Can the Thirty-Day Time Limit of Challenging the Validity of a Township Ordinance be Dismissed if Procedural Deficiencies Render the Ordinance Void Ab Initio ?
In Schadler v. Zoning Hearing Board of Weisenberg Township, 578 Pa. 177, 850 A.2d 619 (Pa. 2004), the developer of a proposed mobile home park claimed that the township's mobile home park ordinance was invalid because of irregularities in the way in which it had been enacted.
The township conceded it had failed to publish certain notices about the ordinance that were required in Section 506 of the MPC, 53 P.S. § 10506, and in Section 1601 of the Second Class Township Code.
Nevertheless, the zoning hearing board dismissed Schadler's challenge to the validity of the ordinance, concluding that it was untimely because it was not filed within thirty days of the effective date of the ordinance. Schadler appealed to the trial court, which reversed, finding that the procedural deficiencies rendered the ordinance void ab initio; therefore, the thirty-day time limit for procedural challenges never began to run.
On appeal to this Court, Schadler argued that the trial court's ruling should be affirmed because it was consistent with our Supreme Court's decision in Cranberry Park Associates v. Cranberry Township Zoning Hearing Board, 561 Pa. 456, 751 A.2d 165 (2000).
The Court disagreed.