Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Winter 2019 - 11

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forth in the case of Albert v. Zoning
Hearing Board of North Abington
Township, 578 Pa. 439, 854 A.2d
401 (2004) by finding that the purely
transient use of a property as part of
a commercial short-term vacation
rental business was a permitted use in a
residential zoning district?" See, Slice of
Life, LLC v. Hamilton Township Zoning
Hearing Board, 180 A.3d 367 (Pa.
2018) (the Albert case defines "family"
for purposes of uses such as group
homes and homes for special needs
individuals in terms of permanence and
stability).
In addition, there are two more
recent, unpublished cases from the
Commonwealth Court, Leinberger v.
Stellar, No. 1620 C.D. 2017, 2018 Pa.
Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 543 (Pa.
Commw., October 11, 2018) and Hoefling
v. Zoning Hearing Board of Monroe
Township, 2018 Pa.Commw. LEXIS 574
(Pa.Commw., October 25, 2018) on the
issue of violation of residential district
zoning regulations by short-term rental
usage. Both cases have found that the
express terms of the zoning Ordinance
control. Leinberger is a case which does
not involve an NOV, but, rather, was based
on a zoning enforcement action brought
in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh
County by neighbors under Section 617 of
the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning
Code, 53 P.S. ยง 10617, to prohibit a
neighbor from utilizing a cabin on his
property for a short term rental use. The
Court, cognizant of the pending appeal in
Slice of Life to the Pennsylvania Supreme
Court, upheld the refusal of the trial court
to enjoin the activity.
Based on those cases, it is the
responsibility of the municipality to
craft its zoning Ordinance to restrict
or prohibit short-term vacation rentals,
and/or define carefully terms such as
"bed and breakfast inn," "hotel", "motel",
"boarding house" and "rooming house" so
as to include such rentals, and limit them
by zoning district. Some municipalities
have updated their zoning Ordinances
in response to these appellate decisions.

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For example, Pocono Township, Monroe
County, amended its Zoning Ordinance
in July 2017. The Ordinance, titled the
"Short Term Rental Ordinance of Pocono
Township," defined "Short Term Rental"
(STR) as "[a]ny dwelling unit owned
or managed by a person which is rented
or leased for a period of less than 30
days." The Ordinance required licensing
and inspection by the Code Official of
STR properties, and required that STR
properties be either owner-occupied

or that there must be a local person in
charge. The Ordinance, further, prohibited
marketing of STR properties in excess of
occupancy limits, and allowed for future
limits on the number of STR properties
to not more than eight per square mile,
and restricted STRs from being located
less than 1,000 feet from a lot on which
another STR unit was located. Likewise,
the City of Lancaster, also in July of 2017,
adopted regulations for "Visitor House
Rentals," limiting such rentals to districts
Continued on next page
Winter 2019 | 11


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Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Winter 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Winter 2019

Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Winter 2019 - 1
Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Winter 2019 - 2
Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Winter 2019 - 3
Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Winter 2019 - 4
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