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

Month: May 2017

Municipality has Burden of Demonstrating Likelihood of Success for Preliminary Injunction in First Amendment Challenge of Ordinance

In this challenge of the constitutionality of an ordinance restricting protests and picketing within 20 feet of the entrance to a healthcare facility, the Third Circuit remanded the District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania’s denial of a preliminary injunction. The Third Circuit found that the District Court had improperly placed the burden of demonstrating likelihood of success on the plaintiffs, rather than the municipality, as is required in First Amendment cases.

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Sale of First Lot in Development Does Not Strip Developer of Fee Interest in Platted Roads on Subdivision Plan

In this case out of Adams County the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reversed the Superior Court’s determination that upon the sale of a single lot in a subdivision development a developer’s interest in the platted roads depicted on the subdivision plan transforms from a fee interest into an easement interest.  Such a determination, the Court found, would absurdly result in an easement without a servient estate, which is not possible.

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Denial of Conditional Use Application Reversed After Borough Council Failed to Shift Burden to Objectors

In this appeal out of Allegheny County, the Commonwealth Court was presented with an appeal from the reversal of a Borough Council’s denial of a conditional use application.  In affirming the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County’s reversal, the Commonwealth Court found that Borough Council had not properly shifted the burden of proof to objectors once the applicant had satisfied all objective conditional use requirements in the zoning ordinance.

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Court Holds Validity Challenge of Stormwater Ordinance Not Within Jurisdiction of ZHB

In the first of two cases relating to the subject property, the Commonwealth Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County affirming the London Grove Township Zoning Hearing Board’s (“ZHB”) denial of a variance to Delchester Developers (“Delchester”) to develop two adjoining properties.  The Court concluded that the ZHB had properly interpreted its zoning ordinance, that Delchester’s validity challenge of the Borough’s stormwater ordinance was not within the ZHB’s jurisdiction, and the Township’s “net out” provision was neither a violation of due process nor an illegal taking.

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No Enforceable Requirement that Mortgages be Recorded in County Records Offices

In an interlocutory appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, the Commonwealth Court addressed whether 21 P.S. §351 (“Section 351”) imposed a requirement that all mortgages and mortgage assignments be recorded, and whether county Recorders of Deeds (“Recorders”) have the right to enforce such a requirement. The Commonwealth Court concluded that no such requirement existed, and, even if it did, Recorders had no right to enforce it.

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City Has Standing to Bring FHA Suit Based on Discriminatory Lending Practices by Banks, Remands on Proximate Cause Issue

In this Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) claim out of Florida, the Supreme Court was asked to decide whether a municipality has standing to bring a claim under the FHA, and whether there is a sufficient causal link between predatory lending practices within minority communities and the negative effects on municipalities that result in those communities due to high foreclosure rates. The Court held that municipalities do have standing to bring FHA claims, but remanded to the lower courts to decide the issue of proximate cause.

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