Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of In Re: Appeal of Jerold L. Garnick v. Zoning Hearing Board of Bridgeton Township, No. 78-6985-14.
Herbert K. Sudfeld, Jr., with him Richard P. McBride, Power, Bowen & Valimont, for appellant.
Thomas G. Mundhenk, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish, and Judges Craig and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of office of Judge Wilkinson, Jr.
In this zoning appeal, landowner Garnick questions a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County affirming the Zoning Hearing Board of Bridgeton Township which had upheld the revocation of the landowner's permit for the installation of a trailer residence (mobile home) and had also rejected a subsequent application for a variance on the same matter.
The board's findings establish that the landowner's parcel of 32,670 square feet was located in a Residential RA-1 District where, when on-site sewage is involved, as here, the minimum lot area per dwelling unit is 43,560 square feet. The landowner, in applying for a permit to install the mobile home, did not disclose that a cottage was already situated on the lot. The landowner's sketch, which accompanied the application, showed no existing dwelling. The landowner also submitted a county sewage permit which actually pertained to the cottage, not to the proposed mobile home unit; he did not submit the portion of the sewage permit which indicated its coverage.
The township zoning officer issued the permit for the mobile home but, one month later, after observing the existing dwelling on the site along with the mobile home, he revoked the permit because the second dwelling unit violated the minimum-area-per-dwelling-unit
requirement, as to which the cottage had been a legal nonconforming use.
The landowner, claiming that he expended $4,000 toward the installation of the mobile home in reliance upon the zoning permit, contends that (1) his interest in the permit is therefore vested, or that (2) he is thereby entitled to a variance to permit the mobile home to remain.
We agree with the decision of the court of common pleas that the landowner's contentions must be rejected. We adopt the premise stated by Judge Bodley, writing for the court en banc below, that
[a] permit issued illegally, or in violation of law, or under a mistake of fact, in and of itself confers no vested right or privilege upon the person to whom it is issued even though that person has made expenditures in reliance upon the ...