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

Tag: J. Wojcik

Submission of SALDO Plans Created Vested Right to Review Under Then Applicable Zoning Ordinance

In this zoning appeal out of Montgomery County, the Commonwealth Court addressed whether, under the Municipalities Planning Code (“MPC”) the filing of a mandatory sketch plan created a vested right such that any future zoning applications had to be reviewed under the zoning ordinance in effect when the sketch plan was filed. In affirming the trial court’s decision, the Commonwealth Court concluded the MPC created a vested right which applied to both the then existing subdivision and land development ordinance (“SALDO”) and zoning ordinance.

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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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Failure to Submit Sufficiently Detailed Site Plan Adequate Grounds for Denying Special Exception

In this case the Commonwealth Court was asked to determine whether a zoning applicant’s failure to submit a site plan with all information required by the zoning ordinance was sufficient grounds to deny a special exception application. In upholding the trial court’s affirmation of the Zoning Hearing Board’s (“ZHB”) decision to deny the application, the court held that an applicant’s failure to include all required information in a site plan, or to request a waiver or extension to submit a satisfactory site plan, was grounds, on its own, to deny the application.

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Temporary Beer Garden Not Nuisance Per Se In Residential Zoning District

In this case out of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth Court was asked to weigh in on whether the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County appropriately granted a preliminary injunction to allow the continued operation of a temporary beer garden in a residential zone while it applied for certain required zoning permits and certifications.  In affirming the court’s decision that a preliminary injunction was warranted, the court found that locating a beer garden in a residentially zoned area was not a per se public nuisance, and that the City had failed to prove the use constituted a nuisance or endangered the public health or safety.

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Government Immunity Under Tort Claims Act Not Applicable Where Design and Layout of Property was Cause of Injury

In this action for negligence out of the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth Court was presented with a question of whether an injury caused by an exposed concrete wall in a school gymnasium fell under the real property exception to government immunity provided by the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act (the “Act”). In reversing the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County’s grant of summary judgment, the court held that merely because options for remedying a dangerous condition involve personalty it does not mean that the real property exception is inapplicable.

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Buyers At Upset Sales Responsible For Taxes That Accrue Between Sale And Conveyance Of Title

The Commonwealth Court was asked to weigh in on whether a purchaser of real estate at an upset sale for unpaid taxes was responsible for paying taxes that accrue between the date of purchase at upset sale and the date the deed was conveyed.  In affirming the lower court’s determination, the court held that the purchaser was responsible for such taxes.

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