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VALLEY RUN v. BOARD COMMISSIONERS SWATARA TOWNSHIP. VALLEY RUN (11/17/75)

decided: November 17, 1975.

VALLEY RUN, INC.
v.
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF SWATARA TOWNSHIP. VALLEY RUN, INC., APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County in case of Valley Run, Inc. v. Board of Commissioners of Swatara Township, No. 258 June Term, 1974.

COUNSEL

Bruce E. Cooper, with him Charles E. Friedman, and Cooper, Friedman & Butler, for appellant.

James W. Reynolds, with him David A. Wion, and Reynolds, Bihl and Schaffner, for appellee.

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

Author: Blatt

[ 21 Pa. Commw. Page 650]

This is an appeal taken by Valley Run, Inc. from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County which affirmed the refusal of the Board of Commissioners (Board) of Swatara Township (Township) to grant approval to a subdivision plan for an apartment complex.

The appellant is the owner of an 82.58 acre tract located in a zoning district where, under the Township Zoning Ordinance of 1973, apartment houses were a permitted use.*fn1 At some time prior to March 25, 1974 a

[ 21 Pa. Commw. Page 651]

    preliminary plan for the construction there of a 504 unit apartment complex was submitted to the Township's Planning Commission, pursuant to the procedure outlined in the Township's Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance. The Planning Commission approved the plan on March 25 but it was subsequently submitted to the Board which disapproved it on May 10, 1974. Four reasons for the Board's decision were communicated to the appellant by letter of May 13. An appeal was then taken to the Court of Common Pleas which remanded to the Board for the purpose of receiving evidence and making findings of fact. On the basis of testimony taken by deposition the Board then issued thirteen findings of fact. An appeal was again taken to the Court of Common Pleas which affirmed.

Two of the reasons originally given by the Board for denying approval have subsequently been withdrawn so that presently there remain only two reasons which purportedly support the Board's action. These two reasons, as stated in the letter of May 13, 1974, are:

"1. Prospective increased traffic to and from project area on to Chambers Hill Road will create an intolerable traffic hazard in an already high frequency accident area. In addition, this hazard is increased by the inadequate visibility at the two exitentrances. See Penna. Municipalities Planning Code,*fn2 Article V, Section 503(2)(ii) as implemented by Swatara Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance No. 1973-4. Article V, Section 501(1) and (2) and Section 502(9)." (Footnote added.)

     and

"3. The Plan does not contain the designation of streets (within the project area) by name and does not show the ...


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