Starting August 31, 2013, municipalities will have to provide advance notice electronically or by mail of certain proceedings to landowners who have requested such notice in writing. Under amendments to the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett on July 2, 2013, municipalities must provide landowners with the requested electronic notice or mailed notice of public hearings regarding the enactment of zoning ordinances and amendments.
Property owners who own land located within the municipality, or who own mineral rights in a parcel of land within the municipality, are eligible to request electronic or mailed notice of public hearings that may affect that tract or parcel of land. Electronic notice is to be given by the municipality through the internet to an electronic address provided by the property owner, and only if the municipality is capable of providing electronic notice. Mailed notice is to be given by the municipality via first class mail, in a self addressed, stamped envelope provided by the property owner. The notices must state the time and place of the public hearing, as well as the particular nature of the matter to be considered at that hearing. The mailed notice must be deposited in the United States mail, or the electronic notice must be sent, no more than thirty days and no less than seven days before the scheduled date of the hearing. The notices are deemed received by the property owner that same day. The municipal secretary must maintain a list of all electronic and mailed notices, and the dates on which those notices were sent for each public hearing. The electronic notices and mailed notices created by Act 36 are only applicable to Section 608 (enactment of zoning ordinances) and Section 609 (enactment of zoning ordinance amendments) of the MPC. If a proposed zoning amendment is substantially changed, or revised, to include land not previously affected by it, then the municipality must hold another public hearing, subject to the electronic and mailed notice requirements, before voting on that revised amendment.
Alfred R. Fuscaldo is a Director in the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department.