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Commonwealth Court dismisses appeal by East Union Township supervisors

Published March 26. 2011 09:08AM

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has dismissed an appeal by East Union Township supervisors to block the Schuylkill County Zoning Hearing Board from acting on an application for a cargo airport to be built in the township.

The township has 30 days to appeal to the state Superior Court.

Attorney Christopher Hobbs, solicitor for the county's zoning hearing board, said no action to resume hearing the application will be taken before the board's May meeting in order to allow township supervisors to decide if they want to pursue the appeal.

East Union Township had intervened in the proceedings, which began before the county zoning hearing board, by filing in the Schuylkill County Court. Judge John E. Domalakes ruled the county zoning hearing board shall conduct a hearing and make a decision on the issue of the pending ordinance doctrine prior to moving forward on the merits of the application.

The township's argument is that the hearing should be before the township's zoning hearing board, not the county's. If the supervisor decide not to pursue on the appeal, the county zoning board must again rule whether it has jurisdiction on hearing the appeal or defer it to the township board.

When Domalakes denied the township's request to reconsider its intervention, the township appealed his decision to the state court, which also denied its appeal.

The application in dispute was filed by Gladstone Partners, LLC, of Pittsburgh, which is seeking a special exception to the county's zoning ordinance to build an international cargo airport, accessories facilities and business park on a tract of land located at Township Route 457 and 455, which is partly in East Union Township and partly in Kline Township.

The land is owned by Butler Enterprises and is currently zoned a conservation residential and conservation mining district.

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