Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in cases of Borough of West Mifflin v. The Zoning Hearing Board of West Mifflin Borough, No. S.A. 826 of 1969 and West Mifflin Borough and John W. Strait and Madelyn Strait, his wife and Joseph Crawford and Mary Crawford, his wife v. The Zoning Hearing Board of West Mifflin Borough, No. S.A. 832 of 1969.
Richard G. Zeleznik, with him Mord C. Taylor, Jr., and Ruby, Nescott & Taylor, for appellants.
John J. Kirk, with him Kirk, Lalama & Sheinman, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Manderino, Mencer and Rogers. Opinion by Judge Mencer. Judge Manderino dissents.
These are statutory zoning appeals. We adopt the following general narration of those facts not in dispute:
"Prior to 1949, the Borough of West Mifflin did not have the benefit of a Zoning Ordinance. A 12-acre section of the Borough known locally as the McGowan Plan was then in existence. That section might be described as an older, built-up residential neighborhood, the residences constructed on 40-foot lots in the recorded McGowan Plan. Lots Nos. 37 and 38, fronting on McGowan Avenue, a 40-foot street, were each 40 feet wide and extended back 120 feet to an unopened 25 or 30-foot alley. These lots were vacant and for a time during World War II, had been used as a piggery. Some time during the [fifties], they were used for the parking of a single panel truck owned by a man employed in local industry, and who was also occupied as a part-time painter. There is some history of the parking of a dump truck on the subject lots thereafter. . . .
"On April 20, 1949, the Borough of West Mifflin enacted Ordinance No. 73, being its current Zoning Ordinance, and classified the subject 12-acre McGowan Plan as "B" Residential, consistent with the use then being made of the area, and to preserve its character as a Residential neighborhood, notwithstanding it was then surrounded on all sides by industry or the Union Railroad, a connecting railroad.
"On June 15, 1950, a predecessor in title to Lot No. 37, applied for a Building Permit to construct thereon a two-car frame garage measuring 22 feet by 20 feet.
The garage was erected a short time later. Still later, a single car garage was constructed on Lot No. 38 adjoining, without any municipal record of its origin.
"Not much more of any consequence happened until 1957 when a [Robert H.] Wilson acquired a tractor-trailer rig, and began to park it on the lots in question, then owned separately by his father and his aunt. In about 1967, [Richard W.] Wilson, his brother, also acquired a tractor-trailer rig, and began to use the same two lots for his parking. This trucking operation grew until there were [at] one time four tractor-trailer combinations on the two lots in question, which had a combined measurement of eighty feet by one hundred twenty feet and fronted on McGowan Avenue, a 40-foot dead-end street. In 1966 the residents in the area began to put pressure on the West Mifflin Borough Mayor, Police, and Council Members by numerous complaints about welding, sandblasting, painting, loud and continuous engine operation, noise, and fumes originating from the parking and repairing of trucks on these lots. The complaints further alleged the operations of a business in a residential area and demanded that the Zoning Ordinance be enforced. The chief complainants were John and Madelyn Strait, who had owned adjoining Lot No. 39 since 1948, and who had constructed thereon a new brick dwelling in 1949 and 1950, prior to the trucking operations and also prior to the construction of the first of the automobile garages thereon. During 1967, 1968, and 1969, several notices were sent by two successive Borough Solicitors and the Borough Secretary ...