Supreme Court Hear Standing Case

3800cityavCommonwealth Court Hears Taxpayer Standing March 5 (Updated March 6, 2007)

On March 5th, 2007 at 1:00 pm, a Panel of Commonwealth Court judges held hearings for two cases denying the standing of taxpayers and communty groups. The Common Pleas Court had based its decisions for the two cases on the interpretation of a stealth amendment (Act 193) attached to an unrelated bill in 2004. Act 193 of 2004 was an attempt by friends of the billboard industry to remove Philadelphia’s taxpayer standing, the historic right of citizens and community groups to appeal decisions of the Zoning Board.

Background on Taxpayer Standing

For over ten years, Scenic Philadelphia has worked with community groups and citizens to protect the long standing right of taxpayers to participate in zoning decisions. This includes standing to appeal decisions made by the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment. Scenic Philadelphia’s court victories in 1996 and 1999, guaranteed that any taxpayer can participate in a Philadelphia zoning case. This has helped neighborhoods throughout the city shape development in their communities and protects the visual environment and quality of life of Philadelphia. As a result of taxpayer standing in Philadelphia, Scenic Philadelphia and community groups have successfully challenged variances granted by the ZBA allowing billboards in prohibited areas.