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SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP ZONING CASE. (03/15/60)

March 15, 1960

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP ZONING CASE.


Appeal, No. 27, Jan. T., 1960, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, March T., 1958, No. 44, in re application of Rita T. Chambers for a variance from terms of ordinance of the Township of Springfield. Order reversed; reargument refused May 4, 1960. Appeal from decision of zoning board of adjustment refusing variance. Before SWENEY, P.J.

COUNSEL

Robert L. Trescher, with him C. Brewster Rhoads, Thomas N. O'Neill, Jr., Read Rocap, Jr., and Rocap & Rocap and Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, for appellant.

Paul C. Van Dyke, with him Cochrane and Van Dyke, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 399 Pa. Page 54]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN.

This is an appeal from the final order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, which ordered the Zoning Board of Adjustment of Springfield Township to issue a variance to Rita A. Chambers.

Mrs. Chambers' property is situated in an "A" residential district, the most restrictively zoned district in the township. It is a large single-stone residence on a lot having a frontage of 172 feet and a depth of 196 feet. A shopping center and a residentially zoned home are located west of these premises, and a township park is situated to the rear or south. Both to the east, and across the street to the north, there are homes used as real estate offices which are nonconforming uses. With the exception of the shopping center area and certain business zoned areas at the intersection nearby, all of the remaining area in Springfield Township within a radius of approximately one mile of Mrs. Chambers' property is zoned "A" residential.

[ 399 Pa. Page 55]

In June, 1957, without making application to the building inspector or any other representative of the township, Mrs. Chambers filed a petition for a variance with the zoning board for the use of her home as a real estate and insurance office. Mrs. Chambers urged in her petition that the proximity to her property of the shopping center and the other two real estate offices creates a hardship.

After a hearing, the zoning board denied the petition and filed an opinion accompanied by comprehensive findings of fact. It held that no abutting property owner could claim any special hardship because of the center, and that any inconveniences caused by the center were shared by all properties encircling the residential area. Furthermore, the zoning board held that a variance was not justified by the existence of nonconforming uses, nor by the fact that Mrs. Chambers might supplement her income by operating a real estate office in her home.

Mrs. Chambers then appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County. After a hearing in which additional testimony was taken, the court filed an opinion and order directing the zoning board to grant the variance. The court held that the shopping center did create a hardship which was burdensome and peculiar to Mrs. Chambers' premises and which justified a variance. The township first filed exceptions, and then later filed supplemental exceptions. Thereafter, the court handed down an opinion and final order requiring issuance of the variance. In its supplemental exceptions the township pointed out that since no appeal had been taken to the zoning board from the decision of an administrative official, the zoning ...


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