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HIGHFIELD II v. MUNICIPALITY UPPER ST. CLAIR (07/20/88)

decided: July 20, 1988.

HIGHFIELD II, INC., APPELLANT
v.
THE MUNICIPALITY OF UPPER ST. CLAIR, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in the case of Highfield II, Inc. v. The Municipality of Upper St. Clair, No. SA 2232-1985.

COUNSEL

Lynn E. MacBeth, with counsel, Walter A. Koegler, Koegler and Tomlinson, for appellant.

Joan P. Feldman, with counsel, Robert N. Hackett, Robert N. Hackett & Associates, for appellee.

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

Author: Craig

[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 44]

Highfield II, Inc. appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which granted a motion to discontinue Highfield's appeal filed by the Township of Upper St. Clair (USC). The trial court held that it did not have jurisdiction to review Highfield's appeal of a condition which the USC Board of Commissioners had attached to its grant of final approval of Highfield's proposed office and retail development. We now reverse the trial court.

In 1983, Highfield applied for approval of Phase I of a five-phase office and retail development project. The

[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 45]

USC zoning ordinance, at section 130-23, adopts the two-tiered procedure for application and approval of planned residential developments, as set forth in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), sections 701 to 712,*fn1 for planned shopping and office centers. Under this approach, the board may grant tentative approval subject to specific conditions; the developer then has thirty days after written notice of tentative approval to notify the board of its refusal to accept the conditions. MPC section 709.

On November 5, 1984, the board granted tentative approval to Phase I of Highfield's application, subject to three modifications and twenty-six conditions. Condition 7 provided:

That subsequent final approvals shall be subject to the compliance with the driveway designs and any improvements to Hidden Valley Drive or Boyce Road as recommended by the Township's Consulting Traffic Engineer and determined by the Township in its sole discretion and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in order to mitigate the traffic impacts created by the Boyce Station Mall Complex on the local street. All costs of such improvements shall be paid for by the Applicant. (Emphasis added.)

Highfield did not notify the board of any objection to the conditions within the thirty-day time limit.

Following the completion of traffic impact studies, USC notified Highfield that it would have to post a performance bond of $190,670 before the board would grant final approval. At its December 2, 1985 meeting, the board adopted Ordinance No. 1173, which granted final ...


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