Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in the case of Rodney L. Judd, t/a Red Carpet Judd Associates and Albert Park v. Zoning Hearing Board of Middletown Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, No. 80-821.
Glenn Diehl, with him, Robert B. Surrick, Levy and Surrick, for appellant.
Vincent B. Mancini, Kassab, Cherry and Archbold, for appellees.
Judges Rogers, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Judges Blatt, Craig and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 536]
The Township of Middletown (Township) appeals here an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County which reversed a decision of the Township Zoning Hearing Board (Board). The Board decision had denied an application for a sign permit filed by the appellee, but the Court ordered the application granted.
The relevant facts, as found by the Board, are as follows. The tract of land at issue here is known as 6-8 North Pennell Road. The only building on the land had been converted from two semi-detached dwellings into a single office building by the applicant's
[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 537]
predecessor in title, who had also placed one free-standing sign on the property identifying the office building. The land has been zoned as a Special Use District, which is designed to permit attractive research development facilities, corporate offices, and other compatible industrial uses. There are setback and sideyard requirements which the present use does not meet, but, inasmuch as it pre-dated the Township's ordinance, this use is non-conforming. The applicant, however, sought to add another free-standing sign, and it was this permission which was denied by the zoning officer, with that denial affirmed by the Board, then reversed by the trial court, which interpreted the ordinance so as to permit installation of the sign as requested.
It is well-settled that, where the trial court does not take additional evidence, our scope of review is to determine whether or not the Board abused its discretion or committed an error of law. Riddle Paddock, Inc. v. Zoning Hearing Board, Middletown Township, 30 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 481, 374 A.2d 98 (1977).
Section 318D of the ordinance provides:
D. Shopping Center and Special Use District.
In B-1 and B-2 Shopping Center and Special Use Districts signs may be erected and maintained only when in compliance with the provisions of this sub-section and any and all other ordinances and regulations of the Township of Middletown relating to the ...