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October 2015 Archives

Philadelphia's Civic Design Review adds to zoning review process

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter's administration has pushed many changes to the land use review and approval process in the city, including a revised zoning code and citywide master plan, but perhaps none of these changes has as much potential for controversy as the Civic Design Review process.

New mortgage disclosure rules take effect

Anyone in the Philadelphia area who has used a bank loan secured by a first mortgage to purchase residential real estate in the last thirty years has dealt with several forms intended to disclose the terms of the loan. According to federal rules, lenders were required to give these forms to borrowers before the closing, but the forms often lacked correct information or were not provided until the day of closing, effectively depriving the borrowers of the intended protections. Under a new set of rules promulgated by the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") that became effective on October 1, 2015, lenders, borrowers, loan brokers and real estate agents are learning to work with a new set of disclosure requirements and a new set of disclosure forms that apply to all residential real estate transactions.

Quiet title action can resolve land ownership disputes

Real estate in and around Philadelphia has been bought and sold, platted, subdivided and leased for over 300 years. Numerous parcels have been sold many times over. What happens when a decades-old transaction is discovered to have created conflicting interests in the same piece of property? These conflicts can be the result of errors in transcribing legal descriptions, misunderstandings about the size or shape of the parcel being sold or any of the myriad of other mistakes that humans can make during this complex process. The disputes can range from the validity of a deed, a property line dispute or whether a lien or mortgage has been satisfied.

Proposed pipeline stirs concern, controversy in Chester County

Any proposal to build a large industrial facility is certain to stir controversy and, usually, the intensity of the controversy is directly proportional to the size of the proposed facility. At a recent public meeting, residents of Chester County stood up to express a variety of concerns about a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run hundreds of miles through southern Pennsylvania.

City Council to consider zoning changes for new hotel

When a developer plans to redevelop a parcel in Philadelphia's central core, a change to the zoning district that contains the parcel is often required. Even if the zoning classification remains the same, a conditional use permit or other modification of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance may be required. A new hotel project near Rittenhouse Square has proven that a parcel can be rezoned to accommodate a worthwhile project.

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