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HOLLAND ENTERPRISES v. ISADORE JOKA (01/18/82)

decided: January 18, 1982.

HOLLAND ENTERPRISES, INC., APPELLANT
v.
ISADORE JOKA, BUILDING INSPECTOR OF BUCKINGHAM TOWNSHIP AND THE BUCKINGHAM TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of Holland Enterprises, Inc. v. Isadore Joka, Building Inspector of Buckingham Township and the Buckingham Township Board of Supervisors, No. 77-4660-11-6.

COUNSEL

Richard P. McBride, with him William H. Fuss, Power, Bowen & Valimont, for appellant.

Sandra K. Slade, Pitt, Agulnick, Supplee, Johnson & Slade, for appellees.

Judges Mencer, Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of office of Judge Palladino.

Author: Rogers

[ 64 Pa. Commw. Page 131]

The single issue before us in this case is the validity of Ordinance No. 6-76 of the Township of Buckingham, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a township of the Second Class, which provides in Section 2 as follows:

The Builder of any residential dwelling and/or industrial building and/or any other building or structure proposed to be constructed within Buckingham Township requiring an individual on-site sanitary sewage disposal system shall post with the Township a Bond secured by corporate surety or such other sureties as might be required by the Board of Supervisors guaranteeing the proper functioning of said individual on-site sanitary sewage disposal system. The amount of the Bond shall be Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2500) or the cost of installing said system, including materials, whichever is greater. The Bond or other approved guarantee shall be in effect for two years after the date that the building is first occupied on a permanent basis.

The facts are undisputed. Holland Enterprises is the owner of a parcel of land in Buckingham Township on which it has constructed a single family detached dwelling and related improvements including an on-site sanitary sewage disposal system which is the subject of an installation permit and a certificate of compliance issued by the Bucks County Department of Health pursuant to the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act.*fn1 Following the completion of these improvements

[ 64 Pa. Commw. Page 132]

    and the receipt of a final inspection by the Township Building Inspection Department the appellant made application to Isadore Joka, the township building inspector, for the issuance of a certificate of use and occupancy necessary to consummate an agreement of sale entered into between the appellant and another. This application was denied on the ground that the appellant had failed to post the bond required by the ordinance provision above quoted. The appellant then brought an action in mandamus to compel the defendant to issue the requested certificate and challenging the validity of the ordinance relied on by the defendant. The Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County refused the relief requested and upheld the challenged ordinance.

The appellant here renews arguments that Ordinance No. 6-76 represents an unreasonable exercise of the Township's governmental power, thereby denying the appellant due process of the laws; that it is unconstitutionally vague; and that its subject matter is beyond the township's power of regulation as having been preempted by statewide legislation.

We reject the contention that Ordinance 6-76 has been preempted by the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act. The general rule is:

In determining whether, by the enactment of the specific statute, the Commonwealth completely barred a municipality's enactment of an ordinance relating to the same field, we will refrain from striking down the local ordinance unless the Commonwealth has explicitly claimed the authority itself, or unless there is such actual, material conflict between the state and local powers ...


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