Fox Land Use Team Obtains Significant Victory for Upper Darby School District

April 2021

Clair Wischusen and Andrew Stoll obtained grant of a petition for bond on a land use appeal for Upper Darby School District. The ruling allows the School District to move forward with a $30 million dollar project to expand the Aronimink Elementary School with much needed classroom space and a modern gymnasium. 

In an earlier victory, Kimberly Freimuth obtained preliminary and final land development approval of the Aronimink project before the Upper Darby Township Council. However, a group of protestants appealed the District’s approval to the Delaware Court of Common Pleas. Kimberly handed the baton to Clair and Drew who petitioned for an order requiring the protestants to post a bond in excess of $1 million dollars as a condition of proceeding with their appeal. The standard on a petition for bond requires the petitioner to establish an appeal is frivolous, has no reasonable chance of success, and is intended to cause delay.

Clair and Drew then co-chaired a two-day evidentiary hearing on the petition for bond before Delaware County Judge Kelly Eckel that included testimony from upwards of 14 witnesses, including several expert witnesses. The court granted the District’s petition in a 36-page decision finding the appeal frivolous, devoid of merit, and intended to cause delay. The court ordered protestants to file a bond in the amount of the District’s delay damages, $1,041,597.00, as a condition of continuing the appeal. Faced with this determination, protestants withdrew their appeal.

This is a great result for the District, which can now move forward with its expansion project to enhance and improve educational opportunities for generations of students.

If you have any questions about this topic, or other land use matters in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, please contact Robert W. Gundlach, Jr. at [email protected] or 215.918.3636.