Pending-Ordinance Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Pending-ordinance doctrine is a judicially created principle that allows a municipality to deny an application for a property use which even though in accordance with the existing law, violates a law that is pending when the application is made. This doctrine was introduced to curb landowners' attempts to circumvent a new ordinance by applying for a nonconforming use on the eve of its approval.

A building permit may be refused if, at the time of application, there is pending an amendment to a zoning ordinance which would prohibit the use of the land for which the permit is sought. [Boron Oil Co. v. Kimple, 445 Pa. 327, 329 (Pa. 1971)]