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HARVEY PAUL HANLEN AND BARBARA HANLEN v. STATE COLLEGE ZONING HEARING BOARD AND BOROUGH STATE COLLEGE (06/26/81)

decided: June 26, 1981.

HARVEY PAUL HANLEN AND BARBARA HANLEN, HIS WIFE, AND LARRY WARNER AND MICKI WARNER, HIS WIFE, APPELLANTS
v.
STATE COLLEGE ZONING HEARING BOARD AND BOROUGH OF STATE COLLEGE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County in case of Harvey Paul Hanlen and Barbara Hanlen, his wife, and Larry Warner and Micki Warner, his wife, v. State College Zoning Hearing Board, No. 79-2354.

COUNSEL

R. Mark Faulkner, McQuaide, Blasko, Schwartz, Fleming & Faulkner, Inc., for appellants.

No appearance for Zoning Hearing Board.

Robert K. Kistler, Miller, Kistler & Campbell, Inc., for Borough of State College.

Judges Blatt, Williams, Jr. and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 191]

The appellants, owners of the properties in question, challenge a decision of the Zoning Hearing Board (Board) of the Borough of State College (Borough).

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 192]

In May of 1978, the appellants applied for and received two building permits to construct a double house on each of two lots located in the Borough. Originally, each double house was designed to have two side-by-side dwelling units with two bedrooms in each unit, but in June of 1978, amended building permits were obtained so that a basement with a third bedroom could be added to each dwelling unit. At the time when the amended permits were issued, the Borough's zoning ordinance provided that five unrelated people*fn1 could live together in a dwelling unit, but in January of 1979, after the houses here concerned had been substantially completed, the zoning ordinance was amended to limit the permissible number of unrelated people living together to three.*fn2

Upon completion of the construction, occupancy permits were obtained by the appellants and the houses were occupied in March of 1979 with more than three unrelated persons living in each unit: i.e., with people living in the basement rooms as well as in the rooms above ground. In April, however, the Borough's zoning officer notified the appellants that the amended zoning ordinance was applicable to these houses and that no more than three unrelated people could reside in each dwelling unit. They appealed first to the Board and then to the court below, which affirmed the zoning officer, and this appeal followed.

The appellants contend that the change in the definition of the word "family", as provided in the amended ordinance, required an alteration of the use

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 193]

    of their property and that they had acquired a vested right to have five unrelated people living in each unit because the building permits had been issued under the ordinance as it read before amendment and they ...


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