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06/03/97 C & M DEVELOPERS v. BOARD SUPERVISORS

June 3, 1997

C & M DEVELOPERS, INC., APPELLANT
v.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP



Appealed From No. 96002846-14-5. Common Pleas Court of the County of Bucks. Judge BIESTER, JR.

Before: Honorable Rochelle S. Friedman, Judge, Honorable Jim Flaherty, Judge, Honorable Jess S. Jiuliante, Senior Judge. Opinion BY Judge Friedman.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Friedman

OPINION BY JUDGE FRIEDMAN

FILED: June 3, 1997

C & M Developers, Inc. (C&M) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County (trial court) denying C&M's appeal from the determination of the Board of Supervisors (Board) of Bedminster Township (Township) that Planned Residential Developments (PRD) are not a permitted use in the Township's R-2 zoning district.

C&M owns two tracts of land which are located in R-2 zoning districts within the Township: one tract consists of two parcels totaling 80.74 acres, and the other tract consists of two parcels totaling 121.25 acres. On February 16, 1996, C&M submitted applications to establish these two tracts of land as PRD districts; C&M planned to build a PRD within each district.

On March 15, 1996, the Township's solicitor advised counsel for C&M that a PRD was not a permitted use in an R-2 zoning district. Thus, the Board decided to treat C& M's applications as a request to amend the Township's zoning ordinance (Ordinance) and scheduled a public hearing on the matter.

C&M appealed the Board's decision to the trial court alleging that, under section 1009 of the Ordinance, any landowner may request the establishment of a PRD district on a tract of land containing fifty or more acres. *fn1 C&M contended that the Ordinance distinguishes between a PRD use, which is permitted by right only in an R-3 zoning district, and a PRD district, which is permitted in any zoning district. The trial court rejected C&M's argument.

On appeal to this court, *fn2 C&M argues again that the Ordinance permits any landowner who owns a tract of fifty or more acres in any zoning district to file an application to establish a PRD district. We disagree with C&M's reading of the Ordinance.

The Ordinance defines a PRD as follows:

Section 240 Planned Residential Development (PRD)

shall be considered a special district which may be granted to a developer for the purpose of building a residential community or neighborhood containing a variety of housing types and community open spaces and recreational facilities.

(R.R. at 3a.) (Emphasis added.) This definition is consistent with section 1009 of the Ordinance, which also characterizes a PRD as a district.

However, it is apparent from sections 304 and 513 of the Ordinance that a PRD is only permitted as an optional "special district" within an R-3 ...


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