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Eric S. Goldberg is a Shareholder at Stark & Stark and member of its Real Estate and Business & Transactional Groups. Mr. Goldberg practices in both the Lawrenceville/Princeton and Yardley offices. He focuses on various types of transactional law, with an emphasis in the areas of real estate, land use, and business law.

One of the topics generating a great deal of attention in zoning relates to people leasing their residential homes via Airbnb.

This issue came up in Reihner v. City of Scranton Zoning Hearing Board No. 256 C.D. 2017 (PA Commw. Ct. Dec. 8, 2017). The owners of a single family residential dwelling rented the three bedrooms on the second floor of their house via the Airbnb website.

The City filed a notice of violation alleging that the use was a “Bed and Breakfast” which was not allowed in the property’s zoning district.

Scranton’s ordinance defined a “Bed and Breakfast use” as follows:

“The use of a single family residential dwelling and/or accessory structure which includes the rental of overnight sleeping accommodations and bathroom access…and which does not provide any cooking facilities or provision of meals for guests other than breakfast…”

Continue Reading Zoning Concerns from Listing Your Property on Airbnb

A recent Commonwealth Court case involving a pair of residential properties has aptly demonstrated that not every residential property in Philadelphia can be automatically utilized for student housing. This case in question is Schwartz v. Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment, 2015 Pa Commw. Lexis 413 (2015).

In Schwartz, two properties were zoned for single family and two family residential use, and located near Drexel University’s campus in Powelton Village. The properties were unequivocally zoned and used for residential purposes, and they were currently being leased to Drexel students, with each property rooming at least 4 students. For the record, the Philadelphia Zoning Code defines a family as “a person living independently or group of persons living as a single household unit using housekeeping facilities in common, but not to include more than three persons unrelated by blood, marriage or adoption.”

Continue Reading Commonwealth Court Upholds Philadelphia’s Definition of a Family for Zoning Purposes

Metro Bank v. Board of Commissioners of Manheim Township (Pa. Commonwealth Court 2015) dealt with the appropriate calculation for a transportation impact fee. Metro Bank was approved to build a bank in Manheim Township, and was required to pay an estimated transportation impact fee prior to the start of construction. This dispute is due to

The unreported case of Jenkins v. City of Philadelphia (1470 C.D 2014) should serve as a reminder to all land use attorneys that they must always adequately satisfy all of the applicable proofs when presenting a zoning case. In this instance, the Applicant needed use and dimensional variances in order to utilize a building for

In the case of B.N. Excavating v. PBC Hollow-A, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that it is not always necessary to show that a structure has been erected in order for a mechanics lien to be filed in Pennsylvania. Rather, the majority of the Court ruled that where land excavation is an integral part of the overall construction plan for a building, a mechanics lien could possibly be filed for that work, even where no structure has been built. The en banc panel noted that the seminal case of Sampson-Miller Associated Companies v. Landmark Realty Co. does not stand for the proposition that a mechanics lien can never be filed if a structure has not been erected.
Continue Reading A Mechanics Lien Can Potentially Be Filed Without an Erected Structure

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.
Continue Reading Zoning – Site Specific Relief and Standing

This podcast will discuss deemed approvals in zoning matters under Pennsylvania law. According to a study conducted by Warton, the Philadelphia region has some of the most stringent zoning regulations in the country. An understanding of the time frames in which local zoning and planning boards are required to act within is important for developers