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WILLIAM G. CARPENTER AND SUE CARPENTER v. NEW HANOVER TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD (11/18/74)

decided: November 18, 1974.

WILLIAM G. CARPENTER AND SUE CARPENTER, HIS WIFE, APPELLANTS,
v.
NEW HANOVER TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, in case of In Re: Appeal of William G. Carpenter and Sue Carpenter, his wife, from the Decision of the New Hanover Township Zoning Hearing Board, No. 73-9854.

COUNSEL

Sherwood L. Yergey, for appellants.

Ronald H. Reynier, for appellee.

Judges Mencer, Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 16 Pa. Commw. Page 379]

The appellants, William G. Carpenter and Sue Carpenter, his wife, desire to place a mobile home on their property in New Hanover Township, Montgomery County for use as living quarters for Mr. Carpenter's father

[ 16 Pa. Commw. Page 380]

    and stepmother. The property contains six acres and is improved by a dwelling house and a barn. It is the appellants' residence.

The existing house which is now occupied by both the younger and elder Carpenters is set back 250 feet from the road. The barn is 265 feet behind the house. The location proposed for the mobile home is between the house and the barn, about 105 feet from the house and about 100 feet from the barn.

The appellants filed an application for a zoning permit in which they asserted that the proposed placement and use of the mobile home was a permitted accessory use of their residential property. The zoning officer disapproved the application on two grounds, first, that the 12 by 60 feet mobile home intended to be placed on the property offended a township building code provision that all dwellings must contain 900 square feet of livable space and second, that the use of the mobile home as a dwelling place for the father and stepmother was not accessory to the use of the property as the appellants' residence.

At the zoning appeal board hearing, on the Carpenters' appeal, evidence was produced as to both grounds cited by the zoning officer for disapproving the application. It was shown through a mobile home salesman that the 12 by 60 feet mobile home was the most popular size, and that the largest standard size of such equipment was 12 by 75 feet. The appellant, William G. Carpenter, and his father, William A. Carpenter, testified that the latter and his wife would occupy the trailer rent free but that the elder Carpenter would, without pay, attend to the appellants' three horses, one pony and two calves, mow the lawn and perform other chores about the place. These activities, it was asserted, qualified the mobile home as "living quarters for household employees, caretakers or watchmen," a permitted accessory use under the Township Zoning Ordinance.

[ 16 Pa. Commw. Page 381]

The Zoning Hearing Board affirmed the zoning officer's refusal of the permit, making findings concerning and discussing only the issue of whether the appellant's father would be a household employee, caretaker or ...


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