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JAMES GRAVATT v. BOROUGH LATROBE AND LATROBE BOARD ADJUSTMENT (07/26/79)

decided: July 26, 1979.

JAMES GRAVATT, III, APPELLANT
v.
BOROUGH OF LATROBE AND LATROBE BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County in case of Borough of Latrobe and Latrobe Board of Adjustment v. James Gravatt, III, No. 873 of 1975.

COUNSEL

William C. Stillwagon, for appellant.

Robert P. Lightcap, with him Charles C. Mason, Jr., and Lightcap, McDonald & Moore, for appellee.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Blatt and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Craig and MacPhail. Judges Blatt and DiSalle did not participate. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 476]

With commendable candor Counsel for both sides have presented for the decision of this Court the raw question: Can a zoning ordinance be constitutional when it excludes mobile homes from certain districts, permitting them in other districts, on the sole ground the mobile home "travels" to its permanent site on its own running gear? In all other respects the mobile home conforms to the requirements of a single family dwelling. If it had been constructed on the site, from the same materials and with the same plans, and had been built on the same foundation, it would have complied with all zoning requirements. At the time the cost of the mobile home would have been $6,800.00, fully furnished. A conventional house using the same

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 477]

    floor plan would have cost in excess of $25,000.00, unfurnished. Our answer to this question is yes.

Section I of Ordinance No. 74-5 of the Borough of Latrobe defines mobile home:

Mobile Home: A transportable, single-family dwelling, which may be towed on its own running gear, and which may be temporarily or permanently affixed to real estate, by placement on blocks, foundation or similar construction, and used for non-transient residential purposes, and constructed with the same, or similar, electrical, plumbing, and sanitary facilities as immobile housing.

The trial court affirmed action refusing the appellant's request for a permit to place a mobile home in this residential area. This was done after the trial court took additional testimony and considered the matter de novo. The trial court expressly felt bound by our decision in County of Fayette v. Holman, 11 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 357, 362, 315 A.2d 335, 338 (1973). This is certainly understandable since we said in Holman : "It can no longer be argued that Pennsylvania, unlike its sister states, does not accord to the concept of the general welfare a life of its own. The general welfare includes consideration of aesthetic and property values." The rationale and history of the law supporting our decision in this case that aesthetic and property values are a proper consideration under general welfare were ably presented and discussed by Judge Rogers in Holman and will not be repeated here.*fn1

It will bear repeating, however, that our Supreme Court struck down the denial of a ...


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