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Land Use and Zoning

The Land Use and Zoning Practice at Montgomery McCracken is an interdisciplinary practice containing elements of real estate, environmental and municipal law.

Our attorneys are experienced in handling matters before municipal zoning boards, as well as securing municipal, state and federal permits and approvals for a wide variety of development projects.

We counsel our clients regarding:

  • applications for variances and special exceptions to municipal zoning;
  • challenges to the validity of ordinances regulating land use and development;
  • securing municipal approvals and permits, including subdivision and land development approvals, conditional use applications and storm water management and erosion and sedimentation control approvals;
  • securing county, state and federal permits and approvals for development projects, including sewage facilities planning modules, NPDES storm water management permits, state and federal wetlands permits, erosion and sedimentation control compliance, and PennDOT highway occupancy permits;
  • documentation for compliance with Pennsylvania Condominium and Planned Community regulations, including public offering statements;
  • documentation of conservation easements and restrictive covenant agreements to preserve open space preservation areas;
  • negotiating and documenting financial transactions involving the purchase, sale, leasing and development of real estate;
  • municipal regulatory matters, including drafting amendments to zoning and subdivision ordinances, and counseling with regard to acquisition of development rights, sewage facilities planning and conditional use hearings;
  • specialized development projects, such as traditional neighborhood and planned residential developments;
  • brownfields projects involving commercial, industrial, residential and mixed use redevelopment of environmentally impaired properties, utilizing state-of-the-art environmental risk management tools, including environmental insurance policies and liability limitation and transfer agreements with federal, state and local governmental authorities;
  • environmental liability analysis and liability mitigation strategies in connection with owned or formerly-owned assets.

At Montgomery McCracken, we bring to our clients a full range of real estate transactional and land development administrative services, from the commencement of negotiations with landowners for purchase of a property, through the full range of approvals and permits, to the financing of the development project.  We collaborate with our colleagues in the Real Estate and Environmental Practice groups to provide this full range of services.

Additionally, we represent landowners in their negotiations for sale of their properties for development purposes and/or the negotiation of conservation easements for full or partial preservation of environmentally sensitive tracts of land.

Representative clients include:

  • a national homebuilder, serving as local counsel for a myriad of residential projects;
  • regional developers and builders several municipal agencies, including a county planning commission, a municipal planning commission, a municipal governing body, and several zoning hearing boards;
  • non-profit conservation organizations and land trusts.

A sampling of recent representative engagements include:

  • conditional use approvals, including the negotiation of acceptable conditions while on appeal;
  • securing contested subdivision and land development plan approvals for a variety of residential and commercial projects;
  • representing land owners in negotiating agreements of sale with developers;
  • securing DEP approval of difficult sewage facilities planning;
  • drafting of zoning ordinance amendments to authorize traditional neighborhood developments;
  • drafting of Declarations of Covenants and Conditions, together with Public Offering Statements, for various planned communities under the Uniform Planned Community and Condominium Acts;
  • negotiating conditions for a PennDOT Highway Occupancy Permit.

Our lawyers also frequently serve as instructors, giving seminars and writing articles on various land use and zoning topics.

For More Information

For details on how the Land Use and Zoning Practice can help you, please contact a member of the Land Use and Zoning Practice or David S. Blum, Chair, Real Estate, at 215-772-7534 or email dblum@mmwr.com or Timothy J. Bergere, Chair, Environmental, at 215-772-7431 or email tbergere@mmwr.com.