Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of In Re: Appeal of Buckingham Developers, Inc. from the Buckingham Township Zoning Hearing Board, No. 77-5608-06-5.
John A. VanLuvanee, Eastburn and Gray, for appellant.
Sondra K. Slade, with her Stephen R. Harris, Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, for appellee.
Judges Blatt, Craig and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr. Judge Wilkinson, Jr. did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 409]
This case comes before the Court on an appeal by the landowner from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, affirming (1) the refusal of the Zoning Hearing Board of Buckingham Township (Board) to grant appellant's application for a variance, and (2) the Board's dismissal of appellant's challenge to the constitutionality of the zoning ordinance. From its inception, this action has proceeded
[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 410]
under Sections 912 and 1004 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, as amended, 53 P.S. §§ 10912, 11004.
Appellant owns a 120.66 acre tract of land, zoned agricultural, presently being used primarily for agricultural purposes, upon which it wants to construct approximately 50 single-family detached dwellings on one-acre lots. Under the provisions of the zoning ordinance, it may erect no more than five single family homes in such a development. However, it may build 35 single family units in a detached cluster, or 58 dwellings in a performance subdivision, or it may continue to use the land for agricultural purposes.
In 1977, the appellant filed both an application for a variance from the numerical limitations on single family detached homes prescribed by the zoning ordinance, and, alternatively, a constitutional challenge to the ordinance. The two issues were presented to the Board in a single application and were heard concurrently.*fn1
[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 411]
After reviewing the evidence, the Board denied the variance request, finding, as a matter of law, that:
7. Applicant can make reasonable use of its property, as presently zoned -- without ...