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RICHLAND TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION v. MICHAEL J. BOBIAK AND MARY I. BOBIAK (01/18/89)

decided: January 18, 1989.

RICHLAND TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION, APPELLANT
v.
MICHAEL J. BOBIAK AND MARY I. BOBIAK, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, in the case of Michael J. Bobiak and Mary I. Bobiak v. Richland Township Planning Commission, No. 77-4101-03-6.

COUNSEL

Francis X. Buschman, Jr., Souder, Rosenberger, Bricker, Buschman & Maza, for appellant.

Lawrence B. Fox, for appellees.

Judges Craig and Barry, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick.

Author: Narick

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 624]

This action is an appeal by the Richland Township Planning Commission (Commission) from a decision and

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 625]

    order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County which directed the Commission to approve preliminary subdivision plans filed on April 24, 1974 with respect to certain property owned by Michael J. Bobiak and Mary I. Bobiak (Appellees). We affirm.

Appellees are the owners of a sixty-four acre parcel of land located in Richland Township (Township). On March 6, 1974, Appellees executed an agreement of sale with William P. Meyers and Herbert L. Luff for the sale of Appellees' property but said sale was conditioned upon the buyers obtaining subdivision approval. On April 24, 1974, the buyers submitted their subdivision application to the Commission for preliminary approval. Appellees' property was at this time zoned residential subdivision (RS). A meeting was held by the Commission and at this meeting the buyers were presented with a letter from the Township's engineer. This letter indicated that the Township's engineer was recommending rejection of buyers' preliminary subdivision plans. The Commission never issued a formal decision with respect to buyers' application for preliminary subdivision plan approval. On June 16, 1975, the Township Board of Supervisors enacted the Quakertown area zoning ordinance and this ordinance changed the zoning of Appellees' property to rural agricultural (RA).

In December 1976, Appellees executed another agreement of sale with Huntingdon Hollow Associates (HHA). A request for rezoning was filed by HHA with the Commission but said request was denied. HHA thereafter commenced an action in mandamus in the court of common pleas seeking deemed approval of the 1974 preliminary subdivision plans pursuant to Section 508(3) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, as amended, 53 P.S. ยง 10508(3) because the Commission had failed to render a decision regarding their preliminary

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 626]

    plan within ninety days of the application. The court of common pleas affirmed the Commission's action and an appeal to this Court was taken. Subsequently, this Court issued the following order:

And Now, this 12th day of March, 1980, the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, dated May 23, 1978, denying the exceptions filed by Michael J. Bobiak et al. to the court's decision of January 19, 1978, is reversed, and the Court of Common Pleas is directed to enter judgment against the Richland Township Planning Commission and enter an order directing the said planning commission to approve the preliminary ...


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