Pike County, Pennsylvania
Press Release dated January 6, 2012
COMMONWEALTH COURT RULES AGAINST LAKE ADVENTURE
Judge Dan Pellegrini, on behalf of a three Judge panel of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, issued a ruling last week which categorically rejected various positions taken by the Lake Adventure Community Association (LACA) in opposition to Dingman Township’s Zoning Ordinance. The ruling was sweeping and firmly in favor of the Township. Not only did Judge Pelligrini affirm the decision of Judge Kameen that the Township Zoning Hearing Board is the proper place for a decision on the merits of the claims of LACA, he went on to state that those claims are without merit. Lake Adventure had taken the position that the Township has no power to regulate what types of recreational vehicles could be placed within Dingman Township. They believe that state and federal law establish the standards for recreational vehicles and that the Township had no power to deviate from that. They cited manufactured home standards and Pennsylvania Vehicle Code standards in support of their claim. Judge Pellegrini stated “We have reviewed those provisions and do not see how they in any way pre-empt local zoning.”
Judge Pellegrini then went on to discuss the issue of “twelve-wide” trailers. He states as follows “The Landowners [LACA] major contention with the amended ordinance has to do with a new stated limitation of the travel trailer to eight feet wide maximum because the industry now makes twelve-wides.” However, even prior to the amendment, the ordinance did not allow twelve-wides because the language in the ordinance stated that a travel trailer was “a vehicular unit, mounted on wheels, of such size or weight as not to require special highway moving permits when drawn by motorized vehicles.” That language has remained the same since the amendment. What Landowner has failed to mention in its argument is that “twelve-wides” require special highway moving permits based on their size. Therefore, even if Landowner permitted “twelve-wides” onto its property prior to the amended ordinance, it was doing so in violation of the ordinance because no permits were granted. Interestingly, neither does Land Owner’s Restricted Covenants. Section 1.17 of the Restrictive Covenants defines a travel trailer as “a vehicular unit, mounted on wheels, of such size or weight as not to require highway permits when drawn by a motor vehicle, initially designed and constructed to provide temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, or travel use”. That definition applies to a twelve-wides and such recreational vehicles would be prohibited on Land Owners property.
The Board of Supervisors hopes that the Lake Adventure Community Association now recognizes that their claims are without merit and will work with the Township to improve their sewage system, water system and electrical distribution system so that the current environmental concerns of the Township are eliminated. Once those systems have been adequately upgraded and repaired the Township would be in a position to consider the request of Lake Adventure to permit the new units onto the property. Until that has been accomplished the Township will continue to work to protect the people and the environment in Dingman Township for the benefit of all its citizens.