Pascal v. City of Pittsburgh Zoning Bd. of Adjustment

Northside Leadership Conference (NLC) is a non-profit community development corporation that owns real property in Pittsburgh. NLC applied for variances and special exceptions. Pascal objected to NLC’s applications. A three-member panel of the Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) granted the variance and special exception applications. One of the panelists, however, served on NLC’s Board of Directors when the ZBA considered NLC’s applications. Pascal appealed to the court of common pleas, which affirmed without taking any evidence. Pascal appealed to the Commonwealth Court, which affirmed. Pascal sought review by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which affirmed in part and reversed in part. The Court affirmed the timeliness of the ZBA’s decision, ruling that extensions of the deadline for the decision were requested and granted in writing. But the Court reversed and remanded for a new hearing as to the merits of NLC’s applications. The Court concluded that whether the NLC Board member-panelist was biased in favor of the successful zoning applicant was not dispositive. “Her participation in ruling on the propriety of zoning applications brought by an organization on whose board she sat at all relevant times so clearly and obviously endangered the appearance of neutrality that her recusal was required under well-settled due process principles that disallow a person to be the judge of his or her own case or to try a matter in which he or she has an interest in the outcome”.

Search entire site by keyword...

Search for Summaries by Hashtag...

Past Opinion Summaries