Appeals, Nos. 34 and 35, Jan. T., 1963, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Nos. 62-1668 and 61-6455, in case of Edward C. Peterson and Jeanne M. Peterson, his wife, Edward R. Sage et al. v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of Whitemarsh Township. Order affirmed.
J. William Ditter, Jr., with him Ditter & Jenkins, for appellants.
Bernard G. Segal, with him Shirley S. Bitterman, Arthur J. Sullivan, Knox Henderson, and Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, and Henderson, Wetherill & O'Hey, for intervenor.
Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO
Warner Company, intervenor in this appeal, decided some time prior to January, 1956, to go into the concrete mixing business in Whitemarsh Township, Montgomery County, provided they could be assured that this use would be permitted at the point they intended to buy property which was then zoned Industrial. After suitable inquiry they were advised by Michael J. Laputka, Secretary Treasurer of the Township, on January 23, 1956, that the proposed "Concrete Mix Plant" could be erected on the land specified and that the adjoining land "can be used for storage which would be customarily incidental to the operation of a concrete mix plant." With this assurance, Warner purchased the 3-acre tract under consideration and put up a large sign thereon, stating that Warner Company would erect on the site a "Central Mix Concrete Plant."
On April 12, 1961, Warner Company applied for a plant construction permit and, much to their surprise and dismay, the permit was refused. They appealed to the zoning board of adjustment which sustained the
building inspector's rejection of the application. They then appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, which remanded the record to the zoning board for further testimony, findings and order. A second public hearing followed and additional evidence was taken. The board then, on January 25, 1962, reversed its original decision and directed the issuance of the building permit with certain conditions which were readily accepted by Warner. Several property owners in the vicinity protested the permit and appealed to the court of common pleas, which sustained the board. The protestants appealed to this Court.
It appears that in 1958 the township re-zoned the area in which the Warner property was located, without notifying Warner of its intentions in this respect, changing the zoning of the land from Industrial, where a concrete mixing plant was unquestionably permitted, to Limited Industrial where, according to the township inspector, a concrete mixing plant was prohibited.
Warner argued before the board and the court below, as it does here, that the zoning amendment of 1958 was invalid on the grounds of vagueness, obscurity, looseness of language, lack of notice and in other respects. The board and the court of common pleas, with a commendable respect for practicality, and celerity in disposing of the main issue, found that it was unnecessary to spend time unraveling the tangle of the amendment which somehow produced several conflicting maps, charts and descriptions. The board held that, assuming that the amendment did properly rezone the property from industrial to limited industrial, the proposed plant was still within the legal periphery of what is allowed in a limited industrial area.
The only question thus before us is whether the board abused its discretion in coming to the conclusion it reached, and ...