The Commonwealth Court was tasked with considering whether Maxatawny Township’s Board of Supervisors (Board) erred by granting an applicant’s Final Land Development Plan with conditions that were identical to the conditions set forth in the approved Preliminary Plan, when those conditions were not satisfied after the preliminary approval.

The dispute arose from Apollo Point, L.P. and Saucony Creek, L.P.’s (collectively, Landowners) proposed plan to develop a 192-unit apartment complex.  The Township approved Landowner’s Preliminary Plan, subject to 161 conditions, including conditions related to storm water management, sanitary sewer system and water distribution system requirements, zoning relief, and approvals from other agencies. Lyons Borough (Borough) and Lyons Borough Municipal Authority (LBMA) appealed the conditional approval first to the Berks County Court of Common Pleas, which dismissed the appeal, and then to Commonwealth Court, which affirmed the Board’s approval.

Subsequent to the Commonwealth Court’s decision, the Board approved Landowner’s Final Plan, which was again conditioned on satisfying the same 161 conditions outlined in the Preliminary Plan approval. Lyons Borough and the LBMA again appealed, arguing that the conditions attached to the Preliminary Plan approval had not been satisfied and that the Final Plan as submitted did not comply with the requirements of the Township’s SALDO and Zoning Ordinance.

On its second review, the trial court affirmed the Board’s order, noting that the Landowner had already complied with some of the conditions and agreed to comply with the remaining conditions.  The trial court also noted “because this is an issue between the Borough and LBMA and the Township which may be the subject of a contract dispute, but it is no the basis to reject Landowner’s Final Plan.”  Lyons Borough and LBMA again appealed to Commonwealth Court.

The Commonwealth Court reversed.  The court reasoned that even though the conditions of the Preliminary and Final Plans were identical, the Landowners had not complied with all of the conditions of the preliminary plan.  Therefore, approval of the Final Plan was premature and did not comply with the Township’s SALDO and/or Zoning Ordinance.

Click here to read: Commonwealth Court Lyons Borough v. Township of Maxatawny, 1972 C.D. 2014 (Pa. Cmwlth. July 13, 2015).

Edited by:

HJA for PAZ Website Hugh J. Algeo IV, Esq.