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BOARD SUPERVISORS CHARLESTOWN TOWNSHIP v. WEST CHESTNUT REALTY CORP. (10/28/87)

decided: October 28, 1987.

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF CHARLESTOWN TOWNSHIP, APPELLANT
v.
WEST CHESTNUT REALTY CORP., APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County in the case of West Chestnut Realty Corp. v. Board of Supervisors of Charlestown Township, No. 388 October Term, 1979.

COUNSEL

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

Patrick C. O'Donnell, with him, John E. Good, for appellee.

Judges Craig, Doyle, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 482]

The Board of Supervisors of Charlestown Township (board) appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County reversing the board's denial of an application by West Chestnut Realty Corporation (developer) for final approval of phase one of the Charlestown Oaks planned residential development (PRD), pursuant to Article VII of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, as amended, 53 P.S. §§ 10701-10711.

Following a series of public hearings, the board had granted tentative PRD approval, subject to stated conditions, on December 27, 1978. The board issued additional conditions of approval on January 25, 1979, addressing problems of storm water management, traffic, utilities, landscaping and miscellaneous concerns.

The neighboring township of East Whiteland and a private citizen group appealed the board's tentative approval of the PRD plan to the common pleas court. They withdrew the appeal when East Whiteland, the citizen group and the developer stipulated to additional terms of approval for Charlestown Oaks regarding storm

[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 483]

    water management. The board approved the terms of the stipulation.

On July 2, 1979, the developer filed an application, including plans, for final PRD approval of phase one of the development. After four public hearings, the board denied final approval of the plan. The developer sought a writ of mandamus in the trial court, seeking a deemed approval based on a claim of delay in the board's decision, under MPC § 711(c), 53 P.S. § 10711(c). The trial court refused the approval, and on appeal, this court affirmed the trial court's ruling.*fn1

Developer also filed a statutory appeal from the board's decision in the court of common pleas. On remand from the trial court, the board made findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of its decision to deny final approval. On July 14, 1986, the trial court reversed the board's decision and ordered the board to grant final approval to the developer's plan, subject to a single condition requiring the developer to provide lighting at street intersections. The trial court concluded that the board had committed legal error by subjecting the plan to review under inapplicable local ordinances, and had abused its discretion by employing standards more specific and stringent than those set out in the township's regulations.

On appeal, the township presents the following issues:

1. Were the regulations of the Charlestown Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SLDO) improperly employed in the review of the final PRD plan?

2. Was the final PRD plan required to depict all the improvements shown on the approved tentative plan?

[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 4843]

. Were the board's grounds for denial properly based on the developer's noncompliance ...


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