WHEREAS, Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution entitles all Pennsylvanians to "clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment";
WHEREAS, Philadelphia residents are interested in preserving their quality of life and the City's visual environment, which contribute to the vitality of the City's economy, culture and civic character, and in assuring that laws protecting these assets are properly enforced;
WHEREAS, Philadelphia City Council protects the City's quality of life, visual environment and other interests through the enactment of zoning and land use legislation;
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Code, Section 14-1807(1), recognizes the importance of the role of Philadelphia residents in preserving the City's quality of life and visual environment, by providing that '[a]ny person or persons jointly or severely aggrieved by any decision of the Board, or any taxpayer, or any officer, department, board or bureau of the City, may appeal to the Court of Common Pleas," and thus grants Philadelphia residents broad standing to challenge decisions of the Zoning Board of Adjustment and also other administrative boards, commissions and administrative agencies in Philadelphia ("City Boards"), by virtue of their status as taxpayers ("Taxpayer Standing");
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association has a well-established strong interest in any proposed legislation intended to improve the City's administrative codes, regulations and City Boards so as to create a more competitive and attractive business and residential environment in the City to promote economic growth, to enhance the real estate market by encouraging investment in new and existing properties and developments, and to improve the efficiency of governmental functions;
WHEREAS, a last minute amendment prior to passage of Act 2004-193 (Act of November 30, 2004, P.L. ___, No. 2004-193) removed the longstanding right of Taxpayer Standing to challenge decisions of City Boards;
WHEREAS, it is appropriate for the General Assembly to enact legislation such as, but not limited to, House Bill No. 1651, Printer's No. 2142, which is currently pending, in order to restore Taxpayer Standing to challenge administrative decisions of City Boards.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association urges the Pennsylvania General Assembly to restore Taxpayer Standing to challenge administrative decisions by the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment and other Philadelphia administrative boards, commissions, and agencies.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association supports enactment of House Bill No. 1651, Printer's No. 2142.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor or his/her designee, is authorized and directed to take such steps as may be necessary or appropriate to effectuate this resolution, including communicating with the Governor and members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, regarding this Association's support for House Bill No. 1651, Printer's No. 2124, or similar legislation.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: OCTOBER 25, 2007