The Vesting Provisions of the MPC Can Save Developers Money

June 2007 In The Zone

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By remembering to check the status of ordinances at the time a development plan was filed, a developer may be able to save anywhere from a little extra work to hundreds of thousands of dollars on its development. Under Section 508(4)(i) of the Municipalities Planning Code (“MPC”), from the time an application for subdivision and land development is filed, no change or amendment in the zoning, subdivision or other governing ordinance shall affect the decision on such application adversely to the applicant, and the applicant shall be entitled to a decision in accordance with the provisions of the governing ordinances or plans as they stood at the time the application was duly filed. Although it is commonly remembered that a plan is vested under the Zoning Ordinance and SALDO as of the date it is filed, developers should not overlook the “other governing ordinance” provision of Section 508.

In Board of Commissioners of South Whitehall Township v. Toll Brothers, Inc., the Commonwealth Court held that a developer was vested against an increase in the sewer and water tapping fees that occurred after its plan was filed. The “other governing ordinance” language has been found to apply to certain fee schedules and fire code provisions. At a time when the market is tight, the vesting provisions of Section 508 might be able to save a developer significant expense.

For more information, please contact Drew Bonekemper at 215.661.9412 or at [email protected].