Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in case of Maria C. Good and Joseph Good v. Zoning Hearing Board of Haverford Township, No. 75-7901.
Edward A. Savastio, for appellants.
Brian S. Quinn, with him Edward J. O'Halloran, and, of counsel, O'Halloran & Schofield, for appellees.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Blatt and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 156]
This case is before us on appeal from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County affirming the denial by the Zoning Hearing Board (Board) of Haverford Township (Township) of appellants' application for a special exception and/or a variance. We affirm.
Appellants, a husband and wife, own and reside in a home located in an R-2 Low Density Residential zoning district within the Township. This zoning classification basically allows for single family dwellings and some accessory uses. Appellants wish to establish a real estate office in their home for the use of the wife, Maria Good, who is a licensed real estate broker. This usage would not necessitate any structural change in either the interior or the exterior of the home, since the previous owner of the home was a doctor and there is already a two room office located on the first floor. These two rooms occupy almost 12% of the first floor area of the home, and about 6% to 8% of the total area. Mrs. Good did testify that she would employ, at least on a part-time basis, one other person in the home, that person to be either a secretary or a salesman. Mrs. Good further testified that if allowed to open a real estate office in her home, she would not close down her main real estate office. The application of appellants has been strenuously opposed by other residents of the area, many of whom testified at the Board's hearing, and some of whom formally intervened in the case before the lower court.
Appellants first contend that they are entitled to operate a real estate office in their home under the provisions of Section 201.1 B.4 of the Township zoning
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 157]
ordinance, which permits accessory uses in the nature of a professional office. The definition of professional office contained in the ordinance, however, specifically excludes real estate offices, and therefore this contention of appellants must be rejected.
Appellants attempt to avoid this result by arguing that their proposed usage qualifies under the special exception provisions of the Township zoning ordinance. First, they contend that a real estate office is a home occupation as that term is defined in the ordinance.*fn1 Such a contention was rejected by our Supreme Court in Ridley Township v. Pronesti, 431 Pa. 34, 38, 244 A.2d 719, 721 (1968), wherein the Court, quoting the lower court's opinion, stated:
If use as a real estate office is permitted at all, it must be either as a 'practitioner of a similar character' or a 'home occupation'. Both possibilities, however, are limited to uses 'customarily incidental' to a single family detached dwelling. Defendants' contention falls; real estate offices are not customarily incidental to single family detached dwellings, but are rather a commercial use not ordinarily ...