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

Tag: Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County

Failure to Appeal Violation Notice Conclusive Determination of Ordinance Violation

In this zoning enforcement action out of Northampton County, the Commonwealth Court was presented with a property owner’s appeal of a judgment entered against them for constructing a retaining wall and backfill within the Delaware River floodplain without necessary permits.  In affirming the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County’s (the “trial court”) decision to award attorney fees, a fine, and grant a permanent injunction, the court found that failure to appeal a zoning violation notice to the zoning hearing board (“ZHB”) resulted in a conclusive determination of violation that could not be contested on appeal.

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Actively Used Agricultural Land Not Considered Undeveloped Land When Determining Whether Municipality Is “Underdeveloped”

The Commonwealth Court was presented with an appeal from a validity challenge asserting “apartments” were either excluded from the municipality, or the municipality failed to accommodate its fair share of multi-family housing.  In determining that the challenge was appropriately dismissed, the court concluded that the economic infeasibility of a particular variation of a use did not render the entire use infeasible, and that zoned and actively used agricultural land could not be considered “undeveloped” when determining whether a municipality was underdeveloped.

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Change In Hours Of Illumination Of Digital Billboards Was “Substantial Amendment” Requiring Re-Advertisement

In this case out of Northampton County the Commonwealth Court weighed in on what constitutes a “substantial amendment” to a proposed ordinance, such that it must be re-advertised prior to being adopted. In finding that the municipality should have re-advertised a change to the number of hours digital billboards could be illuminated, the court appeared to establish different standards for such appeals brought by applicants and those brought by adjacent landowners.

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