Is a Zoning Hearing Board Created by the Legislature As a Quasi-Judicial Body Subject to the Sunshine Act's Requirement ?
In Appeal of Emmanuel Baptist Church, 26 Pa. Commw. 427, 364 A.2d 536 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1976), the Court held that a zoning hearing board created by the legislature and acting in a quasi-judicial capacity was an agency subject to the predecessor to the Sunshine Act.
See also Kennedy v. Upper Milford Township Zoning Hearing Board, 575 Pa. 105, 131, 834 A.2d 1104, 1121 (2003) (stating that zoning hearing boards and zoning boards of adjustment are quasi-judicial bodies performing fact-finding and deliberative functions in a manner similar to a court and that "the board may deliberate in private, but evidence must be received, and official action must be taken and announced in public session" (quoting Robert M. Anderson, American Law of Zoning 22:25 (3d ed. 1986))).
Because the Board was created as a quasi-judicial body to perform fact-finding and deliberative functions, the Court holds that it is an agency as that term is defined under the Sunshine Act and correspondingly that it is subject to the Act's requirements.
Section 705 of the Sunshine Act provides that "in all meetings of agencies, the vote of each member who actually votes on any resolution, rule, order, regulation, ordinance or the setting of official policy must be publicly cast and, in the case of roll call votes, recorded. "
Section 713, 65 Pa. C.S. 713, provides that "should the court determine that the meeting did not meet the requirements of this chapter, it may in its discretion find that any or all official action taken at the meeting shall be invalid."