“Oh, don’t go that way.  You want to avoid the Beltway.” It’s a common chorus in many American cities.  Harrisburg is no exception and backups on its Beltway encroach onto Front Street and other arterial and connector roads on a daily basis.  In recent years, the issues have been exasperated as we continue to see populations trending from rural to urban locations while, at the same time, continue to experience aging and weakening transportation infrastructure.  But plans to bring relief to Harrisburg’s Beltway have been in the works for 15 years.  In 2003, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”) prepared an I-83 Master Plan, the purpose of which was to identify, plan, and program future transportation improvement projects for the I-83 Capital Beltway.  The Master Plan proposed numerous improvements to the Beltway to address: (1) worsening road conditions; (2) high-traffic volumes and congestion; and, (3) safety.  Obviously, the Master Plan will affect municipalities and businesses alike.
Continue Reading

Blight – or urban decay – reduces property values, has been linked to higher crime rates, and is visible throughout Pennsylvania in the form of deteriorated and abandoned properties.  The Pennsylvania Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act, 53  Pa.C.S. §6101 et seq. (the “Act”), provides additional tools to combat blight.  Originally passed as Act 90 of 2010 (“Act 90”), the Act subsequently was amended through the passage of Act 171 of 2014 (“Act 171”) and Act 34 of 2015 (“Act 34”).  Through the Act and related laws as well as financing opportunities, municipalities and developers have the tools necessary to reduce blight and make neighborhoods safer and more desirable.

Continue Reading

For boroughs, townships, municipalities, and cities, eminent domain is a tool used to better the communities in which we live, whether than means widening an increasingly busy road or constructing a new community park.  While eminent domain is an important and powerful tool, condemnors must be sure that they follow the proper procedures, including notice to all property owners, both those of record and those who are not.

Continue Reading

On June 22, 2016, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court decided the case of Township of Millcreek v. Angela Cres Trust of June 25, 1998, 1725 C.D. 2015, which decided whether 42 Pa.C.S. § 5505 applies to eminent domain cases.  Section 5505 provides, in pertinent part, “[e]xcept as otherwise provided or prescribed by law, a court