Appeals 1982, from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County in the case of Thomas Collis, Judy Krull and The Iron Triangle Committee v. The Zoning Hearing Board of the City of Wilkes-Barre v. R. W. Simms and A. L. Simms and Health Services Management Corporation t/a Wyoming Valley Clinic, No. 536-C of 1982.
Joseph J. Musto, Griffith, Aponick & Musto, for appellants.
James P. Harris, Jr., Harris, Johnston & Kennedy, with him John G. Whelley, Jr., Rosenn, Jenkins & Greenwald, and Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr., Lowery, Ciavarella & Rogers, for appellees.
Judges Blatt, Doyle and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
In these consolidated cases, the appellants are appealing an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County which affirmed a decision of the Zoning Hearing Board of the City of Wilkes-Barre (Board) permitting R. W. Simms and A. L. Simms and their tenant, the Health Services Management Corporation (intervenors), to operate a hospital in the city. 1679 C.D. 1982. They also appeal a separate order of the aforementioned common pleas court which granted the intervenors' petition to compel the posting of a bond pursuant to Section 1008(4) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), Act of June 1, 1972, P.L. 333, as amended, 53 P.S. § 11008(4). 2310 C.D. 1982.
The application of the intervenors sought permission to use the premises for the treatment of individuals suffering from mental problems, the site having
previously been used as a general hospital providing medical and surgical services. The intervenors proposed minor internal changes in the building, but no external structural changes, and the Board concluded that their proposal was for a continuation of a non-conforming pre-existing use and approved the application. The common pleas court affirmed and the instant appeal followed.
Our scope of review where, as here, the trial court took no additional evidence, is to determine whether or not the zoning authorities abused their discretion or committed an error of law. Appeal of Conners, 71 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 213, 454 A.2d 233 (1983). The appellants argue that the Board did err in that the intervenors' proposed facility is not a hospital (the prior non-conforming use) but rather an entirely separate use, that is, a treatment facility for the mentally disturbed.
In support of their contention that a facility for the treatment of psychiatric problems is not a hospital, the appellants cite to two legislative definitions of "hospital." Section 802.1 of the Act of July 19, 1979, P.L. 130, added by the Act of July 12, 1980, P.L. 655, 35 P.S. § 448.802a, relating to the licensing of health care facilities, defines "hospital" as:
An institution having an organized medical staff which is primarily engaged in providing to inpatients, by or under the supervision of physicians, diagnostic and therapeutic services for the care of injured, disabled, pregnant, diseased or sick or mentally ill persons, or rehabilitation services for the rehabilitation of injured, disabled, pregnant, diseased or sick or mentally ill persons. The term includes facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of disorders within ...