Posted by: Patricia Salkin | March 1, 2014

Fed. Dist. CT in PA Dismisses Takings, Conspiracy and Fraud Allegations against Zoning Board for Refusal to Grant Variances

Plaintiff Gould purchased a dilapidated piece of property in Bristol Borough, which the Borough had previously commenced proceedings in order to condemn it as blighted. Soon after his purchase, the Borough initiated an eminent domain action in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas; Gould filed preliminary objections and prevailed. Since then, the Zoning Board denied Gould’s proposed variances to the property, to which Gould alleged that the Board “had absolutely no legal or proper grounds for and that the Board’s opinion included egregious misstatements of the Borough’s zoning law.

Since Gould had alleged no affirmative act by the defendants within either of the applicable limitations periods, the court found that he did not pled a timely claim for a “continuing violation.” For a continuing violation doctrine to apply at least one of Gould’s claims needed to have happened within the statutory period. Because his claims were premised exclusively on actions outside the limitations period, the court found them to be time-barred. Gould’s Takings claim was found not to be ripe as he had not yet applied or been rejected pursuant to the inverse condemnation procedures provided in the Pennsylvania’s Eminent Domain Code. Accordingly, the court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss.

Gould v. Council of Bristol Borough, 2014 WL 296944 (E.D. Pa. 1/27/2014)

The opinion can be accessed at:

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