Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, No. 14, April Term, 1969, Civil Action -- Law, in case of Appeal of Adam P. Groff from the Decision of Warwick Township Board of Adjustment. Appeal transferred September 14, 1970, to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Wayne S. Hummer, Jr., with him Lombardo & Hummer, for appellant.
George J. Morgan, with him Newcomer, Roda & Morgan, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Manderino, Mencer and Barbieri (who has since been appointed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and did not participate in the decision). Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
The appellant, Abram P. Groff, owns a thirteen acre tract in Warwick Township, Lancaster County. Approximately four and one-half acres are used by him as a trailer park. Although Warwick Township Zoning Ordinance prohibits trailer parks in this rural district, he has been operating by the grace of a nonconforming use.
The zoning ordinance provides that the Township Zoning Board may grant as a special exception the expansion of nonconforming uses to the extent of 50% of the initial nonconformity. Groff has applied for an expansion to include his entire thirteen acre tract or
roughly 300%. This was his fatal move. From the refusal of his application by the Board, appeal was taken to the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County. Testimony was taken by the court and the appeal was thus decided de novo. See Richman v. Zoning Bd. of Adj., 391 Pa. 254, 257, 137 A.2d 280 (1958). Groff appealed that court's refusal to this Court. While we hold that the appeal is without merit because Groff sought to obtain an expansion of his nonconforming use beyond that which clearly is defined by the Ordinance, we feel it incumbent to consider the merits of the issues raised in this appeal. Appellant contends: (1) the zoning ordinance is unconstitutional in that it prohibits trailer parks in Warwick Township; (2) the classification of mobile home parks in commercial districts only is clearly arbitrary and capricious and thus unconstitutional; (3) the decision to deny Groff's application due to "increased detrimental effect on surrounding properties" was arbitrary and incorrect. We will dispose of these issues in the order in which they were raised.
The Warwick Township Zoning Ordinance clearly and explicitly provides for mobile home parks as a special exception in "C" Commercial districts. It limits their use, however, to lots of five acres or more. Three areas in the township are appropriate in size and zoning to accommodate mobile home parks. Two of the three areas presently house such parks.
Appellant contends that since there is no vacant land upon which he could legally place a new park, the ordinance totally prohibits that use anywhere within the municipality and relies upon Girsh Appeal, 437 Pa. 237, 263 A.2d 395 (1970). In Girsh, however, the township had impliedly excluded all ...