The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s recent decision in BPG Real Estate Investors v. Newtown Township may cause developers and townships to more carefully consider whether settlement agreements are reaching too far. The ultimate result may be courts refusing to approve such settlements.
In the BPG decision, the Commonwealth Court determined that a settlement agreement between the developer and Newtown Township was too expansive because it included land which was not part of an original conditional use proceeding. The conditional use involved a 51 acre portion of property upon which commercial development was proposed. The developer appealed the conditions attached to the conditional use approval. Certain entities owning 168 acres adjacent to the developer’s 51 acres intervened in the appeal. The settlement agreement ultimately reached by the parties addressed the commercial development upon the 51 acres but also addressed development upon the 168 acres which were not part of the conditional use proceeding. The Court said the settlement should not have included the additional 168 acres, but then sent the case back to the lower court to consider whether to approve the portion of the settlement agreement relating to the 51 acre tract. You can explore media coverage about the case by visiting the Delaware County Daily Times.
For more information on how to draft appropriate settlement agreements, please contact Andrew Rau at our West Chester office location.