Tag Archives: Land Use / Planning / Zoning

So is this the time for developers to think big and build big?

On Monday 28 November 2016 the City of London’s Planning and Transport Committee approved (19 votes in favour, 2 against) a resolution to grant permission for the development known as 1 Undershaft which at 73 storeys will be the tallest building in the City of London (that is 304.94m or a little over 1,000ft for … Continue Reading

(US) Creative Financing-Let the Purchaser Do It

Despite the recent low interest rate environment, some projects just will not support market rate construction loans. What then is the developer to do? Over the last few years developers have begun to turn to the purchaser to finance construction of a project. This technique can be used for both residential and commercial development. Many … Continue Reading

(US) Land Banks: Too Good to Fail

This post was written by Dusty Elias Kirk and Gerald S. Dickinson. Pennsylvania municipalities and potential developers interested in converting vacant, abandoned, tax delinquent or foreclosed properties into productive use should take note of legislation enacted in 2012 that permits a municipality with more than 10,000 residents to create a land bank.1 Land banks are … Continue Reading

(US) Brownfield Owners and Developers Take Note: EPA Issues New Guidelines Emphasizing and Strengthening Institutional Controls

This post was written by Edward V. Walsh III. Brownfield developers and owners of contaminated property contemplating a cleanup should take note of two important guidelines issued by the U.S. EPA. These guidelines recommend early consideration of the use of institutional controls (legal documents such as deed restrictions, restrictive covenants and the like) in planning … Continue Reading

(US) A View to a Hill? Beachfront Homeowners Wary Over Dune-Rebuilding Easements

The Garden State is forging ahead with rebuilding efforts after Superstorm Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore last October. One of the largest proposed projects is a $3 billion dune-replenishment project set to start May 1. This proposed coastal protection system would create 22-foot-tall dunes along the coast, forming a natural barrier against storms to protect … Continue Reading

When Is a Property Owner Entitled to a Property Tax Exemption?

Recent Developments in the Law Portend of Widespread Reconsideration of This Question This post was written by Dusty Elias Kirk with Contribution from Kyle Smith. Courts in a number of states are reconsidering how to determine whether a property owner, often a nonprofit entity, is entitled to a property tax exemption or other special property tax … Continue Reading

Can Public Agencies and Private Developers Work Together to Help Fix Pennsylvania’s Transportation Infrastructure? The Promise of P3 Legislation

Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure needs far surpass the Commonwealth’s ability to fund them. According to a 2010 study by the State Transportation Advisory Committee, an additional $3.5 billion a year is needed to fully meet those needs. To close the funding gap and facilitate the development of new transportation facilities throughout the Commonwealth, Pennsylvania, on July … Continue Reading

Animal, Vegetable or Mineral, What is Marcellus Shale?

Title to Oil and Gas in PA Threatened In 1882, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania pronounced what would be known as the Rule in Dunham’s Case. In Dunham and Shortt v. Kirkpatrick, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that a grant or reservation of "all minerals" does not include oil or gas, despite the fact that … Continue Reading

Marcellus Shale Uncertainty: Pennsylvania Municipal Zoning Ordinances Held to Trump Statewide Uniformity

On July 26, 2012, in a decision of major significance to the Marcellus Shale industry, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court in the case of Robinson Township et al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission et al., No. 284 M.D. 2012 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2012), declared Section 3304 of Act 13 of Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas … Continue Reading

New Lawsuit May Derail Fiber-Optics Installations in Western PA

A class-action complaint, filed this July in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, seeks millions of dollars in damages from four telecom companies, alleging a deliberate failure to obtain the permission of hundreds of Beaver County property owners before burying fiber-optic cables on their lands. According to the plaintiffs in Lake … Continue Reading

Tech One Associates v. Bd. of Prop. Ass’t. of Allegh. Co. – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Addresses the Taxation of Improvements Constructed Pursuant to Long-Term Ground Lease

This post was written by Dusty Elias Kirk and Peter H. Schnore. [This article was originally published in the June 2012 issue of the Institute for Professionals in Taxation Tax Report.] On April 25, 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed down its much-anticipated decision in Tech One Associates v. Bd. of Prop. Ass’t. of Allegh. Co. … Continue Reading

Chicago Wins the Latest Round: In a Longstanding Battle, Court Upholds Chicago Landmarks Ordinance Against Constitutional-Vagueness Challenge by Property Owners

The City of Chicago has prevailed in the latest round of a "no holds barred" battle with local property owners over the constitutionality of The Chicago Landmarks Ordinance. In a decision dated May 2, 2012 by the Circuit Court of Cook County, the property owners' claims that the Landmarks Ordinance was unconstitutionally vague and violated due process were rejected, and the court upheld the Ordinance. Hanna and Mrowka v. City of Chicago. No. 06 CH 19422. The landowners had previously won a highly favorable ruling at the appellate court level (in 2009), which raised the prospect of the invalidation of the Ordinance (as reported in a previous Reed Smith Client Alert) - a result that would have sent shockwaves through the historic preservation community nationwide. With the case remanded to it for decision, the trial court considered the due process vagueness issue in detail, including as to the clarity of the Ordinance's criteria for landmark status; but it was not persuaded by the property owners' arguments, and found that they did not meet their burden of rebutting the presumption of the constitutionality of the legislation, thus upholding the Ordinance.… Continue Reading

Chicago’s Vacant Building Ordinance Addresses Some Serious Problems – and Creates Some of Its Own, Too

Chicago's Vacant Building Ordinance, which imposes substantial and unprecedented duties on mortgagees of residential real estate located in the city of Chicago, continues to generate controversy - and lawsuits.… Continue Reading
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