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Dawn M. Tancredi is Successful in Philadelphia Commonwealth Court: Decision on Appeal Stands

Dawn M. Tancredi successfully persuaded the Commonwealth Court to quash an appeal filed by neighbors opposing development for lack of standing.  In the appeal, Tancredi represented the developer who obtained approval to build single family homes in Philadelphia.  The local community group appealed the decision from the Philadelphia Zoning Board to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, and again to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.  

In order for an appellant to have standing to appeal a determination of the Zoning Board, they must demonstrate that they are an “aggrieved person.”  See Scott v. Zoning Board of Adjustment, 126 A.3d 938 (Pa. 2015); Spahn v. Zoning Board of Adjustment, 602 Pa. 83, 977 A.2d 1132, 1149 (Pa. 2009).  For a party to be “aggrieved,” the party must show an interest that is substantial, direct and immediate.” Id.  For an interest to qualify as “substantial, there must be some discernible effect on some interest other than the abstract interest all citizens have in the outcome of proceedings.”  An interest is direct where the party demonstrates “some causation of harm to his interest.”  Id.  In order for an interest to be considered “immediate, there must be a causal connection between the action complained of and the injury to the person challenging it.”  Therefore, to meet the three requirements for an aggrieved party, the party must demonstrate that the challenged action personally harms his or her interest in a way that is greater than that of another citizen.  Id.

Ms. Tancredi argued the local community group lacked standing as it was not a person “aggrieved” by the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s decision with regards to her client’s property as the parking issues raised were no different than the “abstract interest that all citizens have” and none of the members of the group lived in the immediate vicinity of the property at issue.  The court agreed. 

On July 17, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied objector’s request to have the appeal heard by the state’s highest court.

For more information, please contact Dawn Tancredi at dmtancredi@zarwin.com


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