Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County in case of Stewart F. Snyder, Carrie L. Snyder, Roger D. Snyder, Doreen Snyder, Clark S. Snyder, Gary Lee Snyder, Bruce L. Snyder, Leroy E. Snyder and Brenda Snyder v. Railroad Borough, No. 79-S-2031, Zoning Appeal.
Edward B. Golla, for appellants.
Raymond L. Hovis, Stock and Leader, for appellee, Railroad Borough.
Gilbert G. Malone, Ports, Beers, Feldmann & Malone, for appellees, Railroad Borough Planning Commission and Shrewsbury Township.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Blatt, Craig, MacPhail and Williams, Jr. Judge Rogers did not participate. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr. Judge Wilkinson, Jr. did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 59 Pa. Commw. Page 387]
The subject of this appeal is the validity of certain sections of the Railroad Borough Zoning Ordinance, which were challenged by the appellants herein, all of whom are members of the Snyder Family.
Appellants Snyder own a farm of approximately 120 acres in York County; one-third of that farm is situated in Railroad Borough. In April, 1977, the borough added several sections to its zoning ordinance,*fn1
[ 59 Pa. Commw. Page 388]
under which about two-thirds of the borough, including that portion in which the Snyder tract is located, was re-zoned either Rural Agricultural or Conservation.
In the Rural Agricultural section, only two dwellings per tract*fn2 are permitted as of right, and neither dwelling may be on a plot of less than one acre. In the Conservation district, the topography of which is primarily steeply sloped or flood plain, only two dwellings per tract are permitted as of right, and each must have a lot containing at least three acres.
Since appellants Snyder would like to have a multifamily and several single family dwellings on the
[ 59 Pa. Commw. Page 389]
farm, they filed a challenge to, and a curative amendment for, the new zoning provisions, under Section 1004 of The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, as amended, 53 P.S. § 11004. At the hearings on the challenge, the Railroad Borough Council granted party status*fn3 to Shrewsbury Township*fn4 over a timely objection by counsel for the Snyders. Shrewsbury then participated in the hearings by its counsel, who also represented the other party protestant, the Railroad Borough Planning Commission.
The Snyders appealed the subsequent Borough Council dismissal of their challenge to the York County Court of Common Pleas, and filed preliminary objections to Shrewsbury's participation in the proceedings, which the court summarily dismissed. Without taking additional testimony, the court also dismissed the challenge, declaring that the findings of the Borough Council were supported by substantial evidence, and making a finding as to the availability of water and sewer.
In their appeal of the lower court decision to this Court, the Snyders have alleged that, because Shrewsbury Township was not a "person aggrieved," it does not have standing to participate in a zoning challenge
[ 59 Pa. Commw. Page 390]
as a party protestant. This issue has not previously been addressed by our Court.
Cablevision v. Zoning Hearing Board of Easton, 13 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 232, 320 A.2d 388 (1974), cited by appellants as controlling, is not on point, in that it involves the capacity of the owner of the tract contiguous to that in question, but not within the same municipality, to prosecute an ...