Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, June T., 1962, No. 371, in case of Frank J. Verratti, Genevieve E. Verratti, Anthony J. Verratti et al. v. Township of Ridley, Township of Ridley Board of Commissioners, Township of Ridley Building Committee et al.
I. B. Sinclair, for appellants.
R. Paul Lessy, with him Paul R. Duke, for appellees.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones.
Anthony Verratti and his wife and Frank Verratti and his wife, owned, respectively, lots 80 and 81 located in the Third Ward, Ridley Township (Township), Delaware County. On January 6, 1937, the Township adopted a zoning ordinance under the terms
of which Verrattis' lots were zoned "B-Residential". Some years later -- April 19, 1950 -- the Anthony Verrattis, then using lot 81 for the storage of trucks used in a trucking business -- a nonconforming use --, applied for a rezoning of lot 81 from "B-Residential" to "Business" and the Township, by ordinance, rezoned that lot. Sometime later -- October 3, 1956 -- Frank Verratti applied for a rezoning of lot 80 from "B-Residential" to "Business", asserting that he wanted to use the lot for the construction of a luncheonette,*fn1 and the Township, by ordinance, so rezoned that lot. On November 14, 1957, the Township, by ordinance, created a "B-Business" classification under which classification a gasoline service station was a permitted use on lots 80 and 81.
On August 11, 1961, Verrattis*fn2 granted to Thirty Donuts, Inc. options to purchase their respective lots, said options to expire October 11, 1961. On October 7, 1961, these options were exercised and the date of settlement fixed for January 8, 1962, which date was eventually extended until May 15, 1962. Thirty Donuts, Inc. has agreed to sell the lots to Sibarco Corporation, one of appellants.
On January 23, 1962, Sibarco, through its agent, the Atlantic Refining Company, applied to the Township for a building permit to construct a gasoline service station on lots 80 and 81 and submitted to the Township its proposed building plans. On February 19, 1962, the Township notified the applicants of three additional construction plans and statements which had to be submitted in connection with the application and, on March 9, 1962, a new application for a permit, in compliance with the Township request, was
submitted. At the time of this application, lots 80 and 81 were zoned "B-Business" under which zoning classification a gasoline service station was a permitted use. Although demanded by applicants, the Township did not act upon this application for a building permit.
In the early part of June, 1962, the applicants were notified of a public hearing to take place before the Board of Commissioners on June 13, 1962 in connection with the rezoning of lots 80 and 81. The time for such hearing was later postponed until June 26, 1962. The record is bare of any evidence as to when and how public notice of these public hearings was given.*fn3 On June 26, 1962, the Township rezoned all the properties zoned "B-Business" in the Third ward of the Township, ...