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UPPER PROVIDENCE TOWNSHIP APPEAL. (03/23/61)

March 23, 1961

UPPER PROVIDENCE TOWNSHIP APPEAL.


Appeal, No. 59, Jan. T., 1961, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Nov. T., 1958, No. 36, in matter of appeal of Hi-Line Boat Club from decision of Zoning Board of Adjustment of Upper Providence Township. Order reversed.

COUNSEL

William L. Huganir, for appellant.

No argument was made nor brief submitted for appellee.

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

Author: Bok

[ 403 Pa. Page 51]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BOK.

The Hi-Line Boat Club, then an unincorporated association, applied in 1958, per Kenneth Christman, to the Zoning Board of Adjustment of Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County, for a special exception. Section 1301 of the zoning ordinance gave the board this power, and in section 501 there appears: "... 5. Permitted uses subject to approval of Board of Adjustment... (b.) Club, fraternal institution, provided that the principal activity shall not be one which is customarily carried on as a business and provided that all services shall be for members and their guests." In section 101 the purpose of the ordinance is stated to be the promotion of "the health, safety, morals, and the general welfare of the Township" and is in accordance with a comprehensive plan.

The property here involved is a little over two acres in size, with a 325-foot frontage on the Schuylkill

[ 403 Pa. Page 52]

River. One Glenwood Fronheiser leased it from its owners, and after the Hi-Line Club had been incorporated as a corporation of the first class, he assigned his lease to it. With a roster of sixty-one members, the Club began its corporate life in a jolly but illegal manner, so far as use of the property was concerned. The members boated, picnicked, fished, and swam, without regard to the zoning requirements. In 1958 one of the later members built a shack on the property as a refreshment stand. He ran it on concession and made an extremely modest profit from it: $26.25 for 29 hours of work, as an example.

Aside from this shack there were no buildings on the property. For toilet facilities for as many as 125 people, those who testified mentioned a chemical dispenser in the car for children and for adults heroic self-control or a trip home.

Access to the property was by a dirt road 176 yards long to a T-end, where, turning right, it ran about an equal distance to a macadam surface. Eight houses are located between two hundred and seventeen hundred yards from the Club, and the property is classified as Agricultural-Residential. The lowing heards wind slowly o'er the lea, and also over the dirt road; a neighboring farmer complained of the competition between his herd, the Club cars, and the dust.

Late in 1958 the zoning board denied the application. Half a year later the court below, following appeal, heard argument and remanded the record for further testimony. As a result, the board filed a reasoned opinion and denied a special exception. On appeal, the court below heard argument but no further testimony, ...


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