Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in case of Louis J. Bruni and Sonja Bruni, his wife v. Zoning Hearing Board of Plymouth Township, No. 78-12984.
Norman Ashton Klinger, for appellants.
Arthur Lefkoe, Wisler, Pearlstine, Talone, Craig & Garrity, with him Herbert F. Rubenstein, Beeghley, Rubenstein & Moore, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Craig and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish.
[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 528]
The Montgomery County Common Pleas Court affirmed the Plymouth Township Zoning Hearing Board's (Board) denial of a continuance of a non-conforming use and an application for a special exception and/or variance of its ordinance.
Louis and Sonja Bruni are titleholders of a property in a district zoned "D" residential and from 1906 through early 1978 it was used as a firehouse, a non-conforming use. In addition to the typical firehouse activities and functions, such as the storage and routine maintenance of firefighting equipment, including light vehicle maintenance and minor repairs, it was used as a social hall for dinners, wedding receptions and post-funeral gatherings.
In seeking relief, Brunis propose to operate an automobile repair garage (exclusive of body work) on the premises between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M., six days a week. Their application for relief cites three alternative grounds:*fn1 (1) a continued non-conforming use of equal or more restrictive classification under Section 1800.B of the zoning ordinance; (2) a special exception citing Section 1000.K.1 and Section 2101 of the zoning ordinance; and (3) a variance under Section 2101.D.2 of the zoning ordinance and Section 912 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities
[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 529]
Planning Code, Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, as amended, 53 P.S. § 10912. The Board denied all three requests, the trial court affirmed, and this appeal followed.
We reiterate our scope of review: Since the court below took no additional evidence, we are limited to a determination of whether the Board's findings are supported by substantial evidence or whether it erred in law. Seidita v. Board of Zoning Appeals, 41 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 340, 399 A.2d 156 (1979).
The Brunis' initial contention is without merit. Section 1800.B of the township zoning ordinance provides a change of a non-conforming use:
B. Change. Any lawful, non-conforming use of a building or land may be changed to another non-conforming use of the same or more restrictive classification, provided that the Zoning Hearing Board shall find that the proposed use if [sic] equally appropriate, or ...