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February 2017 Archives

Eminent domain: what is a fair price for property?


Pennsylvania property owners may be surprised to one day find the government requiring them to relinquish their property for some sort of public purpose. Per eminent domain laws, the government has the ability to take private land in order to make improvements to streets, install power lines and sewer systems and for other public purposes. This taking is called "condemnation." However, in order to exercise this right, the government must fairly compensate the private individual who owns the property.

Medical marijuana forces zoning code changes


One year ago, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation that made the growing and sale of marijuana for medical purposes legal in the commonwealth. Now, county boards and zoning boards in the Philadelphia suburbs and elsewhere are beginning to consider how their zoning ordinances must be changed to accommodate the limited legalization of marijuana.

Sliver of farmland triggers development fight in Lancaster


Philadelphia is surrounded by farming communities that are slowly giving way to urban development. Even though more than 100,000 acres of rural farm land near Philadelphia is zoned as off-limits to development, the fate a small sliver of farm land near Lancaster has stirred considerable controversy among the residents of Manheim Township.

Issuance of zoning permit angers Society Hill residents.


Society Hill is one of many historic districts in Philadelphia, and the grant of a zoning permit can invoke review by the city's Historical Commission and design review board. In some circumstances, the grant of a permit can also stir up the neighbors. The recent grant of a conditional use permit to replace a grocery super market with an apartment building has caused resentment among residents of Society Hill, even though the new use is permitted by the zoning code.

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