Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of In Re: Appeal of Henry G. Sauer and Oma L. Sauer, his wife, from a Decision of the Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Township of Richland, Pennsylvania, No. A-2112 of 1967 and C-2033 of 1967.
W. Theodore Brooks, with him Norman H. Rea and Reding, Blackstone, Rea & Sell, for appellants.
James W. Dunn, Jr., for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.
Appellants purchased an existing mobile home park in Richland Township, Allegheny County, in 1964. This was a valid nonconforming use under the Township's 1952 zoning ordinance then in effect, which prohibited "auto trailer camps and gypsy camps" anywhere in the Township.
In 1965, appellants purchased 2.97 acres adjacent to the mobile home park and in June, 1967, placed 10 mobile homes on this parcel. At that time, the 2.97 acre tract was zoned as a "farm district" under the 1952 zoning ordinance. In July of 1967, appellants were charged and later convicted in a summary proceeding for a violation of the zoning ordinance in so using the 2.97 acre tract. This conviction was appealed to the County Court of Allegheny County (now the Common Pleas Court of Allegheny County).
On October 19, 1967, appellants applied for a permit to place mobile homes on the 2.97 acre tract. When the permit was denied, appellants appealed to the Zoning Hearing Board, and when a request for a special exception or variance was refused, an appeal to the County Court of Allegheny County was taken on December
[ 8 Pa. Commw. Page 4667]
, 1967. In this appeal, appellants challenged the constitutionality of the prohibition of "auto trailer camps" in the 1952 zoning ordinance.
The court held a de novo hearing on January 13, 1971, over three years after the appeal was filed. In the interim, Richland Township had adopted a new zoning ordinance (on April 24, 1968) permitting mobile home parks, apparently by special exception, when in compliance with a separate mobile home control ordinance.*fn1 Appellant's original property was designated as a mobile home park in the new ordinance, while the 2.97 acre tract was zoned "residential."
The lower court dismissed the appeal and sustained the order of the Zoning Hearing Board denying the permit for a mobile home park on the 2.97 acre tract. The court relied upon the intervening 1968 ordinance in finding that the Township zoning ordinance was constitutional.
We must initially determine whether the 1968 ordinance could be considered by the lower court when passing upon the constitutional validity of the restrictions on appellants' land. In Colonial Park for Mobile Homes, Inc. v. Zoning Hearing Board, 5 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 594, 290 A.2d 719 (1972), this Court held that an ordinance adopted after an application had been filed, but before the Zoning Hearing Board conducted hearings on the application, was applicable to the property and subject to the constitutional challenge. There, a 1963 ordinance contained a prohibition of ...