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MORRISVILLE BANK v. TOWNSHIP FALLS (07/03/75)

decided: July 3, 1975.

THE MORRISVILLE BANK, JOHN G. JACKSON, ANDREW J. JACKSON, MARY JACKSON, WILLIAM F. JACKSON, VICTORIA JACKSON, SOPHIA TIMKO, OLGA KOSAROWICH, MICHAEL KOSAROWICH, MARIE SWISTAK AND WALTER SWISTAK, APPELLANTS,
v.
TOWNSHIP OF FALLS, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of The Morrisville Bank, John G. Jackson, Andrew J. Jackson, Mary Jackson, William F. Jackson, Victoria Jackson, Sophia Timko, Olga Kosarowich, Michael Kosarowich, Marie Swistak and Walter Swistak v. Township of Falls, No. 1330 Miscellaneous of 1970.

COUNSEL

John W. Donaghy, with him Gerald M. Hershenson and, of counsel, Curtin and Heefner, for appellant.

David H. Moskowitz, with him Weiss, Moskowitz, Molish & Zamparelli, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 20 Pa. Commw. Page 150]

Section 609 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, as amended, 53 P.S. § 10609, effective at the time of the operative occurrences of this case, provided:

"For the preparation of amendments to zoning ordinances, the procedure set forth in this article for

[ 20 Pa. Commw. Page 151]

    the preparation of a proposed zoning ordinance shall be permissive. Before voting on the enactment of an amendment, the governing body shall hold a public hearing thereon, pursuant to public notice. In the case of an amendment other than that prepared by the planning agency, the governing body shall submit each such amendment to the planning agency at least thirty days prior to the hearing on such proposed amendment to provide the planning agency an opportunity to submit recommendations. If, after any public hearing held upon an amendment, the proposed amendment is revised, or further revised, to include land previously not affected by it, the governing body shall hold another public hearing, pursuant to public notice, before proceeding to vote on the amendment."

The Board of Supervisors of Falls Township, Bucks County, gave due public notice of a hearing to be held March 12, 1970 on the subject of a proposal to rezone a portion of a tract of land known as the Jackson farm from L-I Light Industrial to R-I Residential. At the time and place scheduled for hearing, the appellants herein, the owners of portions of the Jackson farm affected by the proposed rezoning, appeared and advanced reasons why the Board should not adopt the amendment. The Board took no action on the hearing date. A few days later counsel for the appellants sent a letter to the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors again setting forth the reasons why his clients believed the Board should not change the zoning classification of any of their land. Nothing further happened until November 17, 1970, when at a regular monthly meeting the Board adopted the amending ordinance.

On December 16, 1970, the appellants filed a complaint*fn1 in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County

[ 20 Pa. Commw. Page 152]

    raising various objections to the procedures followed by the Board. The evidentiary record was supplied by a stipulation. The court below by an able opinion of Judge Satterthwaite refused ...


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