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CRESKO ZONING CASE. (06/29/60)

June 29, 1960

CRESKO ZONING CASE.


Appeals, Nos. 202, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226 and 227, Jan. T., 1960, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, May T., 1959, No. 1077, in re John S. Cresko et al. Order reversed; reargument refused July 15, 1960.

COUNSEL

Solomon Lubin, for appellants.

John H. Hibbard, for appellees.

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

Author: Bok

[ 400 Pa. Page 468]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BOK.

This is a zoning case concerning property in Kingston Borough, Luzerne County. Mr. and Mrs. Cresko, as owner-applicants, asked for a variance in order to use their land as a parking lot. After taking testimony at three hearings the Board of Adjustment denied the application and the Creskos appealed to the Court of Common Pleas, which received further evidence by stipulation, reversed the Board, and ordered the variance. Fifteen protesting neighbors have appealed.

The property, which contains about two acres, is bounded on the south by Crane Street, on the north by Davis Street, on the west by the rear line of a string

[ 400 Pa. Page 469]

    of residences whose fronts face South Dawes Avenue, and on the east by a dike owned by the Commonwealth and designed to keep out the Susquehanna River. East of the dike, work is being done on a proposed parkway; east of that is an apron of land marked Nesbitt Park on the plans; and east of this park is the river.

The Creskos became the equitable owners of the property in 1953, and at that time it was zoned "General Residence", although it had been zoned "Light Industry" for two years between 1947 and 1949. Cresko knew this when he bought it and has tried unsuccessfully to have it changed again to industrial. He owns other property south of Crane Street which is zoned "Light Industry", and still other property north of Davis Street, which is zoned partly residential and partly commercial. Apparently feeling sure of his position and before the court below granted the variance, he erected a discount house on his land south of Crane Street and leveled and graded the instant property for use as a parking lot by the clients of the discount house. During the course of his testimony he said that since the land had once been zoned commercial he had been "almost positive" that it could be again: he admitted having taken a chance on it. The following question and answer also appear, revealingly, in the record: "By Mr. Lubin. Now you want this Board to help you recoup your losses, is that right? By Mr. Cresko. I guess."

The Board found that the property can be used to build homes on. The court below made no finding beyond saying that to do so "would result in economic loss to the appellants" and listing the factors that made it think so. Cresko admitted that ...


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