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In the Zone Blog

Success in the real estate industry often hinges on making smart choices – and on being informed. Fox’s In the Zone blog serves as a resource for developers, investors, lenders, design firms, landlords, tenants and more. Focusing on zoning and land use, we report on trends and news in obtaining approvals and permits for new development, project financing, LEED certification and environmental regulation and enforcement.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Loan Documents and Key Provisions: Casualty Clauses Whether you are a Lender or a Borrower, it’s obviously very important to know what terms are included in your Loan Documents and how they may affect your interests. Periodically, I will be blogging on issues and concerns regarding Loan Documents and areas that I believe everyone needs to be particularly focused on. Today, I’d like to highlight Casualty provisions. Most mortgages in Pennsylvania have provisions regarding what happens if a casualty or damage occurs to the mortgaged Premises. This is... More
  • OBTAINING PENNDOT RIGHT OF WAY AS A CONDITION TO OBTAIN YOUR HOP If your development projects fronts on a state road, then it is likely that you will need a Highway Occupancy Permit (“HOP”) from PennDOT. If you need a HOP from PennDOT, then it is very likely that you will need to improve one or more state roads. If you need to improve one or more state roads, then it is also likely that you will need to obtain right of way or easements from third party property owners. Well now... More
  • Court Dismisses Developer’s Claim Against Township for Damages   In the case of Cardinal Crossing v. Marple Township, the PA Commonwealth Court was faced with the issue of whether a developer, who spends substantial funds on a development, in reliance on statements of support from a committee formed by the Township (which included Township officials), can recover damages from the Township when the Board of Commissioners did not adopt the requested zoning amendment for the proposed project to proceed forward. The Commonwealth Court, in finding that unofficial action by... More
  • A/B SEPTIC SYSTEMS ARE BACK IN PLAY FOR PLANNING MODULE APPROVAL FOR NEW PROJECTS Governor Tom Wolf signed into law, on July 20, 2017, Act 26, which amended the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act concerning the use of alternate sewage systems for purposes of obtaining planning module approval from DEP for a new project. Act 26 is scheduled to take effect on or about September 18, 2017. Many developers ask the question as to their right to use A/B sewage systems and other alternate sewage systems for purposes of obtaining planning module approval for a new... More
  • Seeking Site-Specific Relief after Successful Ordinance Validity Challenge In a recent Commonwealth Court decision, Appeal of Chester County Outdoor, LLC, No. 1761 C.D. 2016, 2017 WL 3198266 (Pa. Comm. July 28, 2017), the Court held that, after a successful validity challenge to an ordinance, the challenger must file an application for site-specific relief with the municipality prior to filing an action with the court pursuant to Section 1006-A of the Municipalities Planning Code (MPC). Chester County Outdoor, LLC (CCO), a billboard developer, filed a challenge to the substantive validity of the... More
  • LIBOR to Disappear Kevin Scott writes: In case you missed it last week, The Wall Street Journal and others reported (sub. req.) that the rate index LIBOR is going to be discontinued by the end of 2021. LIBOR has been the base index for most all variable rate loans, bonds, interest rate swaps and other instruments for many years. Various industry working groups are trying to establish an alternative index to replace LIBOR. While most of the loan documents utilized over the years already have provisions... More
  • MPC Permits a Private Cause of Action to Enforce a SALDO In a case caption Smith v. Ivy Lee Real Estate, LLC, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania was faced with the question if Section 617 of the MPC permits a private cause of action to enforce a subdivision land development ordinance (SALDO). In the case, the Smith family alleged that Ivy Lee, who was their neighbor, engaged in construction activities that constituted land development under the township’s SALDO. The Smith family requested, among other things, a permanent injunction against Ivy Lee... More
  • PA Supreme Court Rules on School District Tax Appeals In a recent Supreme Court of Pennsylvania case, captioned as Valley Forge Towers, taxpayer brought an action against the school district, as a taxing district, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief claiming that the school district violated the uniformity clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution by systematically appealing only assessments of commercial properties. The Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas sustained the school district’s policy and dismissed the complaint. The taxpayers appealed to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania who affirmed the lower... More
  • Sanctions for False Pleadings In many cases, clients ask us if we can file a motion against the other party for filing a false or frivolous pleading. In a recent opinion, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania outlined the way in which a party must file a motion for sanctions for a false pleading. In the case of Pane, et al., v. Indian Rocks Property Owners Association, a dispute occurred as to if the Panes were entitled to construct a swimming pool on their property... More
  • Funding Your Small or Mid-Size Development Project in New Jersey Obtaining financing for your development project is one of the most important aspects of moving your development plans from paper to reality. Recently, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (the “Authority”) created a Real Estate Impact Fund (the “REIF”). The REIF supports private and public redevelopment projects on underutilized property in New Jersey by facilitating the procurement of financing for small and mid-size development projects. Through the REIF’s private component, for-profit and non-profit developers and businesses may obtain up to $3... More