Can a Municipality Adopt An Amendment Only If It Has Been Submitted to the Planning Agency at Least 30 Days Prior to Its Hearing ?

In Muhlenberg College v. Zoning Hearing Board of the City of Allentown, 760 A.2d 443 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2000) the City of Allentown proposed an amendment to the Zoning Code, which amendment was defeated. At the next meeting an identical bill was introduced, except that the effective date was in ten days rather than thirty days. The revised bill was forwarded to the planning agency on October 2, 1997. The planning agency recommended the bill at a meeting on October 7, 1997. The City adopted the amendment on October 15, 1997. The Court in Muhlenberg ruled that the amendment had been improperly adopted because the City failed to follow the mandate that the governing body shall submit each amendment to the planning agency at least thirty days prior to the hearing. The Court relied on Section 609(c) of the MPC, 53 P.S. 10609(e), which provides that the municipality shall submit each amendment to its planning agency at least thirty days prior to the hearing on such proposed amendment.