Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of Michael J. Bobiak and Mary I. Bobiak, husband and wife, and William P. Meyers, Wayne R. Johnson, James Tambourino and Harold E. Roberts, t/a Huntington Hollow Associates v. Richland Township Planning Commission, No. 77-4101-03-6.
Richard P. McBride, of Power, Bowen & Valimont, for appellants.
Richard A. Rosenberger, of Souder, Rosenberger, Lapp & Bricker, for appellee.
Judges Mencer, Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer. President Judge Bowman and Judge DiSalle did not participate in the decision in this case.
Michael J. Bobiak and Mary I. Bobiak, his wife, and William P. Meyers, Wayne R. Johnson, James Tambourino, and Harold E. Roberts, trading as Huntington Hollow Associates (plaintiffs) appeal the decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, dismissing plaintiffs' exceptions to the court's denial of relief in mandamus. This action was commenced to obtain a court order requiring the Richland Township Planning Commission (Commission)
to evidence approval of the preliminary subdivision plan filed by William P. Meyers and Herbert L. Luff on April 22, 1974, on the basis that the plan is deemed approved under Section 508(3) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, as amended, 53 P.S. § 10508(3),*fn1 as a result of the Commission's failure to render a decision regarding their preliminary plan within 90 days of application.
On March 6, 1974, the Bobiaks agreed to sell approximately 64 acres of land to Meyers and Luff, conditioned upon the buyers' obtaining subdivision approval
and obtaining the necessary financing for the purchase price. On April 22, 1974, Meyers and Luff submitted their subdivision application to the Commission. At an open meeting on July 22, 1974,*fn2 Meyers received from the Commission a copy of the township engineer's letter to the Commission regarding the engineer's review of the plan. The Commission discussed the letter's contents with Meyers but took no other action. In December 1974, Meyers and Luff terminated their interest in the Bobiak property. In December 1976, the Bobiaks agreed to sell the same property to Huntington Hollow Associates, a partnership of which Meyers is a partner. This action in mandamus followed on April 29, 1977. We reverse.
The issue is whether the presentation and discussion by the Commission of the township engineer's letter which comprises his review and comments on the proposed plan, without more, constitutes compliance with the requirement at that time in Section 508 of the MPC that "the governing body or the planning agency shall render its decision and communicate it to the applicant not later than ninety days after such application is filed."
Although, as the lower court noted, the applicant and the Commission understood that the proposed plan needed revisions, we are not convinced that the Commission acted upon the application and rendered its decision with regard to it in a manner contemplated by the MPC. Section 508 provided then, as now, that the plans are submitted for "approval" and are to be "acted upon" by the governing body which ...