In the case of In Re Appeal of Chester County Outdoor, LLC, the applicant, Chester County Outdoor LLC (“CCO”), desired to erect a billboard on certain property in Penn Township. CCO filed a challenge to the validity of Penn Township’s Zoning Ordinance pursuant to Section 916.1 of the Municipalities Planning Code, alleging that that Section 1800G of the Ordinance excluded billboards. Section 1800G stated that no sign could be erected in the Township except one for a business or merchandise for sale on the same premises as the billboard.
At the hearing before the Zoning Hearing Board (“Board”), CCO withdrew the site plan that was attached to its application. Thereafter, the Board confirmed at the hearing that the only issue before it related to the validity of Section 1800G. The Board then agreed with CCO and ruled that Section 180OG was invalid as it excluded billboards. It did not address whether CCO was entitled to site specific relief.
CCO appealed the Board’s decision stating that it was entitled to site specific relief. The Common Pleas Court affirmed the Board’s decision and ruled that CCO lacked standing to appeal the Board’s decision.
The Commonwealth Court affirmed, noting that CCO was not an aggrieved party. It held that the only issue before the Board was whether Section 1800G was invalid. The Board ruled in favor of CCO on that issue, and therefore CCO was not aggrieved. The Court also stated that the Board never held that CCO is not entitled to site specific relief, despite the fact that the Board noted that CCO would not be entitled to the particular site specific relief in its application (as it needed a dimensional setback). The Court held that this portion of the Board’s decision was dictum and it was merely informing CCO what it would need to change on its plans if it requested site specific relief. Thus, while Section 1800G was declared invalid, the applicant was unable to obtain site specific relief.