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ROBERT MUELLER ASSOCIATES AND WILLIAM DOBKIN v. ZONING HEARING BOARD BUFFALO TOWNSHIP AND BUFFALO TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION. BUFFALO TOWNSHIP BOARD SUPERVISORS AND BUFFALO TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION (06/02/77)

decided: June 2, 1977.

ROBERT MUELLER ASSOCIATES AND WILLIAM DOBKIN
v.
ZONING HEARING BOARD OF BUFFALO TOWNSHIP AND BUFFALO TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION. BUFFALO TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AND BUFFALO TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION, APPELLANTS



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County in case of Robert Mueller Associates and William Dobkin v. Zoning Hearing Board of Buffalo Township and Buffalo Township Planning Commission, A.D. No. 60 December Term, 1972.

COUNSEL

Lee A. Montgomery, with him Galbreath, Braham, Gregg, Kirkpatrick, Jaffe & Montgomery, for appellants.

David L. Cook, for appellees.

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

Author: Wilkinson

[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 387]

This case involves an appeal by the Buffalo Township Board of Supervisors from an order of the Court

[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 388]

    of Common Pleas of Butler County refusing to place certain conditions on the tentative approval of appellee's planned residential development (PRD). We affirm.

In June, 1972, appellee-developer applied to the Buffalo Township Zoning Hearing Board and the Buffalo Township Planning Commission for tentative approval of a PRD to contain 470 units. On August 7, 1972 a public hearing was held. Tentative approval was denied and the developer appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County. The Zoning Hearing Board was dismissed as a party and the Board of Supervisors added. Hearings were held before the court on May 4 and June 20, 1973 and extensive testimony was taken. The court ruled that under Section 709 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, as amended, 53 P.S. § 10709, tentative approval must be granted or denied by the governing authority, i.e., the Board of Supervisors and, therefore, remanded.

Upon remand, the Board of Supervisors granted tentative approval subject to 23 conditions. The developer refused to accept some of the conditions and again appealed to the court of common pleas. The court, considering the appeal de novo on the basis of its prior hearings, granted tentative approval to the PRD subject to 17 conditions. The developer accepted these conditions but the Board of Supervisors has appealed.

It is uncontested that the construction of appellee's PRD will necessitate the accelerated improvement of Harbison Road as well as the accelerated construction of water lines and sewage facilities. Among the conditions placed on tentative approval by the Board of Supervisors was that all off-site costs of the above improvements be paid for by the developer. On appeal, the court below required the developer to pay

[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 389]

    for the construction costs of widening Harbison Road and for the off-site costs of installing water lines and a sewage disposal system. These conditions are not appealed by the developer. The court imposed on the Township the cost of acquiring off-site rights-of-way, holding that charging these costs on the developer would be "invalid, arbitrary and unreasonable." The Board of Supervisors appeals from the imposition of these costs on the Township. Here, where the lower court has considered the application for tentative approval of a PRD de novo, our scope of review is to determine whether the lower court committed an abuse of discretion or error of law when it refused to ...


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