Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 3 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1963, No. 1681, in case of Stratford Arms, Inc. v. Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Levy Anderson, First Deputy City Solicitor, with him Frank J. Pfizenmayer, Assistant City Solicitor, Matthew W. Bullock, Jr., Second Deputy City Solicitor, and Edward G. Bauer, Jr., City Solicitor, for appellant.
Irvin Stander, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell.
In this case the Zoning Board of Adjustment of the City of Philadelphia (Board) refused to grant requested variances from setback and off-street parking requirements of the city's zoning code. The Court of Common Pleas reversed the Board. We granted certiorari under Rule 68 1/2, following which the city filed this appeal.
The background of the case is as follows:
Stratford Arms, Inc. (a Penna. Corp.), the appellee, on November 6, 1961, entered into an agreement to purchase the premises located at 4015-4017 Blakiston Street, Philadelphia, contemplating the erection of multiple-story family dwellings thereon. The agreement of sale erroneously described the land as having a depth of 250 feet. Subsequently the agreement was consummated and on March 13, 1962, a deed vesting
title in the appellee was recorded. The deed correctly described the land as having a depth of 240 feet.
On March 1, 1962, the appellee applied to the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections for zoning and use registration permits, as well as for building permits for the construction of two twenty-two family apartment buildings with off-street parking. Accompanying this application was a plot plan for the site, showing a land depth of 250 feet with a proposed building setback of 15 feet and a proposed off-street parking area of 11,000 square feet. Under the plan, each building was to measure 158 feet in length and 32 feet 9 inches in width. Under the provisions of the Zoning Code of April 15, 1959, then applicable, the premises was zoned "C" Residential and a setback of 8 feet and a parking area of 11,000 square feet were required. Since the submitted plan met all "C" Residential District requirements, the requested permits were issued on March 12, 1962.
Construction was completed in September 1962. As constructed, each building measures 160 feet in length and 33 feet 6 inches in width with a setback from the street line of only 3 feet 6 inches. The off-street parking area is only 10,394 square feet.
On April 3, 1963, appellee applied for a permit for the purpose of legalizing the zoning status of the two buildings. The permit was refused. An application was then filed with the Board for a variance. After an extensive hearing, the requested variance was likewise refused. The court of common pleas granted certiorari and subsequently remanded the record to the Board for the taking of additional testimony. A further hearing ensued, after which the Board again ...