Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of the 37th Judicial District, Warren County Branch, in case of Borough of Youngsville v. Zoning Hearing Board of the Borough of Youngsville v. Robert and Rosalie Matteo, No. 20 of 1981.
Joseph C. Barnhart, Altomare & Barnhart, for appellant.
Sumner E. Nichols, II, Dunn & Conner, for appellees, Robert Matteo and Rosalie Matteo.
Judges Rogers, Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt. Judge Rogers dissents.
[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 284]
The appellant, the Borough of Youngsville (Borough), appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Warren County which affirmed a decision of the Youngsville Zoning Hearing Board (Board) granting a certificate of occupancy to the appellees, Robert and Rosalie Matteo, and confirming the nonconforming use of a 27-unit trailer park on their property.
The appellees purchased the approximately five-acre tract involved here in 1978 for $18,500, having previously conferred with the Borough zoning officer and having received his approval for the trailer park which they proposed to develop. They thereafter invested an additional $18,000 for the construction of sewer lines. The Borough then objected to further development of the trailer park on the ground that the proposed use was not permitted by the zoning ordinance which the Borough had adopted in 1961. The appellees unsuccessfully sought to amend the ordinance and they finally requested a certificate of occupancy for the proposed trailer park from the Board. The Board granted the certificate of occupancy, having concluded that use of the property as a trailer park was permitted as a nonconforming use and, upon the Borough's appeal of that decision, the common pleas court affirmed the Board's determination. This appeal followed.
[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 285]
Where, as here, the court of common pleas has taken no additional evidence, our scope of review is limited to determining whether or not the findings of the Board are supported by substantial evidence and whether or not it abused its discretion or committed an error of law. Vitale v. Zoning Hearing Board of Upper Darby Township, 63 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 604, 438 A.2d 1016 (1982).
The Board based its decision mainly upon a 1967 letter from the Borough's solicitor to the Borough Council concerning this property,*fn1 which stated in part:
1. A trailer court was established by the Hamiltons during the year 1959 and prior to the adoption of the Youngsville Borough Zoning Ordinance.
2. Work was done to adapt the property to a trailer court including installation of electricity, water, and preparation of trailer sites.
3. The trailers were actually put on the premises and were there at least until the year 1963 when the last trailer, which belonged to one Hilbert, was removed.
4. No trailers have been on the premises since that time but the connections remained and the area was not ...