Rubino v. Millcreek Twp., PICS Case No. 14-0096 (Pa. Commw. Jan. 22, 2014) Leavitt, J. (10 pages).

COMMONWEALTH COURT

The Legal Intelligencer

LAND USE AND PLANNING

Local Land Ordinance • "Subdivision of Record"

Rubino v. Millcreek Twp., PICS Case No. 14-0096 (Pa. Commw. Jan. 22, 2014) Leavitt, J. (10 pages).

Plaintiffs were prohibited by local land ordinance from subdividing land into lots smaller than the typical or average size as shown in a recorded subdivision. Judgment affirmed.

In 1966, the owners of multiple acres of land recorded a subdivision plan to divide approximately 30 acres into 11 residential lots, ranging from between one plus acres to just over four acres in size (section 1). Between 1975 and 1982, the owners filed six additional separate residential subdivision plans (sections 2–6), in which the lots ranged in size from just under one acre to a little less than 4 acres.

Plaintiffs purchased their home on approximately three acres in 2006 located in section 1 of the subdivision plan (Lot. No. 8). In 2011, they filed a subdivision plan to divide their lot in two (one, approximately 1.6 acres, and a second approximately 1.4 acres). The Township disapproved the plan because it did not satisfy its Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO), which prohibits subdividing a lot already located in a "subdivision of record", and because plaintiffs proposed subdivision would create two lots out of scale with the remaining 10 lots.

Plaintiffs appealed to the trial court, arguing that the entire subdivision plan (i.e., sections 1–6) must be considered for purposes of SALDO (not just section 1), and that their proposed subdivision satisfied the "typical or average size of lots" required by the ordinance. The court disagreed, holding that only section 1 was the "recorded subdivision" to consider for purposes of SALDO, and that plaintiffs' lots would be about half the size of an average lot located in section 1. The Commonwealth Court affirmed.

SALDO prohibits any proposed subdivision of a lot located in a subdivision of record that would create lots smaller than the typical or average size of lots as shown in a recorded subdivision. The only recorded subdivision plan that may be considered for purposes of the ordinance is section 1, which includes plaintiffs' lot. SALDO was enacted to protect purchasers who rely upon lot sizes and configurations as shown on an approved and recorded development plan. Such intent is rendered meaningless if subsequent subdivisions of surrounding land change the average size of lots in the specific recorded subdivision that created plaintiffs' lot.