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

Tag: Judge Leavitt

Denial Of Opportunity To Confer With Municipality And Respond To Preliminary Plan Objections Equals Bad Faith By Municipality

Honey Brook Estates (“Developer”) owned a 39.9-acre parcel in the Township.  On May 15, 2006 Developer learned the Township planned to rezone most of Developer’s property from residential to agricultural, and that a public hearing on the zoning amendment was scheduled for June 14. On June 13 Developer submitted a preliminary subdivision plan to the Township, but was informed by the Township Engineer on June 20 that the plan was incomplete. Ten days later Developer submitted an amended plan correcting the 5 omissions cited by the Township Engineer. On July 5 the Township amended its zoning ordinance, rezoning most of Developer’s property. On July 10 the Township Manager again rejected developer’s plan as incomplete, citing three additional reasons, and informing Developer its plan would not enter the review cycle. Despite communicating this to Developer, Manager then forwarded the plan to the Planning Commission for review, and attached a cover letter making 93 critical “comments” about the plan. The Commission considered the application at its meeting on August 24—which Developer failed to attend—and recommended the plan not be approved. When Developer submitted additional supporting documents to the Manager to address his July 10 rejection, Manager informed Developer that the Commission had already recommended the plan be denied. On September 13, the Board of Supervisors voted to reject the amended preliminary plan, citing 59 reasons for its decision. Developer appealed.

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SALDOs Without A Mandate Cannot Be Enforced By A Writ Of Mandamus

In this case out of Susquehanna County, the Commonwealth Court determined that where a subdivision and land development ordinance (SALDO) does not impose a mandate upon a municipality to enforce it, the municipality cannot be compelled to enforce the SALDO by a writ of mandamus.  The court also determined that where a lease does not convey a discrete portion of land to a lessee, it does not constitute subdivision that triggers approval under the SALDO.

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