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ROUSE/CHAMBERLIN v. BOARD SUPERVISORS CHARLESTOWN TOWNSHIP (01/29/86)

decided: January 29, 1986.

ROUSE/CHAMBERLIN, INC., APPELLANT
v.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF CHARLESTOWN TOWNSHIP, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County in case of Rouse/Chamberlin, Inc. v. Board of Supervisors of Charlestown Township, No. 112, March Term, 1982.

COUNSEL

John C. Snyder, Lentz, Cantor, Kilgore & Massey, Ltd., for appellant.

John D. Snyder, with him, James E. McErlane, Lamb, Windle & McErlane, P.C., for appellee.

Harold R. Berk, for Amicus Curiae, John and Mary Jo Darnall.

Judges Doyle and Colins, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Colins

[ 94 Pa. Commw. Page 414]

Rouse/Chamberlin, Inc. (appellant), a real estate developer, is appealing an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County (trial court) which affirmed*fn1 a decision of the Board of Supervisors of

[ 94 Pa. Commw. Page 415]

Charlestown Township (Board) rejecting a proposed subdivision plan (plan) submitted in accordance with Section 508 of the Municipalities Planning Code (MPC).*fn2

Appellant applied on October 12, 1981, to the Charlestown Township Planning Commission (Planning Commission) for approval of a preliminary subdivision plan for 29 lots on a 116-acre tract located in Charlestown Township. Following meetings, exchanges of correspondence and review of subsequent revisions of the plan, the Planning Commission on January 18, 1982, voted to recommend rejection of the plan to the Board. The Planning Commission thereafter submitted a comprehensive report to the Board which listed many defects in the plan and recommended that the Board reject the plan. The Planning Commission report emphasized that the site was a "critical environmental area" which required additional plan mapping details and closer adherence to local ordinance guidelines. Appellant made additional changes to the plan in an attempt to comply with the Planning Commission's objections before presenting it to the Board for preliminary approval.

Following a February 1, 1982 hearing, the Board voted to reject the plan for the reasons outlined in the Planning Commission report and for reasons to be set forth in a written letter. The letter, dated February 12, 1982, informed appellant of the formal reasoning behind the rejection. The grounds for rejection were separated into nine delineated areas and each problem was supported by a citation to specific provisions of the Charlestown Township, Pennsylvania, Zoning Ordinance of 1979 (1979) ("zoning ordinance"); the Charlestown Township, Pennsylvania, Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance of 1970 (1970) ("subdivision ordinance"); and the Charlestown

[ 94 Pa. Commw. Page 416]

Township Erosion, Sedimentation and Grading Control Ordinance of 1974, Ordinance No. 25-74 (1974) ("erosion ordinance"). The Board's letter invited appellant to continue to work with the Planning Commission, make further revisions, and submit another plan, stating that rejection of the plan was not a rejection of the appellant's concept. However, ...


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