Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in case of Henry P. Jacquelin and Barbara A. Jacquelin, his wife, and Michele DePinto v. Zoning Hearing Board of Horsham Township, No. 72-1081.
Albert DerMovsesian, with him Semisch and DerMovsesian, for appellants.
J. Edmund Mullin, with him, of counsel, Hamburg, Rubin & Mullin, P.C., for appellee.
Judges Kramer, Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 474]
The Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County affirmed a decision of the Zoning Hearing Board of Horsham Township denying the instant appellants, Henry P. Jacquelin and Barbara A. Jacquelin, variances to construct a dwelling house on a lot of which they are the equitable owners.
[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 475]
The Jacquelins have agreed to purchase from one Michele DePinto an unimproved lot located at an intersection of roads in Horsham Township. The lot measures 50 feet by 125 feet and therefore contains 6250 square feet. Michele DePinto has owned the lot since a time prior to the existence of any zoning regulations in Horsham Township. The lot is located in an R-4 zoning district in which land is permitted to be used only for the establishment of single family detached dwellings and agricultural, conservational and recreational pursuits. Other zoning requirements in the R-4 district for any use of land are: a lot area of 12,000 square feet, a lot width of 80 feet at the building line, a front yard on each abutting street 50 feet in depth, side yards aggregating 25 feet but each not less than 10 feet in width, and a rear yard 30 feet in depth. The Jacquelins desire to build on their lot a small home for Mr. Jacquelin's mother to be located 50 feet from one of the abutting roads, 12 feet from the other, with side yards 10 and 12 feet wide and a rear yard 35 feet deep. They therefore require variances from the area requirement, from the setback requirement as to one of the abutting roads, from the aggregate side yard requirement and, it appears, from the requirement of an 80 feet width at the building line.
The Zoning Hearing Board denied the variances by reason of the "magnitude of the variances requested, and the traffic hazard that could result from the reduction of a site [sic] triangle due to the location of this house close to Johnson Road." The court below affirmed the Board.
Since the court below did not receive evidence, it is our duty to review the Zoning Hearing Board's decision and uphold it unless there appears abuse of its discretion or error of law. We are required to reverse.
The effect of the Board's decision is that this non-conforming lot, held in separate ownership since before
[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 476]
any zoning, may not be used for residential purposes, although, as we were informed at argument, there are districts in Horsham Township where dwelling houses may be erected on lots smaller than the Jacquelins'. There is thus imposed by the combined effect of the ordinance and the refusal of the Board to grant the ...