Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of Regina E. Bockenhauer, Myra Chanin, Ben W. Joseph and Judith G. Joseph, his wife, v. Zoning Board of Adjustment and The Franklin Institute, No. 2030 April Term, 1976.
Ben W. Joseph, with him Joseph & Mass, for appellants.
Denis V. Brenan, with him Thomas P. Witt, and, of counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for appellees.
Judges Mencer, Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 331]
Neighbors of the Franklin Institute have appealed an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County affirming a grant by the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment of variances for the construction by the Institute of three small buildings on its grounds in center city Philadelphia.
The Institute occupies under lease from the city the block bounded by Race, Winter, Twentieth and Twenty-first Streets, an area in excess of five acres. Its large exhibit and teaching halls occupy all of the frontage on Winter and Twentieth Streets and a portion of the frontages on Race and Twenty-first Streets. There remains in the rear of the exhibit and teaching halls an extensive open area, about 320 feet square and containing about two acres. This portion of the Institute's property is known as Science Park and various outdoor exhibits have been placed there from time to time.
In January 1976, the Institute applied to the city's Department of License and Inspections (L&I) for permission to construct three buildings in Science Park: an exhibit consisting of replicas of two adjoining row houses, one dilapidated and the other rehabilitated; a toilet facility; and a snack bar. L&I refused the applications by a writing reading, pertinently, as follows:
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 332]
ZONING & USE: The application is for the erection of three structures on the same lot as an existing structure -- Structure #1 an existing museum and Structures #2, 3, 4 to be used for an exhibit building, snack bar and toilet building creating a condition whereby no structures will have their own individual lot lines, rear yard, side yards, open area, etc. and whereas this condition is not permitted in the R-14 Res. Dist and the proposed snack bar is not permitted in the R-14 Res. Dist.