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SZELES-NATALE v. BOARD COMMISSIONERS SWATARA TOWNSHIP (02/14/77)

decided: February 14, 1977.

SZELES-NATALE, INC.
v.
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF SWATARA TOWNSHIP, DAUPHIN COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA. SZELES-NATALE, INC., APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County in case of Szeles-Natale, Inc. v. Board of Commissioners of Swatara Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, No. 1339 June Term, 1974.

COUNSEL

Peter J. Ressler, with him Charles E. Zaleski, and Shearer, Mette & Woodside, for appellant.

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

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 564]

Szeles-Natale, Inc. (appellant) seeks review of an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County which dismissed its appeal from the denial of a plat approval by the Board of Commissioners of Swatara Township (Board). We affirm. The questions raised here by the appellant were thoroughly treated by the court below in an unpublished opinion by Judge Morgan;*fn1 however, we will address each issue again briefly.

Foremost among appellant's objections is one concerning the interpretation of Swatara Township's Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (Ordinance) enacted under the authority of Section 501 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC)*fn2 which reads in pertinent part:

The governing body of each municipality may regulate subdivisions and land development within the municipality by enacting a subdivision and land development ordinance. The ordinance may require that all plats of land lying within the municipality shall be submitted for approval to the governing body or

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 565]

    in lieu thereof to a planning agency designated in the ordinance for this purpose. All powers granted herein to the governing body or the planning agency shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of the subdivision and land development ordinance. (Emphasis added.)

Appellant argues that Section 403 of the Ordinance grants the exclusive power to approve plats to the Swatara Township Planning Commission (Commission). The relevant portion of Section 403 states:

Preliminary Plats. The Commission is herewith authorized to receive applications for preliminary subdivision and land development plat approval, to submit copies of the same to the Engineer, Public Utilities, Dauphin County Planning Commission, and other public agencies, and to return the Plat to the developer approved, or with recommendations for changes necessary for approval.

The Commission, at a meeting on June 3, 1974, recommended approval of the plat. On June 14, 1974, the Board voted to deny plat approval. The Board contends that Section 403 only grants advisory powers to the Commission, while appellant contends that the approval of the Commission is binding. Accordingly, appellant argues that final plat approval of substantially ...


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