Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, in case of Gulf Oil Corporation of Pennsylvania v. Warminster Township Board of Supervisors, No. 74-3230-03-5.
Albert L. Blackman, with him George M. Bush, and Hartzel, Bush & O'Neill, for appellant.
Peter N. Harrison, for appellee.
Judges Mencer, Rogers, and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
Warminster Township has appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County setting aside a decision of the Supervisors of Warminster Township refusing approval of a subdivision proposed by Gulf Oil Corporation. Gulf was the appellant in the court below. We affirm the lower court's order on Judge Beckert's able opinion following:
"Appellant, Gulf Oil Corporation (Gulf), is the owner of 2.3 acres of land located at Street and Mearns Road, Warminster Township. Gulf, in April of 1974, applied to the Warminster Township Board of Supervisors (Township) to subdivide its land into two separate parcels of 1.2 acres and 1.1 acres respectively. This application to subdivide was refused by the Township, resulting in the present appeal. The matter was argued before the Court en banc in January 1975 and is now ripe for decision.
"The Township's refusal is grounded upon a belief that approval of the subdivision would be at odds with an earlier decision of the Township's Zoning Board of Adjustment. This earlier decision (July 2, 1969) granted to Gulf a special exception permitting the construction of a gasoline station on the same parcel of ground under the following conditions:
'1. The property to the rear of the service station as defined on the drawing exhibited at the hearing is to remain under grass and planting and is not to be used in the conduct of business.
'2. There shall be no rental or sale of trailers, truck or other vehicles from the premises.'
"The Township's reasoning appears to be that by the conditions attached to the granting of the special exception unmistakenly indicated the Zoning Board's intention that the ground to the rear of the service station be kept planted and maintained as a buffer strip between the station and adjacent property and that Gulf's request for
a subdivision, so reasoned the Township, is the first step towards having this ground used for a different purpose. That is to say, that the requested subdivision is made for the obvious purpose to free the property to the rear of the station of the condition so that it could at some future time be developed or utilized in a manner intended to circumvent the conditions previously imposed by the Zoning Board. We agree that the ...