Legislative Update in Pennsylvania

March 2011Newsletters In the Zone

Senate Bill 404 proposes to amend the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) in several ways.

First, it proposes to add Section 507.1 to the MPC, which would require language of a subdivision and land development ordinance, where doubt exists as to the intended meaning of the language, be interpreted in favor of the property owner and against any implied extension or application of the provisions of the ordinance. Currently, Section 603.1 of the MPC provides that where doubt exists as to the intended meaning of the language of zoning ordinances, the language is to be interpreted in favor of the property owner and against any implied extension of the restriction.

Senate Bill 404 also proposes to give the governing body the power to consider requested relief in the nature of a variance, related and subordinate to the use for which conditional use approval is sought. Currently, zoning hearing boards hear all variance requests.

Furthermore, Senate Bill 404 proposes to add language whereby a zoning officer’s preliminary opinion would be considered a determination. Additionally, the proposal would require a zoning officer to issue a written preliminary opinion no later than 45 days after receipt of a written request for preliminary opinion.

For more information, please contact David H. Comer at 610.397.7963 or [email protected].