Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in case of In Re: Appeal of Georgianna E. Stefonick, Equitable Owner, and the Philadelphia National Bank, Trustee for Sundry Accounts, Real Owner v. Zoning Hearing Board of Lansdale Borough, No. 76-19416.
Nicholas A. Leonard, with him Richard W. Hollstein, and Clark, Ladner, Fortenbaugh & Young, for appellant.
George W. Tracy, with him Tracy & McNamee, for appellees.
Judges Rogers, DiSalle and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 47 Pa. Commw. Page 581]
The Zoning Hearing Board of Lansdale Borough appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas
[ 47 Pa. Commw. Page 582]
of Montgomery County, reversing the board's denial of applicant's request for variances from dimensional requirements of the borough's zoning ordinance.
Where, as here, the lower court took no additional evidence, our scope of review in zoning cases is limited to a determination of whether the zoning hearing board committed an abuse of discretion or an error of law. Ottaviano v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of Philadelphia, 31 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 366, 376 A.2d 286 (1977).
Because we conclude that the Board abused its discretion, we must affirm the decision of the lower court.
The proposal here, to construct a single-family detached dwelling, a permitted use in a Class B residential district, required variances from area, side-yard and frontage requirements. Article IX of the Zoning Ordinance, No. 920 of the Code of the Borough of Lansdale, requires a minimum lot area of 5,000 square feet with a minimum 60-foot frontage, and two side-yards of at least 8 feet each. The lot is 144 feet long and 27 feet wide, with an area of 3,879 square feet; the proposal requested variances to permit a 27-foot frontage and 4-foot side-yards. The record indicates that this lot existed in single and separate ownership before the adoption of the zoning ordinance requirements.
An applicant for a variance must establish: (1) that there are unique physical circumstances peculiar to the particular property and that the unnecessary hardship is due to such conditions; (2) that the property cannot be developed in strict conformity with the provisions of the zoning ordinance; (3) that such unnecessary hardship has not been created by the applicant; (4) that the variance will not be detrimental to the public welfare; and (5) that the ...