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COUNTY FAYETTE v. JOHN HOLMAN (12/31/73)

decided: December 31, 1973.

COUNTY OF FAYETTE, APPELLANT,
v.
JOHN HOLMAN, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, in case of In Re: Appeal from Fayette County Zoning Hearing Board Resolution 71-31 -- John Holman, No. 707 September Term, 1971.

COUNSEL

Robert E. Eberly, Jr., with him J. E. Ferens, for appellant.

Fred C. Adams, with him Ralph K. Barclay, Jr., and Coldren & Adams, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers. Concurring Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Rogers

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 358]

The County of Fayette has appealed from an order of the Common Pleas Court of that County directing the issuance of a zoning certificate authorizing the location of a mobile home and the use thereof as a dwelling in a zoning district in which, under the county's zoning ordinance, such location and use are prohibited.

Fayette County contains 802 square miles or 513,280 acres. The county's zoning ordinance permits the location and use of mobile homes in eighty percent of the land area of the county. The ordinance, as do most such zoning enactments, requires persons intending to locate any structure on or to make a new use of land to apply for and obtain a zoning certificate. The appellee, John Holman, the owner with his wife of a 40 by 125 foot lot located in an R-1 zoning district where mobile homes are not permitted to be used as dwellings, although warned by a neighbor that what he was about to do violated the county zoning ordinance, moved a 12 by 55 foot trailer to his lot, removed its wheels, supported its corners on masonry blocks, and connected it to water, sewer and electrical services. The lot is in a residential area known as Homewood Terrace, near

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 359]

Uniontown. The Holmans did not live in Homewood Terrace. Mr. Holman intended that his son and daughter-in-law would live in his mobile home, but at the time of the hearing in the court below it was vacant.

Mr. Holman applied for a zoning certificate only after neighbors complained to county officials of the presence of a mobile home in their community. The county zoning inspector refused the certificate, as by the ordinance he was required to do, and the Zoning Hearing Board affirmed his decision. No verbatim record was made of the hearing before the Zoning Hearing Board and the Court of Common Pleas made the evidentiary record.

In the lower court and here, Holman contended that after the wheels were removed from his mobile home, and it was supported instead on blocks and connected to utilities, it was no longer a mobile home and that therefore there was no impermissible use of the lot. The county zoning ordinance defines a mobile home as follows: "A detached dwelling unit which (1) is designed for long term occupancy and contains sleeping accommodations, a flush toilet, a tub or shower bath and kitchen facilities with plumbing and electrical connections provided for attachment to outside systems; (2) is designed to be transported after fabrication on its own wheels, on a flat bed or on detachable wheels; and (3) arrives at the site where it is to be occupied as a dwelling, complete, including major appliances, furniture, and ready for occupancy except for minor incidental unpacking and assembly operations, location on foundations, supports, connections to utilities and the like." By this definition, the appellee's mobile home clearly remained a mobile home after it reached the lot in Homewood Terrace and was subjected to Mr. Holman's improvements and was as clearly prohibited. Town of Brewster v. Sherman, 343 Mass. 598, 180 N.E.

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 3602]

    d 338 (1962), and Wright v. Michaud, 160 Me. 164, 2 ...


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