Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lawrence County in case of Reverend George Leech, Vincent Wadlinger, Thomas as Acker, Mary Daly and Venetta Angelillo v. John Cater, Richard E. Veri and Frank T. Alduk, Supervisors of Neshannock Township, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, No. 217 of 1976.
Dominick Motto, with him Richard J. Audino, and Rea and Audino, for appellants.
Donald J. Nicolls, with him Chambers, O'Neill, Nicolls, Balph & Paul, for appellees.
Judges Mencer, Rogers and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
This appeal*fn1 involves the meaning of the word "applicant" as used in Section 908(9) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (Code), Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, as amended, 53 P.S. § 10908(9), which provides, inter alia, as follows:
The [zoning hearing] board shall conduct hearings and make decisions in accordance with the following requirements:
(9) The board . . . shall render a written decision or, when no decision is called for, make written findings on the application within forty-five days after the last hearing before the board or hearing officer. . . . Where the board fails to render the decision within the period required
by this subsection, or fails to hold the required hearing within forty-five days from the date of the applicant's request for a hearing, the decision shall be deemed to have been rendered in favor of the applicant unless the applicant has agreed in writing to an extension of time. When a decision has been rendered in favor of the applicant because of the failure of the board to meet or render a decision as hereinabove provided, the municipality shall give public notice of said decision within ten days in the same manner as provided in subsection (1) of this section.
Section 107 of the Code, 53 P.S. § 10107, defines the word "applicant":
As used in this act, except where the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following words or phrases have the meaning indicated below:
(1) 'Applicant,' a landowner or developer, as hereinafter defined, who has filed an application for development including his heirs, ...