Appeals Nos. 220 and 221, Jan. T., 1957, from decrees of Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, May T., 1955, Nos. 7 and 143, in cases of Charles Schmalz v. Buckingham Township Zoning Board of Adjustment and Supervisors of Buckingham Township v. Charles Schmalz and Ida J. Schmalz. Decrees reversed.
Ward F. Clark, with him William M. Power and Achey & Power, for appellants.
William H. Satterthwaite, Jr., for appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno, Arnold, Jones and Cohen, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES
These appeals raise the problem of the reasonableness, hence the validity, of a section of a zoning ordinance which provides for a 50 foot set-back of property in a wholly agricultural district.
Charles Schmalz and Ida J. Schmalz, his wife, (hereinafter termed appellants) have owned property since before 1951 on Mechanicsville Road, Buckingham Township, Bucks County. This property consists of approximately 9 acres of land located in a wholly agricultural and rural community. An examination of the Zoning Map of Buckingham Township indicates that, with the exception of approximately 11 small communities, the entire township is classified as agricultural, and the Schmalz acreage is zoned as in an agricultural district.
In 1951 Buckingham Township adopted a Zoning Code. Article III, Section 3 of said Code, provides as to the erection of residences in an agricultural district: "Front Yard. There shall be a front yard on each street on which a lot abuts which shall not be less than fifty (50) feet in depth."
Without securing a building permit, the male appellant in March, 1955 proceeded to dig trenches for a foundation for a house on his land, and the trenches were located at a distance of 42 feet from a 33 foot wide highway, known as Mechanicsville Road.
Following an application by the male appellant for a building permit, and after a visit to the premises by the zoning officer, a building permit was refused on the ground the set-back from the road was only 42 feet.
An application was then made for a variance for the Board of Adjustment to ...