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Philadelphia zoning dispute gets heated

5/28/2014 | Real Estate Blog

Zoning laws exist to regulate land use in a way that is efficient and uniform. However, in reality, these laws often seek to preserve the look and feel of a community by restricting the types of new developments that can be built in the area. Therefore, it is imperative those considering constructing a new building or initiating the use a piece of land understand local zoning laws and how they may affect their plans, or trouble may arise.

One zoning dispute has arisen in the Philadelphia metropolitan area regarding the consolidation of St. Charles Seminary. The Seminary has created a proposal that would consolidate its operations, including moving faculty, staff and students, with its campus in Wynnewood. The plan, if enacted, would require construction to add parking to the campus. To support its plan, the seminary has claimed they are allowed to expand on the Wynnewood campus to fulfill its consolidation needs because it fits within the historical use of the land.

The plan has serious opponents who disagree with the Wynnewood campus expansion and the seminary’s plan to sell 40 acres of its lower campus for purposes of development. The community members, who have formed a coalition, oppose the development because the seminary’s lower campus is one of the only open spaces available in the area. Lawyers for both sides have been embattled in argument before the zoning board, and it may be a while before a final determination is made.

Planning to develop a piece of land like this requires a lot of planning. Not only do blueprints need to be drawn up and carried out appropriately, but all local laws must be followed. If a dispute arises regarding land use, it may be best to seek assistance from a local Philadelphia attorney who will fight to protect his or her clients’ best interests.

Source: Main Line Times, “Zoning hearings on St. Charles Seminary consolidation plan off to rocky start,” Cheryl Allison, May 19, 2014