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Southpointe Golf Club, Inc. v. Bd. of Supervisors of Cecil Twp.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

February 19, 2021

In Southpointe Golf Club, Inc. v. Bd. of Supervisors of Cecil Twp., the golf club appealed the lower court’s denial of the club’s challenge to a local zoning ordinance. The Commonwealth Court reversed. The ordinance allowed consent from 100% of adjoining property owners – consent any owner may revoke at any time – to trigger an option of the Board of Supervisors to exercise its discretion to waive zoning requirements. The Court ruled that there were no “necessary safeguards to guide and restrain the exercise of the administrative functions delegated” to the adjacent landowners to guard against any adjacent landowner’s arbitrary or capricious decision to change the applicable zoning ordinance provision. Thus, the consent provision allowed the adjacent landowners to determine whether one law or another should apply to a particular proposed use, without any of the fundamental limitations that the PA Supreme Court has deemed necessary. Therefore, this provision of the zoning ordinance represented an impermissible delegation of zoning authority.

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