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ROLLING GREEN GOLF CLUB CASE (06/26/53)

June 26, 1953

ROLLING GREEN GOLF CLUB CASE


Appeals, Nos. 51, 70, 71 and 72, Jan. T., 1953, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Nov. T., 1951, No. 1358, in Appeal of Rolling Green Golf Club from order of Board of Adjustment of Springfield Township. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Read Rocap, Jr., for Springfield Township, appellant.

R. Winfield Baile, attorney for intervenors, appellants.

Edward H. Bryant, Jr., with him Lutz, Fronefield, Warner & Bryant, for Rolling Green Golf Club, appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 374 Pa. Page 451]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL

Two important questions are involved: (1) Has a golf club which is situate in a so-called residential district which authorizes municipal buildings and a passenger railway station and accessory uses, a right to construct a driveway through a property it has purchased for purposes of ingress and egress to the club? and (2) What are the powers of a Court of Common

[ 374 Pa. Page 452]

Pleas on an appeal from a Board of Adjustment's Order denying an application to build such a road?

Rolling Green Golf Club has been in existence since 1925. The Township of Springfield adopted a Zoning Ordinance No. 167 on November 16, 1938. The golf club, including its 146 acres of ground, is situate within the so-called Class "A" Residential area established by the Springfield Ordinance. It has a membership of 335. Liquor is not permitted to be sold at the club and the club house is not kept open after 11 o'clock at night.

In August, 1951 the club purchased a lot of ground 85 feet front on the northerly side of Northcroft Road, with an irregular depth of 114 feet by 133 feet. The property extends back to the club's land and adjoins the club's automobile parking lot. The club now has a driveway for purposes of entrance and exit on State Road, but considers it insufficient. It wishes to build a 20 foot road on its new property to connect with its present parking lot. The new lot will be used only for a driveway and there will be no putting green, pro shop or any structure whatever erected thereon, nor will parking of automobiles be permitted.

For centuries in England and for over 150 years in this land whose most precious heritage was liberty, an owner of land could do anything he wished with his property provided it did not interfere with his neighbor's property or create a nuisance or violate any covenant, restriction or easement, or (in this country) violate any provision of the Federal or State Constitution. In the last quarter of a century planning commissions and zoning boards have been created and multiplied; as a result many zoning ordinances have been passed to restrict the use of property in a manner and to a degree ...


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