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ROBERT F. GUENTTER AND D. GEHR GUENTTER v. BOROUGH LANSDALE (10/01/75)

decided: October 1, 1975.

ROBERT F. GUENTTER AND D. GEHR GUENTTER, HIS WIFE; AARON DIAMOND AND ESTER DIAMOND, HIS WIFE; CLINTON TOEWE AND CAROL TOEWE, HIS WIFE, APPELLANTS
v.
BOROUGH OF LANSDALE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in case of Robert F. Guentter and D. Gehr Guentter, his wife; Aaron Diamond and Ester Diamond, his wife; Clinton Toewe and Carol Toewe, his wife; Joseph R. Caltabiano, et al. and Francis Emert, et al. v. Borough of Lansdale, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, No. 74-01019.

COUNSEL

Ronald E. Robinson, for appellants.

Robert J. Kerns, with him John E. Landis, and Landis, Williams and Kerns, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Blatt. Concurring Opinion by Judge Kramer. Judge Rogers joins in this concurring opinion.

Author: Blatt

[ 21 Pa. Commw. Page 289]

Appellant landowners have taken this appeal from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County which upheld the validity of a zoning ordinance enacted by the Borough of Lansdale (Borough).

These landowners all own lots within the Borough located along a 1000-foot strip fronting on the easterly side of North Broad Street between Seventh Street on the south and Hatfield Street at the Borough's northern boundary. That strip, as well as the adjacent property to the east of it is zoned Residential "A". All of the property fronting on the westerly side of North Broad Street, directly across the street from the 1000-foot strip, is zoned Professional Office "B", and all of the property fronting on North Broad Street to the south of the subject strip along the east and west sides of the street from Seventh Street down to Third Street in the Borough is also zoned as Professional Office "B".

The zoning ordinance permits the following uses in a Professional Office "B" district: business or professional offices or studios; banks or similar financial institutions; business or professional schools; hospitals, convalescent homes, nursing homes, homes for the aged or religious uses; apartments; homes; plus accessory uses. In the more restrictive Residential "A" district, on the other hand, only these uses are permitted: single-family dwellings; educational, religious, philanthropic or hospital uses, telephone central offices, utility office buildings or railway

[ 21 Pa. Commw. Page 290]

    passenger stations; plus various accessory uses including the office of a professional person who resides on the premises.

The appellants initiated these proceedings by submitting a petition to the Borough Council that the zoning of the 1000-foot strip be changed from Residential "A" to Professional Office "B".*fn1 Pursuant thereto a hearing was held before the Council on September 20, 1973, at which the appellants presented evidence as to their reasons for seeking a change of zoning. Essentially their position was that the location of the 1000-foot strip fronting along North Broad Street rendered that strip more suitable for zoning in conformity with the other properties on North Broad Street than in conformity with the residential area in back of it to the east. North Broad Street is apparently a heavily travelled street so that the resulting traffic, pedestrian dangers, unsightliness, noise and air pollution render it somewhat inappropriate, in the appellant's view, for residential use. In addition, there was some evidence that the value of the properties along the subject strip would rise if the rezoning

[ 21 Pa. Commw. Page 291]

    were to be effectuated. It was also contended that North Broad Street was an especially desirable location for doctors' offices because of its proximity to the North Penn Hospital. A doctor's office may, of course, be maintained in a Residential "A" district but the accompanying residence requirement is one that many doctors are apparently unwilling to accept. Because a doctor is not required to reside on the same premises as his office in a Professional Office "B" district, ...


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