Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in the case of In Re: Appeal of George R. Miller, Jr. from the decision of the Warminster Township Board of Supervisors, No. 79-13689-14-5.
Jeffrey A. Drake, with him Charles S. Wilson, Charles S. Wilson & Associates, for appellant.
Elliot M. Drexler, Connolly, McAndrews, Stevens, Drexler & Corr, for appellee.
Judges Mencer, Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers. Judge Palladino did not participate in the decision in this case.
George R. Miller, Jr., the owner of about 138 acres of land in Warminster Township, Bucks County, here appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County upholding the decision of the Warminster Township Board of Supervisors refusing his request for a curative amendment and rejecting his challenge to the township zoning ordinance. Miller's land is located in the R-1 Residence District where single family detached residences on 20,000 square feet lots are permitted. The curative amendment he proposes is that his land be placed in a new zoning district of his devising to be called S D, semi-detached, so that he might construct single family semi-detached dwellings; and he challenges the validity of the ordinance on the ground that it makes insufficient provision for the construction in the township of single family semi-detached dwellings.
The Board of Supervisors with whom the application was made (pursuant to §§ 609.1 and 1004(1)(b) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, as amended, 53 P.S. §§ 10609.1, 11004(1)(b)), conducted extensive hearings
after which it filed comprehensive findings and conclusions and, as noted, a decision adverse to Miller.*fn1 On Miller's appeal, the Court of Common Pleas affirmed the Board of Supervisors' action, Judge Biester writing an able and comprehensive opinion in support of the court's order.
The use of land for the placement of single family semi-detached dwellings is an expressly permitted use in the township's R-3 Residence District and its MF-2 Low and Moderate Income Multi-family District. Single family semi-detached dwelling use in the R-3 Residence District is, however, subject to restrictions which would appear facially to be substantial but concerning which there is nothing in the record indicating the extent of such impediment. Single family semi-detached residence use in the MF-2 District is not subject to the restrictions just mentioned.
Much consideration was given below to the question of whether single family semi-detached dwellings are a permitted use also in the MF-1 Multi-family District. Multi-family dwellings are defined elsewhere in the ordinance in terms which, without specifically naming single family semi-detached dwellings, would clearly include them. Article 9, Section 212(d) defines multi-family dwellings as:
Multi-Family Dwelling (or Building) : A building having two or more dwelling units which may have either a common or independent outside access. Said units may be arranged horizontally one above the other or vertically separated by party walls. It is the intention to include within this ...