|Posted:||January 4, 2017 11:06 AM|
|From:||Representative David M. Maloney, Sr.|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Amending Act 537 to provide for municipal concurrence on DEP planning waiver and non-building declaration forms|
|In the near future I plan to reintroduce (Former House Bill 1995) under Act 537, a municipality is required to revise its official sewage plan whenever a subdivision of land occurs. To modify an official plan, an appropriate sewage facilities planning module or planning exemption request, completion of required soils testing where onlot disposal is proposed, and formal approval by both the municipality and DEP is required. However, where there is no present or future need for sewage disposal facilities on a particular site, individuals proposing strictly “non-building” subdivisions may complete and sign a waiver request and declaration form to preclude full-scale sewage planning when subdividing the property. This form may be applicable, for example, where subdivisions may occur for agriculture or mineral lease or for division of farmland to settle estates where no building or development is proposed.
Currently, there is no statutory requirement that DEP develop and provide a non-building waiver form; DEP has developed such a form but it is only pursuant to regulation. This legislation will require that DEP develop and provide a form that waives the requirement of a municipality to revise its official plan to accommodate non-building subdivisions if there is no present need for sewage disposal facilities on a given parcel of land. Further, if both the subdivider and the buyer or recipient sign the completed form and the proposed subdivision meet the requirements of the waiver and is in compliance with applicable zoning and subdivision and land development ordinances, the municipal secretary or chairperson of the municipality shall be required as a ministerial function to sign the request for planning waiver. The departmental form may only require a municipality to perform those functions within the scope of Act 537.
Under current law, if the municipality refuses to sign the form, despite the form having been signed by the person proposing the subdivision, the recipient, the sewage enforcement officer, and the planning agency, the proposed subdivision cannot take place without full-scale sewage planning. The court in In Re Subdivision of Marie Crowley Lands, 736 A.2d 40 (Pa.Cmwlth.1999) held that the municipality in that matter was required in a mandamus action to sign the form as a ministerial function because the form did not impose additional obligations and liabilities upon the municipality.
Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation to protect the choice of a landowner to subdivide his or her property under those circumstances where full-scale sewage planning is not needed. If future development should occur, the sewage planning approval required at that time would need to be complied with.
Introduced as HB1567