Hotel Lacks Standing to Object to Competitor, Commonwealth Court

April 2021Alerts

In the case of South Bethlehem Associates v. ZHB of Bethlehem Township, the ZHB granted two variances to an applicant to construct a hotel. The variances was as to a setback and an earth berm. The protestant was a competing hotel located approximately two blocks away from the applicant’s proposed hotel.

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, in holding that a “zoning appeal cannot be used as a method to deter free competition,” found that the asserted negative impact must originate from the variances sought and not simply from the competition expected from an incoming business. The Court found that the objector failed to meet its burden to establish standing and, therefore, dismissed the appeal.

This case, as well as two other cases that I reported on in the prior newsletter, confirm the importance of an applicant objecting to standing when a competitor comes out to a hearing to oppose their proposed use. Based on these cases, the nature of the relief and the protestant’s objections are the main factors to evaluate standing in competitor land use appeals.

For more information on this subject, or the ability to obtain zoning relief in general, please contact Robert W. Gundlach, Jr., at [email protected] or 215.918.3636.