§14-1807. Appeals to the Courts. [404]


(1) Any person or persons jointly or severally aggrieved by any decision of the Board, or any taxpayer, or any officer, department, board or bureau of the City, may appeal by presenting to the Court of Common Pleas a Notice of Appeal setting forth the date of the decision by the Board, the calendar number of the case before the Board, and the address of the property involved, and attaching a copy of the decision from which the appeal is being taken. The Notice of Appeal shall be in such form as required by local rules of court and shall be filed within thirty (30) days after the date of the mailing of the notice of decision, which date shall be separately and clearly designated on such notice. The Notice of Appeal shall also contain the following statement: "Please take notice that all parties that entered an appearance in the proceedings before the Zoning Board of Adjustment may intervene as of right in this appeal by filing with the Prothonotary a Praecipe to Intervene within thirty (30) days of the date of service of this notice."

(2) The Zoning Board of Adjustment, the City of Philadelphia, and the applicant before the Board (if not the appellant) shall be named as appellees in said appeal, with the right to appear by counsel, or in the case of the applicant before the Board, in person or by counsel, and defend such action. All parties that entered an appearance in the proceedings before the Zoning Board of Adjustment may intervene in the appeal as of right by filing with the Prothonotary a Praecipe to Intervene within thirty (30) days of the date of service of the Notice of Appeal. The Court may permit any other person or persons claiming an interest to assert his, her or their right by intervention. The Notice of Appeal shall be served, within the time prescribed by local rules of court, on the Zoning Board, the City Solicitor, the Zoning Board’s official agency reporter, the applicant before the Zoning Board (if not the appellant), and all persons or entities that entered their appearance before the Zoning Board. Certification of service shall be in accordance with local rules of court. The filing of the Notice of Appeal shall not stay the decision appealed from, any proceedings upon the decision appealed from, or any other proceedings. However, the Court may consider a Motion by the appellant for an order of supersedeas where the Motion has been made in accordance with local rules of court, notice has been given to all parties entitled to be served with copies of the Notice of Appeal, and the appellant has shown due cause for filing such a Motion.

(3) The Board shall not be required to return the original papers acted upon by it, but it shall be sufficient to return certified or sworn copies thereof. The record of the Board on appeal shall consist of the original papers and exhibits presented to the Zoning Board, or certified or sworn copies thereof, the Zoning Board’s decision, the transcript of proceedings and the Zoning Board’s findings of fact and conclusions of law. The record of the Board shall concisely set forth the Board’s findings of fact and conclusions of law showing the basis of the decision appealed from, and shall be verified. Except as provided in Paragraph (7) of this Section 14-1807[405] the appellant shall order the transcript of proceedings before the Zoning Board and the procedures with respect to transcription of the proceedings before the Zoning Board and transmittal of the record to the Court shall be as provided by local rules of court.

(4) In connection with any appeal from a Zoning Board decision, briefs or memoranda of law, if any, shall be submitted, and oral argument, if any, shall be held, in accordance with local rules of court. The Court may reverse or affirm, wholly or partly, or may modify, the decision brought up for review. In the event the Court determines that a full and complete record of the proceedings before the Zoning Board was made, the Court shall hear the appeal without a jury on the record certified by the Zoning Board. In the event the Court determines that a full and complete record of the proceedings before the Board was not made, the Court may hear the appeal de novo or may remand the proceedings to the Board for the purpose of making a full and complete record or for further disposition in accordance with the order of the Court. If the Court remands the matter to the Board, the Board shall make additional findings of fact and conclusions of law which shall constitute a part of the record on which the determination of the Court shall be made. If the Court remands to the Board for a full and complete record, the applicant shall repost notice of the hearing for at least 12 consecutive days immediately prior to and including the day of the remanded hearing before the Board; however, the applicant does not have to pay a fee for such reposting as required by § 14-1805(11).

(5) If the Court determines that a full and complete record of the proceedings before the Zoning Board was made, no questions shall be heard or considered by the Court which were not raised before the Zoning Board. If the Court determines that a full and complete record of the proceedings before the Board was not made and the Court is satisfied that such additional questions could not, by the exercise of due diligence, have been raised by the party before the Board, the Court shall remand the record to the Board for further hearing on the additional questions. Where the additional questions raised by a party involve the validity of the Zoning Code or related provisions of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, on remand the Board shall not render a decision on the validity question but shall make such findings of fact and other conclusions of law as shall assist the Court in its determination of the validity question.

(6) Costs shall not be allowed against the Board unless it shall appear to the Court that the Board has acted with gross negligence, or in bad faith or with malice in making the decision appealed from. Where the City participates in an appeal as an appellee required to be named under § 14-1807(2)[406] to defend the decision of the Board and has not appeared as a separate party in the proceedings before the Board, costs shall also not be allowed against the City unless the Court determines that the Board acted with gross negligence, or in bad faith or with malice in making the decision appealed from.[407]

(7) It is the policy of the Council to protect the interests of community and neighborhood groups and organizations and to make available to such groups and organizations access to the courts where such groups and organizations seek to protect their interests under this Title. Therefore, the following provisions shall apply to community and neighborhood groups and organizations:

(a) After the filing of a Notice of Appeal with the Court, a community or neighborhood group or organization which participates in the appeal as an appellant, appellee or intervenor shall not be required to pay the costs of transcribing the proceedings before the Zoning Board of Adjustment which are the subject of the appeal. After the filing of a Notice of Appeal, a community or neighborhood group or organization which seeks the benefits of this Paragraph shall notify the City of its request that the City make payment of its transcript costs.
(b) Upon receipt of a request for the payment of transcript costs from a community or neighborhood group or organization which is an appellant in the appeal, the City shall contact the Zoning Board’s official agency reporter and make prompt arrangements for and pay the costs of such transcription, and comply with any other rules of court with respect to such transcription, just as if the City were the appellant in the matter. The City shall direct the Zoning Board’s official agency reporter to provide a copy of the transcript to such group or organization or its counsel as soon as the transcription has been completed. Upon receipt of a request for the payment of transcript costs from a community or neighborhood group or organization which is an appellee or intervenor in the appeal, the City shall see to it that a copy of the transcript of the Zoning Board proceedings is provided, at the City’s expense, to such group or organization or its counsel, as soon as the transcription is completed.

(c) For the purposes of this Paragraph, a community or neighborhood group or organization shall be a group or organization composed primarily of tenants and property owners who reside in the vicinity of the property which is the subject of the zoning appeal. It shall not include groups or organizations which are composed primarily of members who represent commercial or business enterprises.