of Zoning Changes Is Key Factor In Distinguishing Text Amendments From Map Amendments

In this zoning ordinance validity challenge, the Commonwealth Court was asked to weigh in on the difference between a text amendment to a zoning ordinance and a map amendment to a zoning ordinance. In reversing the lower court’s decision that characterized the Ordinance as a text amendment, the court emphasized that the overall effect of the proposed changes was more important to this analysis than the number of proposed changes.

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