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

Month: January 2017

City’s Rental Unit License Fee Upheld, Indirect Costs Appropriate Consideration in Evaluating Reasonableness of Fee

In this appeal out of Lehigh County, the Commonwealth Court was presented with a challenge to the City of Allentown’s residential rental unit licensing ordinance.  Objecting landlords (“Challengers”) asserted the fee constituted an unlawful special tax and sought an injunction against its enforcement.  In affirming the trial court’s finding in favor of the City, the Commonwealth Court held that certain indirect costs were to be considered when evaluating the reasonableness of a municipal fee, and Challengers’ failure to include any indirect costs meant they had not met their burden and the case was properly dismissed.

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Objecting Neighbors’ Speculative Testimony Insufficient Basis to Deny Special Exception

In this appeal of a special exception denial by the City of Scranton’s Zoning Hearing Board (“ZHB”), the Commonwealth Court was asked to determine what type of testimony is required to support such a denial based on general detrimental effects to health, safety, and welfare. In reversing the ZHB’s decision, the Court concluded that lay testimony based solely on personal opinions, bald assertions, and speculation were insufficient grounds for denial.

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