PHILADELPHIA ZONING RELIEF – A SECOND BITE AT THE APPLE
You’re a Philadelphia developer and you just learned that the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) denied your request for variances for your pet project. You’ve been around the block enough to know that appeals are time-consuming, expensive, and, all too often, unsuccessful.
Good news. You may well have a do-over. A mulligan. A second bite at the apple.
Essentially, there are three ways to get one. First, there is a little-known opportunity to persuade the ZBA that there are “materially changed circumstances” entitling you to a waiver of the one-year waiting period rule. Second, you may appeal to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and then, if no objector participates in the appeal, persuade the City Law Department attorney assigned to the case to agree to send the case back to the ZBA for a rehearing. Third, even in the face of opposition, often there is an opportunity on appeal to persuade the judge to send the case back to the ZBA for a new hearing. The right attorney can help you choose which of the choices may be appropriate for your situation and represent you in taking it.
Here is where it gets even better: Should you get a do over, experienced counsel may be able to assess the adjustments you have to make. Better still, before your case is called at the second hearing, your attorney can prepare you for the kinds of questions the ZBA will ask. In short, you might not only get another chance; you might wind up prepared to make the most of it.