Posted by: Patricia Salkin | January 1, 2017

PA Appeals Court Holds Zoning Decisions are Not Final Until a Written Decision is Issued

Forza owned a parcel of property located in the City of Pittsburgh, and applied for a Project Development Plan (2009 Application) with the City’s Planning Commission seeking approval to construct a seven-story, 107-room hotel on the Property. The Planning Commission approved the 2009 Application subject to certain conditions, but did not issue a written decision of its approval. In 2013, Forza made another application for revisions and improvements, which was also granted with no written decision. Objectors appealed, and the trial court reversed and remanded, finding that the lack of a written decision by the Planning Commission did not affect the timeliness of an appeal, and that Objectors did not appeal the Planning Commission’s March 8, 2011 decision within 30 days.

The court found that “the decisional law of this Commonwealth confirms that a final order of a [ZHB] must be reduced to writing.” Thus, it held that all zoning decisions are not final until a written decision is issued, and until a written decision is issued, there was no order to appeal. Accordingly, the court reversed the holding of the trial court, as the appeal was untimely.

First Avenue Partners v City of Pittsburgh Planning Commission, 2016 WL 7176946 (PA Commwlth 12/9/2016)

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