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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

  • Special Exception The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recently confirmed the standards by which an applicant can obtain a special exception to expand a nonconforming use on its property. In Mercy v. Zoning Hearing Board of Cross Roads, an applicant filed an application with the Zoning Hearing Board seeking a special exception to expand an existing nonconforming use to include the storage and temporary parking of RVs on its property.  The Commonwealth Court affirmed the grant of the special exception with the following findings: The... More
  • Informational Notice Personal Income Tax 2017-01 Are you a tenant who pays rent to a non-resident individual, estate or trust?  If so, beware!  Act 43 of 2017 created a withholding obligation for certain lessees of Pennsylvania real estate to non-residents and also expanded the requirements with respect to when a copy of Federal Form 1099-MISC is required to be filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.  Anyone leasing real estate in Pennsylvania, who makes a lease payment in the course of their trade or business to... More
  • House Bill 352 House Bill No. 352 passed the General Assembly and has now been signed by the Governor.  See attachment.  It provides that an individual can obtain title to a property by adverse possession in 10 years instead of the 21 years required by prior law.  The property must be less than one-half acre in size and contain a single-family home.  The claimant must also meet all of the underlining requirements of adverse possession under current Pennsylvania law and the new requirements... More
  • DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY – CHELTENHAM TOWNSHIP The Cheltenham Township Community Development Corporation (CTCDC) is seeking proposals from qualified applicants for the acquisition and redevelopment of a 5 acre parcel of land, zoned commercial, and owned by the Township.  CTCDC’s objective is to achieve a redevelopment of the parcel in accordance with the newly passed Township zoning plan.  A successful submission will provide the optimal satisfaction of the following objectives: Generating long term tax revenues for the Township and School District. Minimizing the need for variances or other changes... More
  • Objectors Have a Heavy Burden When Opposing a Special Exception The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recently confirmed the standards by which an applicant is entitled to special exception approval, which could help applicant’s in preparing their cases before a zoning board. In Monroe Land Investments v. Zoning Board of Adjustment and the City of Philadelphia, et al, 2018 WL 1462211, the Commonwealth Court affirmed the decision of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas to reverse the City of Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment’s decision to deny a request for a... More
  • IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN. WHAT TIME? TIME TO REVIEW YOUR PENNSYLVANIA REAL ESTATE ASSESSMENTS. Are the real property taxes assessed against your property out of proportion to the actual value of your property?  If so, what should you do? First, you need to determine if you have a basis to file an appeal to the county board of assessment for your property. To do so, you need an experienced real estate assessment attorney and a qualified appraiser. On commercial and industrial properties, as well as rental residential properties, two calculations often make the determination if you... More
  • ALERT- New Environmental Justice Regulations Coming Soon to New Jersey! David Restaino writes: On April 20, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 23 (EO 23) committing state government to making intelligent environmental decisions in communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation. EO 23 requires that the NJDEP take the lead in developing guidance that would require state departments and agencies to consider “Environmental Justice” in implementing their responsibilities. The first draft of the guidance will be due in six months, after which time there shall be another 90 days for the... More
  • New Project Information Form Required for Appeals to the City of Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment The City of Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment has imposed a new requirement for filing Appeals.  As of April 9, 2018, an applicant seeking a variance or special exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment must submit a Project Information Form prior to filing an Application for Appeal.  The Project Information Form requires basic information regarding the proposed project, including but not limited to, the name and contact information of the applicant, a description of the proposed project, approximate length... More
  • Black Letter Law for the Grant of Special Exceptions in Pennsylvania In the case of Polaris v. Fayette County Zoning Hearing Board, the Commonwealth Court reversed a decision of the Court of Common Pleas and the underlying zoning hearing board to deny an application to use a property as a methadone clinic. In this case, Polaris argued that the ZHB erroneously denied its special exception application on the grounds that Polaris had not met its burden of proof and that the proposed clinic would adversely affect the health, safety and welfare... More
  • Attempts to Amend Conditions of Approval In a recent case decided by the PA Commonwealth Court, titled Toll Brothers and Orleans Homebuilders v. Upper Uwchlan Township, the court upheld the decision of the Court of Common Pleas and the Board of Supervisors to deny the developer’s request to amend a previously granted conditional use approval to eliminate a condition requiring developer to construct an internal roadway.  Developer presented testimony as to reasons for this amendment, including the preservation of additional woodlands, wetlands, steep slopes and floodplains. ... More