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APPEAL NESHAMINY AUTO VILLA LTD. TO ZONING HEARING BOARD BENSALEM TOWNSHIP (06/09/76)

decided: June 9, 1976.

IN RE: THE APPEAL OF NESHAMINY AUTO VILLA LTD. TO THE ZONING HEARING BOARD OF BENSALEM TOWNSHIP, BUCKS COUNTY, PA., FROM THE ACTION OF THE TOWNSHIP ZONING OFFICER AND ALTERNATIVE REQUEST FOR A VARIANCE FROM BENSALEM TOWNSHIP ZONING ORDINANCE AS AMENDED BY ORDINANCE NO. 173, DECEMBER 27, 1973. BENSALEM TOWNSHIP, APPELLANT


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of In Re: The Appeal of Neshaminy Auto Villa Ltd., to the Zoning Hearing Board of Bensalem Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, from the Action of the Township Zoning Officer and Alternative Request for a Variance from Bensalem Township Zoning Ordinance as Amended by Ordinance No. 173, December 27, 1973, No. 74-10410-08.

COUNSEL

Henry F. Huhn, for appellant.

Robert Jay Vedatsky, with him Vedatsky & Spotila, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer. Judge Kramer did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Mencer

[ 25 Pa. Commw. Page 130]

This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, sitting en banc,

[ 25 Pa. Commw. Page 131]

    which interpreted amending Ordinance No. 173 of Bensalem Township (Township) so as to render it inapplicable to appellees, Neshaminy Auto Villa, Ltd. (Neshaminy).

The basic facts in this case are not in dispute. Neshaminy purchased an unused gas station in the "General Commercial" zoning district of the Township and converted it to a small retail tire and service establishment. It desired to expand its facilities and applied for a building permit for an addition designed to end 40 feet from its rear property line, which abuts a residential district. The permit was granted on April 22, 1974. However, on May 6, 1974, the permit was revoked by the zoning officer. The reason given for the revocation was that amendatory Ordinance No. 173 required a 75-foot setback of commercial uses which abut residential zones.

Neshaminy appealed the revocation and alternatively, requested a variance before the Zoning Hearing Board of Bensalem Township (Board). The Board, however, affirmed the zoning officer's revocation of the permit and denied the variance. An appeal was taken to the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County which interpreted the ordinance at issue here in favor of Neshaminy. However, it felt that another issue had been left unresolved and remanded to the Board for action consistent with its opinion. The second issue is not raised before this Court; hence, we deal only with the issue of the interpretation of Ordinance No. 173.

We affirm and adopt, with slight additions, the relevant portion of Judge Walsh's opinion for the court below, which follows.*fn1

[ 25 Pa. Commw. Page 132]

"Appellant asks this court to find that the zoning hearing board committed an error of law when it interpreted the amendatory ordinance No. 173 to effect a change in the yard size regulations contained in Article VI (C-General Commercial). An examination of the basic ordinance discloses that it specifies minimum widths and depths for front, side and rear yards in all of its eight major district classifications. In three of these classifications (Highway Commercial, Light Manufacturing, and General ...


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