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

Tag: Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County

Accidental Discharge of Runoff onto Property by Township Was Not a De Facto Taking

In this takings case out of Bucks County, the Commonwealth Court was asked to determine whether the inadvertent redirection of storm water onto a property constituted a de facto taking that would require the municipality to pay just compensation. In concluding the resultant flooding did not rise to the level of a de facto taking, the Court concluded that although the municipality had intentionally redirected runoff, the choice of discharge locations had not been intentional and did not warrant an award of just compensation.

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Existence of Man-Made Improvements Not Sufficient Hardship to Warrant Variance

In this zoning appeal out of Bucks County. the Commonwealth Court was asked whether the existence of man-made improvements that exceeded the permitted impervious coverage on a property could constitute a sufficient hardship to warrant the issuance of a variance. In concluding that such improvements could not, the court held that generally for a unique condition to warrant a variance it must relate to the physical conditions of the land itself and not to man-made improvements, such as poured asphalt and concrete.

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Appearance and Appropriateness of Use Not Valid Considerations When Denying a Permitted By-Right Use

In this appeal out of Bucks County, the Commonwealth Court weighed in on whether a zoning hearing board (“ZHB”) could deny a permit for a permitted by-right use based on the ZHB’s determination that the requested use was not appropriate in the district, and was not the actual use for which the applicant intended to use the property.  In affirming the trial court’s reversal of the ZHB’s decision, the Commonwealth Court held that it was error for the ZHB to consider the appropriateness or proposed appearance of a permitted by-right use, and that evidence of a prior application for use that was not permitted, was irrelevant to the present application.

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