Is Proposal to Construct a Cell Phone Tower Considered Land Development Proposal ?

The Court held in White v. Township of Upper St. Clair, 799 A.2d 188 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2002), that a proposal to construct a cell phone tower was a land development proposal for purposes of the township's Southampton Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO). In White, Crown Communications leased .428 acres of a 200-acre public park for the installation of a 350-foot communications tower and the construction of three equipment buildings, all encircled by an eight-foot high cyclone fence topped with barbed wire. This lease was held to establish a land development and subdivision because of the allocation of a 200-acre parcel between two uses by means of a lease. At issue was the SALDO of Upper St. Clair that defined land development as an "allocation of land or space." the Court explained. Tu-Way did not divide the twelve acres of land that it owned but only reused it. It did not "subdivide" a vertical tower by a series of "leases" but simply licensed antenna space. Here, Residents do not assert that Crown's licenses to "tenants" are leases giving rise to subdivision. Rather, they contend that the Lease, which conveys the use of a discrete parcel of land from the Township to Crown for up to 100 years, creates a subdivision. They are correct. White, 799 A.2d at 202.