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YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION v. ZONING HEARING BOARD LOWER MERION TOWNSHIP (04/28/71)

decided: April 28, 1971.

YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION
v.
ZONING HEARING BOARD OF LOWER MERION TOWNSHIP



Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 70-4475, in case of In Re: Appeal of the Young Men's Christian Association from the Decision of the Zoning Hearing Board of Lower Merion Township. Appeal transferred September 14, 1970, to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

COUNSEL

Thomas J. Burke, with him Haws & Burke, for appellant.

Lewis H. Van Dusen, Jr., with him John W. Fischer, Robert S. Ryan, and Drinker, Biddle & Reath, for appellee Zoning Hearing Board.

Reeder R. Fox, for himself as intervening appellee.

Peter M. Mattoon, for himself as intervening appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Manderino, Mencer, and Rogers. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Manderino concurs in result only.

Author: Crumlish

[ 2 Pa. Commw. Page 82]

The Young Men's Christian Association has appealed from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County affirming the decision of the Zoning Hearing Board of Lower Merion Township in refusing to grant the Y.M.C.A. a special exception to construct an addition to their present building. Sympathetic as it may be to the Y.M.C.A. and other similar organizations, this Court must nevertheless affirm the decision of the Board.

Where, as in this case, the court below took no additional testimony, our review is limited to the narrow issue of whether the Board committed a manifest abuse of discretion or an error of law. Village 2 at New Hope, Inc. Appeals, 429 Pa. 626, 241 A.2d 81 (1968); DiSanto v. Zoning Bd. of Adj., 410 Pa. 331, 189 A.2d 135 (1963). Here we find neither.

The Y.M.C.A. has operated, under the grant of a special exception, its current facilities for almost twenty years. The testimony taken by the Board has shown that over that period of time daily usage of the building has increased about four times; that parking problems have become so great as to foster illegal and improper parking both on and off the premises; and that traffic congestion attendant to usage of the Y.M.C.A. has increased to the point where it encumbers public rights-of-way and endangers the public welfare. In fact, the present operation only consists of fifty-three parking spaces and one main entrance to accommodate its approximately six hundred daily users.

The addition requested would enlarge the building to the maximum allowable thirty percent ground coverage, an increase of about sixty percent, and would

[ 2 Pa. Commw. Page 83]

    comply with all minimum requirements for parking, setback and the like. However, the Board has properly noted that this increase is not intended to alleviate the already crowded conditions that exist. Instead, the addition is planned to allow membership and ...


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