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BORDEN APPEAL (03/24/52)

March 24, 1952

BORDEN APPEAL


Appeal, No. 3, Jan. T., 1952, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, April T., 1950, No. 14, in matter of Appeal by Petition to Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County from Decision of Board of Adjustment of Cheltenham Township by Horace L. Borden et al. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Morris Gerber, with him Cassin W. Craig and Wisler, Pearlstine, Talone & Gerber, for appellants.

Fred Wolf, Jr., with him Maxwell Strawbridge and Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen, for intervenors, appellees.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Musmanno

[ 369 Pa. Page 518]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

Nathan L. Traub and Katharine M. Buchsbaum, here referred to as intervenors, are the owners of a tract of ground containing 13 acres in Cheltenham Township in Montgomery County. Desiring to building two apartment houses on this ground, they applied to the township authorities for the necessary permission. As the land was in a "B" residence district, it was necessary for them to appear before the Zoning Board of

[ 369 Pa. Page 519]

Adjustment of Cheltenham Township to establish that the contemplated building project could be authorized (under the zoning ordinance in effect) as a "special exception."

Owners of property in the immediate vicinity of the tract involved objected to the erection of the proposed apartment houses, claiming that these structures would be detrimental to the value and quiet enjoyment of their properties. A hearing was held before the Board of Adjustment which decided in favor of the intervenors, an appeal was taken by the aggrieved property owners to the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, and a new hearing was granted. The President Judge of Montgomery County came to the same conclusion as had the Board of Adjustment, his decision was affirmed by the court en banc, and now the property owners, here called the appellants, have appealed to this court.

The contest between the appellants and the intervenors is a reflection of the times. Small home owners throughout the country are resenting the invasion of apartment buildings into the sanctity of their theretofore private preserves. The apartment building has become a brick and steel monster in their midst, casting its shadow of assumed superiority and conceit over their modest dwellings, and imposing on them the subserviency of all the annoyances which go with the heavy automobile traffic, crowds and noises which frequently accompany apartment house proximity.

Our power of review in this case, however, is limited to determining whether the Board of Adjustment abused its discretion in authorizing the intervenors to proceed with the erection of the apartment houses asked for. Was the action of the Board arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable, or ...


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