Schwartz v. Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation Board

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, Nos. 183 C.D. 2017, 226 C.D. 2017, March 2, 2018: Third-party can’t enforce easement or appeal county interpretation of easement.

This case concerns whether an industrial waste collection and processing facility comes within the definition of “agricultural production” in a Pennsylvania conservation easement and whether a third-party has rights to enforce the conservation [...]

Stockport Mountain Corporation LLC v. Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Inc.

US District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania, No. 3:11cv514, August 27, 2013: Conservation easement’s prohibition of industrial or commercial activity unambiguously bans fracking.

At issue was whether the wording of a conservation easement was ambiguous regarding prohibition of surface activity by plaintiff Stockport Mountain (Stockport) for natural gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Defendant Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Inc. (Norcross) brought a [...]


PA Superior Court, 2013 PA Super 145, June 19, 2013: Special knowledge not sufficient interest for private citizen to intervene in charitable trust matter.

[Editorial note: Some commentators have made the argument that conservation easements and historic preservation easements are charitable trusts under the laws of various States. This case is reviewed here because it concerns standing [...]


US District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania, No. 3:11cv514, March 1, 2012: Finding that conservation easement’s purposes and its prohibition on industrial or commercial uses of any kind are made ambiguous by uses allowed by the easement, and therefore the easement does not necessarily prohibit natural gas drilling, denies motion for summary judgment.

Plaintiff Stockport Mountain Corporation LLC (Stockport) [...]

Morosco v. Historic Review Commission of Pittsburgh

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, No. 2106 C.D. 2010, February 24, 2012: An individual without any particular harm beyond the common interest lacks standing under PA law to appeal Pittsburgh historical commission’s decision allowing demolition of a historical building. Unreported opinion.

The Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission (HRC) granted a Certificate of Appropriateness allowing demolition of an historic building [...]


US District Court, W.D. Penn., No. 2:11cv889, Sept. 9, 2011: Allows redevelopment demolition of building eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historical Places to proceed by dismissing claims under National Historic Preservation Act, Department of Transportation Act and National Environmental Policy Act because Court found no evidence of federal action.

At issue is the proposed [...]

Northampton Township v Parsons

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 2057 C.D. 2010 July 12, 2011: Restriction to “recreational use” in Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (Declaration) does not allow structure or use for basketball court.  Unreported opinion.

Land acquired by a Township in part with county funds was subject to the Declaration stating the land would be used only “for wildlife [...]

Turchi v Philadelphia Board of License and Inspection Review

Commonwealth Court of PA, 1273 C.D. 2010, 1274 C.D. 2010, April 18, 2011: City Board of License and Inspection Review must defer to the Historical Commission’s interpretations of words in city Historic Preservation Ordinance.

The Philadelphia Board of License and Inspection Review (Board) reversed a decision of the Philadelphia Historical Commission (Commission) approving a permit for the [...]

Federal Chesapeake Bay Strategies Issued

Six federal agencies led by the EPA issued the final strategy document, Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed [EPA‐903‐R‐10‐003] on May 12, 2010, following up an executive order mandating a federal strategy to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Among the outcomes sought by the strategy is “Protect an additional 2 million acres of [...]

Ruling Spares Neutra Gettysburg Cyclorama For Now

Recent Past Preservation Network et al v John Latschar … Superintendent Of Gettysburg National Military Park et al
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Case Number: 1:06-CV-02077-TFH, March 31, 2010

The Recent Past Preservation Network reports, “On March 31, 2010, a federal judge ruled in favor of the Recent Past Preservation Network in the lawsuit involving [...]


No. 12 WAP 2009, March 25, 2010

This decision interprets the Pennsylvania Donated or Dedicated Property Act [Act of Dec. 15, 1959, P.L. 1772 (as amended 53 P.S. §§ 3381-3386), “DDPA”]. “DDPA permits political entities to sell at least certain donated or dedicated property upon orphans’ court approval, subject to conditions, where the original [...]

Troha v United States

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania, C.A. No. 05-191 Erie, February 25, 2010.

The District Court granted summary judgment for the US against plaintiffs who own land that abuts or is traversed by a recreational trail in Elk and Cameron Counties, PA, who claim that by virtue of the operation of the National Trails System Act, 16 [...]