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GERALD J. DAVIES v. ZONING HEARING BOARD ROSS TOWNSHIP (09/16/81)

decided: September 16, 1981.

GERALD J. DAVIES, APPELLANT
v.
THE ZONING HEARING BOARD OF ROSS TOWNSHIP, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Gerald J. Davies v. The Zoning Hearing Board of Ross Township, No. S.A. of 1978.

COUNSEL

Jay D. Glasser, Hollinshead and Mendelson, for appellant.

William W. Milnes, Brandt, Milnes, Rea & Wagner, for appellee.

Judges Mencer, MacPhail and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 595]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which affirmed a decision of the Zoning Hearing Board of Ross Township (Board) denying Appellant's request for several dimensional variances. We will remand.

Appellant is the owner of an undeveloped, roughly triangular, .404 acre plot of land located in an area of

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 596]

Ross Township, Allegheny County, zoned C-2 General Commercial. A Ross Township ordinance requires all properties located in C-2 General Commercial zones to have at least a 30-foot front yard setback, a 10-foot side yard setback, and a 20-foot rear yard setback. Since he could not meet these requirements, Appellant applied to the Board on March 23, 1978, for a 10-foot front yard variance, a 3-foot side yard variance, and an 8-foot rear yard variance to permit the erection of a proposed 40 by 75 foot two-story office building on his property.

At a hearing before the Board conducted on April 12, 1978, Appellant's representative, Mr. Marziale, testified that if Appellant was forced to comply with the township's setback requirements, he would only be able to construct a building on his property with a width of 18 feet or less, a width which Mr. Marziale alleged was unreasonably narrow. Mr. Marziale also noted in his testimony that the Board had granted variances in 1971 identical to those being requested by the Appellant to permit the construction of an office building on Appellant's property, but that the building had not been constructed prior to the expiration of these variances. Before any additional evidence concerning this prior grant of variances could be offered into evidence, however, Mr. Marziale was informed by the Board that they did not consider such evidence to be relevant to the question of whether Appellant's current variance requests should be granted.

After evaluating the evidence produced at the hearing, the Board issued a decision dated April 14, 1978, which we shall quote in its entirety:

The Ross Township Zoning Hearing Board finds that insufficient testimony has been presented to show a hardship and hereby denies the variances as ...


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