Despite the fact that the first working oil well was built in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1858, people rarely associate the state with the pumping of crude oil and natural gas. A land use conflict is now brewing in western Pennsylvania that may refresh people's recollections as two environmental groups are challenging the rezoning decision of a township to significantly increase the percentage of industrial land within its boundaries.
This blog has discussed several aspects of Philadelphia's zoning code, including spot zoning, variances, conditional uses and rezonings. Now, it's time to step back a bit and provide an overall guide to the zoning process.
A classic "NIMBY" is developing in the borough of Haddonfield concerning the site of the former Bancroft School. What is a NIMBY? A NIMBY is a land use dispute in which residents of a neighborhood oppose a proposed development or construction project because they perceive it to be harmful to the neighborhood. The acronym stands for "Not In My Back Yard." In this case, the proposed NIMBY is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility that would be located next to the local high school.
Zoning ordinances often impose certain costs on landowners that cannot be recovered from the municipality. For example, a tract that is zoned for residential uses cannot be used for certain commercial uses or high-rise housing, which generally produce a higher financial return for the owner than low density uses such as single-family dwellings. In reviewing a legal challenge to a zoning ordinance or rezoning, Pennsylvania courts have balanced the public's interest in having a zoning code that guides land use for the entire municipality against the individual rights of land owners to choose the use for their properties. This balancing act has, among other consequences, caused the creation of a legal rule that makes "spot zoning" illegal.
The Philadelphia City Council's committee on rules recently voted to allow the installation of 3-D signs on certain corners in the Center City district. 3-D signs are not allowed by the zoning regulations applicable to the Center City district, so the committee used another zoning tool to accomplish this result: approval of a zoning map overlay.
The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code requires every municipality and county in Pennsylvania to adopt a comprehensive plan to guide real estate development and a zoning code to regulate the use of individual parcels of land. Interpreting a municipal zoning ordinance can be both confusing and frustrating. In this post, we will address a common question: what is the difference between a variance and a conditional use permit?
If you are deciding on where to locate your business, or are considering expanding your business, it is important to understand what zoning laws are and how they make impact your decision. Local zoning laws may impact the purchase of a property for business or improvements a business owner wishes to make on an existing business structure.
Transactions and business projects involving commercial real estate can be complex because of the many different factors and players involved. In many cases, a successful transaction involves not just negotiating an agreeable deal between a buyer and a seller, but also ensuring that the project-as envisioned by the prospective owner-can go forward as planned. Whether someone is looking to buy an existing property or build a new property, it is critical to look at the zoning laws and what they will allow.
Landowners in Pennsylvania may or may not be aware that the pieces of land that they live on and own are zoned for a particular use. After reading this statement, some may be asking, "What does zoning mean?" Zoning laws are passed by the government and regulate the use of the land while facilitating urban planning.
Previous postings in this blog have discussed land zoning laws and land use requirements laid out by these laws. However, some residents of Pennsylvania may be wondering what these laws really mean, how they are established and how they are enforced.