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BONASI v. HAVERFORD TOWNSHIP BOARD ADJUSTMENT. (06/27/55)

THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


June 27, 1955

BONASI, APPELLANT
v.
HAVERFORD TOWNSHIP BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT.

Appeal, No. 167, Jan. T., 1955, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Delawar County, Sept. T., 1954, No. 303, in case of Frank A. Bonasi et ux. v. Board of Adjustment of Haverford Township. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Claude O. Lanciano, with him Mervyn R. Turk, for appellants.

Raymond E. Larson, for appellee.

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

Author: Stearne

[ 382 Pa. Page 308]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE

The question presented by the appeal is whether under a zoning ordinance the operation of a beauty shop in a residential classification constitutes an accessory

[ 382 Pa. Page 309]

    the practice of a "profession" and hence she is using the property as a "professional office".

The learned court below, after considerable research and consideration, discussed the pivotal question of whether or not the vocation of a hairdresser and beautician constitutes the practice of a profession. The Ordinance, it is true, does not define the terms "profession" or "professional office". But in judicially construing the enactment in question we are not concerned with abstract or theoretical definitions. We are required to "construe" the meaning of the words employed as intended, used in, and evidenced by the Ordinance. It is a principle of statutory construction that in construing a legislative enactment the court must ascertain and give effect to the legislative intention as expressed in the language employed: Statutory Construction Act of May 28, 1937, P.L. 1019, 46 PS ยง 533, 551, 552. In Sterling v. Philadelphia, 378 Pa. 538, 106 A.2d 793, Chief Justice STERN said (p. 542): "A legislative body may, in a statute or ordinance, furnish its own definitions of words and phrases used therein in order to guide and direct judicial determination of the intendments of the legislation although such definitions may be different from ordinary usage; it may create its own dictionary to be applied to the particular law or ordinance in question." See also Hughes v. Pittsburgh, 379 Pa. 145, 108 A.2d 698.

A reading of the Zoning Ordinance makes it crystal clear that the term "professional office", as used in the enactment in relation to "B" Residence Districts, was not intended to include a beauty shop. The Ordinance, in Article XII, H Business Districts, section 1201 (4), provides for "Personal service shop, tailor, barber, beauty, shoe repair, dress making shop and other personal service shop or store". (Italics supplied) Since the use of a beauty shop, described inter alia as a "personal

[ 382 Pa. Page 311]

    service shop", is specifically permitted as a business use, it is inconceivable that a similar use was intended as an accessory professional use in a "B" Residence District. It is plain that the Ordinance did not so intend.

Appellants' other contentions do not merit discussion.

Disposition

Order affirmed at cost of appellants.

19550627

© 1998 VersusLaw Inc.



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