Whether you are a fan of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood or, to a much lesser extent, Will Smith, you are familiar with the Wild (Wild) West. During my first year as an associate, the members of our Land Use Group described land use hearings, such as a hearing for a conditional use or a variance, as the Wild West as compared to proceedings in a courtroom. They were not wrong; although, that is not to say land use hearings operate without procedural rules.
This is the third post in a four-part series on land use hearings. The first two posts (Post 1 and Post 2) explained the beginning and ending of hearings, including the public notice requirements and deadlines under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (“MPC”) for conducting a hearing and reaching a decision. This post and the next will cover the hearing itself.
Section 908(3) of the MPC describes the “parties to the hearing” as