Example Cases of What Constitutes ''Land Development'' In Pennsylvania
In Marshall Township Board of Supervisors v. Marshall Township Zoning Hearing Board, 717 A.2d 1 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1998), the lease of the property to replace a 100-foot lamp pole existing on the property with a 150-foot antenna and a light pole did not constitute land development.
In White v. Township of Upper St. Clair, 799 A.2d 188 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2002), however, the lease of a portion of a public park to construct a 350-foot communication tower and related buildings was held to have triggered a land development because the lease allocated the parcel between the two uses.
Similarly, in Lehigh Asphalt Paving & Constr. Co. v. Board of Supervisors of East Penn Township, 830 A.2d 1063 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2003), the proposal to expand a quarry operation conducted on a parcel under a mineral lease reserving a portion of the parcel for the existing residence was held to be a land development because the lease allocated the land between a residential use and an expanded quarry operation.
The Supreme Court reversed this Court's order in Upper Southampton Township, which held that the construction of ten off-premises advertising signs on the two leased lots required land development approval because the leases allocated land and space.
Observing that the definitions of land development and "development plan" and the effect of the subdivision and land development ordinances 6 speak to developments "on a large scale," the Supreme Court concluded that "the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), when viewed as a whole, clearly is intended to apply to the allocation of land in such a way that issues related to public use, water management, sewers, streets and the like must be addressed." Upper Southampton Township v. Upper Southampton Township Zoning Hearing Board, Pa. at, 934 A.2d at 1168.
The Supreme Court determined that Upper Southampton Township is more analogous to Tu-Way and Marshall Township than to White and Lehigh Asphalt and that "none of the concerns addressed by land development plans is applicable to this minor use of the properties in question." Id.,Pa. at, 934 A.2d at 1169.
The Supreme Court concluded in Upper Southampton Township:
It would be an absurd or unreasonable reading of the statute to conclude that a use that does not involve such development of the land becomes one merely because the property owners granted appellant the right to erect the billboards through leaseholds, rather than erecting the billboards on their own.... the manner of the creation of appellant's interest in the subject properties, limited as that interest is, does not alter or enhance the proposed use. Id. Pa. at, 934 A.2d at 1169 - 1170.