Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of In Re: Appeal of French Adult Books, Inc. from the Bristol Township Zoning Board of Adjustment, No. 77-5423-04.
Paul Shalita, with him Pierson, Jones & Nelson, for appellant.
Leonard B. Sokolove, with him Sokolove, Pechter, Stief & Waite, for appellee.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Blatt and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 490]
The appellant, French Adult Books, Inc., appeals here from the denial of its application for a special exception to permit the erection of coin-operated motion picture projectors in individual booths ("peep shows") within its bookstore, which is located in a commercially-zoned area of Bristol Township.
The Bristol Township Building Inspector initially denied the appellant's occupancy and zoning application on the basis that the proposed use constituted a "place of amusement, recreation or assembly" and that a special exception was therefore required. The appellant then applied to the Bristol Township Zoning Board of Adjustment (Board) for a special exception to erect the "peep shows," and the Board held that the proposed use would substantially injure and detract from the value of neighboring properties and would create further problems of fire protection and
[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 491]
traffic control for the Township. The application was therefore denied. On appeal before the court below, the appellant argued that the Board had abused its discretion in denying the special exception and in the alternative argued that the proposed use was an "accessory" use to the bookstore and that no special exception should have been required. The court held, however, that "peep shows" were not an accessory use to the sale of books, that the appellant's store was not a place of amusement, recreation or assembly and that the permit was properly denied. This appeal followed.
The relevant portion of the Bristol Township Zoning Ordinance regarding commercial districts provides as follows:
"A building may be erected or used for any of the following purposes, and no other:
11. The following uses when authorized by the Zoning Hearing Board as a ...