Monday, January 05, 2009

zoning - standing - "close proximity"

Laughman v. Zoning Hearing Board - Cmwlth. Court - January 5, 2009

Property was held to be not in "close proximity" to the zoning area, therefore owner did not have standing to question the zoning decision.

Generally, in order to establish standing as an “aggrieved person,” it must be shown that the person has a substantial, direct and immediate interest in the claim sought to be litigated. A substantial interest is one in which there is some discernible adverse effect to some interest other than an abstract interest all citizens have, and a direct interest requires a showing that the matter complained of causes harm to the party’s interest, though not necessarily a pecuniary interest.

Immediacy requires that the interest is something more than a “remote” consequence and centers on a causal nexus between the action complained of and the injury to the party challenging it....For a party to be “aggrieved,” the interest of the party who will be affected by the alleged illegal law must be distinguishable from the interests shared by all citizens.

However, the Commonwealth Court has held tat a property owner need not establish pecuniary or financial loss if his property is located in close proximity to the subject property because the zoning decision is presumed to have an effect on the property owner’s property.

Obviously, property that is adjacent to or abuts the zoning area in question is in close proximity for standing purposes. In this case, the petitioner's commercial properties are located two miles from the district, his personal residence is almost a full mile away, and his rental residential properties are 8/10 of a mile awayict. Because these properties are not in close proximity to the subject property, without a showing of some sort of direct injury, he lacks standing to challenge the zoning amendment.

tax sale - standing

Fongsue v. Tax Claim Bureau - Cmwlth. Court - January 5, 2008 - unreported mem. decision

Party who purchased property subsequent to tax claim tax does not have standing to petition to set aside the sale, since he was not the "owner" under 72 P.S. § 5860.607(a) at the time of the tax sale.