[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Downingtown 12-30-1986 by Ord. No. 86-20. Amendments noted where applicable.]
There shall be and hereby is created a Board of Administrative Appeals.
The Board of Administrative Appeals shall have jurisdiction in all disputes of any nature or description whatsoever arising from the grant or denial of any permit or the action of any Borough administrative official under any ordinance specifically providing for appeals to this Board of Administrative Appeals. No such appeal shall lie under any ordinance not specifically providing for appeals to this Board or providing for appeals to other boards or directly to court. Specifically excluded from this chapter are appeals arising under Chapter 287, Zoning, and Chapter 256, Subdivision of Land, or any other ordinance enacted under the Municipalities Planning Code.
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
[Amended 10-10-1990 by Ord. No. 90-16]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE
- Includes and is construed to mean the administrative official charged with the enforcement of the particular ordinance or code which is made a subject of appeal to this Board.
[Amended 10-10-1990 by Ord. No. 90-16; 11-7-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-4; 5-16-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-03]
The Borough; any of its agencies; any other governmental office, agency or department of the county, state or federal government having jurisdiction over the land in question; the landowner; the occupant of the land; and any purchaser under an agreement of sale or under an option agreement having a direct, pecuniary or proprietary interest in lands immediately adversely affected by any action of the administrative office in the administration of applicable ordinances (all hereinafter referred to as "persons aggrieved") may appeal such action of the administrative office to the Board of Administrative Appeals, which shall hear and determine the same under the Local Agency Law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. All petitions for appeal shall be filed within the time limits set forth in the article provisions from which an appeal is taken to the Board.
[Added 11-7-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-4]
Any person appealing from the decision of the Code Enforcement Officer shall pay a fee of $500 which shall be paid to the Borough of Downingtown. The records of the Board of Administrative Appeals shall be the property of the Borough of Downingtown and shall at all times be kept in the custody of the Borough Secretary at the municipal building.
Membership of Board. The Board of Administrative Appeals shall consist of three members appointed by the Borough Council, one such member to be appointed for three years, one for two years and one for one year. Thereafter, each new member shall serve for three years or until his successor has been appointed and qualified.
Qualifications of Board members. Each member shall have a general working knowledge and understanding of construction techniques, materials and design. Members shall not be employees of the Borough. The qualifications of members to serve shall be left to the sole, absolute and unfettered discretion of the Borough Council.
[Amended 5-16-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-03]
Absence of members. During the absence of a member, by reason of disability or disqualification, the Borough Council shall designate a qualified substitute.
Chairman of Board. The Board shall select one of its members to serve as Chairman and one of its members to serve as Secretary to the Board. The Secretary of the Board shall keep a detailed record of all proceedings on file in the administrative office.
Exemption of members. A member of the Board shall not pass on any question in which he is engaged as contractor or material dealer or in the preparation of plans or specifications or in which he has any personal interest.
The members of the Board of Administrative Appeals shall receive such compensation as may from time to time be determined by the Borough Council. In addition, the Board of Administrative Appeals and members thereof shall be reimbursed for all out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
The Board shall meet upon notice of the Chairman, which shall be given to all members of the Board, all adjacent property owners, the applicant, the landowner, the Borough Council, the Borough Solicitor, the administrative office and to all persons holding or occupying property immediately adjacent to the premises which is the subject of the appeal. The giving of notice to an occupant shall be deemed notice to the owner, and the giving of notice to an owner shall be deemed notice to the occupant of any property. In addition, notice shall be advertised once in a newspaper of general circulation within the Borough not less than seven nor more than 21 days prior to the date of the hearing. Where notices have been sent to any person entitled to receive notices under the terms hereof, the failure to receive such notice shall not be a basis for the invalidation of the hearing nor deprive the Board of jurisdiction nor compel readvertising.
All hearings shall be open to the public and shall be conducted under and pursuant to the procedure designated in the Local Agency Law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The majority of the Board shall constitute a quorum, and the majority of the members present and voting may render a decision on any matter before the Board. At the hearing, the appellant shall be entitled to be represented by counsel, and those persons enumerated in § 4-7, as well as any other persons authorized by the Board in its discretion, shall be permitted to intervene as parties.
When the necessary number to constitute a quorum of the Board is not present, if the testimony has not been concluded or for any other reason in the discretion of the Board, the Board may continue the hearing to a future date certain.
The Board shall affirm, modify or reverse the decision of the administrative office by a majority vote of the members of the Board hearing the appeal. The failure to obtain a majority vote shall constitute affirmance of the action of the administrative office.
The Board shall be empowered to render decisions concerning the propriety of the administrative office's actions under ordinances to which jurisdiction is granted to this Board. Therefore, an alleged refusal to issue a building permit based upon an alleged noncompliance with any other ordinance, code, statute, rule or regulation shall be limited to whether or not the certificate of compliance was attached to the application, and the Board of Administrative Appeals shall not have jurisdiction or power to inquire into the propriety of the grant or refusal of such certification, it being the intent that this section shall not impair exclusive jurisdiction of the Borough Council, the Zoning Hearing Board, the Department of Environmental Resources or any other reviewing agency within the jurisdiction set forth in their respective enabling legislation.
The Board shall render a written opinion within 45 days of the close of the hearings and shall make findings of fact relevant to said application and apply the applicable law to said findings of fact in the rendering of its decision. Copies of the opinion and decision shall be mailed, by first class mail, to each party before the Board and to the Borough Council; provided, however, that failure to render a decision within the forty-five-day period herein stated shall not constitute an affirmance or denial, but any party shall have the right to seek an order in mandamus from the Court of Common Pleas directing the filing to render such an opinion within 45 days.
The administrative office shall take immediate action in accordance with the decision of the Board.
The municipality, whether or not a party before the Board of Administrative Appeals, and any party other than a discretionary party before the Board who is aggrieved by the decision of the Board of Administration Appeals may appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County within 30 days from the date of the rendering of the decision of the Board, and the Court of Common Pleas shall review the record on certiorari to determine whether or not the Board of Administrative Appeals abused its discretion or committed an error at law.