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EDWARD B. GOLLA ET AL. v. HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP BOARD SUPERVISORS AND HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD (10/15/82)

decided: October 15, 1982.

EDWARD B. GOLLA ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AND HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County in case of Edward B. Golla et al. v. Hopewell Township Board of Supervisors and Hopewell Township Zoning Hearing Board, No. 80-S-2114.

COUNSEL

Edward B. Golla, for appellants.

Gilbert G. Malone, Ports, Beers, Feldmann & Malone, with him John W. Thompson and William Poole, Shoemaker and Thompson, for appellees.

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

Author: Blatt

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 378]

Edward B. Golla and a large number of other natural and corporate landowners (appellants) appeal here a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of York County which affirmed a decision of the Hopewell Township Zoning Hearing Board (Board).*fn1 The Board had dismissed the application of the appellants for failure to pay the required filing fee.

These parties have been before us once before. In Hopewell Township Board of Supervisors v. Golla (Golla I), 58 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 572, 428 A.2d 701 (1980), this Court, sitting en banc, ruled that certain sections of the Hopewell Township Zoning Ordinance (ordinance) in regard to the number of lots permissible per tract, were unconstitutional.*fn2 The ordinance was later amended in an effort to comply with the

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 379]

    mandate of Golla I, but the appellants contend that certain provisions of the ordinance still remain unconstitutional. The Board dismissed their appeal because of their refusal to pay a $100 filing fee as required by the ordinance, and consequently no decision was rendered on the merits. An appeal to the common pleas court followed and, when that court affirmed, the appellants appealed here.

Where, as here, no additional evidence is taken by the trial court, our scope of review is to determine whether or not the zoning board abused its discretion or committed an error of law. Warminster Area Child Day Care Association v. Upper Southampton Township Zoning Hearing Board, 35 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 541, 386 A.2d 1076 (1978).

The appellants argue that the Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, as amended, 53 P.S. §§ 10101-11202, does not authorize the imposition of fees for applications to zoning boards. The Board, on the other hand, argues that Section 618 of the MPC, 53 P.S. § 10618, wherein the local governing body is given the authority to "prescribe reasonable fees to be charged with respect to the administration of a zoning ordinance" gives it such authority. Whether or not the activities of the Board in receiving applications are within the ambit of "administration", therefore, is the question before us.

The appellants argue that the term "administration", undefined by the MPC, refers to the work of the executive branch of government and that the Board, by its nature, is judicial or quasi-judicial, not executive. Zoning boards, however, have been clearly held not to be judicial, but administrative bodies, creatures of the legislative body. Appeal of Emanuel Baptist Church, 26 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 427, 364 A.2d ...


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