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APPEAL GRACE BUILDING CO. v. GRACE BUILDING CO. (01/05/79)

decided: January 5, 1979.

IN RE: APPEAL OF GRACE BUILDING CO., INC., FROM THE DECISION OF THE ZONING HEARING BOARD OF BENSALEM TOWNSHIP, BUCKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA. ZONING HEARING BOARD OF BENSALEM TOWNSHIP
v.
GRACE BUILDING CO., INC., APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of In Re: Appeal of Grace Building Co., Inc. from the Decision of the Zoning Hearing Board of Bensalem Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, No. 2603-04 May Term, 1969.

COUNSEL

Alfred O. Breinig, Jr., for appellant.

John Potkai, with him Emil F. Toften, for appellee.

Judges Mencer, Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 39 Pa. Commw. Page 554]

This zoning appeal by landowner Grace Building Co., Inc. involves an application to build a single-family dwelling on a lot which is too small under the present zoning of Bensalem Township in Bucks County, but which had been held in ownership separate from that of neighboring properties before the original adoption of zoning.

The Bensalem Zoning Ordinance (Ordinance) was first enacted in 1954, at which time the lot in question had been long owned by a Patrick McGonagle wholly separate from the ownership of any adjoining premises.

The lot, located in an R-2 Residence District in which single-family dwellings are permitted, has an area of 4,000 square feet and a width of 40 feet. Section 502 of the Ordinance requires a minimum of 7,500 square feet, minimum width of 60 feet, side yards not less than 9 feet each and aggregating 20 feet, and front and rear yards of 25 feet each. The landowner acquired the lot by tax sale in 1957 and, in 1969, applied for a permit to build a single-family dwelling on it. In addition to the shortcomings of the lot with respect to width and total area, the width of the proposed residence, to be 24 feet, would require that the side yards be eight feet each, aggregating 16 feet instead of 20 feet.

Of some importance here is Subsection 1101.1 of the Ordinance. That subsection, in its entirety, reads as follows:

Section 1101. Non-conforming Lots.

1. Held in Single and Separate Ownership. A building may be erected or altered on any lot held at the effective date of this Ordinance in single and separate ownership which is not of the required minimum area or width or is of

[ 39 Pa. Commw. Page 555]

    such unusual dimensions that the owner would have difficulty in providing the required open spaces for the district in which such lot is situated, provided (a) that plans for the proposed work shall be approved by the Board of Adjustment after review of such plans to assure reasonable compliance with the spirit of the zoning regulations for the district, and (b) that, where sanitary sewers are not accessible and utilized, construction cannot be ...


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