Are Publication Requirements of Condemnation Ordinance Mandatory ?
In Lower Gwynedd Township v. Gwynedd Properties, 527 Pa. 324, 591 A.2d 285 (1991), Gwynedd Properties, Inc. (Gwynedd) owned 77 acres of land in Lower Gwynedd Township.
In January of 1987, Gwynedd submitted a subdivision plan.
The township solicitor prepared an ordinance that authorized condemnation of the land to be used as a conservation area.
In December of 1987, the board of supervisors adopted the ordinance.
A full text of the ordinance was not published, no copy was provided to the newspaper that summarized the ordinance, and no copy was filed in the county law library.
The common pleas court upheld the ordinance which authorized the taking of Gwynedd's land.
On Gwynedd's appeal, this Court affirmed and concluded that "substantial" compliance with the publication requirements in the Second Class Township Code validated the ordinance.
Our Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed and stated that "the precedents of this Court have been consistent in holding that statutory publication requirements are mandatory and that ordinances adopted without strict compliance are void.
The public's interest in the legislative process demands no less . . . ." Id. at 329, 591 A.2d at 288.