Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County in the case of West Bradford Township v. Strasburg Associates I and Strasburg Associates II, No. 257 October Term, 1979.
Thomas A. Riley, Jr., with him John C. Snyder, Lentz, Riley, Cantor, Kilgore & Massey, Ltd., for appellants.
Robert B. Surrick, Levy & Surrick, for appellee.
Judges Rogers, Craig and MacPhail. Judges Blatt, Craig and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 167]
This is an appeal from an order of the Chester County Court of Common Pleas which found Appellants guilty of violating the West Bradford Township Zoning Ordinance. We reverse.
Appellants, Strasburg I Associates and Strasburg II Associates, are the owners of a tract of land located in both Newlin Township and West Bradford Township, Chester County. Appellants operate a sanitary landfill on the Newlin Township portion of their tract. The West Bradford Township portion, consisting of seventy-five acres, is zoned R-1 residential and cannot be used for landfill.
In 1976 Appellants attempted to construct a driveway through the West Bradford portion of their tract to access the Newlin Township landfill. On October 14, 1976 West Bradford Township issued a cease and desist order against this construction. This order was upheld by the West Bradford Township Zoning Hearing Board, and the matter was then appealed to the Chester County Court of Common Pleas.
While that appeal was pending, the Appellants submitted a subdivision plan to West Bradford Township under which a private road would be constructed through the seventy-five acre West Bradford portion of their tract, dividing the tract into two residential sections. The private road was to run from the adjoining public highway to the Newlin Township border, thus giving access to the Appellants' adjacent landfill. On April 12, 1977 West Bradford Township approved this subdivision plan. Concurrent with the approval, Appellants and West Bradford Township entered into a subdivision agreement under which Appellants agreed to certain concessions, including withdrawal of their zoning appeal pending before the court of common pleas, in exchange for township approval of their subdivision plan.
[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 168]
Appellants constructed the private road, and in 1979 began their landfill operation, using the road as an access route. Soon thereafter West Bradford Township filed a complaint in equity, seeking to enjoin Appellants' landfill operation on the basis of their failure to abide by the terms of the subdivision agreement.*fn1 The Chester County Court of Common Pleas denied a request for preliminary injunction, and the complaint was later withdrawn.*fn2
On September 11, 1979 the West Bradford Township zoning officer cited the Appellants for using their private road for commercial purposes within an R-1 zoning district which prohibits such commercial use. After a finding of not guilty by the District Court, the Chester County Court of Common Pleas held a hearing de novo on November 11, 1979. On April 21, 1980 the court found the Appellants guilty of violating the zoning ordinance and issued a $100 fine. ...