Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of George Poulos and Arlene Poulos, and Concerned Property Owners of Immediate Area of Proposed Parking by Arlene Poulos, Trustee ad Litem v. Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment and Pennsylvania Hospital, No. 6558 October Term, 1978.
Lewis Kates, with him, James F. Guidera, Kates & Livesey, P.C., for appellants.
Ronald Beifeld, Assistant City Solicitor, with him, James D. Coleman, Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, for appellee.
Judges Blatt, Williams, Jr. and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr. Judge Wilkinson, Jr. did not participate in the decision in this case.
In this zoning appeal protesting property owners seek reversal of an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County directing the issuance of a zoning " certificate " to Pennsylvania Hospital (Hospital) for certain new construction. The court below heard the case when the protestants appealed
to that court from a decision of the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment (Board) granting the Hospital a variance.
This case arose from the plan of the Hospital to erect, in the area of 7th and Spruce Streets, a 250 car parking garage and a medical office building. The site of the proposed construction is on land conveyed to the Hospital by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority; and, the site is in a district zoned "R-16," or residential.
In August, 1978, the Hospital applied to the City's Department of Licenses and Inspections for the requisite permits. That application was denied because neither of the proposed structures complied with the lot line, yard, and open area requirements of the Philadelphia Zoning Code (Code), and because the structures were deemed to be for uses not permitted in a "R-16" zoning district. From that decision the Hospital filed an appeal petition with the Board.
In the Hospital's appeal petition the specifically stated ground for relief was that the denial of the permits imposed an unnecessary hardship. At the hearing before the Board, held in September, 1978, a witness for the Hospital stated in an opening address that the relief sought was a variance.*fn1 Protesting property owners appeared at the hearing and gave testimony in opposition to the Hospital's application. They asserted that neither the garage nor the medical office building was needed by the Hospital. They further complained that the proposed facilities would result in increased traffic and pollution, and would cause blockage of light.
The Board granted the Hospital a variance. Although in doing so the Board offered an opinion that the applicant could have obtained a certificate, the Board's express formal decision was that the Hospital was entitled to a variance. From that decision the protesting property ...