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I live in Pennsylvania and have an outstanding permit

Customer Question
application for a large driveway...
I live in Pennsylvania and have an outstanding permit application for a large driveway I have installed. I am in the process of having an engineer design a Stormwater management plan as needed for that driveway. I had put $3000 in escrow to the township when I submitted my permit application to cover their engineering costs.Separately from my driveway I am about to start construction on a new floor to my house. The town has approved my plans and is ready to grant me that building permit. However they are telling me that they will not release the permit because my escrow has been spent and I owe another $400 for engineering fees I’ve occurred. Given that I haven’t submitted a SMP yet and my own engineering costs are well below 3k so far I am not willing to give the town any more money until they explain where my escrow funds went. I asked them to provide a legal basis for holding up an unrelated permit and the town solicitor sent me a nasty letter stating that I am obligated to pay them whatever they say as per my SMP permit application. I then got a bill from the town for another 500 for legal fees related to that letter.At this point I need to start my construction project while I figure out how to get some answers on my SMP permit costs. However I am hesitant to give the town any more money until that point.Can they legally hold up an unrelated permit app to force me to pay fees that I consider in dispute? I’ve confirmed that my new construction doesn’t impact any impervious surface and therefore shouldn’t be connected. The town also has not said they were connected in any way.Also - can I sue them for overcharging fees or not providing justification in small claims?
Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 21 minutes by:
11/10/2017
Real Estate Lawyer: WiseOwl58, Lawyer replied 7 months ago
WiseOwl58
WiseOwl58, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,528
Experience: Experienced real estate lawyer and real estate broker.
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No, they can't prejudice you on a new project based on what may have happened with a separate permit. Pennsaylvania law provides they cannot use that form of retaliation.

Please rate 4 or 5 and close out the question. Good luck to you. I wish you all the best.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Can u provide me with a little more meat that I can use with the town manager on Monday please. Something so she knows they have done wrong and it won’t hold in court. Would it be small claims?
Real Estate Lawyer: WiseOwl58, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

yes it would be small claims here. I suggest you prepare the complaint and bring it on Monday and they will probably settle to avoid your filing litigation against them.

Please rate 4 or 5 and close out the question. Good luck to you. I wish you all the best.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
My question is what is The Pennsylvania law that you think they violated?
Real Estate Lawyer: Attyadvisor, Attorney replied 7 months ago
Attyadvisor
Attyadvisor, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 8,699
Experience: 30 years of experience in General Practice, Real Estate Law and Estate Law.
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I am a different Attorney and it will be my pleasure to assist you. The site asked me to see if I could assist you.

They need to provide with the exact code that states they have they have the right to hold the escrow as well as spend the money without detailing the costs. I have drafted code for local government and sometimes there is language that allows them to require the owner to pay for one project before giving approval on another.

The issue for local government is that holding up your use of your real property can be considered a governmental taking. If the language in their code allows them to do this an amendment would be in order, if they are no permitted to do this you can sue them for taking action not authorized under the law. Can you ask them to provide the applicable law that they feel gives them this right. Can you also attach the documentation, if any, that they provided to you?

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The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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